3 Summer Beauty Trends with TV Reporter & Anchor Zora Stephenson

What better time to be experimental with your make up than during the summer! Your hot weather makeup game should feel a little bolder and a whole lot more on point. The theme for this year’s beauty look is putting all focus in one place – either lips or eyes – or just going completely natural. Fox 31 (KDVR) and Colorado’s Own Channel 2 News Emmy Award winner Zora Stephenson shows off three beauty trends for summer at the JW Marriott Denver in Cherry Creek. KOYA NYANGI talks to the anchor about her life in front of the camera and shares how to get these looks!






How to Get The Look: If you’re a fan of color, then there really is no better season to experiment with colorful eyeshadow than summer. With shades like pink, orange, and yellow, it’s a time to try something new. Choosing a single bright color over your eyelids instantly adds a dose of whimsy to your look. Putting on makeup can feel like an inconvenience sometimes, so this fun eye shadow trend is just what we needed; quickly applied and does not require too much blending. Rather than figure out which shades will complement, try sticking with tones that are similar, to create a truly unforgettable look-- such as pink eyeshadow and pink lips to maintain a makeup theme. This bright bold look is nothing, if not playful, and is the true definition of minimum effort with maximum impact.


Koya Nessa: Zora, tell us about your journey and how you eventually ended up in Denver, working at Fox 31.

Zora Stephenson: First off, thank you so much for asking me to be a part of this issue. My journey to Fox 31 and Channel 2 is a direct result of hard work, mixed with a ton of a networking, and perfect timing. That’s how most opportunities evolve honestly. My current role is a prime example of that. A few years ago, I met a manager at a TV station in a different city. We kept in touch for months and when it was time to look for a job we communicated back and forth. Turns out no opportunities at that station would match up with my timeline. Little did I know, that manager still wanted to help me and passed my work along to a group of people in the company. A couple days later an email from Denver pops up in my inbox and the rest is history. I love telling this story simply because it shows the power of networking! Meet everyone, talk to everyone, you never know where it will go.

As for what sparked my interest. It’s Denver, need I say more? Even this East Coast girl was struck by all that Colorado has to offer. Plus, on the news side the storytellers here are some of the best in the country. The photographers on our staff are amazing and the reporters are incredible. I wanted to be in a place where I could really improve my craft and Denver is the perfect place for that. Ask my bosses, but I think everything has worked out well so far. Denver has been amazing and I love calling this city home!

KN: What drew you to the media industry?

ZS: It’s honestly a mixture of things. Basketball was the original catalyst for a lot of things in my life. With my love of basketball, I grew up watching broadcast superstars like Doris Burke and Holly Rowe. In Washington, DC Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier were always on the call. I vividly remember rushing to the TV just to see what they had to say before Wizards games. Then, as I continued to grow, I never shied away from presentations and public speaking, that was always my favorite part of school! When it was time to head to college, I thought why not mix my love for public speaking with my love of sports? That love then evolved to a love for people, which then grew to a love for storytelling in general. Now, it doesn’t matter what the subject is I love telling all stories. It’s hard to find the right words to explain how much joy I feel when I know a good story helps someone or informs a viewer. If my story moves you to tears, inspires you to act, makes you laugh, or even makes you think, I then know I’ve done my job. It’s privilege and an honor to do this work!


KN: Tell us about your responsibilities as an Anchor and reporter at Fox 31 Denver?

ZS: I actually work for both Fox 31 (KDVR) and Colorado’s Own Channel 2 News (KWGN). As a general assignment reporter, the topics I cover vary and really depend on what’s going on in the community. My stories usually air during the 4:00pm and 5:00pm news. Our day starts with a meeting. That’s where all the reporters, managers, and producers go over the news of the day. Reporters are expected to bring story ideas to the meeting that can be finished in time for the 4:00pm and 5:00pm news. Some days we are assigned the stories we pitch; other days managers assign a story to us. After we get our story for the day, we set up interviews, conduct the interviews, and write the story. It’s a full day! (Yes we do longer form stories that take more than a day and of course there are exceptions to this routine, but I wanted to give you all an overview).

On Saturdays, I anchor the morning show on Colorado’s Own Channel 2 News (KWGN). That day is a little different. I come in and look over scripts, sometimes I write things too. Then I anchor the show with our amazing meteorologist Christine Rapp from 8:00am-10:00am (shout out to the best partner in the market!). After the show I work on a story that usually airs later in the day. Working as a journalist is unpredictable and I doubt any of us would have it any other way!

KN: You are constantly moving from one place to another covering stories. What are you learning about Denver as you are covering all of these stories?

ZS: Ha, everything! And it’s not just Denver, as a journalist it’s my responsibility to know and recognize our entire viewing area. With the way the job works it’s relatively easy to learn the lay of the land. One day I could be in Fort Collins for a story and the next we could head all the way out to Vail. In just two years, I’ve covered stories all over the state. As a journalist you don’t really have to plan trips to explore your new area, in due time the job will take you there.




How To Get The Look: The ‘no-makeup’ makeup look still reigns as the most wearable look of the season; it gives the feel of ‘I woke up like this’ and we’re so here for it. The reality is that even if the no makeup look requires actual products, it doesn’t require a ton of time. The first step always starts with foundation that acts like a second skin. A hydrating barely-there base to create a soft, velvety complexion that lets your natural skin peek through. Adding some nude lip gloss to amp up your natural lip color instantly adds an extra dose of freshness and polish to your makeup aesthetic. Plus, glossy lips make for a winning combination when paired well with beautifully highlighted skin.   


