She’s had a successful career as a celebrity makeup artist for TV and film, but the recent pandemic gave her the opportunity to pursue her true passion – helping others live purposeful and rewarding lives. Please welcome Song Lopez.
Amanda: I’ve been on many sets with you over the years, watching you help people look their best. Now you’re working more on helping people live and feel their best, so I want to focus more on that. But first, I’m curious if there are any parallels between the two? Why or how did you become a makeup artist in the first place?
Song: Well, just like you said, I didn’t know at the time, but I am a helper. I am somebody who likes to take care of people. I grew up taking care of my brothers and sisters and I think that naturally came to me very easily. And so becoming a makeup artist was always going to be something I did, because it’s not something that I ever dreamt of doing. I never grew up thinking, oh I’m going to be a makeup artist. So it was just something… and you know, as a teenager, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. So I would go to school and I would put it on – use my friend’s makeup – and then wash it off before I got home. And I think after a while everyone was like, “oh, will you do my makeup?” I was just gifted at it. It was just natural for me. And so that’s kind of how I got started in it – my high school friends, and then they were getting married and I was doing their weddings. And they were like, “You should do this for a living.” And I thought, people do this for a living? I lived in Washington. I wasn’t living in LA, in Hollywood, where this was normal. I wanted to be a veterinarian or a firefighter, teacher, you know, helping that way. But then I looked up in the Seattle Times… back in the day when we used to look for jobs in the newspaper… and there was a job for a makeup artist at one of the salon and spas in Seattle. I auditioned for it, brought one of my girlfriends that I always did makeup on, and they hired me and sent me through their own training. And the rest is pretty much history when it comes to that. It wasn’t something I thought I was going to do.
You have to be a quick thinker.
Amanda: It’s one of the most underrated parts of production, in my opinion. And there are so many times when, even pre-pandemic, people don’t book a makeup artist. We were just talking before about how it can be uncomfortable to be in front of the camera. I’ve made my career behind in camera, which is very much in my comfort zone. So anytime I’m doing something, I’m conscious of it. I’m not too self-conscious about my appearance, and I don’t care if my hair is perfect and all of that, but there is an intimidation factor when the camera’s on. And if you’re talking about a commercial, a film, or anything like that, these people are going to be aware of that and they want to look their best. But I think it goes beyond just putting the makeup on their faces, because you’re also kind of part therapist, and you help people in a lot of ways while also making them look better.
Song: There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to being a makeup artist. I think a lot of people have the idea that you put makeup on and then you go sit in your corner. But there’s so much to be done. And I think it is exactly what you said. There’s so many times where I’m getting hired at the last minute as a makeup artist. And then they’re throwing, “Oh, well, we have this look” and “Do you have this?” and I’m like, how was I not part of the pre-production and told about this? Makeup artists today have to be ready to produce things being thrown at them at all times. So when the talent comes in that room, prior to them coming in that room, I’ve been talking to producers, I’ve been talking to the writers, the directors, and there’s just so much information that you’re taking on. And then you get the talent that sits in the chair. They’re nervous, or they haven’t read their script, or there’s just a slew of emotions going on with them. And so trying to make sure they feel comfortable in what I’m doing with them, plus doing what the director or writer wants, plus making sure when they’re like, “Well, I don’t like this. I want glitter” to be like, well, we can’t really have glitter. It’s a very intense job that you need to be able to make fast moves within 30 to 45 minutes of getting them done, depending on how much time. So I always say you have to be a quick thinker. You have to be able to calm the talent, build them up, make them feel amazing, you know, and still make the client happy. So I agree with you.
Amanda: They need to feel like you are looking out for them, whether you’re jumping in before they start shooting because a hair is out of place, or any of those things. You’re kind of there on their behalf because you make them look good, and then that helps the client, too. But you don’t generally, unfortunately, get all the respect that might be deserved for that. I know several makeup artists and that’s always the thing. It’s like, man, we do not understand sometimes what this would be without you. So, as a producer, I appreciate you.
Song: Thank you so much, and I appreciate that you understand what we go through when we have talent sitting in our chair and we are on set making sure that they look good. I always call it like the mama on set. You’re like the mama, or the right hand, of the talent. We’re a team. Wherever they go, I’m with them, and we’re constantly touching them up and making them feel calm. But while we’re doing that, it also makes them go “Oh, I know I’m looking my best because somebody’s got eyes on me.” So there’s a confidence for them that happens, which is unparalleled. I mean, you can’t get that. You can’t just send them out and be like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, you look fine” I don’t know how many times, but it doesn’t feel good, you know? You’re like, “I do? Do I look okay?” And it is underrated, I believe.
Amanda: The first time I got headshots done, it was when I started an old job. And the owner at the time, they wanted to put this press release in the paper, and so they had us go do these headshots. And I don’t know what the person was thinking. Because I’m very much… I’m very expressive, where I know where my comfort is. I’m not a person who wears a lot of makeup, but if you need me to look better for this, that’s fine. But we can’t go overboard. And this person, I don’t know, they put bronzer or something that made me a different color. And like, piled this black makeup onto my face. It was so uncomfortable. And I did not… they put on lipstick. I haven’t worn lipstick since I was in high school. And it just, it didn’t… when I saw the photos, they didn’t look like me. Not just because of the makeup, but also I was so uncomfortable and I didn’t feel that there was anybody listening to me. And they just wanted me to be what they wanted me to be. And so much of this… and you as a person, and I think this is what we have in common, we care about people. And sometimes we’re observing, but we’re picking up on things and learning who somebody is and what’s going to make them, or help them, be their best if we can have anything to do with it. That’s the part of it – it is a bit psychology – that’s not necessarily a job requirement. But I’ve always been fascinated with people. That’s why I do this podcast, because then I get to talk to people like you about interesting things.
