KAMSI Exclusive: Beauty and Fashion Inspiration from Facebook’s ‘Make Up or Break Up’ Host Shannon Boodram
The lovely and multitalented Shannon Boodram is the host of the innovative Facebook live show ‘Make Up or Break Up,’ which airs Thursdays at 8 pm EST. She also has a Fullscreen series, Your Perfect Date and is the author of the compelling anthology “Laid: Young People's Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture.” As if that wasn’t enough, she continues to impress with a podcast on Anchor and a full-time job as a sexologist and sexual health advocate. Shannon uses her celebrity to celebrate diversity, spread sexual education and erode at damaging sexual stigmas.
I have been loyal to Shannon’s YouTube channel for at least a year, so I’m a bit of a fangirl. And while she stuns with her spectacular mind and sense of humor, she also is a distinguishable style icon. She was nice enough to answer my questions and did so with such humbleness and grace.
Amiah Taylor: Recently you did a YouTube review on Fenty Beauty, have you ever thought of releasing your own makeup line for women of color?
Shannon Boodram: Not necessarily, I think it’s one of those things. I try to make everything I do relate back to sex, love or dating and I do think that makeup has a massive place in the realm of seduction. When we think of makeup we don’t really think of that, it’s less about seducing and more about having something your friends like or enhancing your lashes but the base root of it all is really to get your way with people and to entice people and to romanticize. I think in the future I’d be interested in pairing with a company that is interested in that side of makeup.
AT: In your video, “Sexy Mouth: 6 Hacks in 6 Minutes,” you cited MAC’s Ruby Woo as your go-to red lipstick. As of late, what lipsticks make you feel luscious and sexy?
SB: I love Smashbox, they’re probably my favorite makeup company. They had a partnership with Lilly Singh to do a red that’s called BAWSE. I think that’s probably my new favorite red. They have my favorite nudes also. Their eyelash primer is so good, I’ve been buying it for ten-plus years. They would be my dream cosmetics company to work with.
AT: At the Canadian Buffer festival, you wore a beautiful Zeffra Nieri dress, which upscale designers are on your radar right now?
SB: You know what girl, I wish I was the type of person who could answer that question for you. Honestly I just like sexual clothing. I like clothes that play up the bedroom element, really wearing what you would wear indoors, outdoors. So I loved that dress because it had the feathers at the bottom, so it kind of felt like a robe to me. And of course, I paired it with a kimono, which is also traditionally an indoor garment. So for me, anybody who’s willing to take some risk and incorporate their bedroom clothing into the outside world, that’s what I think really grabs my attention.
AT: So citing a May 16th interview that you did with GirlMob, you said your favorite smell is chlorine. Are you a person who enjoys fragrance?
SB: (laughing) Um, yeah, I love the smell of chlorine. Goodness for you, for doing such great research here. I’m working with this company now and they specialize in cannabis based products, but they also do candles. So we were trying to figure out a really good seductive scent, something that’s both masculine and feminine and dominant and submissive. Just something that you can put on when you’re in the bedroom by yourself or with your partner that really puts you in that place. Anything that has to do with the senses is a realm that I see myself playing in, but everything in due time.
AT: On Instagram and YouTube we’ve seen you accessorize with Nasty Gal and Nashelle jewelry. What jewelry brands are you really loving at the moment?
SB: I love Nashelle. There’s a company called Up and Armed which is a Toronto based company and I bought like $600 worth of jewelry from them. I went to Toronto for the Buffer Festival and completely forgot my jewelry so I decided to refresh and get all new pieces. I love metal. I love mixing metal because I’m the kind of woman who wants to have it all and wear it all. And Nashelle is great as well because they have really delicate metal pieces. I got a really cool leg chain from Up and Armed, that’s like my new favorite piece right now. Absolutely, I wear jewelry all of the time. I always have a nose ring in, I’m never without one. I always have at least four earrings in at a time and necklaces, pretty much wherever I can decorate, I’m going to decorate it.
AT: Okay so in your videos we’ve seen you in Roots sweatpants, that’s a Canadian based company. Would you say that international brands have an influence on you as far as your comfortable everyday wear?
SB: Well I’m Canadian, so any company that is Canadian based has a special place in my heart. Any company that is black-owned has a special place in my heart. I’d like to say that I go out of my way to only purchase those things but I don’t. But if I can find it and it’s cute, it’s always something that I am proud to rock.
AT: I know that you use Anastasia Beverly Hills brow gel as both a lip liner and for brows. As far as your eyebrow routine, what do you do?
SB: I pluck them myself and I hope for the best. I really hope for the best. My makeup eyebrow routine is exactly that, I use the Anastasia brow just to fill and then I take a nude pencil and draw the shape that I want and remove the extra hair that’s in the way. I always try and go for that gradient look where it’s a little bit less full in the front and then gets darker.
