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Conversations with Kasey Rees

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kasey Rees.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started my career off as a Professional Makeup Artist working in Bloomington, IL. I started working part-time at a cosmetic franchise called Merle Norman Cosmetics. I quickly grew very passionate about the art and began assisting the store’s lead bridal makeup artist. I learned and grew very quickly as a bridal makeup artist.

A year into working for Merle Norman Cosmetics, I was given the opportunity to take over as the Bridal Coordinator of the Bloomington, IL franchise. I worked in this position for the following two years and managed to bring in many clients from the surrounding area. I gained valuable leadership skills that I still use to this day. I learned how to lead a team of fellow makeup professionals, and learned new makeup techniques along the way!

In October 2020, I decided to move on from Merle Norman Cosmetics and further educate myself. I became more ambitious and started to picture a life where I was creating art with makeup. I attended The Academy of Makeup Arts from 2020 to 2021 where I studied Makeup for Beauty & Fashion as well as TV & Film.

I learned not only how to be a great makeup artist, but how to work with a team and collaborate to create art. While I was studying at The Academy of Makeup Arts, I was given the opportunity to work on a professional photoshoot, and music video sets. This sparked my interest in working with musicians and gave me opportunities to continue working in the music industry after graduating.

After graduating from The Academy of Makeup Arts I started working independently as a freelance makeup artist. I began booking weddings in Nashville with the help of fellow artists Megan Burke, Amelia Fusco, and Mercy Anderson. I also connected with photographers in the area who inspired me as a makeup artist, and we began planning and executing photoshoots together.

Present-day, I am in love with my career as a makeup artist and have gotten the chance to work on some amazing projects for the summer of 2022. I have developed a roster of photographers, and musicians that I get to work with. I have even started working on local commercials and films. Being a Makeup Artist in Nashville, TN is hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I am happy where I am right now, and I can’t wait to see my artistry grow.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Anyone who is new to the creative industry knows that rarely anything happens overnight. Working as a Makeup Artist, especially freelancing has its ups and downs. I like to think of my career journey as the ocean, you have to ride the waves.

Starting off there were moments when I felt as if I hadn’t made any progress, and when I wouldn’t book anything for two weeks straight. Then all of a sudden I would have emails coming in from clients or photographers wanting to book me, and my schedule would be full for three weeks straight.

Everything feels like it comes in waves, and I’m sure other newer makeup artists can relate. You have to stay patient, and you have to hustle for what you want. The work isn’t going to come to you right away, you have to stay determined and reach out for it yourself.

Taking care of my mental health has had its moments. Everything happened very quickly with my career, and I felt like I was kind of tossed into the industry here in Nashville. With that came a lot of anxiety, and overwhelming feelings. Learning to have self-care days, and take time to let my creative mind breathe was very important to me.

Balance is an important skill in life, and working in a creative field you have to learn it.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My makeup artistry varies with each job I’m working. An example of this is, that I may be working with a bride one day who wants to do a full glam moment with a lot of contours, a brown smokey eye, and a nude lip for a wedding.

Then the next day, I might be working with a musician who wants a white-winged eyeliner, and dewy skin for a Spotify photoshoot. For each look, I do my techniques change depending on what the look is for, and what my client wants.

My favorite makeup look to do right now is a summary bronzy skin that’s glowing with a lot of blush, natural eye makeup with lashes, and a nude lip. I also do have a thing for dramatic and dark editorial makeup as well!

I am most proud of the red eyeliner look I did with Kat HIl for her music video “New Old Friends”. This look sticks out to me the most because it was very fun to create, and stands out among other makeup looks I’ve done in the past! We did a heavy red eyeliner and paired it with a matching lip. It was very modern rockstar vibes, you can find this look and the link to her music video on my Instagram.

I believe a big factor that sets me apart from other artists is I have a small background in photography. I don’t do It as much anymore, but I understand how lighting and certain camera equipment will affect how the makeup looks on camera. I use those skills when planning makeup looks out for a project.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I feel like everything in the beauty & entertainment industry is always changing and evolving. I feel like there has been a big push for “working makeup artists” to almost double as influencers.

I feel like a few years ago there were “Influencers” and “working makeup artists”. Now, most of the actively working makeup artists I follow are also active on Instagram as influencers to the public. I think this is awesome and would love to see more professionals also taking on influencer roles.

I love where the beauty industry is going, and I’m excited to see it grow as more of a community and less of a competition. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a huge increase in sanitary protocols all around the industry and I am here for it!

I hope as an industry we stick to these, and we are always looking out for our client’s safety.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kasey Rees, Hayley Gjertsen, Kat Hil, Karrie Feig, Bre Kennedy, Alexia Valente, Issac Jones, Ryan Nolan, and Sean Gal

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