By KC Cohen
Stephanie Butler looks down at her long, manicured nails, revealing flashes of fuchsia and gold painted on her lids.
“Today is my Strawberry Lemonade look,” she says. “If I’m feeling particularly inspired, I give it a name.”
Makeup is more than a hobby for this 20-year old. With a $5,000 makeup collection amassed over a span of two years, the enthusiasm borders obsession.
“She could open a MAC store in her dorm room,” says Butler’s mother and best friend, Lori, of the assortment. “It’s something she enjoys right now more than anything else in the world.”
Butler keeps her colorful cache in order with a carefully constructed spreadsheet, listing each product by type, color name, description, and price.
“It has, like, a shrine,” says Yolanda Hamilton, Butler’s former roommate, of the collection. “It’s in a little corner, almost a little sanctuary, all by itself.”
The Boston University junior’s vivid appearance does not come at the price of pragmatism. A print journalism major, Butler is an intelligent journalist in-the-making.
Born and raised in Hampton, Va., Stephanie grew up with journalism in her blood and newsprint on her fingers. As a girl, Butler used to accompany her father, Stephen, as he distributed Hampton’s local paper, The Daily Press.
“I don’t think it had any effect on me wanting to write,” Butler says.
Legacy or no, Butler worked diligently in high school to become the Editor in Chief for the school’s monthly newspaper, The Tribal Tales. Though she considers the promotion her biggest accomplishment, Butler is eager to go into the magazine industry.
“I want to move to New York,” she says. “That’s where all the jobs are.”
Despite the desire to move, Butler enjoys what she calls the “friendly” city of Boston. After visiting scattered East Coast cities, she found herself drawn to Boston’s small-town atmosphere and soon decided to attend Boston University.
“I didn’t care for that idea,” her mother says. “She’s too far away. But I understand her desire to go to a good journalism school, and I think she’s talented, so it was warranted for her to go.”
In the meantime, Butler works at Old Navy, her neon lids causing her to stick out among preteen shoppers.
“A lot of people stare, even if I’m not wearing any bright, funky colors,” Butler says, laughing. “But it’s the only thing to do in Virginia. It was that or work in a tattoo parlor.”