Song: Yes. I agree with you. I always tell people, “Well, how do you…what do you do when you’re this close to a person? And how are when it’s kind of intimate and stuff?” And I say, you know, I walk in that room and I read the room. I read their energy. I try and figure out where their head’s at so I know how to respond. Not react, respond. Because at the end of the day, they’re going to be in front of camera, and I need to make them feel comfortable. I need to make them feel confident. You know, whatever they’ve got going on, I need to absorb that and give them confidence. So we are absorbing, as makeup artists, a lot of the insecurities, the stress, energetically. So I always say when I get home, I’m just like, drained, because I’ve taken on all their anxiety and insecurities, and then I’m using all my energy to be like, hey, get in their head and be like, “You’re amazing. There’s a reason why you got this job.” and reframe their narrative that they’ve got going on in their head at that moment.
Amanda: And also, it just makes sense for business. Because then they like the job that you did, and they’re gonna call you for the next one, and that’s how you build a loyal client base.
It’s really about coming together as a team.
Song: Exactly. And the same thing goes for, you know, when you’re getting booked on these jobs, and you’re talking. As a makeup artist, you want to be easy to work with. I believe, I see so many artists because in this field artists are very “Well, I’m an artist. I can dress the way I want. I can have my hair the way I want.” And that’s fine and all, but when I go to a corporate job, I’m a lot more buttoned up. I’ve got my jacket on. I’ve got, you know, everything is just a little more tailored. If I’m doing a film set, I’m probably in something that’s… if we’re outside at Valley of Fire, then I’m in clothes that are more casual for hiking and being cool. But sometimes you have these artists who are like, they want to dress – regardless of who’s sitting in the chair – and they’re revealing and they’re distracting and they kind of become the show, if you will.
Amanda: I have been on set with some of those.
Song: Yeah, and I always tell, when I mentor makeup artists, I’m like, look, it’s not about you. This isn’t about you. This isn’t about how you feel about something. It’s really about coming together as a team, trying to decipher what a male director or creator is trying to tell a female how he wants her to look. It’s really quite funny when they’re like, “You know, I just want that one look” and you’re like, “Oh, like a smoky eye?” He’s like, “Yeah, yeah.” Then you do it, and he goes, “No, that’s not it at all.” You’re like, “Oh, okay.” It’s a lot of that mental game though, too. And so I think with makeup artists, a good makeup artist will go in there and take away all their personal feelings and views about how they feel about something and say we’re a team. We all want to go home today. We want to make sure everyone is good for the shot. And yeah, that’s how I feel. At least that’s how I like to run my business. I want to be an easy person to work with. “Well, you know what, that last makeup artist, Song, was really… she was Johnny on the spot. Anything I changed, she was really amazing.” and just letting it be. Because there’s a lot of artists who are combative, because like, “Well, I disagree with you.” And it’s like, you know, they’re difficult to work with.
Amanda: The best way to get more business is to be easy to work with. I think that, in all capacities, no matter what your job is, we’re all people. And we want to work with people who are going to do good work, but are also going to be fun to work with and make it easier for us. Seems like common sense.
Song: It’s almost coachable, right? When you look at kids who are a part of a team, the ones that are coachable are going to be the ones that actually do better, that work well with people, that are a team player. The ones that are not coachable tend to be, you know, the ones where they’re sitting out. They’re not even able to learn very well because they’re just not receptive to opening their mindset of different possibilities, because they’re stuck on one thing. So I think just being coachable is a big, big thing when you’re on set.
Amanda: That is a good one. I know you’ve used your creative talents in other areas of business, too. I know you’ve done some custom makeup and some jewelry. Do you seek out those opportunities to create more revenue streams for when production is slow? Or did they come to you because of the other work you were doing?
I’m always looking for opportunities to build a business.
Song: Being an entrepreneur and a freelancer, I’m always looking for opportunities to build a business in any fashion. And I actually searched out this makeup line because I wanted to align with a makeup line company that I believed in, that was… because I was promoting all these other makeup lines, and I do know how the makeup companies work. I mean, Estee Lauder owns the majority. There’s like two big companies that own most of the products. And I wanted to find products that were non-comedogenic, that were cruelty free, that I could actually represent and share and build relationships, because that’s what it’s about. It’s about building relationships. But I would buy this makeup and they’re like, “Well, where are you getting this from?” And then you send them off to the store. You’re not getting paid for it.
So, for me, I searched out this particular company because I used to do custom blend foundations when I worked at the salon, my first job in Seattle. And I thought, this is amazing because so many people have a hard time matching their foundations. And I have skincare in them. I do color correction. There’s not a makeup line out there that you could just walk up and say, “Hey, can you color correct me? I’m really red in the face. I’ve got a little purple.” And I’m like, “Oh, let me add some green. Let me add some yellow. Oh, you want skincare? I’ll put copper peptides in there. I’ll put smoothing, whatever. BB cream? I can do all that. Sunscreen.” You can’t get that custom blend right at a makeup counter. And not any person is one skin tone. It’s very rare. There’s a couple people out there that’s the beige, or the porcelain, or the tan, but most of them need to have two bottles – the light in the dark that they can mix. And there’s even no color correction or skincare in there.
So, for me, that was going back home is the way I like to put it. So I aligned with it three years ago, and from there, I make custom blend foundations. I can do it on video, face-to-face, and have them send photos. I’ve done that. Or they can come to me here in Las Vegas. So yeah, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m always looking for other opportunities.
