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How This Makeup Artist Keeps Tabs on Her Mental Health

You could say makeup artist Amy Strozzi —who has worked with interior designer Kelly Wearstler and actress Rowan Blanchard — has been auditioning for her current gig from a young age. “I’ve loved makeup since I was a little girl,” says New England-based Strozzi, who recently relocated from LA to the East Coast with her boyfriend. “My mom would give me her used bits and I’d stash them in a special drawer in the bathroom to play with.” Years later, Strozzi ended up as head of the makeup department on So You Think You Can Dance, which landed her and her team three Emmy nominations.  We checked in on Strozzi, who is currently in Boston, to find out how she’s keeping tabs on her mental health, what self-care routine she’ll never skip, and why she believes gratitude really does change everything.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss? And the best thing?

It’s wonderful to have freedom, but freelance comes with a world of burden as well. You have to learn how to manage your time well, keep yourself on deadlines, budget and save your money, and above all, not freak out when work is slow. For me, I have learned to keep flow in my life by developing side projects and taking classes online. The Beauty Manifesto, my ongoing beauty blog that has changed forms repeatedly since 2008, is being relaunched in November to be the project I always dreamed of — a focus on brands, inspirations, products I love, and other artists' work. I can’t wait to spotlight my brilliant friends and share truths about my skincare and aging process.

I’m also what I like to call an Emergency Preparedness advocate. I started taking preparedness classes in LA years ago to boost my confidence for living alone in a little house after an earthquake hit. I realized I have a passion for the information and an ability to share it in a way that doesn’t scare people; I’ve always been a helper and a problem solver so it’s something very close to my heart. I have a blog called The Preparedness Project where I give a Cliffs Notes version of “what you need to know” and I use my social media platforms to help educate my audience with simple, actionable preparedness tips. 

No one is responsible for my feelings except me, and I can help my relationships by being calm and clear with my communication.
And how do you keep tabs on your mental health?

I’ve done a lot of work in this department — especially in my ability to identify and communicate my feelings. No one is responsible for my feelings except me, and I can help my relationships by being calm and clear with my communication. I think the silent expectations of others get us in a lot of trouble. I track my period cycle so I know when hormones are affecting me. This allows me to be gentle with myself on tough days and lets my loved ones know if a hormone-fueled cry might be on the agenda. I let myself cry when it’s needed. I always try and get good sleep and I keep a bottle of CBD around for nights I need help settling down and days I need help clearing my head.

It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, not unlike “natural” or “organic, but what does “self-care” mean to you?

Self-care for me is vital to make sure I am able to deliver my best to my loved ones and my community. If I’m not in balance (even imperfectly), my message, my support for others can not be in balance. I take breaks from the news, which is a must when one of your interests is emergency preparedness and the topics can be intense.  I get quality sleep and I practice affirmations and mantras to help get unstuck; the book “Creative Visualizations” by Shakti Gawain will change your life. I have two gratitude journals that I write in most mornings. I dry brush before my showers and take my time doing hair and face masks. I do self-massage and take vitamins.

Self-care for me is vital to make sure I am able to deliver my best to my loved ones and my community.
How do you start your day...and how do you end it?

I wake up early now that I’m on my partner’s work-at-home schedule. He starts work at 7 a.m. I read the news (trying to limit that because it can seriously ruin your day), check my emails, check my IG. Then it’s a pint of warm lemon water and a decaf latte on the porch doing my gratitude journals and making a to-do list for the day. I’ll go for a run and water the garden. I end it with a great dinner and tv on the couch with my man. I was never a TV person but now there’s this really simple quiet pleasure in him falling asleep on my shoulder while I watch Top Chef

How does CBD fit into your routine?

CBD is a gift to this world that I am so glad has finally taken hold. My brain by nature is always going, always trying to figure something out. My heart by nature feels deeply for others, so it breaks regularly when I’m reading the news or learning about new things. CBD, for me, helps alleviate anxiety; those physical palpitations that take over my body and make me freeze up, it helps minimize that. It helps dissolve anger that can arise, impatience, frustration; all feelings I don’t like to hold on to but can spin around in when they arrive. I take it to “calm down” so I can breathe, regroup, and get things done. I take it in the evening after dinner to help get quiet for the night. 

CBD helps alleviate [my] anxiety; those physical palpitations that take over my body and make me freeze up, it helps minimize that.
What’s one ritual you won’t skip? 

They aren’t kidding when they say gratitude changes everything. Putting real effort into my morning gratitude journals starts my day on the right note, and genuinely makes me smile. I truly believe happiness is a choice and one that only I am responsible for. I’m willing to do the work for it.

What piece of advice do you wish you could share with your younger self?

Learn about money, don’t fear it, and don’t waste it. Pay down your debt even if it’s just a little at a time and start saving, even if it’s just a little at a time. Money does buy happiness in the sense it pays for your personal health, security, and good times though it doesn’t determine your success, value, or self-worth. 

Eat the pizza, you’ll be fine. And don’t worry about the people making fun of you, soon they’ll all have pink hair too and try to find you on Facebook. 

Nandita KhannaNandita Khanna LA-based content and brand ringmaster.

Likes: hand-written notes, iced lattes, and the Sunday NYT.
Dislikes: Bad manners, plastic straws.