Fashion is Emma Rogue's language. Outfitted in cargo pants, colorful crop tops, and chunky platforms, New York City's thrifting queen has built an empire on her '90s-meets-Y2K wardrobe.
Shoppers flock to Rogue, the 26-year-old's eponymous vintage store, for sassy graphic tees, vintage Jean Paul Gaultier, and sky-high raver shoes. The Lower East Side boutique hosts regularly scheduled events, from water balloon tosses to snowcone-fueled sales, that draw throngs of creatively dressed Gen Z'ers, a testament to the special marriage of style and cool-older-sister relatability epitomized by Rogue, the person.
Clearly, Rogue is fluent in clothing. More recently, the entrepreneur discovered that beauty can also serve as a powerful means of communication.
"All throughout middle school and high school, I never wore makeup," she says on a Zoom call.
"It wasn't until I got to college that I started experimenting more. I didn't [wear] crazy eyeshadow 'till my sophomore year," she adds, sharing that she bought her first eyeshadow palette — Take Me Back to Brazil by BH Cosmetics— based on a YouTuber's recommendation. "I was looking for colorful palettes. Cheap ones, because I didn't want to spend a lot of money."
Rogue met her match in the 35-pan palette, which she still purchases to this day.
"I feel more comfortable in my skin when I have a nice [eyeshadow] on," she says. Rogue, who listens to gratitude meditations while applying her makeup in the morning, is adamant that the ritual, combined with the shade of her eye makeup, sets the tone for the day. "Colors are so related to certain moods, like yellow is happiness... red is more sexy."
For Rogue, eyeshadow is a way to "accentuate the parts of your personality that you want others to see or pick up on," a form of expression that she recently extended to her nails.
"This is only my third set ever," she says of her mushroom-dotted acrylics, executed by Lake of 10 Piece Nails. "I feel powerful when I have these [on]."
In between sourcing stock, manning the store, and prepping for an upcoming Rogue blowout, the vintage clothing and eyeshadow connoisseur shares her favorite beauty hacks and tools — and introduces us to our new favorite term, "frugal slay."
First-ever beauty purchase
Emma Rogue: I had to get my makeup done for prom, so I went to Bloomingdale's. They want you to buy a product after, so I bought the cheapest thing that she used. It was just a black eyeliner; I think it was a brand that young people don't use... It was probably Estée Lauder.
ER: I feel like I have to spend money on an exfoliant. I [use] KORA, the one in the gold bottle. Leave it on for 10 minutes, wash it off with a damp cloth, and you feel so refreshed.
ER: I always buy my concealer and my foundation there: the Milani Conceal + Perfect and the L'Oréal Infallible foundation.
ER: The BH Cosmetics Take Me Back to Brazil palette. I think this is my second one... I keep all my products for way too long. Oh, and I use a certain brush — the Elf Smudge brush. It was, like, $2.
Best under-the-radar beauty brand
ER: I was on a shoot one time and the makeup artist used this face paint that's just activated by water. She used paint brushes to get really bright, pigmented lines. It's called Wolfe Face Art & FX. After I do my shimmery eyeshadow, [I] go over with this and make it super bold. It's water solvent, so if you mess up, it comes off so easy. This is, like, 20 bucks. I'm all about the frugal slay.
Beauty hot tip
ER: Don't be afraid to be bold with colors. Every once in a while, experiment and try a different color eyeshadow that you haven't hit yet.