Amanda: Which I love, because you see a need out there. You’re doing all this work for makeup, so obviously you’re very close to it, but you see that human need. I know very little about makeup. Like I said, I don’t wear a lot of it. And I have the nearly glow-in-the-dark skin tone. Since the pandemic, when I’m never outside now, it’s basically translucent. I know very little about it. And I’m also very particular about the cruelty-free aspect. I have very sensitive skin, so I generally just go without it because everything I’ve tried doesn’t work. So the idea of being able to go to somebody and say, “Hey, you will get to know me and provide me with that custom solution.” I think that’s a really smart business move for you that allows you to still stay in your wheelhouse but expand beyond it. Because what I find, there are a lot of people… and I’ve said this before… they do their work freelance, but then they let that limit them. And it’s like “Oh, well, I’m just a freelancer and I’m not running a business.” But you are running a business. You obviously take that further and you run your makeup business, but you also have the entrepreneurial spirit, and you find other opportunities instead of just letting yourself be limited to “I do makeup,” because you do so much more than that.
The biggest thing of my growth is to not monetize on my soul.
Song: And I think that a lot of times makeup artists, what I’ve been finding as I’ve talked to fellow artists… being a makeup artist should be what you do, not who you are. So I’m really trying to detach the… oh, you know, people are like, “Who are you?” ”I’m a makeup artist.” I really don’t like to be known as just a makeup artist. I like to be known as somebody who does makeup, and somebody who’s knowledgeable about it, and has their own makeup line. But as far as being that as my identity, that was the biggest thing of my growth is to not monetize on my soul, on my life, and being like, that’s my identity. Because for a long time, that’s how I looked at it. I felt like that was the end all be all. And I am a makeup artist. I’m a freelance makeup artist working in film and TV. And, you know, it’s like, what else do you do? Who else are you? So I think being a makeup artist should be something that should be looked at as like, this is what I do. But then this is who I am, you know, which goes deeper than that.
Amanda: Absolutely. And it’s a perfect segue to my next question.
Song: Well, look at that.
Amanda: This pandemic came along and wiped out production for a while. Even now, it’s slowly coming back, but there are still a few challenges. Smaller crews, so that sometimes means “oh, we’re not gonna hire a makeup artist.” But you’ve taken this time to really evaluate a lot of things in your life, like you just said, about not being defined by one thing or not letting makeup be your identity. What have you learned about yourself in this process?
I decided to invest 100% into my personal growth.
Song: Well, 2020 was the best year of my personal growth life. I am in so much gratitude for the pause that 2020 brought. Under those circumstances I decided to take and invest 100% into my personal growth. Looking in the mirror, being in solitude, stop distracting myself from myself, because that’s what I was doing with makeup. I was constantly on set. I was constantly working 15-hour days. You know how production works. And then you get home and you’re just exhausted and you just want to sit and veg out for a few days. I mean, my veg-outs would be a few days, because I was just so exhausted, emotionally, mentally, physically. Because it’s a taxing job standing over somebody for 10 hours doing makeup or on sets walking, and slowing down, and then going, and all that stuff. So I kind of went through an awakening I guess, if you will, by my personal growth. And now I am here to share that with people because I’ve healed.
I started healing my traumas. I started to sit in my past and start healing those things. You know, for the longest time… I think that humans we think like, oh, yeah, that’s in the past, no big deal. It’s all good. But there’s a lot of trauma that goes through some of the things. It could even be like abandonment when you were a little, that you didn’t even realize when you’re in a relationship. Like, “Why doesn’t he liked me?” Then you’re starting to run your trauma through your relationship instead of healing that. And just because when you were four years old, your parents left for a few days and then came back, but then you were kind of scarred from that. But everyone was like “Oh, toughen up. You’re okay.” But literally, something happened at that age that you didn’t heal from, and now it’s carried you into your 30s and 40s and when you get in relationships. So that’s just an example.
So, for me, I started facing all those. Because when I sat down and thought about what was really going on, it was daunting. I quarantined alone. My career ended. My 25-year career ended in one day. It’s like, we’re in lockdown today. And hindsight 20/20 it’s like, at the time, I thought the world was ending. You know, being single in my house alone, two cats and two dogs. And I was getting camping meals and solar power generators just to protect myself. I just wanted to be that girl scout that was prepared, right? Thankfully, I didn’t have to use it. But that didn’t feel good. My whole point was, as I was sitting there, I was so in my head about it. In my head, creating all these problems that weren’t real. I was going, oh, well what if this happens? And what about this? And then it just would have me sitting on the couch in just fear and in anxiety and depression. And so then it clicked, very quickly into the very beginning of the pandemic. I put a bidet together. I started being creative, putting a workout thing. I was documenting it. And then I said, you know what? I’m gonna make TikToks. And I started to play.
So I started to play. I started to do my hair and makeup every day. I started to wear clothes that I would have never worn, just for myself around the house. And that’s when I started to realize when you get out of your head, and you get into your body, and you get into creative play and creative flow, then magic happens. You know, the highest form of research and learning is playing. When we were kids, we would play for hours, putting that little… I like to use this as an example. As kids, those little shapes, you know? The triangles you put in the holes. But kids would sit there for hours just trying to make these little things fit. But that’s kind of meditation. That’s playing, and while they’re doing that they’re learning, and they’re not worried about problems. They’re not worried about the wrong thing. So, you know, I always encourage people. It’s like, let’s go back to that. Let’s go back to playing through the day. Instead of looking at dishes being daunting, I started putting music on and I started reframing that narrative. I get to do the dishes. I get to, not I have to. There’s something that happens in your body, and in your mind, when you say “I have to do this.” There’s a resistance. But when you say, “I get to,” it feels better. So I started going into what feels good when I say these things? What feels good when I do things? And that’s kind of how I live my life now – 24 hours at a time, and turning everything into play versus having to do something.
Amanda: So many people look outward for the solution, instead of that inward thing, because it’s scary to go inside. That solitude, most people don’t want it. They want to fill it with things. They want to fill it with people, with noise. As the introvert that I am, I need my solitude. That’s very important. But my whole life, I’ve always thought I need to get to know who I am. That self-awareness is very important. If I don’t know who I am, then I’m not really any good to anybody else. And I’ve had many friends throughout the years that just, whether it’s hopping from one relationship to the next, or one job to the next, it’s always in search of something outside that will fix them. But they never want to slow down. I shouldn’t say never. They rarely want to slow down to look at themselves and “What am I doing to create this life for myself? Am I focusing on all of the negative things? And am I worrying for no reason? Instead of saying ‘I get to,’ am I saying, ‘I have to?’ And this is all bad, and I’m worried about this, and I’ll never be able to do that.”
