Highsnobiety

Chappell Roan isn’t just your favorite artist’s favorite artist — she’s also your favorite makeup artist’s favorite artist. 

Despite Roan’s debut studio album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess releasing back in 2023, the Internet only recently picked up on the breakout star. Now, she’s setting social media ablaze with her bold, campy style: think pageant queen, ‘80s popstar, and rodeo cowboy, all rolled into a bedazzled gown or bodysuit. And it’s not just her costumes that make a statement — Roan never shies away from donning colorful makeup to match.

The fervor surrounding Roan reached a fever pitch after her performance at Gov Ball in June. On stage, she emerged from a giant apple, a nod to the music festival’s New York City locale. The enormous piece of fake fruit on stage was hardly the highlight of her entrance — Roan was dressed and done up like a hyper-glamorous Statue of Liberty. Covered in green body paint and topped with a spiky, green crown, she delivered a vibrant, theatrical performance.

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The New York-themed look took a village to pull off — there’s a team behind every fantastical look Roan conceives of. A key member of that team is Andrew Dahling, the 28-year-old makeup artist and modern day Club Kid in charge of executing Roan’s vision.

Ahead, Highsnobiety chats with Dahling about his background in beauty, his introduction to the world of Chappell Roan, and his favorite products to use on the breakout star. 

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Highsnobiety: Tell us about your background — how did you originally get into makeup artistry?

Andrew Dahling: Makeup was built into my DNA. The first thing I did when I was left home alone at age eight was get into my mom's makeup bag. I would draw when I was a kid, and most of the things I drew were really glamorous women. Her eyes would always be done-up, with big lips. Before I had any cultural references, I was already imagining that glamorous world.

When I moved to New York five years ago, I had these big dreams of climbing the editorial fashion ladder and living that fabulous lifestyle that you fantasize about. There's a prominent place for makeup artists in that world — I wanted to be a part of that and create iconic moments. 

I'm sort of a Club Kid, too — that whole subculture in the '80s and '90s is very inspiring to me. I realized that dream, in a way. I work for [nightlife icon] Suzanne Bartsch. I do a bunch of crazy looks on myself. I don't see myself doing anything else.

HS: Did you study art when you were in college?

AD: I went for musical theater.

HS: Okay, wow. So you're completely self-taught?

AD: Totally.

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HS: There is so much artistry in your work — it's not just about concealing and color-correcting. How would you describe your approach to makeup?

AD: A makeup extremist is what you could call me. I love building a hyper-feminine fantasy with makeup, but I see the face as a canvas. I don't see any limitations to makeup… the more the merrier.

HS: Your work with Chappell Roan has recently garnered a ton of buzz. How did you two originally meet and start working together?

AD: I met [Genesis Webb], who is her fashion director and stylist, on set in LA. She asked if I could do body paint. I'd done it a few times before, so they put their trust in me. The look was Lady Liberty — I took creative control over the face makeup. I didn't want to go too avant-garde… I chose the spiky lash detail to emulate Lady Liberty’s crown. And it was very important to match the greens — she had to be monochromatic or it would've thrown things off. It was stressful, but so fun.

HS: I'm sure it's been amazing for you to see all the positive reactions online.

AD: It’s my first go-around at doing somebody at this level of exposure. I was definitely online for a few days after that, constantly checking and looking at everything. I was a little obsessed for a second. 

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HS: It seems like there’s a synergy between you and Chappell. You mentioned taking inspiration from the Club Kid scene and in recent interviews, Chappell has talked about realizing that she's a drag queen.

AD: Drag is such an umbrella term. It's so ambiguous now, versus what it was 20 years ago before RuPaul’s Drag Race. There are so many types of drag artists, and that's what makes drag so beautiful — it’s not just female impersonation; it can be anything. 

When people see the type of makeup that we’re doing, it's hard to not call it drag because it is very extreme, exaggerated. We're gluing down the brows, we're raising the brow bone, we're cutting the crease, we're adding glitter. It is very drag, but there's a real intention with the direction… Each look is going to really reference and pay homage to the people and the subcultures that have gotten us to where we are now.

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HS: For people who are looking to incorporate some of Chappell's aesthetic into their own makeup, are there specific products that you use most frequently on her?

AD: The most iconic thing is her pale, almost off-white base. My favorite brand that I use all the time is Danessa Myricks. If you want to go full white, there's this foundation called Vision Cream Cover in shade [TW].

For an off-white, pale look, it’s better to use a skin color that’s as light as you can get. Danessa has a foundation, the Yummy Skin Serum Foundation… 1P is the color I used on [Chappell for her Jimmy Fallon appearance]. I wanted the skin to feel translucent.

HS: Is there one makeup product you personally can't live without? 

AD: I'd say a black kohl pencil. When I'm going out and I can't be bothered to do anything, but I still want to look cute and fashion, I'll take a black liner and go really heavy underneath my eye and then right up into the outer edge of my lash line.

HS: Is there a specific brand you like?

AD: The Make Up For Ever Artist Color Pencil. That's my favorite.

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