Beauty Is As Beauty Does - Makeup Artist Kelley Epps-Woods
Some people just have "that" thing... it's in the way they walk, the way the talk... with Kelley I recognized it in her love of beauty and what she does... Get to know Kelley Epps-Woods you'll see it too!
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?
Kelley Epps-Woods: I have been working in the industry for 12 years, and have been doing makeup for 8 years.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?
Kelley Epps-Woods: I knew I wanted to become a makeup artist one day when I was in church. It was the summer after I graduated from college and a revelation came upon me, and I remember whispering to my mother as it hit me, 'I'm going to be a makeup artist'. That's the day that changed my life.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you receive any formal education prior to launching your career?
Kelley Epps-Woods: I had not received any formal training upon launching my career. However, the years prior to me doing makeup I worked for a local magazine photo studio, as a receptionist and was always exposed to makeup. My life prior to college consisted of sneakers, and sweats so makeup was not the first thing on my mind.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Okay, so that was a "transition"... What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and makeup artists specifically?
Kelley Epps-Woods: I think the misconception about the industry and makeup artist is that it comes easy. Because you have makeup brushes, and makeup does not necessarily make you a makeup artist, or professional artist. It takes years of doing faces, knowledge, and learning your craft in order to establish yourself in the world of makeup artistry. It takes very hard work and dedication.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When was your first big break, and what was it?
Kelley Epps-Woods: I would say my first big break was when I got a call from an old coworker, and he asked if I still did makeup. At the time, I hadn't even started doing makeup, but he assumed I did.. I said, 'uhhh yeah'..He said, "I have someone that is doing a pageant and needs their face done". I said okay, great. Needless to say, the client paid me to do her makeup for her. Now this was a big deal because who would have thought I would get paid, on a first gig.
With a swarm of people around backstage, not only did I do her face, but countless others paid me just to do their face. That was the night I knew would be just the beginning to great things to come.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Nice! It's amazing how things come together when you're on your "path". Kelley, you do many other things but your primary focus is Bridal Makeup Artistry, is that correct? If so, Why bridal?
Kelley Epps-Woods: Yes, I do focus a lot of my artistry on Brides. There's something about the special relationship between the Bride and the Artist. It's a complete trust that the bride has for her artist on one of the most important days of her life. I love capturing and bringing out the natural beauty in the Bride. My specialty for brides are their eyes. The perfect blend of colors and the sultry flair of lashes are what I love. Eyes, are the one thing that leads her down the aisle, and the first thing that the Groom looks into.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You also write can, you tell us more about that?
Kelley Epps-Woods: My natural love for all things makeup and beauty led me to start my blog The Makeup Loft. It first started with talking about my favorite products that I use whether on my clients, or in general. I then started receiving tons of questions, and feedback regarding the products, and or about makeup artistry. I started devoting my post to those questions alone. For my writing, over a year ago I was asked to be a Beauty Writer for a online magazine, Second City Style, where I did daily beauty articles, news and illustrations that reached thousands of women. Within a couple of months, I was asked to be the Beauty Editor, and would over see all of the functions for beauty for the magazine. So with that, I am always involved and stimulated in all arena's with beauty, and I love it.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you and how do you manage to keep things organized?
Kelley Epps-Woods: A typical working day for me will start early morning, with a client booking or wedding. Sometimes its several gigs a day or just one. I tend to do most of my administrative working, invoices, call backs, etc. in the evenings.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming makeup artist wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?
Kelley Epps-Woods: Some want to work with celebrities instantly. However, most times it takes some years of work before you get your first celebrity. Learning about the business, networking and hands on makeup, is essential in gaining your clientele. Becoming a successful working makeup artist does not come overnight, and takes years and years of work . I always say, to be successful in this business you have to be a student of the business.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! I love that! "Be a student of the business..." Kelley, what would you say is the most important lesson you have learned or the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received that helped your career?
Kelley Epps-Woods: The most important piece of advice I have received that has helped me, was to never give up. So many times, when I first started and was seeking knowledge, and may have become frustrated, were the times that I questioned if this was for me. However, following my heart, and what I believed and others believed, I kept going. And it's times like that, that I can appreciate where I am now, and it has made me a better artist.
Thank you Kelley for such an incredible interview, be sure to check out Kelley's website to learn more about what she does and follow her blog and Twitter for inside product and fashion week backstage scoops.
Ciao for now...Class is Dismissed!