Q & A With Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist Krista Perry

So thrilled one of my best friends is being featured on Go French Yourself about her passion for makeup, her must-have beauty products of the moment and her journey towards success. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Krista's work, she is one of the most talented makeup and hair artists out there. Super jelly of her A-list clientele too. I keep begging her to have me tag along on set. It's truly amazing to watch her work and watch a face come alive, especially on someone's wedding day. She really is a master at her craft. We had so much fun working together on a Rimmel London campaign where our friendship blossomed. Any time I come across a quick makeup trick, it’s gold in my books. Especially if said trick makes a world of a difference, I employ it daily. I take a lot of tips from this babe and I know you will too. 

So excited for you to get up close and personal with Krista! Honored she took a  few moments out of her hectic schedule to give us a bird’s eye view into her world of beauty one question at a time.


Interview with Krista: 

-How did you find your passion for makeup and hair?

When I was a little girl I had a lot of free time growing up as an only child. I adored Christina Aguilera and the way her makeup and hair always looked. I would sit in front of my full length mirror and apply and reapply my makeup to look like hers. Granted my photo reference was off a color printed sheet of computer paper haha. Of course in the end the makeup and hair looked nothing like the picture, but I would sure try to duplicate it. After I was finished I would capture a "selfie" with a Polaroid camera. Of course this is year 2000, so proper selfies weren't born yet. I kept this dream in the back of my mind that maybe one day I could be a makeup artist. But alternative careers always seemed like a pipe dream in my family.

-Tell us about your journey to becoming a makeup artist/hair stylist, did you go to school for it?

Becoming a makeup artist/hairstylist has been quite the journey. When I graduated high school at seventeen the natural progression was to go to college. Even though I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After racking my brain for days on end in the college career center, bringing home pamphlets on nursing and respiratory therapy, I realized college wasn't for me. Nothing was exciting to me, I felt like I had to choose something just to do something with my life. I finished with an associates degree and started freelance marketing as a brand ambassador and spokesmodel throughout the state of Florida. 

As a freelance spokesmodel I had the opportunity to work with beautiful girls in the industry. They were always talking about photo shoots and updating their headshots for our agencies. Once I started to become friends with these girls I offered to do their hair and makeup for the experience. That's what sparked a love to be on set with models and to see your work come to life on camera. Realizing I don't really know what I'm doing with makeup or hair, I decided to research some schools in the state. I really didn't want to go to hair school because I did not want to cut and color in a hair salon. So I came across Joe Blasco Makeup Artist Training Center. Taking a tour of the school really excited the young artist in me. I had stars in my eyes while on the tour. Getting to see all the movie posters that former students, now trained professionals worked on really opened by eyes to the potential this industry had to offer. I could have signed my life over to that school right then and there. But, talking with my family and convincing them this was a good idea and real career that I wanted to be apart of, was the hard part. After a reluctant few months with my family, I finally got signed up to go to my dream school and become a "Professional Makeup Artist!" 

Months passed and I completed the Masters I program at Joe Blasco Makeup Artist Training Center in Orlando, FL. We had a large class of around 30 students. Seeing the faces of students who all have the same dream I did, made me realize that you need to be professional 24/7 and have the capability of doing any skill/task asked of you. Which brings me back to hair styling. After school I started getting requests for makeup and "light" hair styling. I was very intimidated to heat style hair when I really didn't know how to use a curling iron. Not knowing how to do something sends me into research mode with my computer and then it always leads me to sign up for classes. 

After freelancing as a makeup artist with great success right out of Joe Blasco Makeup Artist Training Center, I signed up for 13 month hair school at the Aveda Institute, within a year. I learned so much about hair and have so many tools for my craft. Even though I don't work in a hair salon and do daily cutting and coloring, I have so much confidence in hair styling that I wouldn't change my decision in attending school.

I am a huge advocate for education. It teaches you proper techniques, sanitation standards, and just overall confidence. I am skilled and trained in beauty makeup, special fx, prosthetic sculpting and application, old age makeup, period makeup, bridal, tattoo cover-up, airbrush makeup, commercial/production makeup, beard construction, hair styling, hair cutting, male grooming, beard shaping, updos, hair chemical processing/coloring. The more you can do in this industry the more you will get hired.  

-What was your first big opportunity? 

My first big opportunity was assisting a makeup artist/hairstylist in Orlando. I found her job posting towards the end of my schooling while attending Joe Blasco Makeup Artist Training Center, on our community job board. I reached out to her at least 6 times to remind her I was still available and would love to work with her. She finally gave me a shot. I started working along side her for a production company doing hair and makeup for Universal Studios in Orlando. This opportunity was for their nation-wide commercials for Universal Studios theme parks to promote their new attractions. Then we worked for Hilton Hotels, followed by other random production jobs. 