We place all these limitations on ourselves instead of okay, well, this is what’s happening right now. What are the opportunities out there? What solutions can I find or create? And get yourself out of there, because none of us have to be stuck in any feeling we don’t want to. I think it’s important to acknowledge your feelings, and they are all valid no matter what they are. But instead of focusing on the negative in whatever situation… and I know there are very hard situations. 2020 was a rough year for a lot of people in a lot of ways… but I always look to find one positive thing that I can take away from anything. Even the worst possible situation that I’ve encountered in my life, I will find a positive thing. That’s not to say, oh, it’s great that that person died. But I can find something good. We had all this time together before that, or something. But it’s conscious, but also subconscious, in forming those habits to think positively and say, okay, well, this might not be the best right now. How can I make it the best?
Once you go inside and start figuring out who you are, it’s a game changer.
Song: Oh, my gosh, you said so many things. I’m like, yes, yes, yes, yes. I think that our mindsets, like you even said, it’s like you try and find a positive about anything. When I was starting to tell people 2020 was such an incredible year, I wanted to normalize that because a lot of people felt shameful for being happy that they got the pause. A lot of people felt shameful because other families had deaths and things like that. Now, I’m not saying I’m glad the pandemic happened. I’m not saying I’m glad COVID happened. What I am saying is exactly what you were saying. I found the positive and that’s what I’m going to focus on. And all those people who want to look and shut down on me for saying 2020 is the best year of my life, that just goes to show where your mindset is, because you made a decision to choose that it was the worst year of your life.
And I think that the collective out there seems to, you know, misery loves company, as they say. I’m sure there’s a better term for that. But you want to be relatable, right? So it’s like following the herd. When somebody’s like, “Oh yeah, I had such a bad year.” “Yeah, me too.” You know? You kind of want to agree and feel part of something. So to be a person to stand up and say, “I loved it.” For me, my personal growth… not for the worldly things that happened, but for me personally, it was exactly what I needed, that pause. And I realized that I was constantly running from myself, whether it was jumping from relationship to relationship, like you had said, or over shopping. I was drinking it away. I was eating it away. I was relationshipping it away. I was sleeping it away, whatever it was. But once you take and go inside, and you start figuring out who you are, it’s a game changer. Nobody can tell you who you are. Nobody. Before I’d be like, oh, yeah, maybe you’re right. Maybe that is how I am. Because you’re not sure. You haven’t taken that time to find out who you are. And solitude has been the biggest gift. I don’t think people understand. When people are like, “Oh, I feel so sorry for you. You’re all alone.” A lot of people messaged me, like, “Are you okay?” And I’m like, I’m good. Are you okay? You’re the one that’s married and keeps talking about how miserable you are? I’m really okay.
Amanda: I do know. I get that one quite a bit. I have one person I know who has a lot of kids, and a lot of animals, and no time alone, and once said that she pities me because I have no one to share my life with. And I thought, no, I have plenty of people to share my life with, at my discretion and when I choose to. And to me, that works out pretty well. It’s not to say that I’m not open to a relationship or having somebody else to share my life with in that sense, but I don’t define myself by any of that. When people say… you were talking before about how do you define yourself? I never say, “Oh, I’m single.” Because that, to me, is kind of irrelevant to who I am as a person.
When you are able to be in solitude, you become a high value person with your soul.
Song: Yeah. And like you said, you’re not opposed to having it either. But what happens when you are able to be in solitude, not only are you a clear thinker, and not only do you value yourself, you become a high value person with your soul. And I’ve noticed for me, I used to call it my imaginary dinner table. I would invite everyone over to my dinner table. Anybody could sit at my table. I mean, they were backstabbers. They were jealous people. They were all kinds. I just wanted a lot of friends because I think that made me feel like I was somebody. But really, as I’ve… I don’t know what the word is, I’m not loving to use the word elevate… but as I’ve grown, and as I’ve found out who I am, the less people I’d rather have a bulk around. I want more quality. And those people that are around me, that are my quality people, understand me. They know when I check out. They know when I set those boundaries. The way that they communicate with me. I mean, it is the best relationships I’ve ever had. Because you’re teaching people how to treat you, because you know who you are, and you don’t need them to be around. So you’re not just saying, “Yes.” You’re actually going, “I just need the day to myself” or “Not today, how about next week?” Where before I was like, yes, yes, yes, yes. Because I constantly needed somebody to like me, and I didn’t want to let anybody down. You know, there’s all those insecurities that come with having a bunch of friends, and when you don’t know yourself.
Amanda: You have to honor yourself first. And I think that’s the problem with people who are worried about being selfish. And I don’t think selfish is a negative thing, when you’re not intentionally hurting somebody else. There is that level. If you’re doing whatever you want at the expense of other people, that’s not okay. But when you’re taking care of yourself and saying, “I’m tired right now because I just worked a week of 12-hour days, and I’m exhausted so I need to go sit on the couch for a couple of days and not be social.” I need that for me without worrying that you’re insulting somebody because they invited you to go do something and you’re not up for it. But then agreeing to do it anyway, and then being miserable, and then nobody has a good time anyway because you didn’t honor yourself. You were trying to make somebody else happy, and then nobody wins. But I’ve always tried to reclaim selfish, that there is a certain point where you have to take care of yourself. You are the only person who will be with you for 100% of your life.
This year’s mottos is ‘It’s my identity.’
