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14 February 2019

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Behind the Chair with Chelsea Shea: Official HMUA of Bravo’s Southern Charm

Here she is babes! The gal making sure every eyelash is curled and every cheekbone is highlighted on the cast members of Southern Charm. Meet Chelsea Shea. Not only is Chelsea beautiful, she’s super sweet! We wanted to celebrate our Nashville Studio announcement with this fun Q & A sesh. Chelsea splits her time between Charleston and Nashville, so we are super stoked that she will be able to #freecoatmani in both of her hometowns!


Where are you originally from and how did you end up in Charleston?

Hi, I am Chelsea! Really excited about this interview! I was born in South Florida. My step father worked for the government, so we moved often. I grew up in Louisiana and eventually found my way to Columbia, SC after my family moved there. After a stint pursuing the traditional college route, I ended up attended Paul Mitchell School in Columbia. When I graduated, I felt my cosmetology career would be better pursued elsewhere. My little sister started school at CofC in 2013 and when I came to visit her, I absolutely fell in love with Charleston. How could someone not love Charleston?! It was booming with weddings, beautiful, and being close to the beach really spoke to me. After visiting my sister, I moved here the next month.


What inspired you to become a HMUA?

I resisted pursuing a career in hair and makeup. My nana was a hair stylist her whole life. I would spend summers with her growing up and observed how hard she worked; working long hours behind the chair can really put some abuse on the body! I always loved hair and makeup; growing up, I was always braiding my Barbie doll’s hair and friends’ hair, then as I grew older people came to me for their prom hair and makeup, weddings, etc.

While HMUA was clearly my passion, I fought it and went the traditional route to attend college with a major in mass communications. Even so, I ended up coming back to my passion and pursuing what my heart desired as a career. I then attended cosmetology school and have not looked back since!


How did you get your start in the industry and get connected with Bravo? We also love seeing the work you have done with other famous locals like Molly O’Connell of America’s Next Top Model (photo cred Clay Austin). 

The Bravo connection actually happened very organically through Landon’s sister. Landon’s sister is a stylist at Willow Salon downtown. We met through a wedding where I was doing the makeup and she was the hairstylist. We immediately hit it off and I was so excited when they asked me to fill in and do wedding makeup on clients while their other business partner was on maternity leave.

A few months later, Landon randomly reached out to her sister to inquire about referrals for HMUA stylists needed for cast interviews (green screen interviews). When I was approached, I obviously said yes because I knew it was an amazing opportunity! The cast loved my work and now I’m on my third season with Southern Charm.

I also work with some cast members outside of filming and we have become very close.

Additionally, I love working HMUA for professional shoots and have worked with models like Maggie Rawlins and Molly O’Connell. I recently did the HMUA on my gal Chelsea Meissner for her feature on Charleston Home and Design.


We know Kathryn Dennis is one of your very close friends and you are also the official HMUA of Bravo Southern Charm. What is your favorite thing about working with Kathryn?

Being friends with, and working with, Kathryn is always exciting and fun! I met Kathryn years ago in the horse world; we actually have a mutual friend that plays polo. We never became close until I started working with Bravo in an official capacity. Over the years, we have become very close friends and have so much fun traveling together! In this industry, it’s just as important to vibe well with clients AND be great at your craft.

I really feel that I have achieved this balance with so many of my clients, especially Kathryn. I love that Kathryn is a glam girl and always likes to try anything with hair and makeup. Her fair skin with big, bold, beautiful features allows me to have a blank canvas. Working on her as a HMUA is a true joy! I think it is really great to see how her style has evolved over the years too; she has really established herself as a bit of a fashion icon.


Which guy on Southern Charm would make the best wedding date and why?

This question is tough! Honestly, if I could mix ShepCraig, and Austen, that would be the perfect wedding date (besides, of course, my own boyfriend!). I’ve known Craig the longest and we were pals even before the show. So, if I had to settle on someone, I would pick Craig because he would be the best dressed and I am obsessed with men’s fashion.


Who is the person that inspires you the most? (this could be a personal friend, family member, HMUA, etc)

I don’t have one person that inspires me. I get my inspiration and drive from many different sources. From following artists on social media, to my clients that are girl bosses, to wanting to be the best and biggest I can be in my world. I hope that my work can inspire others to pursue their passions and listen to their hearts.


Favorite spot for brunch in Charleston?

My favorite brunch spot in Charleston right now is Millers All Day; they have amazing baked goods and traditional Southern fare (we tend to agree!!). My favorite restaurant in Charleston is Hall’s Chophouse. Hands down. Hall’s is popular for a reason.


Your lipstick always looks so on point. What lipstick can you NOT live without? Like you would be hospitalized from panic attacks if they stopped making this lipstick?

Well, thank you!  Any lip by YSL. I’m obsessed with their tinted lip oils.


What is your favorite part about getting Freecoat pedicures?

My favorite part about coming to Freecoat is knowing that I am receiving a clean service! Not only are y’all nontoxic, you are super sanitary. Unfortunately, many salons do not follow the codes and laws set forth by the State Board of Cosmetology, but y’all go above and beyond to ensure the service is impeccably clean! Also, I love the fun designs you can get with your mani or pedi!

My favorite part about getting Freecoat pedis are the fun add-ons like a detox salt soak + essential oil treatment for only $6 or the Luxe Salts add-on from Revival for $4.50.


What are some of your favorite beauty products?

My favorite brand is called Lab to Beauty; which is a clean, CBD oil based skincare line. Everything they churn out is amazing and nontoxic. I discovered them at Barney’s. Another product I love, that is carried at freecoat, is the Maya Chia Super Couple Oil. This serum is amazing and contains powerhouse ingredient astaxanthin, which is sourced from seaweed. Natural astaxanthin (from the microalgae plant), is 65X stronger than Vitamin C & 14X stronger than Vitamin E in combating free radicals. You will be hard pressed to find a more powerful antioxidant serum to help dry, tired, and ageing skin!


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