In an age of cookie-cutter influencers and heavily-filtered beauty, Anya Tisdale emerges as an undeniable force of authenticity. A 23-year-old multidisciplinary artist living in NYC, Tisdale is more than a budding makeup artist; she’s a boundary-pushing creative. Her artistry is a vivid tapestry woven from rich colors, bold designs, and a touch of the unexpected—think cake frosting prosthetics and face gems that twinkle like a disco ball. It’s a whimsical yet deliberate exploration of beauty that not only stops thumbs on social media but also challenges the conventional norms of the industry.
Tisdale’s rise to online prominence is not a tale of mere serendipity. While she may have first dipped her brush into the makeup palette during the initial pandemic lockdowns, her relationship with her craft has evolved into a compelling narrative of individuality. The artist has earned collaborations with beauty giants like Topicals, about-face, and Urban Decay, but perhaps more importantly, she’s cultivated a devoted community. It’s a space filled with ardent followers who admire her not just for her skill but for her unshakable sense of self.
However, the core of Tisdale’s beauty philosophy remains disarmingly simple: make 7-year-old you proud. Her work is playful, experimental, and unbound by conventional standards. She revels in the artistic freedom that makeup affords her, choosing to paint her face with the abandon of a child set loose in a crayon box. This is beauty as both self-expression and self-care, a testament to the transformative power of a well-placed brushstroke or a carefully chosen color palette.
As we sat down with Anya Tisdale to dig deeper into her inspirations, her evolving relationship with social media, and her plans for the future, one message came across loud and clear: be kind. In an age where online personas often veil the true essence of an individual, Anya reminds us that compassion is a universal language we should all be fluent in. Read on for our Q&A with this rising beauty star to learn more about the wisdom and vision driving her incredible artistry.
Hey Anya! I know that you’ve become quite the internet sensation over these past several years, but for those unfamiliar with you, can you tell us about your introduction to makeup and how you got into content creation?
My introduction to the makeup community and content creation was purely accidental! I always say that I had way too much time on my hands when we first went into quarantine for COVID-19. My university had sent us all home, and I found myself unable to concentrate on Zoom classes and working online, so I wanted to try my hand at a different form of art, and that happened to be makeup.
I just kept posting my little looks and documenting them on my Instagram like my own personal, digital diary, and people seemed to like them! Now I’m three-ish years (I think? Time is confusing!) into content creation.
Especially on Instagram, being visible comes with a lot of ups and downs, but it also pushes you to adapt quickly. What is your relationship really like with the platform, and did you ever have any negative experiences that you overcame?
The number one thing I feel like I had to adjust to is my sense of privacy shifting and setting boundaries for myself. I feel like it’s easy to feel connected to people on different social media platforms because of how accessible our lives become online — but I am a pretty private and sensitive person by nature, so it was certainly difficult to navigate how and how much I wanted to share with my platform.
People can be intentionally (or unintentionally sometimes!) invasive or cruel in the comments section and DMs because they think you won’t see it, or that you won’t care, but neither of those things are true. I’ve developed thicker skin, but also have learned that it’s okay to set my boundaries on what I want to share, and also stand up for myself when I find it necessary. Sometimes I think people assume that influencers or content creators need to take the high road in response to vitriol or hate, and while I do try my best to respond to people’s mean words with kindness, I think it’s okay to stand up for yourself and shut a hater down!
I’m the same person online as I am in real life, there is no ultra-polished and curated version of myself or my words, it’s just me.
If you could describe your approach to beauty, what would you consider it?
Experimental, unconventional, and simply fun! I feel like in everything I do, be it makeup, fashion, or other hobbies, I do it to appease my inner child. I like to do things that 7-year-old me would think are epic. Playing with shapes, colors, styles, and anything I can do to turn myself into a different character for the day. I’m not sure if anyone remembers the online game Fantage, but that is exactly how I would describe my makeup, and even fashion, style to be.
Do you consider your beauty practices to be more a form of expression or a form of self-care?
I’d say they’re both. I think being able to express myself through makeup is the perfect form of self-care and of connecting to myself. One of my favorite ways to decompress and realign myself with my creativity is to have a day off from creating content for brands or for myself, and just freestyle a makeup look with no plan or roadmap of what I want it to be. I enjoy challenging myself and trying different techniques, and it’s nice to be able to spend time with myself and my artistry.
That being said, what is your beauty routine these days? Are there any brands or products that you’re loving at the moment?
I feel like my routine shifts from day to day! I don’t do content creation full-time (yet!), so when I head off to my day job, I typically just pull together a quick 15-minute face. On a day off, I love playing with different products and trying different looks. I’ve always been obsessed with about-face beauty, Halsey’s makeup brand, because it is truly is the brand that prioritizes artistry. All of the products, like the Matte Fluid Eye Paints, are so painterly and versatile, and they have such a wide variety of uses!
Other staples include Milk Makeup (all of their complexion products are key in my base routine!), MAC Cosmetics (for the perfect assortment of lip combos!), and a newfound favorite, Karla Cosmetics (they have the most insanely gorgeous selection of duochromes, multichromes, and just all-around jaw-dropping glitters that are the best for sparkling up a lip, eye, or base look).
What’s one beauty tip that you live by?
My top tip is that there are no rules when it comes to makeup. I think because we can be so bombarded with makeup hacks or “do’s and don’ts”, it is really easy to feel like there’s a wrong way to do makeup, when there isn’t. If you have established a beauty routine that works for you, then that’s really all that matters!
Don’t be afraid to experiment, to take risks, to learn what you do and don’t like about a product or a makeup routine. Beauty is so personal and individualized that not all tips can be applied to everyone — but I think believing that there are no rules to makeup can be universally accepted.
I think we’ve all seen how social media can totally transform your life — whether it be giving you the platform to advocate for others or launch your own brand. What do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Oof, the five-year plan! I mean, makeup isn’t all that I do, so I feel like I have so many paths in front of me that I’ll be exploring at some point within five years. I wouldn’t mind doing social outreach at one of my favorite cosmetics brands, but I also have been thinking about going into writing or journalism for magazines, since I absolutely love writing (I wrote my first published piece for a small magazine this year!).
I would love to do content creation full-time for sure, but I definitely want to keep all my avenues open. Sometimes, I think about going back to school to pick up another degree (I graduated in 2022 from Tufts University with a degree in Film and Media Studies). There’s a lot I want to do five years from now, I think I just want to try everything once, to sum it up!
Finally, as someone with a big online presence, what is something you want to communicate to your followers?
On or offline, I think we all need to move with a bit more kindness in the world. Be supportive, be compassionate, be understanding. I think it’s an improvement all of us, including myself, can work to make — we might feel ultra-connected to the people we see online or the people we follow, but for the most part, we don’t know their entire stories.
It doesn’t take that much effort to be respectful and caring towards those who are not causing harm to others. Be mindful of folks’ boundaries, just as you’d want people to be mindful of yours! It sounds so elementary, but treating people the way you’d like to be treated should be one of the golden rules of the internet.