Song: You know, that’s the thing, is when you say yes to somebody, you’re actually saying no to yourself, because you’re not… So making sure that when you do say yes to something, it’s something that you’re like, okay, I’m willing to give up my time. Time is something nobody gets back. You cannot make more time. You can make more money, right? And also, the people that you have in your life, if they’re going to be upset and not honor you because you don’t feel like going out, then you need to do your checks and balances. Because those people, the reason why they’re upset is because they need to fill something up within themselves, and they’re putting that pressure on you. Okay? So a lot, when people get upset, this is what I’m talking about. When people are like, “What? She’s not going to go? She never goes.” And it’s like, but if you’re really a friend, and you really love yourself, and you really understand where I’m coming from, but you’re also good in solitude, you would understand. It’s the ones who keep running from themselves, who keep wanting to latch on to somebody to take their energy, or to take their time, to fill a void for them. Because my friends know, not today.
And one of the things that I said last year, my motto last year is “I’m growing.” My friends were calling like, “Girl, what are you doing? I’m like, “I’m growing.” And they’re like, “Oh, okay. Okay.” Right? Because what happens when somebody asks you what you’re doing? What do you say? “Oh, I did the dishes.” You start naming all the chores, and then you start thinking, or you start making up stuff. I know I have in the past, like to make me sound so busy. It was just an organic, like, I felt guilty because my friend is so busy and I’m like, well, geez, I’m still on the couch, or I did dishes, I did the laundry. But also, it’s not a good place to be if you’re somebody who wanted to sit on the couch for a few hours, and you felt guilty about it when somebody asks you. I don’t know why, but seems to be this like, oh, I need to say something.
So I started to say “I’m growing.” And my friends are like, “Oh, yeah, yeah. Right. And then she said to me, she goes, “You know, I don’t even know why I asked you that. I really don’t.” It’s not that she doesn’t care, but it was just an organic thing to say. She goes, “I just wanted to see if you would… if you were okay to talk… is why I said what are you doing?” And I said, “Well, if I wasn’t okay to talk, I wouldn’t answer my phone.” I kid you not, that never comes out of any of my friends’ mouths anymore. They go right into it. I mean, not only are we saving time, and we’re not we’re cutting back the small talk, but I taught them by my response. And I was so confident in it, you know? And so now they just call an are like, “Hey, girl, this is what’s going on.” I’m like, “Cool.”
And then this year’s motto. So last year was “I’m growing.” And this year, because I wake up between 3:30 and 4:00 every morning, and I’m at the gym by 5:30. And I get this all the time. Like, I’m out with friends. I’m like, “Hey, I got to go home now. It’s my bedtime. It’s usually 8:00, but it’s like 9:30, 10:00. I’ve already stayed out way past.” Like, “Come on, you have to go tomorrow. Why do you have to do it?” I go, “because it’s my identity.” Boom. That’s it. When they say, “Why do you get up so early?” And I go, “Because it’s who I am. It’s my identity.” And so that’s my motto this year. It really cuts to the chase. And then everyone’s like, “Wow, really? Cool. I respect that.” But if I didn’t know who I was, and why I was doing it, I’d be like, “Oh, you know, I got to work out.” “Oh, well, who cares tomorrow?” “Yeah, I guess. I guess I don’t have to go tomorrow.” That’s what I did for years, because I wanted to hang out with my friends. But when you know who you are, and you know what you’re about, it becomes part of your identity.
But also keep in mind, words are spells, right? So anytime you say something, you’re casting spells. I’m all about casting great spells. So when I say it’s my identity, I’m imprinting. This is who I am, every day. And I’m growing. Every day, I’ve imprinted that. All of 2020, I’ve imprinted it. This is my identity, through 2021, this is what I’m going to be doing. So I try to find a phrase of the year, if you will, is what I kind of started. So again, this goes back to knowing you, and why you do what you do, and being firm about who you are. And people eat it up because it’s just inspiring. They’re like, “Wow. Okay. I’m down for that. I’m gonna try and do that. I’m gonna try that.” And it’s cool.
Amanda: If I could get people to stop asking me, “How are you?” I would be very happy. It’s the one question that… it’s a family trait. Well, my brother and I both feel that way… because it’s impossible to answer in a succinct manner. And most people don’t really care for the actual answer. It’s just that question, that throw away question, and I’m not big on small talk. So I will usually just not answer it, and give them the hint. I should find a better way to craft a response to that that will get them to stop asking.
Crying should be normalized.
Song: I might invest some mental real estate into this one for you. So let me see if I can come up with something, because I’m all about this. The way we communicate with people, and teaching people how we like to be communicated to. So I agree. Like, “how are you?” I just… oh, so this is what I say. Well, I’ll tell you what I say. So whenever someone asks me how I’m doing, I’m like, “I’m magic. I’m magical.” That’s what I say, because I believe life is magical. So that is one thing I use a constant, like “Hey, have a magical day.” Even when I’m having a hard day… and my hard days are so different than a lot of people’s hard days, because I believe in sitting in my emotions. I believe in… People are like, “Why are you crying?” or “How are you today?” “I cried today.” And they’re like, “You cried? Are you okay, girl?” I’m like, “Yeah, girl. It was amazing.” I go, “When was the last time you cried?” And they’re like, “I don’t know.” And I’m like, “Well, to me crying is a massage for the soul.”
Just like you go to get massages and get the knots out of your body, crying should be normalized. And I cry every day. I try to, and if it’s a couple days, it’s a release. It’s an emotional release. It doesn’t… sometimes I cry out of pure joy, out of gratitude. The attitude of gratitude of just being like I’m so grateful for this very moment where I am completely being provided for. I’m in gratitude. Regardless of the fact that my career ended. Regardless of all that stuff. The attitude of gratitude was also the most important thing that I did in 2020 when I was growing. I woke up every day in gratitude for that day to be able to create, and to play. Not to stress. Not to take it for granted. To play and create. That’s what I would say. Blessings for this beautiful day to play and create.
