If you haven’t noticed, I have an affinity for makeup, specifically a blinding glow and saturated eye makeup, which is perhaps what drew me to Izzy Sarlija. I found her Youtube a few months ago and was elated to find a Youtuber who I share a similar makeup philosophy with: glowy and natural with an unexpected twist. While her spunky take on makeup says a lot about her creative and artful eye, thousands of thoughts wander her mind, further proving her uniqueness which I admire so much.
It’s funny, she randomly liked a few of my photos and I was so psyched I messaged her not expecting anything to come of it, except learning that my apartment is right next to hers; what can I say, destiny does not mess around. I guess I’ll share the wealth, because in all honesty, I think everyone needs to know who she is.
How do you think growing up in NYC has impacted you both personally and creatively?
I think that my experience of growing up in NYC is that of many others who grew up here. This city is composed of many different cultures coming together and creating one weird, inclusive, and appreciative environment. I grew up as a first-generation American with Croatian parents. Being surrounded by the Croatian culture, American culture, and all of the cultures that have been brought over by immigrants, I felt inspired by many different people throughout my childhood. Given that my parents did not go to school, or grow up in America, I sort of had to teach myself how to grow up as a kid here. I never really felt isolated, however. Instead, I became extremely independent at a young age, which eased any pressure to conform to any way of life.
In terms of creatively, I grew up surrounded by great art, fashion, architecture—the list goes on and on. Seeing these things and people as I walked down the street my entire life has helped me to be comfortable with being inspired by things that may be different. It also helps that my mother, who is a HUGE art history nerd, would often take my brother and me to museums. From a young age, I have been greatly influenced by all of the art around me.
You obviously have a kinship with photography and makeup, do you see a relationship between the two? If so, do you ever photograph makeup to tell a story or is it purely for aesthetic purposes?
I think that when a person is taking a photo of anything, there is a relationship between the two. When I take photos, I like to think a lot of composition. Sure, I can be a typical makeup blogger who takes a photo everyday of my makeup from the same exact angle. But I think it’s more visually pleasing when a photo is sort of weird and is from an odd angle, or in strangely contrasted lighting. Whenever I take a photo of anything, it’s to tell the story of what is happening at that moment. If makeup just so happens to be the subject, then I’m telling a story about that, too.
I think that both photography and makeup artistry are excellent art forms. There are so many ways one can break barriers with the two in terms of composition, and I like to think that they have that in common. That’s probably why I like them both so much. I’ve never been comfortable with abiding to whatever “normal” is, and so when I found ways to express myself through both the use of crazy colors in makeup, and the weirdness that can be photography, I jumped at the opportunity to delve into both forms.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received and how have you implemented that in your life?
My older brother once told me, “Everyone has their own story to tell. Be the person who listens.” Ever since then, I’ve made it a point not to constantly list all of my own achievements in life, but to instead listen to other people. Not only am I giving others a chance for others to express their emotions, but I’m also giving myself a chance to view things in life from another person’s perspective. I am constantly inspired by hearing what others have to say, and use that inspiration in my art.
How has Youtube helped you grow personally? Do you plan to progress your channel or potentially expand it into a larger platform?
It has taught me discipline. I have always been a relatively organized person, but I had nothing in my life, besides school, that required so much attention. In school, I am given tasks and I complete them. The entire process is, and always has been, quite mundane and emotionally draining. However, with YouTube, I genuinely love producing content. However, fitting the YouTube lifestyle into my busy schedule is quite difficult, so I’ve been able to grow in my ability to place priorities on things, and to push myself to get shit done. I do want to grow my channel more into fashion, as I also love styling.
How do you balance your personal life, education, and Youtube, any tips? (I’m a hot mess)
Yes, time management! I sound like every professor ever right now. But it’s true! I currently go to school full-time, work part-time, run the fashion magazine at my school, and create content. At the start of every week, I plot out everything that I have to do in my journal, and then LIVE by that schedule. Of course, not every week is going to be perfect, and sometimes I have to not hang out with friends, or not make a YouTube video because there are so many things on my plate, but the key is to not stress over those things. Know that although things may be a little hectic now, you shall prevail.
It’s undeniable that the internet (especially Youtube) is cluttered with thousands of the same videos so it’s really impressive that you maintain a sense of rawness and vitality in your content. How do you prevent external influences from shifting your attention from authenticity to conformity?
Thank you! That really means alot to me. I guess I just try to produce things that I truly like, and stay true to myself. I’m not trying to call anyone out, or say their art is shit. I truly believe that everyone is able to express themselves on the internet, and in life for that matter, whichever way they want. However, I know that I can never be the typical giddy and excited beauty blogger, because I don’t really act that way in real life. I’m usually a really calm individual, so I guess I’m just calm on camera. Knowing that I can never be that way puts me at ease and lets me focus on what I really want to do: make art through makeup.
Favorite quote, song, or film that has impacted you in some way?
Definitely Stop Making Sense. It’s a film about Talking Heads, which is one of my favorite bands of all time. The movie is essentially just a concert, and it starts off with David Byrne singing a song alone on stage. As the movie progresses, however, more band members come onto the stage, and towards the end of the performance, it’s like a circus. That film has taught me so much about storytelling. When telling a story, it’s no fun to lay everything out in the beginning because nobody would care to stay until the end. However, if a story is built up with just a few snippets of information at a time, people will be on the edge of their seats. Everything that David Byrne has done during his time has been completely iconic, and his weirdness lives on today.
Thank you Izzy for taking the time to thoughtfully answer my questions x
Check her Instagram out at @izzysarj and spread the love.