Self-Directed With Cleo Wade

In our new monthly series, Self-Directed, we invite influencers in the world of beauty and fashion to direct their own editorial story and create the looks they love with the glam teams they trust. You’ll learn about their best-kept beauty secrets, favorite products, and more.

It’s Election Day, and Cleo Wade arrives at the studio fresh-faced and dressed head to toe in red, white, and blue, a coincidence she laughs off. But her subconscious may have dressed her this morning, as the conversation during hair and makeup isn’t about products and glamour, but rather female empowerment and politics. It’s refreshing and inspiring to listen to the poet and artist speak so confidently and eloquently about her hopes and dreams for society while casually sipping on coffee (a morning must for Wade) and getting her gorgeous curls wound tightly around miniature curling irons.

From the moment she walks in the door, it’s evident that Wade’s style is effortless: cool-girl chic. So much so that she opts for bare nails, since she’s constantly creating art and her digits are often covered in acrylic paint and clay. This laid-back approach to beauty is the goal for today’s three looks, a reflection of Wade’s lifestyle. Wade, a New Orleans native, holds her Southern roots near and dear to her heart, but for the shoot, she’s opted for a New York City theme. Each look will take us through a journey of her favorite spots, from Central Park to Harlem.

Scroll through to see how Wade, with the help of makeup artist Katie Mellinger and hairstylist Clay Nielsen, brought this Manhattan inspiration to life.

Photographer: Sacha Maric; hair: Clay Nielsen; makeup: Katie Mellinger; styling: Jess Roberts.

Who would you like to see take over our next Self-Directed feature? Tell us in the comments below!