Amanda: I think that’s one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur, though. Because you say that your career ended, and one facet of it has, or it’s paused for now. But this time, you took this time, and instead of doing what a lot of people do, which is embracing that glorification of busyness. Like, “I’m so important, because I’m so busy.” But if you’re so busy all the time, are you really happy? That’s a whole other thing there that I talk about quite a bit, so I’m sure people get tired of it. But you took the time to be, to rest, to learn, to grow, and to figure out what’s next. So maybe your makeup career is paused for now. Maybe you’re done with it. Maybe you aren’t finding the fulfillment in it anymore. You’re working as a life coach now, is that accurate? Or what is “Short and Sweet with Song?” What is that?
A Goddess is somebody who is constantly thriving to be herself.
Song: SASS. SASS is my brand. And it’s “Short And Sweet with Song. Because I am sassy. I do kind of come at people with excitement and verve, you know? So I can be a little bit sassy when I interact with people, and I’ve been called sassy since I was a little girl. Everyone’s like, “You’re just so sassy.” And I thought, how can I brand something so, just like you have Aardvark Girl, there’s a meaning behind that. And that’s kind of how SASS came about. And through my healing… I had energy healers that would come to my house, and when she came to me, she’s like, “You’re a goddess. I’m so honored to be here. This is who you are.”
And at first, I was laughing and like, oh, a goddess, okay. Because I was still growing into the person that I was becoming, and actually I’m growing into the person that I’ve always meant to be. How about that? Like I’m stepping into… I am deprogramming myself from all the programming that I’ve had since I was a little girl and I’m becoming the person I’ve always meant to be. And so when she told me that, I was like, okay. Well, then over the healings and over time, I really realized what that meant. A Goddess is a grower. A Goddess is somebody who is constantly thriving to be herself, to give to others, to help others with her powers and her mindset and her growth. And so then I became SASS Goddess – Short And Sweet with Song, and then goddess. And I want to encourage women to step into that goddess power of growth, of being powerful, being confident in who they are. And so that’s kind of how SASS Goddess came about. And I take it very seriously. And I’m so proud of it. I think the old version of me would be like, “Oh, I don’t know,” ‘cause I kind of did that at first. But now it’s like I am surrounded by really amazing, powerful women who remind me every day of who I am, and they encourage me to step into this. And it’s just become this really inspirational thing.
The hardest job there ever is out there is the work that you’re going to do on yourself.
So then, with the healing and growth that I’ve done, I started doing intuitive life coaching. So I talk to people, I help them take notice of their traumas, take notice of their mindsets, their masculine energy that they’re living in, and I get into their minds and start tweaking it a little bit. Let’s change the narrative. Let’s think of it this way. Let’s start practicing this. Because if you go and work your body out, you’re training it. Now let’s train the mind. Your mind has been weak, because you’ve been training it to think negatively, because you’ve been talking… the narrative you’ve been running every day has just been depressing and sad and anxiety. But I have to live that example, too. Because they’re looking at me like, “Well, you said this.” And I love it. I love being around people who call me out too, who teach me and tell me “but you’re this person that does this,” and I want to. I want people, even when I’m having my bad days… I’m human, you know. I have bad days, too. And when I have friends using my stuff on me, I’m like, “I love you. Thank you.” I needed the reminder, too. So I try and teach changing their mindsets, but also recognizing that they’re literally walking through their relationship with themselves, their relationship with their children, their relationship with their husbands, through their traumas. And until you heal those traumas, you’re going to have a really difficult time cultivating these really authentic relationships because you’re not in your authentic place.
The hardest work anyone will ever do – it’s not parenting. It’s not being a good daughter or son. It’s not being a good coworker, or not being a good boss. The hardest job there ever is out there is the work that you’re going to do on yourself. Because most people would rather shop it away, rather eat it away, drink it away, gamble it away. Because there’s a multitude of different things to do all day long that can make you avoid yourself. And people are doing that. And until you are able to just say, you know what, I’m not going to go gambling tonight. I’m going to sit my space. I’m going to sit in my emotions. I’m going to cry it out. I’m going to figure it out. Some people need guidance through it, and that’s what I’m here for. And when I say intuitive, it’s because things come to me organically just by having a conversation. So it’s not like when I talk to you it’s gonna be the same program as the next person. And it’s all up to them how long it takes them, right? So if somebody’s like, “Well, how long is this gonna take?” I’m like, that’s up to you. What are you doing when I’m not with you? Are you practicing the things just like you would if you were going to the gym and working out? Are you doing it for your mind? And are you crying? And is it for your emotions? You know, people are like, “Oh, well, I’m just really trying to get it together here.” I’m like, get what together? “Well, I’ve just had a really bad day.” And I’m like, okay. It’s okay not to be okay. Did you cry? “Well, no, I tried to keep it together.” I’m like, no, that’s not what we’re doing here. I want you to cry, I want you to throw a fit. I want you to stop being strong. Then I want you to get into your body and your emotions and let it out.
Amanda: It’s like your custom makeup only for the soul, more so? Like you’re giving them customized solutions. So much of this… you’re talking about lives, but it relates to business in the fact that business is run by humans. And so all of this ties together. You’re allowed to change your mind. So even if you’ve been working towards one career for 25 years, and you decide that’s not for you anymore, you’re allowed to do that. It’s allowing yourself to be in those emotions, or in that space, that allows you to be authentic. Authenticity is a big theme for a lot of businesses because we’re in this time now where people do want to connect with the people who are running the brand, not just the product or the service, because we want to be aligned with people who are more like us. So that authenticity, you can’t have that if you’re denying who you are, or trying to be someone else “because this person had success doing this, so I better do that and then I’ll be successful too.” But that way might not work for you. And where you’re talking about custom solutions, it’s the same thing. Because there’s so many courses and coaches and everything else out there right now – I feel like since the pandemic, everybody is a coach – but a lot of people are looking for that easy solution. They don’t want to do the work. They just want you to tell me how I can fix my life in a short period of time so I can have all these things that I want. But you can’t get any of that – I don’t think you can get any level of success in your business, in your personal life, in your relationships – if you aren’t willing to do the work.
