Soul Sister: Cheryl Renella, brow guru at Channing's Studio and Spa
We're not one to tell you what to do, but we suggest you run—don't walk—to get your brows shaped by Cheryl Renella at Channing's Studio and Spa on Oak Street. Here's why: Before meeting Renella, we knew our woolies could look better, yet we were content with removing extraneous hairs that might affect a proper eyeshadow application, whether this meant experimenting with threading, getting a basic wax, or our own handiwork. But brow shaping is a term—and quite possibly an artform—that shouldn't be abused. You'll understand where we're coming from when you lie back in Renella's chair and she works her magic. She takes a "before" and "after" photo that will simply blow your mind. Our first reaction? "I look ten years younger!"
Of course, Renella didn't become a pro overnight. She started her beauty career at the young age of 16, when she attended cosmetology classes while still in high school. Shortly after, she apprenticed at several salons to hone her craft, including a stint training in Hollywood with the famous makeup artist Syd Simons. "It was with him that I participated on numerous sets doing hair and make-up. Little by little, I saved money in the hopes of opening my own salon," recalls Renella. After working on movie sets creating brows of brilliance, she was able to open Channing’s on Oak Street in Chicago's luxurious Gold Coast at the age of 24. In the studio and spa sanctuary she created for her clientele, she is renowned for transforming eyebrows into face framers for local Chicagoans as well as famous faces. Renella's celebrity client roster includes the likes of Whitney Houston, Joan Cusack, Angelina Jolie, and Jeremy Piven.
How She Unwinds:
"How I unwind depends on the season. In the winter, I start my mornings with a brisk run. I enjoy jogging around my neighborhood with my dog, Zooey, and if I am lucky (or convincing!), I can get one of my two teenage boys to join me. In the evening, I cherish a great book by the fireplace.
"Naturally, I am drawn to water, so in the summer, I go for a bike ride around the lake or take a dip in the pool. A nice glass of champagne is the perfect way to end a warm day.
"No matter the season, I love to spend Sundays with my family. Each week, we take turns deciding on a meal to prepare, then my boys, my husband John, and I all cook together. When our stomachs are full, we all watch a show or movie in front of the fire."
"I like to have fun in my professional and personal life. A playful attitude provides me longevity in this crazy world! Also, I have passion behind my business. Once you find fulfillment in your work, leaving the house every day is easier.
"I try to leave my stress at work or de-stress before going home. I enjoy mixing aromatherapy oils and placing them on a dryer sheet. As I make my commute home, I stick the aromatherapy-filled dryer sheet in my car vent. I also have a black river rock to remove stress and negativity."