-Who inspired you/ Who are some Make-Up artists you admire and why?

Around the time I was inspired by Christina Aguilera's makeup, I had a gift card to a book store. Instead of getting the latest Harry Potter book I decided to check out the "Fashion and Beauty" section of the store. That's when I discovered the legend, Kevyn Aucoin. I picked up this large book called "Making Faces" and I was in love. I took this book everywhere! Not to mention I still have it.  The book captivated me because it was a makeup guide with before and after photos showing each steps on achieving particular looks on so many familiar faces in show biz. Years later I discovered Kevyn Aucoin had passed away around the same time I discovered his book. He helped ignite the passion inside of me from beyond the grave with his incredible makeup book. 

-Favorite makeup brands? Hair brands?

My professional kit is a modge poge of professional products that are meeting the needs or concerns my clients have. I love Temptu foundation- the coverage is amazing, Viseart concealers and eyeshadows are a new discovery for me-- I don't know how I've done makeup without them, along with the Mario Badescu skin care line- It is so affordable and truly skin changing! I literally cannot get enough of these new products in my life. I also adore coverFX foundation drops- they pack a serious punch with coverage that's build-able to your coverage needs. Urban decay is always a go to for eye-shadow palettes that are either edgy or conservative. I love IT Cosmetics, I always brag about their products to fellow makeup artists. 

For hair I love Aveda's styling line and I love the Big Sexy Hair Line. These are always in my traveling kit. 

-What is a day in the life of a freelance makeup artist / hairstylist look like? 

A day in the life of a FREELANCE hair and makeup artist is all about building relationships and the constant hustle. I cannot stress enough how important it is to build friendly relationships with peers in the industry. At the end of the day we all know who is loyal, trustworthy, and has your back. Being solely a freelancer, when your phone rings you answer it! That can mean the difference in the world between you and another artist who takes 3 days to get back to someone. In the beginning I learned to never say no, be a yes man. You never know what a small job can turn into for the future.

-What 5 items do you always carry in your makeup bag? What are your tools of the trade?

5 items I always carry in my personal makeup bag are, 

  • Lips! There's nothing worse than your lips coming off mid way through an evening. Always carry your lipstick for touch-ups. 
  • Oil removing sheets, I like to use these instead of caking on makeup over oily skin.
  • Blot powder, I always use this after I have removed oil from my skin
  • Mascara, because sometimes I like to touch-up my bottom lashes
  • Altoids, being a makeup artist you are always in peoples faces. Gum can be very obnoxious so I prefer mints.

-How do you like doing your own makeup?

I personally don't do my makeup unless I am meeting a client or going to work on a job. When I do my everyday makeup look I spend about 10 minutes. I have perfected my 10 minute face. This consists of: Foundation, blush, highlight, bronzer, brows, light eyeshadow, mascara, and lips. 

-Favorite makeup trends of the moment?

Makeup trends are a sticky subject for makeup artists working in the industry. You-tubers and Instagram makeup people are dictating what is trendy. For artists who work in the commercial/production world, none of these wild trends translate for us in our everyday work life. There is major controversy online about this subject. With that being said, I like to stay away from trends and stick to what's best for my client. I love creating timeless looks.  

-Where do you see trends going for Spring/Summer for brides? 

For bridal trends, I do like to reference up-to-date bridal magazines. I love the flawless skin with pops of color on the lips. Skin is in and will always be in! I love messy hairstyles for outdoor weddings. On the flip side, I love polished hairstyles for more black tie weddings. 

-Any makeup tips for starters?

Don't get sucked into the pretty consumer packaging. I myself have been guilty of this recently. Remember to not judge a product by its cover. If you find a product that has solved an issue you are trying to address than stick with it. No sense in having 5 products that all do the same thing because you were sucked into buying them. 

-You just recently finished wrapping on a Feature Film for the past 4 months. Tell me about the movie and the experience?

The film I just recently wrapped on shot for 3 months in Oklahoma, 1 month in Louisiana, finishing with 1 month in Italy . Since we did sign script NDA's and without giving too much away our Starbright film's IMDB page http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1742179/ says, "A young orphan escapes the realities of her life by fantasizing about and then entering a fairy tale world."

We were so lucky to have such an incredible cast for this film. Our leading lady, Alexandra Dowling is one to watch out for. She is an actress from the UK and is stunning on the inside and out.

This experience has been one of the top for me as a freelance hair and makeup artist. The relationship and bond that was built while working with the hair and makeup leads has to be one of the best. Getting to watch and learn about new products and techniques is powerful. We all lived away from home for so many months that we became family. Coming back to everyday life has been a huge change.