AT: Who would you cite as your style icons?
SB: Zendaya and Winnie Harlow. I feel so weird about that because I’m in my thirties and Zendaya is like nineteen or something. But she’s incredible, she just dresses so mature and so tastefully, whenever I meet with a stylist I say ‘just go on Tumblr and type in Zendaya’s style, that’s what I’d like to wear.’
AT: When you’re in the mood to be playful with textures and materials in clothing, what are your go-to fabrics? I’ve seen you in velvet, I really liked the Ted Baker London heels you wore while you were in Toronto.
SB: I think again, any material that feels a bit bedroomish. So I like suedes. I like velvets. I like silk and feathers. I like lace a lot, anything that has that feel to it. Garters are usually my favorite playtime accessory.
AT: When it comes to the social media infrastructure that you have, doing FullScreen, YouTube and Facebook, do you try to achieve a continuous look for branding purposes?
SB: Yeah, I definitely try to have something that is consistent with my brand. My brand message is “I own it, they love it,” which means putting on something that feels good for you and not waiting for anyone else’s permission. I get a lot of thigh high boots and sew my own garters in which I think is both functional and chic. I also wear my vibrating necklace all of the time. I’m an ambassador for LoveCrate. I’ve been wearing that necklace for like three years straight. It’s a really great conversation piece. I think it effortlessly represents everything that I want to both style-wise and also message-wise. I try to think about how do I look like... the girl who talks about sex for a living and talks about relationships. And how does it make sense in people’s minds and how am I able to further my message of not being ashamed and being proud of your sexuality not just with what I say but with what I wear.
AT: So moving on to hair, we’ve seen you with wild curls, microbraids and straightened hair. Who do you trust to do your hair professionally?
SB: There’s a girl right now named Kenya, her Instagram is @kenyaste. She’s someone that’s working on me now for my Facebook show ‘Make Up or Break Up’ and this relationship happened so wonderfully. Kenya mostly focuses on natural, I think 4C hair. She messaged me on Instagram and said ‘hey I really want to do your hair for you.’ So then a friend of mine Makeba, who has a YouTube channel called ynotkeeb, who usually does my extensions for me was out of town. And I was like looking for this specific look. So I thought, what was that girl's name again? Let me see if she does extensions. So I went on her page and she had done Jill Scott’s hair and I saw a few other red carpet looks she had done and found them to be interesting. So I DM’d her and it ended up working out amazing. And now she’s my every time go-to hairdresser for everything. And in the future, I hope it remains that way.
AT: As a host for your Facebook live show “Make Up or Break Up,” you’ve served us a lot of different looks. Which has been your favorite on the show so far?
SB: Probably like the jumbo braid. It was definitely something that I hadn’t done before and I hadn’t attempted. It’s your essential high ponytail and then you get a large bit of extensions and just braid it in with your own hair and you just get this beautiful massive braid. She put like the dread jewels also in there. It was a look that I never would have thought of for myself but I thought it was really really cool and I was able to rock it for like four more extra days. It’s great when you have a hairstyle that sticks, that was definitely my favorite. But I hope when people watch ‘Make Up or Break Up’ they can look forward to my hair never being the same.
AT: So you love snacking on salt and vinegar chips and drinking tea, which lip products do you prefer because they’re smudge proof and don’t budge when you’re eating or drinking?
SB: First of all girl, your research is next level. I like matte lipsticks more than I prefer the glossier ones. I have the Covergirl Colorstay markers, they’re genuinely like a crayola marker that you color your mouth in with and they give you a really nice tint. I’m definitely a matte wearer. Smashbox and Covergirl Colorstay are my two favorite long lasting lipsticks.
AT: Our readers want to know how you get such beautiful flawless skin. What facial products do you use for a natural glow?
SB: Drunken Elephant is a brand that’s sold at Sephora that right now I really like. The only thing that I’ve been using consistently for years and years is Pond’s Cold Cream for make-up removal and that’s worked great for me. I’ve been able to avoid dark under eye circles and I think that’s partially because my makeup removal is great. Who knows. But other than that, it’s just whatever is available but Drunken Elephant is what’s currently in my little medicine cabinet.
AT: As far as street trends, are there any trends going on right now that you like or adore or are opinionated about?
SB: Yeah, I love androgyny and I love that that’s coming into play and you see more women in sneakers and baggier clothes. I love the lace-up thing that’s happening, there’s like a specific style that Winnie Harlow is wearing all the time, I think that’s really hot. There are these skirts for example, that are almost like two pieces of leather and you just use string to lace them up in the middle and I’m sure you don’t wear panties. So I think that’s really cool. I think that I would go with androgynous and masculine or hyper feminine and that those two things are street style right now which is really really cool.
Interview by Amiah Taylor