Tattooed lifestyle vlogger, makeup artist, and thrifting aficionado Seanna Miriah sat down with us to talk about creativity, the magic of the Pacific Northwest, finding a new direction after COVID, and, of course, her tattoos.
Hi Seanna! Great to have you here. You live in the PNW – Seattle, right? Have you always lived in that area?
No, but I’ve been here for twelve years now. I was born in California, we moved a couple of times, and then my parents decided the countryside in Virginia would be an ideal place to raise us. I lived in that small town until I was old enough to peace out, moved to the South, grew out of that, and now I’m here.
My goal was to get back to California, feeling like a blonde, beach, and tan kind of gal my entire life, but there’s something so alluring about the Pacific Northwest. It puts a spell on you with its dreamy giant trees, breathtaking coastlines, and romantic rainy weather. My husband and I purchased our home here and are planted, but we always daydream about getting an RV and driving around for a while. We got married in Canada and talk about ending up there; we love it.
So you’re a blogger and a lifestyle vlogger, plus a make-up artist, bartender, and social media manager, according to your Instagram profile. Tell me about all of the things you do for work!
I was a bartender and makeup artist for fifteen years. I usually did both, working a shift at MAC then closing the bar at night. I burnt out on that and tried to do makeup full time but they wanted a monopoly on my schedule and that shit drove me nuts. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
I eventually found I could contract out as a Brand Ambassador where I made my own schedule but traveled the Seattle/Tacoma area as a makeup artist rep for Smashbox, PUR, Tarte, and other beauty brands. It allowed me to be my own boss and was my chosen career until COVID made it obsolete. I worked up until the last day that Ulta and Sephora closed and locked their doors for several months.
I found myself once again starting over, so now, I just hustle. I run a doggie motel out of my house, blog-write, manage social media accounts, and will be going to school for micro-blading (brow tattooing), just so I have yet another feather in my hat. Gotta hustle to get by these days don’t we?
The pandemic has forced a lot of people like you to make big changes. Where do you see yourself once it’s all over?
I’m not sure. I’ve asked myself if I’d return to makeup ambassador work but I feel like I’ve enjoyed being out of the retail environment so much that I might have to be dragged back to Ulta kicking and screaming. I’m going to pursue different avenues of entrepreneurship, like micro-blading.
Toting brush belts and doing makeup applications will likely be the last thing to return to normal anyway (and honestly using testers to apply makeup was gross, so I’m glad that practice is gone).
I probably don’t even want to know, haha! How did you first get interested in beauty and makeup?
I was putting makeup on My Little Ponies when I was a kid. In school, friends always asked me to do their makeup. It was a natural thing, it kind of just found me. I literally was scouted by a friend at MAC. She said, “You would fit right in here” so I applied. I just never clicked with the sales side of things.
I’m an artist in the respect that I need to always create, so in that same token, I hate the business side of things and am terrible at it. Another reason why I don’t really promote my Youtube vids I just wait for people to find me naturally. I’m my own worse promoter.
You should though – your vlogs are really fun! I heard you mention in one that you started with makeup tutorials and moved to documentary-style vlogs. What got you started in making videos, and how did you transition that over time?
I was working for MAC when I watched my first Youtube makeup tutorial. I had a Macbook and started filming (horribly executed) makeup vids using the camera on the computer and taught myself how to edit with the free app that came with it. There were SO many people doing makeup vids at this time. It blew up after people saw what I call “The Mickey Mouse Club” of Influencers getting their exposure and making insane money from it (Jaclyn Hill, Nicole Guerriero, Manny). It was tough to stand out, and it just felt like work.
Then I started watching YouTubers from the UK and noticed they’re really into lifestyle vlogs over there and it clicked with me. I just got to be myself and have fun. I don’t feel like they’re as popular here in the U.S., but I make them because I enjoy it and can get creative with my editing. I now use better editing software (Final Cut) and just keep learning new skills to improve. If I didn’t make these vids, I think I’d spiral into a deep depression. They keep me motivated…especially when lockdown began.
I love that you’re committed to being true to yourself with your channel. As you’ve shifted your content to be a lifestyle vlogger, how have your followers responded?
Before I transitioned into full vlog formats, I asked those who follow me what they thought about it. I hinted in my videos, I put a questionnaire on the main page of my Youtube channel, and asked on Instagram stories for a vote. Everyone sounded on-board, and most said they enjoy it when I incorporated my makeup into my weekly posts so it was a win-win.
Some of your vlogs show off the results of your thrift shopping trips too. I also love thrifting, and it seems like a lot of people are moving toward used clothing, whether because of the opportunity to get better items for less money or the environmental impact. How did you get into it?
My mom took me thrifting, and it was what we did to bond. It became a fun game for me to “look expensive” on a budget. I do love the idea of shopping sustainable so it’s a major bonus that I already love to thrift and now see what an impact it can make if more people did it.
Fast fashion is a throw-away habit that just feels gross. If you ever see me in a Forever 21 or Hollister I give you permission to smack me. I do shop at H&M but they are making efforts toward conscious clothing, some people say it’s greenwashing but I appreciate their goals.
Any tips for maintaining your personal style while thrifting?