KN: I watch you covering heart wrenching stories, how do these stories personally impact and affect you?

ZS: I always tell people; we can’t take every story home with us or it would be hard to live. At the same time, if you don’t feel some sort of emotion then it’s time for you to step away. I think people need to remember that even though we have a job to inform and gather information, journalists are humans too. There are for sure some stories that have rocked my mind. I’ve even talked to a professional about some of the things I’ve seen and heard. Obviously, the people in our stories are going through so much more, but it’s hard to be exposed to so much trauma. On a weekly basis I could see a dead body at a scene, talk to a family who lost someone in an accident, and then show up to a shooting where bullets are still sprayed across the ground.

This job is more than asking questions and relaying information. So often I am meeting people at their absolute worst. At times we have to be consolers, problem solvers, just a listening ear. I’ve shown up to interview families who just lost loved ones, and before we even turn the camera on, they just reach out and hug me. Emotions are still so raw, that’s all they needed in that moment. I’ve sat for hours and listened to people talk about their circumstances. Again, no camera, no lights, just a person listening to another person.

On the reverse side, I’m also a punching bag at times. People again at their worst, and the last thing they want is someone from the media knocking at their door. It’s not uncommon to have harsh words yelled your way or a door shut in your face. As a journalist we have to understand what people are going through, put our pride aside, and handle the situation with respect. It’s a tough job, but oh my is it a rewarding job too (and we do tell happy stories as well, I promise)!


KN: What skills and lessons did you pick up during your formative years that you still apply to your everyday life?

ZS: Not going to lie, I’ve got two of the best people in the world as role models. Seriously, google them. Charles Stephenson and Judith Burrell. My parents are some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet, and my foundation is all credit to them. My dad was the legislative director for a congressman and wrote the first book ever published on Go-Go Music.  Coloradans may not be familiar but, it’s a genre of music that originated in Washington, DC. Remember the group that performed with Regina Hall at the BET Awards this year? EU… “Da’ Butt” My dad was their first manager! How cool is that?

My mom works in government affairs. She was also in communications once too, worked for one of New York's former mayors as well as The Department of Transportation at one point. Now, she’s added basketball to her resume and works for the Women’s American Basketball Association. I know I’m going on and on, but seriously…having two hard working, determined, kind, and loving parents around you all the time is a pretty great start. They taught we how to treat people and that’s something we could all use every day.

Basketball taught me the rest. I am who I am today because of that sport. It taught me how to fail miserably and get right back up, work harder, and master the very thing you just failed at. The sport taught me how to work with all different types of people from all different backgrounds, something I have to do on the daily as a journalist. It taught me the value of relationships too. I could write a novel, just know sports teaches young people so much more than you think. I’m a better reporter, anchor, storyteller, and most of all a better person, because of lessons I learned through sport.




How To Get The Look: Statement lips will always be in style. Lips can pack a punch when you minimize other parts of your makeup and it's also the easiest way to look chic in seconds. This summer, try out a color you’ve never used before. The look of the season is a swipe of red whether it's orange-red, brick-red or deep plum shades, which are also very popular. Statement lips don’t require much. Add brushed-up bare brows and glistening skin!


KN: So it’s 10 minutes before you go on air. What do you do to get in the zone?

ZS: It really depends. Sometimes I wish I even had ten minutes of free time to think before a live shot. In a perfect world, I’d probably go over what I’m going to say. The trick is to not practice too much, then you’ll stump yourself! Deep breaths always help too :)

KN: As you know this is our beauty issue, and we tried on some amazing beauty looks on you. So, what is your go to beauty regimen and do you have a signature look for on-camera?

ZS: My on-camera look is quite simple honestly. I like to think it’s professional and polished. I have more makeup on for these shoots than you’ll ever see on TV. A big thanks to the Cherry Creek Fashion team for taking me out of my comfort zone, I had a blast!

As for a beauty regimen, I wash my makeup off as soon as my on-air duties are over. Before I work out, before I make dinner, before anything, the makeup comes off. Oh, and if you see me outside of work 9 times out of 10, I won’t have any makeup on. Yes, it gives my face a break, but if I’m being completely honest, I’m just not the makeup type. Around town, I’m in sweat pants or jeans, and a T-Shirt. Being authentically Zora, means being cozy and comfortable.


KN: What is the best advice for someone just starting their career?

ZS: This goes back to the first question. Network! Network! Network! Then back everything up with hard work. Things take time and nothing is instant. If you work hard, when opportunity comes knocking, you’ll be ready. My number one piece of advice is always network. Talk to people even when you don't need a job. Ask for feedback. Ask to shadow people you look up to and then grill them with questions about what they do. I promise, it will pay off. Then, as you continue to follow your dreams, remember all the people who helped you along the way and do that for someone coming behind you. We have to lift each other up, that’s so so important!


Photoshoot Location Info: Centrally located in the heart of Cherry Creek, JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek embodies the spirit of the neighborhood, offering inspired luxury just steps away from world-class culture and nature that is yours to discover. Settle into one of their 199 spacious guest rooms. Take in the breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. With localized touches, considered community partnerships, and a destination restaurant, come find your place in the heart of it all. Marriot.com/denjw

Location: @jwmarriottden

Zora Stephenson: @zorastephenson

Styling, Article & Interview: @letmeshowyoudifferent

Photography: @estherleeleach

Makeup: @starlingmua

Hair: @kevadeva

Cherry Creek Fashion TV’s 24 Questions with Zora Stephenson