-First thought on the day of Filming?

The first day of filming was extremely hectic. The start of the day was terrible, because my GPS took me to an entirely different location. I am so happy I leave with plenty of time because I was able to make it with 5 minutes to spare of my call time. That's why you always give yourself plenty of time for mishaps! Then we had lots of looks to execute that morning and I cut my finger doing a men's haircut. I was in hurry up and go mode trying to not bleed out all over the actor. Then since I wasn't early there was no time to eat. Live and learn, always be extra early! 

-What was the overall look of the makeup/hair in the movie?

The overall makeup and hair look that Sharon Tabb and Shelly D'Apolito created for this film was very natural and whimsical. Our leading lady went from a blonde to a brunette for the film and looked so good doing it. Sharon made sure she had a angelical glow for the entire film.

-Were there any challenges you encountered while working on location?

Luckily while working on location we had a beautiful hair and makeup trailer. The hardest part for us being on location came while being in the middle of nowhere and not having cell service. Sometimes we would have makeup and hair to do in the trailer while one of us was on set. If we needed to get a hold of each other it made it a little more difficult. Also, having no cell service means your cell phone died quicker. I highly recommend an external battery charger. It will save your life! 

-Would you leave the bridal world and just do movies/production? If so, why? 

I personally like a balance in my life. I am so grateful to work up to 80 hours a week as a freelance makeup artist / hairstylist. I wouldn't want to limit myself to just one industry since they are so different. I am so grateful to have a career in production as equally a career in the wedding industry. 

-Do you have a lot of creative freedom in your own work? Bridal? Film?

I actually just had this conversation with someone recently. I do not feel I have creative freedom as a hair and makeup artist and I'm ok with that.  When I work with a bride they usually know exactly what look they are seeking from me. So for me to be creative would do their request no good and they would probably hate it, because it wouldn't be "their vision". I can always suggest my professional opinion if I feel something is working for that particular person. The same goes for celeb clients, they all have their formula of how they want their hair styled or makeup applied to look like. I can't recreate someone's look, so I listen and execute the best to my abilities. My job is to make people feel good about themselves before they walk down the isle, attend a spectacular event, or go in front of the camera. 

-Solid piece of advice for the young aspiring celebrity makeup/hair stylist?

It's all about being yourself. People want to hire you and be around you because your skill and your personality-- the two go hand in hand. Put down your phone and listen to what your client is telling you. Always be respectful and go above and beyond, that will get you far with people. 

One of my favorite tips from a past producer: When you're on time you're late. Always arrive 15 minutes early to set up your station and find where you need to be. 

-Favorite celebrity clients thus far?

I truly have been so lucky to work with an awesome list of celebrities. Some of the most memorable are Jack White from the White Stripes- he truly oozed cool to be around, PITBULL the singer, John Rhys-Davies from Lord of the Rings- is one of the sweetest men alive, Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter- talk about a little girls dream come true, Becky Ann Baker from GIRLS- total babe, Tory Johnson from Good Morning America, Diego Boneta from Scream Queens- literally the best attitude and spirit in the industry, Pioneer Women- whom I got to assistant with the wonderful makeup artist Sharon Tabb, Ree was the absolute sweetest, Kevin Durant formally OKC Thunder Basketball player, and Adrian Patridge form the Hills, complete down to earth stunning girl and my first celebrity client.

-Favorite memory of the recent movie you worked on and why?

The best memory of the recent film I worked on is just being with the cast and crew. We all developed an incredible bond with one another and that's what kept us waking up every morning. We were a team and counted on each other each and every day. 

I will say we would throw awesome dance parties every night in our trailer at wrap. Keeping the morale high on this long shoot was so important for us all. One of our actors Diego Boneta, really loved to listen to classic hits. I had on the Bee Gee's one evening and he dropped it like it's hot and split his pants right down his bum. At that exact same time I was recording the dance party on my phone. Too top off this epic moment caught on camera, Buzz Feed featured an article about my video.  IT WAS HYSTERICAL!! 

-What is next for you Krista?

Next for me is to continue to build my wedding business, Tulsa Bridal Beauty. Dive deeper into my style and beauty blog Exquisite Mayhem, and continue the grind with my production work. This summer will end my 3rd consecutive contract working for ESPN. I would love to do more traveling with clients for destination weddings and production work and just accepted a job with a traveling production company as the hair and makeup artist for commercials.  I also would love to invent a product. I have a small list of things that I would like to get serious about. I have high hopes to work New York Fashion week or Miami Swim week. Other than that continuing the daily grind!

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