Beauty Detail

How Quinta Brunson Is Getting Into "Go Mode" For The 2022 Emmys

The Abbott Elementary star chats all things beauty with Bustle.

Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson chats with Bustle about Olay skincare, her favorite natural...
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In Bustle’s Beauty Detail, we dive into the beauty bags of our favorite talents for intel on the rituals that keep them glowing and the MVPs (most valuable products) they can't live without. Here, Quinta Brunson talks to Bustle about preparing for the 2022 Emmys, maintaining a simple skin care routine, and creating television that evokes feelings of familiarity and comfort.

Quinta Brunson wears many hats: writer, comedian, actor, and creator-slash-executive- producer of the critically-acclaimed series Abbott Elementary. And while beauty didn’t play the biggest role in her life growing up (with the exception of a thick eyeliner and mascara phase during her teenage years that she credits to Avril Lavigne, Nicki Minaj, and Gwen Stefani), her position as the face of Olay is a pretty fitting new role.

Over Zoom, the Emmy-nominated star and Philly native tells me that her mother always stressed the importance of cleansing and moisturizing. “I wear more makeup now than ever, but what remains the same is having the basics,” Brunson says. She adds that she’s gained more knowledge about foundations, concealers, and other makeup while getting glam for Abbott Elementary and red carpet events, yet always prioritizes skin care. “[F]or me, moisturizer [is] the first step before doing anything else.”

At the 2022 Emmys ceremony on Monday, Sept. 12, Abbott Elementary is up for seven awards and Brunson is the first Black woman to earn nominations across the three major comedy categories: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. How does one prepare for such a momentous career moment? She tells me with a laugh that she’s mainly doing two things — not worrying about it and taking care of her skin.

Many Abbott Elementary fans (including myself) turn to the show for a daily dose of joy in their lives. When I tell Brunson that it’s what I put on repeat for when I need some comfort, she says that’s why she created it in the first place. “I have shows that also do that for me, like The Office, King of Queens, and Friends, [that] I can just pop on and just do other things but the familiarity of [those shows] helps you to feel comfortable and calm. I love TV like that,” she says. “That was very much part of the reason for creating Abbott, to give people more TV like that.”

Of course, Brunson’s success didn’t come overnight. She says one of the things she has learned about pursuing one’s dreams, other than the unwavering belief in your own abilities, is the importance of ridding yourself of rigid, self-imposed deadlines.

“I think people have this invisible timeline in their head. ‘I have to do this thing by 25 or it doesn't matter, or do this thing by 30 or it doesn't matter.’ The sooner you do away with that, the more doors open for you,” she says. “If you just keep doing the work because you love it, the opportunities will present themselves. Maybe in ways you never expected. Maybe in ways that could be better than you ever imagined.”

In a youth-obsessed society where young adulthood (aka your early twenties) is put on a pedestal, it can be difficult for some to embrace the inevitability of getting older. But Brunson, 32, tells me she cannot wait for the later stages of life. “I appreciate and clearly loved my twenties, but there's a comfort that comes during 30; you know who you are [and] there's nothing that can change that,” she says. “I think this is a beautiful place to be in.”

Today, she’s in a place where she’s looking forward to 40 and 50. “I just read an article about someone being 50,” she says. Her thoughts? “I was like, ‘Wow, I can't wait. That sounds great.’”

Below, Brunson shares the most-loved goodies stashed inside her beauty bag.

Her Hair Hero

“Bread is a small hair company that I really love. I wear my hair natural, and it’s my go-to line for all my natural hair products.”

Her Moisturizing MVP

“It’s really nice to wake up and feel like half the work is done. When I don’t use my nighttime routine, I can see the difference in the morning [and] so can my makeup artists. I love to use the entire [retinol] collection — the eye cream, moisturizer, and serum — because I really do wake up feeling like my skin has been taken care of. It’s hydrated [and] looks awake.”

Her Ultimate Eyebrow Product

“I’ll use a brow gel or a brow pencil to define my eyebrows just a little bit more. I really like Anastasia Beverly Hills.”

Her Morning Must-Have

“It’s so important to do both my nighttime and morning skin care routine because if my skin is taken care of, I can go minimal [with] the makeup and whatnot. In the morning, I really like to use the Olay Vitamin C line. It [takes care of my skin] the same way as [the Olay Retinol] nighttime line, but just for the morning.”

Her Minimal Makeup Go-To

“My day-to-day is very simple; I like Pat McGrath — I love her mascara.”