Once I took 100% responsibility for everything that happened in my adult life, is when things started to change.
Song: I agree. And you’re 100% right. Like, I had to let go of ego, of caring what people thought, caring what my peers thought, caring what people that I grew up with, or went to school with, or whatever, you know? So it was really being vulnerable and not caring. Because we tend to carry on this ego, a persona, that we put up the shell of who we are, but really, I’m an emotional being. And I’m an empath and I used to carry around this hard shell, this tough cookie of “Don’t mess with me. If you mess with me, you’re really gonna get it” or whatever. I mean, I had my moments, even in the makeup industry. That wasn’t my authentic self. That was who I was programmed to be because of the environment that I grew up in, the trauma that I had when I was a kid. So when I do see people who are walking through that in life, I’m like, wow, that’s not who they are. We were not born to be these cutthroat people, these angry people. That’s not how we’re born. We’re born to love.
And then our environment, our households or whatever, because you’re only as good as your environment. And it’s your responsibility. It’s no longer your parents’ fault because… keep in mind, this is one thing I always like to tell people. They want to blame their parents. “Well, my parents should have known better.” And I’m looking at them like how old are you right now? They’re like, “I’m 40.” I’m like, do you know better? Okay? No. Why is that your parents’ responsibly? Now you’re grown. It’s your responsibility now to start diving in deeper to what really transpired instead of blaming your parents. Your parents were a product of their environment. And it’s generational, you know? It’s mind blowing. I have forgiven my parents. I mean, I used to think that way, too. That’s why I’m talking like that. “Well, my parents should have known better.” I’m like, really, because your parents got it even 10 times worse than you did. They were better for you, which was not great, but they were better. That means theirs was really messed up. So that is another thing. You got to take full responsibility, and that that is one thing I learned. Because I had so many situations come up and I wanted to blame the other party – boyfriend, a friend of 18 years that I ended the relationship with. I wanted to blame her. But once I woke up and I took 100% responsibility for everything that happened in my adult life, is when things started to change.
Amanda: It’s always somebody else’s fault. But I think there’s so much more strength in taking that accountability. Well, what was my role in it? And also in trying to understand, like you said, that your parents’ situation, maybe that had an impact on them, which then impacted how they were towards you. There’s this misconception in business that you have to be cutthroat and you have to be ruthless. And I find that being compassionate gets me way further, because I don’t jump to the conclusion that this person meant this, or said that, or they did this because of something that has to do with me. Because I think 99% of the time, other people’s actions don’t have anything to do with me. And so being able to accept that – that I may have interpreted it this way, but that’s probably not their intention, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. And perhaps that can make me naive at times, but I’m willing to accept that because I want to find the good in people. I want to believe that their intentions are good and maybe they’re just a little confused, or stressed, or something is going on in their lives that they’re projecting that has nothing to do with me. So I will be kind to them in return and do what I need to do, while also honoring those boundaries, because I think those are very important, too.
Song: Honestly, what you just said, is the most powerful… You keep all your power because you don’t react. This is really interesting, because I was a reactor. I have been a reactor my whole life because of my environment, and my growth, and things like that. And let me be honest with you… and I like to share this because when I left my last eight-year relationship, I was like, it’s his fault. He was this. He was that. I mean, I could name off a million different things of why we didn’t work out. But once I sat with myself, once the noise was gone, once he left, I finally got to sit in myself and I said girl, you were so angry. You had anger issues when you were with him. This guy pulled out. He knew how to push a button and I would go from zero to a million. Like I was just fire, hot, red, angry, frustrated, whatever. Nobody’s ever been able to poke me like that. And it wasn’t until that moment, I was like, what was your role in this? I signed up for anger management after we broke up. I went to an anger management course, and I got books. And I started to say I didn’t like who I was, how I reacted, regardless of how he came at me. I had no power. I gave my power away every single time, and that bothered me. I didn’t like that because I want to know who I am, be in control of who I am. That is the real power. So it’s not naïve, and I want you to take that right out of your vocabulary. I want you to replace that with it’s powerful. I’m power. Because that is what that is. And people think that’s weakness, honey, but it’s not. So I really admire that. That’s what I am. That’s who I’m becoming. So that’s good.
Amanda: So maybe how you say that you’re magical, I’ll start saying I’m powerful. How are you today? I’m powerful. And that works. I’m gonna take it.
Song: Exactly. And I like how that resonated with you. But what are people gonna say about that? Like, oh, they’re taken back. But that becomes your identity. That becomes who you are. And people are going to come at you differently, not basic, you know? Because you’re going to come with that. So they’re gonna… actually, I always like thought provoking conversations. So when people are like I am magic, there was one time I said it to somebody. He actually goes, “Really? Well, what about? What happened?” Only one person’s asked me that. Most people just kind of go, “okay.” They don’t even know what to say. So when you’re like “I’m powerful,” it’s kind of like, that’s amazing. I want to be powerful.
Amanda: It works. And then one thing I wanted clarification on, just because I think it’s useful to a lot of people. What does it mean to live purposefully?
Song: Ooh. I like that.
Amanda: I also like thought provoking conversations.
Get out of your head, get into your body, and start doing what feels good.
Song: I know, it just gets me going. I love it. So if you look at my Instagram… in fact, I have to look at it because I can’t think right now off of it, but it used to say Makeup Artist at the top. Now it says that I’m a SASS Goddess, a divine feminine goddess, and that my passion is living a purposeful life. Okay, living purposely, I believe, is a life of service, helping others. We are not put on this earth to just come here and acquire cars, and houses, and things, and things like that. So, to me, my passion is, living purposely is, what can I do for others? How can I help somebody? That, to me, just fills my soul up, and it feels like I have a life of purpose. There’s a reason why I’m put on this earth. There’s a reason why I’m the light out there in the darkness of 2020 or whatever. And when I get people telling me like, “Thank you so much. Were you living in your purpose?” And living your purpose also means knowing who you are, your authentic self. And when you know who you are and your authentic self, you’re going to find your purpose, whatever that is. That’s what’s happened for me, and that’s how I know that that is the truth.
