You might remember Stephanie Shepherd—better known as STEPH SHEP—as Kim Kardashian West’s former executive assistant.
The keen businesswoman, who has an Instagram following of 1.3 million, has an avid interest in beauty, wellness and giving back. Here, you’ll find her keeping it real on the ups and downs of social media, with a side order of honesty, kindness and humour. Meet Steph Shep, #nofilter and unretouched.
“I have a background in cheerleading and dance, and makeup was such a huge part of that. For my first dancing recital, they gave us all a face chart and told us where each of the makeup was supposed to go—I thought it was so cool. Growing up in Ohio in a really small town, we would also go to the department stores and get our makeup done, which was a real treat. I remember my best friend—who has blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin—would come out looking beautiful, like a movie star. When it came to my turn, they could not make up my Asian eye shape, and it was so discouraging. I didn’t want to resent it because I loved playing with makeup and I never thought I looked different as a kid—I thought I just looked like my best friend.
“I now really love Shiseido foundation, because finding my shade has always been so difficult (I have golden olive undertones), so when I moved to LA I was like ‘wait, there’s a Japanese beauty line?’ Most foundations are so pink-based, and it just would look weird on me, so when I found Shiseido, it was really cool. It might seem like only a foundation, but it feels like you’re part of a community and not having to conform to one specific shade that’s supposed to be universal, because it’s not. That’s why I love what Rihanna has done with Fenty Beauty—the range is incredible, and so inclusive, and why I love beauty—it has the ability to make people feel good.”
“My mum always instilled in me at a very young age to be involved and aware, and it has since been a pillar in my life. I’m so fortunate that I now have a platform I can use to spread awareness for unknown causes. I’m the strategic advisor for Khana Panties [a non-profit organisation that provides organic, and ethically produced period-proof underwear for young girls in Uganda to encourage them to stay in school]. I think Khana Panties has a really great mission statement and it’s something that people aren’t talking about—these girls feel like they have no one to talk to and no resources, and they’re dropping out of school entirely, hindering their freedom and their future. I find that on social media there’s this hunger and thirst and give back and come together, so through that we were decided to make the organisation a non-profit. We are now working on different collaborations through my brand to raise awareness for Khana, and then send on the profits.”
“I get so much inspiration from social media—I like to connect with my friends, and it’s a great way to start conversations and spread awareness about different causes. It’s also a platform to promote a business—you have your own personal marketing tool at your disposal, and I think it’s changing the way that people are doing business. On the other side, it’s like we are in a social experiment, and we don’t really know how it’s going to turn out.
“I also think it can be really isolating, which is crazy—how can something make you feel part of a community at the same time make you feel so left out? The negativity is really hard; I am a grown woman who is in this industry—and have worked in it for a very long time—and I’m affected, so I can’t imagine how it is for young girls who are bullied or made to feel insecure. But if I respond to a comment and it makes someone feel good, or if I share a post that makes them feel something—like ‘she has anxiety, me too’—then to me, that is a huge positive. As small and as insignificant as it may seem, it can make a difference to someone else.”
This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2019 issue of Gritty Pretty Magazine.