You have to thrift with an open mind. I know a lot of people say they just don’t have the patience for it, but to me it’s a treasure hunt. I make it a whole “thing”: put on a cute outfit, grab a coffee, put in some earbuds (likely listening to a True Crime podcast), have hand sanitizer on the ready, and dive in. It can be quite therapeutic to just zone out.
You have to have an eye for fabric quality, labels, and colors so you can quickly skim. Also, it’s good to keep your eyes trained for the discounted tag color of the day because what at first seems “ok” can suddenly be a lot cuter at half the price. I’ve found some of my favorite pieces from giving it a second look.
Thrifting is such a key factor in my self-expression through clothing and accessories because I never repeat an outfit. I donate, then shop and repeat, it’s an endless cycle of collecting. Sounds kinda “hoardy” if I didn’t continue to donate regularly. I do sell on The Real Real and Poshmark too, so it’s not all a financial waste.
What do you do in your spare time (when there’s not a pandemic, of course)?
Youtube! Film, edit, repeat. I love to feel busy and thrive in chaos, so being home editing for 12 hours is a “relaxing day” for me. If I could do it full time for work and it actually paid I would go all-in, but I won’t hold my breath. Right now I get free products and cool collaboratives, which is nice. I can’t even tell you how many vitamin companies hit me up weekly, “Post about these vitamins and you can have them for free”. I had to start turning them down or my Instagram would just be an ad for probiotics, lol.
With your videos and everything else, do you keep your creativity fresh, especially while at home?
Honestly, creativity is just a part of who I am as much as my arms and legs. It never stops and it never shuts off.
Sometimes I wish it would, especially at 3 am when I’m trying to sleep. The other night I tossed and turned because I decided I needed to buy a harmonica and do a video spoof trying to learn the Cher song “Believe” where she used vocal processing. Yup….this is my brain.
But did you buy the harmonica? Yes I did buy the harmonica, haha! I’ve discovered when I play it, the dogs like to howl along with me.
You can start a band! Now that we settled that, it’s on to your tattoos! What was your first piece?
My first was a fish on my ankle via flash on a wall in a little shop in Virginia. It was my 18th birthday and the original version was a skinny Japanese Koi, my teenage ass said “can you make it cute?” so he just made it fat. So it’s a faded, fat, cute Koi now.
I had always found tattoos interesting, likely because I was raised in a family of artists. When I realized you could wear art around 24/7, I was destined to have a full suit at some point in my life.
Your tattoos are all colorful and bright, in a traditional style. What drew you to that style?
I’m too peppy and goofy to have all black and grey tattoos. I want to be bursting with color all over, but I knew I didn’t want Care Bears and cupcakes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just knew I wanted tattoos that could never get old, and traditional Japanese artwork is timeless.
Have you ever thought about introducing another style?
My legs are wild cards where I can pick up little bangers from various tattoo shops all over, like the dancing Shih-Tzu I have on my calf by Timothy Hoyer. I have saved my back, ass, and thighs for a Japanese bodysuit to tie into my arms so there’s some cohesiveness there.
I saw an adorable holiday photo of you, your husband, and your two dogs of course. You both have a lot of tattoos and in prominent places like your neck and hands – what has your experience been like as a tattooed couple with such a strong aesthetic?
In Washington State, it’s common to have a lot of tattoos so nobody seems to even notice. When I lived in the South, I’d get “Damn girl, you sure are tatted.” comments by dudes at gas stations or when I bartended.
My husband’s back is pretty mind-blowing with a woman holding a snake by Adrian Lee, owner of Analog in San Francisco. Every time we go to the beach and he takes his shirt off people will literally gasp and start taking photos with their phones and pretend that’s not what they’re doing even though it’s obvious. Funny thing is, if someone asked to take a pic, he’d be delighted. He’s very proud of it.
Do you guys have any matching/coordinating tattoos?
Nope. We’ve joked about it and still may if we go to Europe (still haven’t had our honeymoon) but honestly, he’s nearly out of room unless it’s really tiny, and I’m only interested in large pieces at the moment.
I really love the owl piece on your chest. What was the inspiration behind that royal bird?
My cat, haha. I had a bright blue-eyed Himalayan and he looked like an owl to me, especially when he turned his head to meow at me. He was my prince, as cheesy as that sounds. That was a long time ago, and I still think about him all the time.
Our pets are so special! What a great way to memorialize him. Tell me about your favorite tattoo.
That’s tough. I love every one for their own reasons. The lotus I just got on my neck (Jamie King, owner of Monark, Seattle) is pretty legit. I need to connect it to my chest with waves and such, but it’s a beauty. The perfume bottle on my hand for some reason brings me so much joy (Matt Lentz, Dark Age, Seattle) It’s just so well done and speaks to my background in the beauty industry.
What are your plans for your next piece?
Getting my back lined and started. It’s easy to procrastinate getting such a large one going, but the concept is finalized and the artist has been chosen. It’s just up to the two of us to chat about what will work, finding the time, and going in while navigating the pandemic restrictions as they go back and forth from open to closed. It’s an ocean-themed concept, but the two of us will surely tweak and change things as we see what fits that particular spot.
Like making one of the fishes fatter? Okay, maybe not, but I do have one last question: what message would you like to share with the world?
You are never too old and it’s never too late.
Follow tattooed lifestyle vlogger and beauty expert Seanna on Instagram at @seanna_miriah and on YouTube.
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