Amanda: I love that. If you had one piece of advice for other self-employed creatives out there, what would it be?
Song: Stop thinking. Stop overthinking of what could go wrong. Stop overthinking about what somebody else may think. Just because you want to be a life coach, and you have a friend that’s doing the same thing, who cares? Just because you want to start your own makeup line and somebody else has already done it. Those are all lies. So, for me, my biggest advice is get out of your head, get into your body, and start doing what feels good. If it feels good, that is a roadmap. Your body is a roadmap. Your mind will give up before your body will. Your mind will ruin everything before your body will.
So, you know, when I hiked my Mount Kilimanjaro, the mindset was, you can tell yourself that you’re gonna make, it or you can sit there and go, “Oh, my God.” I mean, there were times I had moments. But the biggest thing was, is like I realized that my mindset would have given up before my body. Again, it goes back into just being. Stop trying to create problems. Start flowing through the day. And I’m gonna tell you, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when things start coming to you, when you start with “That feels good. Oh, yeah, this thought came.” And that’s where creativity and play and learning comes about.
I’m in the present moment as constantly as possible.
So I was like, get out of your head and get into your body. That is, that is my best advice. Everyone needs to be more out of their heads. Yeah, I think if more people were into their bodies, and more into their feelings, and more into what feels good versus creating all these problems, the world would be a lot better place, you know? And meditation. Let me tell you something. Meditation isn’t just sitting there closing your eyes trying to empty your mind. Meditation is dancing. Meditation is stretching. Meditation is focusing on a sunset with the clouds and turning the clouds… I had a friend send me a picture of a cloud, and I was like, oh, that looks like a question mark. He goes, “Oh, it looks like Casper the Ghost.” I’m like, oh, what about, it looks like this. We literally had a conversation about this cloud. And you know what I said to him, I said, “You know what? This is a perfect way to meditate.” Because we got into creative play over a cloud photo. And it took me away from any kind of things that I was creating, and problems, and my day, and it just took me into that meditation state for that moment. So I think that the idea that people think meditation is you have to sit in a room and empty your mind, that’s…no,
I meditate all day long, whether I’m doing my hair… and the thing is, what I like to teach people when I do my intuitive life coaching, they have to do their hair makeup and get ready. I mean, if they wear makeup, whatever, it’s not about that. It’s about them. And I said, I want you to take that time to yourself, no distractions and know that if our appointment’s a half an hour, I want you to take a half an hour to yourself with without any distractions, and I want you to get into your body. I want you to do your hair. And anytime your mind wanders, I want you to go back to your hair and be like, oh, I like this curl. Because that’s the mental practice. Doing your eyeshadow, I want you to take that time because they’ll sit there and do things and be like, oh, you’re not present. I like people to be in the present, which is really what I believe is really important, what a lot of people are lacking. They think that meditation…. You could just be sitting down, being content, and just enjoying music. That’s meditation. It’s being present. It’s being in the moment.
Amanda: It’s such a hard thing for some people to find. But I agree with you wholeheartedly because that’s, I think, where that magic, or where that power is. It’s being in the present moment. Because that’s all we really have, right? Is the moment that we’re in right now. Because we can’t change what’s happened. We don’t know what will happen. The only thing that we have control… and it’s not even really control, but all we really have is the moment we’re in right now. And I like that I’m in this moment getting to talk to you.
Song: Thank you. Yeah. And I always say this, the future is now. The future is one minute from now. The future is 10 minutes from now. The biggest thing I always said was like, “I don’t know if I’m going to be around next week” when people are like, “Oh, what are you gonna do about that next week?” And I’m like, I’ll cross that bridge when it comes. I’m not even worried about that right now. Which is really quite funny, because I’ll be getting an email for a job in September, and this is a true story. I got a job for a thing in September. I think I kind of skipped the email. I think I may have read it and I think I’ll get back to her. Well, two weeks later, just a couple days ago, she was like, “Hey, did you get my email?” I’m like, September? Oh, that’s so far away. But back in the day when I was in that, oh, I’ve got to book it on my calendar. I’m a makeup artist. I’m a freelancer. And going oh, it’s time to get up. Now I live 24 hours at a time. I’m in the present moment as constantly as possible. So people are like, “Song, did you get…what are we?” I’ll be like, “I don’t even know what we’re doing, what I’m doing tomorrow.” I literally live in the present moment as much as possible. That is where the magic happens. And this is why I want to help people not look at meditation as “Oh, I have to sit in a room.” How about meditation could just be you’re drawing, or you’re coloring, or you’re singing, or you’re listening to music, you know? So I want to encourage it as more play, and being in the moment versus “I have to set aside this time, just sit down and empty my mind.” Because I can’t do that. I don’t do that. I try.
Amanda: I always think about a sandwich or something. It always goes to food with me. I think I’m perpetually hungry.
Song: Oh my god, that’s so you. I love it.
Amanda: That’s what happens. So where can people find you out in social media, or if they want to work with you?
Song: I am on Instagram as @makeupbysong. TikTok @makeupbysong. Facebook, I have a business account that’s Makeup by Song, or you can just find me on my personal page and follow that, and it’s under Song Julieann Lopez. And, yeah, I’m pretty streamlined in that.
Amanda: That’s where you are, being all magical.
Amanda: Thank you so much for taking the time with me today.
Song: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really appreciative that you’ve taken this opportunity with me, so thank you.
Connect with Song @makeupbysong