There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes of a photoshoot.
Sometimes I forget the amount of hands that are actually involved in creating the final product. All we normally see is the beautiful imagery — the model looking gorgeous, the setting just right. A makeup artist is crucial in producing the final result. Makeup can be the element that cohesively brings a trend, or color story together. Clean face… blank canvas… awaiting the artist’s work.
Kali Kennedy is a master at her craft. She is the talent behind our With Flying Colors makeup tutorial, and I had the pleasure of spending a little time with her in NYC after the shoot. We grabbed a bite to eat, and I got to pick her brain about all the fun shoots she’s been on, and hear about some of the big name faces she’s worked with. Some of her most recent work can be seen in a few of our West Coast shoots. Based in LA, she’s got that Cali cool girl personality, but with a little bit of east coast edge. Lunch with her was fun… she’s so personable that I felt like I’d known her for quite some time, when in fact we had only just met that morning.
No doubt, she is one cool chick with an artist’s eye and talent. Get to know a little bit more about her below!
Where are you from? What was your favorite part about growing up there?
I’m from Redlands, California (it’s about an hour east of Los Angeles). Redlands is an incredibly beautiful town, I’d say my favorite part is the sprawling landscapes. It’s easy to get lost on adventures in massive parks or gigantic orange groves. You can really manifest your own world there.
Where do you currently live? What are some things you love about your neighborhood?
I currently live in Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles. My neighborhood is in the hills below the Hollywood sign so it’s so quiet you can forget you live in such a metropolitan city, but you’re close enough to walk to a cafe to meet some friends.
What does a day in the life of Kali look like?
I work very frequently. I usually wake up, pack my makeup kit, hop in my car, grab a tea and cruise down PCH to work on the beach or cruise up in the hills to work on location or even to a local studio. It’s ever-changing which is the best part!
What inspired your decision to become a makeup artist?
My grandmother was a fine art painter; as a child, she taught me some of the skill set I use today. Eventually, I felt the need to transfer my love of painting onto a three-dimensional canvas.
For anyone on the outside looking in, are there any major misconceptions about the world of cosmetology?
I suppose the biggest misconception people have about my line of work is in the fact that they think the job is “easy”. I would love to nip that in the bud! A usual day for me starts around 6am and wraps around 6pm. Thats 12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week on my feet all day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, it is by far the most challenging job I’ve ever had in my entire 31 years of life.
You’ve been working with our west coast crew a lot recently… what have been some of your favorite shoots you’ve been a part of?
Ahh, Free People west coast… they’re like my family now! I’ve had quite a few fun experiences with them: Rocky Barnes in Malibu, Jess Mau in the Salton Sea and Lauren Hastings at the creative’s house in Venice. It’s really a dream job, I must say.
Is there anything you specifically really like about being on-set?
I adore change. Being on-set allows my career environment lots of change. Be it scenery or the people I’m working with – every day is literally a new day.
If you could live anywhere else besides LA, where would it be?
I’m actually in the process of becoming bicoastal (LA & NY). I would like to transition into Paris and London as well. I am 100% a city girl.
If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring makeup artist, what would it be?
As cliche as this may sound, don’t ever give up. There will be so many bumps in the road and strange curves you’ll have to navigate, but the reward is priceless.
Are there any fun makeup trends you’re especially looking forward to come spring?
Spring is going to be all about LIPGLOSS. I can’t wait. The glossier the lip, the better.
Are there any beauty tips you’re willing to share with us that you swear by?
#1 beauty tip of all time: MOISTURIZE! My grandmommy taught me this before I could speak and I can’t even begin to tell you how important moisturizer is. Find the one that works for you and worship it.
What do you think is the key to feeling beautiful in your own skin?
I think the key to feeling beautiful in your own skin is just accepting what imperfections you have as a unique part of yourself, be confident and rest assured there is no other quite like you.
Thank you so much, Kali! It was a pleasure :)