ENFNTSTERRIBLES

COVER STORY: TikTok’s Makeup Princess Abby Roberts is Coming For the Music Throne

If you’re into fashion, music, or makeup, and you spend a certain amount of time on TikTok, chances are big you have seen our new cover star on your “For You” page. With over 17 million followers on TikTok, Abby Roberts is the world’s biggest beauty creator on the app. Now, the 20-year-old creative is rediscovering a passion she has had since she was little: music. While her style in both fashion and makeup is very out there and loud, her music, however, has a very lo-fi, bedroom pop-leaning sound.

 

We met with Abby in London on the day of her cover shoot with us. “It is such a lovely team, and everybody is so lovely to work with. I’m not just saying that,” she told us. “Everybody has such a good vibe. Otto (editor’s note: the photographer of our cover shoot) is amazing, the hairstylist Linus did such a good job: everybody is just very talented.” Also, good to know: Abby did her own makeup for this shoot.

Gracing our new cover in a full Diesel by Glenn Martens look, the upcoming music sensation tells us all about the responsibility of having a big following, living in London, touring with Halsey*, and more.

*Halsey goes by them/them and she/her pronouns; in this interview, we have opted to use they/them pronouns continuously to ensure continuity and clarity.

Diesel full look.

Your very first single, “Paramaniac”, has been out for a month now. Are you satisfied with how people interacted with the song?

It’s been pretty unexpected. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the song came out, to begin with, but the reactions were so positive. I honestly expected everyone to bully me because it seems to be that way for online people going into releasing music. There’s quite a stigma with that. I think people really connected to the lyrics and all the feedback I had has been lovely.

What made you pick “Paramaniac” as the perfect introduction to this new chapter?

“Paramaniac” was the last song I wrote for the EP. I felt like I was missing one thing that perfectly summarized the whole vibe of the EP and introduced me as a person rather than just telling specific stories. It’s a good one to kick off with and has a very fun vibe.

We were surprised by the subtle and intimate sound of the EP. Is this lo-fi pop the kind of music you listen to the most, or what kind of music is at the top of your Spotify playlist?

I listen to all sorts of different things, but lyrically, I definitely tend to gravitate to more emotional music. I’m a big fan of Lana Del Rey and Mazzy Star, so I take a lot of influences from these people. I incorporated that into my music and think it’s a blend of everything I grew up listening to. My mom and dad are big eighties fans, so we often listened to bands like Queen. Arctic Monkeys is a big influence as well as the whole indie rock scene.

How have you approached the branding of your music? What do you want to portray visually on the upcoming EP?

It’s an extension of how I picture myself on my socials. Makeup and styling have always been super important to me. I’m very into fashion as well, and I wanted to use music as an opportunity to showcase a bit more of that stuff. My social media can very easily become so makeup-focused, but there are a lot of other things that I do behind the scenes. I was always an artist before I did makeup and loved to paint, which I’m currently doing. I wanted to explore that a little bit more. I don’t think I would label it as anything in particular, though. I’ve always been influenced by my surroundings. There are also so many smaller artists out there that inspire me.

You went to an art school when you were younger. Where does that fascination for art come from?

It’s actually quite random because none of my parents are particularly into art or making things. My dad runs a solar power business, so it’s quite different. My parents were both very free with whatever I wanted to do growing up. They always supported me to do whatever made me happy. I was always busy making paintings or creating fashion things. The same thing with music; I was always making things growing up and was kind of all over the place. I got more into art when I was in school; I was a shy, reserved person growing up, so I focused on my creative energy. I always expressed myself in my artworks rather than being loud and about.

Jawara Alleyne top. Poster Girl skirt.

How are your parents and friends interacting with all the things you’re doing now? It must be special for them to see you getting recognized on the street.

They are very supportive. My parents have been very involved in my whole journey, even through social media. My dad used to manage me in the beginning before I signed to my management. He knows it inside and out. They’ve been coming to every single gig that I’ve been doing so far and traveled down from Leeds to London. They are really excited about it, and they want me to do well and be happy. I couldn’t ask for any better.

You’re known for your immensely creative and inventive makeup looks. Does your music allow you to express yourself differently, or are there similarities between writing a song and composing a makeup look?

It’s a bit of both. I didn’t realize it when I started making music, but there are so many similarities in the way they approach grabbing new inspiration and taking references from certain artists you love and things from the past. It’s a similar creative process, but it’s also very different. I can only say so much with visuals and putting things on my face, but I feel like I can tell so much more of a story with music. It’s been very therapeutic to write about super personal experiences that maybe I couldn’t have shown with my makeup.

You’re a public personality, so a lot of people have an interest in your private life. Are you afraid that people will misunderstand the lyrics of your songs and see things that aren’t there?

A little bit, yeah. A lot of the songs can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, and I really let people do that if that has meaning for them in some sort of way and it helps them. I’m also very open to talking about the meaning behind my songs, and I’ll try to take people on that journey on social media. I want to tell them a bit more about what inspired me to start writing and what the story means to me. It can be taken in a few ways … (laughs)

Ann Demeulemeester full look. The London Leatherman choker and belt. New Rock shoes.

You have seventeen million followers and inspire many young creatives, causing people to call you a role model. Are you comfortable with that assigned role?

I’m more comfortable than I used to be. I got thrust into the limelight of TikTok quite quickly because everything happened so rapidly in the beginning, and I was like, “That’s a lot of responsibility to take on overnight.” People expect you to speak out on certain things and talk about certain issues. That’s definitely something I’ve grown into and tried to learn and educate myself to speak up about things on social media.

