Alana O’Herlihy is creating off-beat mixed media art and working with the biggest names in fashion
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New York-based artist and filmmaker Alana O’Herlihy boasts 103k Instagram followers and a CV featuring Fendi, Dior, Playboy and Tommy X Gigi. Looking at her enormous catalogue of work, you can see why. Her work is mixed-media in the truest sense of the term: combining her commercial photography with found images, physical objects and illustration, her work surpasses “collage,” becoming something far more interesting and exciting. From Jordan Barrett to best friend Bella Hadid, Alana has photographed a wealth of notable people. Both surreal and raw, part fantasy part reality, each portrait offers an intimate glimpse into her sitter’s inner world.
Then there are her self portraits, in which she plays around with notions of identity by transforming herself into different characters, some of which are based on icons including Patti Smith and Jack Nicholson’s circa Batman and The Shining - she has a bit of a thing for Jack. We chat to her here about childhood beauty blunders (or were they?) and getting make-up inspiration from Bratz dolls.
What’s your earliest beauty related memory?
When I was in high school for about two years I wore only a blue cat eye with blue on my inner eye. I did this every day without fail. I am still not sure if this was a good idea or not, but it happened. My first work-related beauty moment was when I shot for Dior Beauty x V Magazine, this shoot opened doors for me.
What’s your favourite smell and why?
My favourite smells are probably a gardenia flower because it reminds me of my childhood and my mom’s Hawaiian side of the family.
Who is your beauty icon?
I have an affinity for Miss Marlene Dietrich and her eyebrows. My favourite makeup artist of all time is Erin Parsons. I get a lot of look inspiration from Bratz Dolls.
You’re flying to the moon: what one beauty product do you take with you?
Flying to the moon…I would take my Dior Lip Glow — it does it all.
You have to donate a feature/limb of your body to an icon of yours. You get nothing in return. What feature/limb do you give and why?
I love this question. I would maybe give Jack Nicholson my hand so my hands could always be on him in some sense of the word.
Would you rather colonise Mars or build a utopia in the centre of the earth?
I like change, but not too much. A utopia on earth sounds heavenly. Ideally, in the utopia there would still exist all of the pros of earth that I like: H2O, trees, music, hot dogs, however, all the things I dislike about earth would be excommunicated from this created utopia. I am not sure if there would be room to build my own utopia because there is a belief that there is already a utopia existing right now on earth.
It’s the year 2100. You’re the owner of the largest beauty tech company in the world, what five products or treatments will you dedicate your resources trying to invent?
Eczema healing moisturizer (all natural) one that actually works. 2. A colour altering shampoo (one where brunette can change to blonde) in just one shampoo without damaging or ruining your head of hair. 3. Concealer + Foundation + Moisturizer = while it is on it actually evens out the pigmentation of skin and gets rid of blemishes (so it is medicated naturally while being foundation). 4. An all in one applicator! This involves mascara, eyebrow brush, concealer, highlighter and eyeliner all in one small device. 5. A bath bomb that is basically similar to sitting in a tub of oil and lotion without ruining the bathtub
And finally, what does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is a loose term to me. In my particular story, beauty means someone being comfortable and happy in their world they have created, while being able to share this beauty with others. Beauty is someone's world that we want to go into and experience.