How '07 alum Steve Schepis became one of NYC's most adored makeup artists

Steve Scheipis
 
What have you been up to since graduation?​
 
What HAVEN'T I been up to since graduation? I did a couple Broadway shows. Danced for Beyonce. Toured Europe. Tore my bicep. Became a makeup artist. Started writing. Dabbled in veganism. Ultimately chose meat. Got bed bugs. Got rid of bed bugs. ...I could go on, but I don't want to bore you. 
 
What was it like working at the highest level in the industry? Was performing on Broadway what you thought it would be? 
 
Is "the highest level in the industry" what we're calling Broadway these days? Look, I'm super-duper grateful to have performed on Broadway. It was my dream since I was, like, 12 years old. That being said, the theatrical experiences I've enjoyed the most were ones that happened off-off-off-off-Broadway. Usually in some dingy basement on the Lower East Side. Broadway's a machine: sometimes a very rewarding one, other times, not. And while a production contract is particularly "cushy," I'd be lying if I told you that my artistic soul didn't feel like it was being sucked dry more often than not. 
 
​H​ow have your experiences working in musical theatre paved the way for where you are now?
 
Before performing in Priscilla Queen of the Desert on Broadway, makeup wasn't even on my radar. And now I'm a full-time makeup artist. It's kind of ironic: Priscilla was the pinnacle of success in my theatrical career (in some capacities), and yet, it provided the inspiration to move into a COMPLETELY different line of work. Funny how things work out, eh?
 
You were recently voted among Glam Squad's most-requested makeup artists. Tell me about how you started doing makeup​ and how you ended up here?
 
I started dabbling in makeup out of sheer obligation. I had the heaviest drag track in Priscilla: started the show in full drag, got out of drag half-way through act one, and got back in drag during intermission. Sixteen faces of makeup a week. 
 
It was rough, but I quickly became intrigued by the transformative power of makeup. The lead makeup artist on Priscilla moved to Atlanta shortly after the show closed, and gifted me half her makeup collection when she did. Thanks, Hagen! So, I started practicing on my girlfriends (Addi, Rachel, Natalie, Steph) ... and once in a while my boyfriends (Ross). Slowly but surely, what started as a hobby, turned into a source of income. And now I do makeup for a living.
 
What do you love most about being a makeup artist? 
 
My job affords me the opportunity to meet lots of people from all different walks of life. I spent a week making up a Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist, Jack Black's producing partner, television journalist Cynthia McFadden, famed media exec Susan Lyne. I did Lisa Kron's makeup for the Tony Awards this year. It's awesome to meet people that I probably wouldn't come into contact with otherwise. 
 
​You were the resident makeup artist for Broadway Style Guide, and you met all kinds of Broadway legends. Who were your favorites?​
 
Kelli O'Hara is just as sweet and as humble as can be. I'd have to say the same about Sutton Foster. Billy Magnuson has a lot of energy—like, a lot.
 
Your career as a makeup artist has also had a great impact on the Penn State community—you frequently do makeup for Penn Staters for auditions, performances, etc. Can you tell me more about that?
 
I work quite frequently with Matt Schmidt, who does FANTASTIC headshot photography. He often shoots Penn State alums, and I'm lucky enough to be his go-to guy for makeup. It's been great meeting the younger generations, catching up with old friends, seeing what everyone's up to, how people have changed, how they haven't. 
 
Tell me about your writing collaboration with alum Ross Harris?
 
Ross and I write things. Things that are funny. Things that will, ideally, make it from page to screen someday. 
 
What would you tell your college self now?
 
Take more Gen Eds. Cast a wide net. Learn as much as you can. 
 
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to invest in a new passion or develop a skill?
 
My favorite poet Theodore Roethke wrote, "Going is knowing," and it's how I aspire to live my life. Don't dip your toe in the water to test the temperature; just dive right in! You'll find out a lot about yourself and your newfound passion if you just immerse yourself in it, rather than hanging out on the sidelines. Life is NOT a spectator sport! Carve out a bit of time to explore this new passion EVERY DAY. I find CONSISTENCY and FREQUENCY to be key ingredients when honing a new skill. 

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