I’ve kind of learned as well to be just more myself. People are not going to agree with everything you do or say. You kind of have to take it as it comes at the end of the day. I’m not going to change myself to make someone happy in the end. It’s always the people with no profile picture that have a lot to say; that’s all I’m going to say. (laughs)

Do you feel like people in the scene underestimate you because you’re only 20 years old?

I think so. Being young and being a woman—especially going into an industry that is so male-dominated, like the music industry—you can feel very unheard. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such a good team that listens to my creative vision. I’m so involved in everything I do, and I have a very specific vision for how I want everything to sit. I have definitely already noticed in meetings that I met people that looked down on me. I think I hold myself more than people might expect.

The last couple of years were pretty turbulent. Would you say that you have changed on a personal level since you became a social media superstar?

I feel like my close group of friends got a lot smaller recently, and I stick to a handful of people, to be honest. There are many people that want to become your friend as you get more well-known but not necessarily for all the right reasons. I stick to myself, and whenever I have free time—I’m not going to lie—I just stay in my house and do nothing. (laughs) I don’t want to be out socializing and partying all the time. I’m quite private and have a great, close group of friends.

Diesel skirt and jacket. Archived Vivienne Westwood top, from Covert Archives.

Your life seems very hectic at the moment. What helps you to calm down after a very chaotic day or week?

I’m very obsessed with candles right now. You should see my house; it’s quite a fire hazard. I just moved into my new apartment, and I have my own bath now, so I have all my candles around the bubble bath.

How was it to move from Leeds to London, which is an international metropole with many amazing creative scenes?

It’s been hectic and a really big change, but also not a lot of change at the same time because I’ve been going back and forth to London for years now to work. I was literally living in hotel rooms five days a week, so it feels nice to be settled in my own place and not have to worry about taking the train for two hours all the time. There are so many last-minute things I can attend now, like my friends asking to hang out. I don’t live two hours away anymore, so it’s been really fun to move.

GCDS top. Jawara Alleyne trousers. Chews necklace.

The biggest highlight of your year is coming up soon because you’re going on tour with Halsey. What was your first reaction when you were asked to open for a few shows in the US?

It was literally the first time I met Ash (editor’s note: aka Halsey), and we were just hanging out. I did their makeup for some TikToks—that people might have seen on my socials—and told them I was making music. They had no idea I was even making music, and I asked if I could play some songs to get their feedback because I really value their opinion since Halsey is such a talented artist. I played the music, and they were immediately in love with it and found it very refreshing. They were super into it and said, “I usually never do this a lot, but I want you to come on tour with me.” My first reaction was just: “SHUT THE FUCK UP! You’re joking?” (laughs) Halsey was very true to their words, and it’s actually happening. I still can’t believe it, so it’s a big thing to process. I’m very, very excited, and I’m still in utter disbelief.

How are you going to prepare for these shows? What will you focus on when it comes to live shows?

I was quite terrified when Halsey made the offer because I hadn’t done any live show at that point. I knew that I had to prepare myself over the months following. We now have a lot of gigs coming up, and there is some unannounced stuff coming soon. I’ve done three gigs so far and started to do some shows undercover under a different name so people couldn’t find me, but someone recorded me on my very first show, recognized me, and put it on TikTok. That blew up, so it didn’t last very long. (laughs) It’s going pretty well, and I really enjoy performing. I want to keep getting better, and my most recent show was really special; they were singing along in the crowd. That was just super cute.

Were you afraid that people might not like the music you make since people primarily know you for your makeup?

I didn’t want to alienate my audience in any way and didn’t want people to think that I was a makeup artist, but now I’m a musician. It’s more that I always did makeup and now also make music. You can like both of them if you want. People know me for makeup, and it’s going to be some kind of transition to get people into liking my music as well. Hopefully, the work speaks for itself and people enjoy it.

Richard Quinn full look.

What’s coming up for you next? Is there a hidden talent you want to explore any further, like a specific sport, for example?

You won’t catch me doing anything in sport soon; that’s one thing you can literally take from me. (laughs) I don’t know because I’ve never been one to really plan far ahead. If I fancy picking up something new one day, I might do that, but right now, I’m focussing on my music and touring. It’s consuming my whole life, and I just got my band together: they are amazing. I love being in rehearsals with these guys. There are many other exciting things happening that I can’t say too much about, but I’m working on a lot of new things, makeup-wise, as well. That’s definitely not forgotten.

You just released a new song called ‘Pink Champagne’. What can you tell us about the song and the music video

I think the music video is something people won’t expect with such a light-hearted song. The song is very flirty and one of the more poppy tracks on the EP. I really wanted the visuals to tell the story of the song.

Are you sometimes surprised by what you’re able to pull off?

That’s literally my whole life story right there. I never expected to end up in social media; never expected to end up in makeup or music. I just do what makes me happy in the moment, which is fun because I’m getting stressed by planning too much for the future.

Abby Roberts’ highly-anticipated debut EP will be out this spring. In the meantime, you can listen to Abby’s music here

Ashley Williams jacket and dress. The London Leatherman belt. Camper Lab shoes.

Photography by Otto Masters
Creative direction and production by ENFNTS TERRIBLES Studio and Dries Vriesacker
Styling by Steven Huang
Makeup by Abby Roberts
Hair by Linus Johansson
Nails by Emma Catry
Set design by Kiara Gourlay

Photography assistant: Connor Egan
Styling assistant: Nathan Fox

Location: Mill Mead Studio

Interview by Maxim Meyer-Horn

Special thanks to Diesel and Evie Ranscombe (Edge Publicity)

 

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