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Conversations with Armando Kole

Today we’d like to introduce you to Armando Kole.

Hi Armando, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
So before makeup, I was always obsessed with art and pop culture. For as long as I could remember I was either drawing and painting on anything I could or spending my whole day learning more about my favorite celebrities through magazines and the internet. Not too short after, both loves began to merge and the only thing I began to draw were faces, and more specifically, faces of powerful women that I looked up to. The second I crossed paths with makeup tutorials, I immediately became fascinated and began to see myself as a makeup artist. At 11 years old is when I began learning and practicing makeup, and by 13 I was taking appointments and started posting and sharing my work!

At the time, I lived in New Jersey, and I heard about a makeup school, Artist Makeup Academy in Hoboken. I begged my mom to let me go there, and eventually she listened! I was the youngest student in my class and the youngest to ever go to the school. That is when I truly began to meet more people in the industry; and learn more about the career that I quickly grew so in love with.

After makeup school, I was constantly doing test shoots and practicing on models so that I could stay consistent with my Instagram. Not too short after, Covid happened and it felt as if all of my progress had been taken from me while the whole world was in quarantine. Instead, it allowed me to teach myself more techniques, and stay consistent with social media by doing content on my family members. It also helped because I was still finishing high school, and was able to stay in remote learning for my final two years which gave me all the opportunity to go out and do bookings once it was safe to work again.

During quarantine; I began to cater my makeup style to the clients that I wanted to achieve.; celebrities! And I started to create a signature look for people to go to me for. By the time it was safe to work again, I was booking more clients than ever before, and started booking high-profile clients and celebrities!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road by any means, however, I wouldn’t change a thing. As stated earlier, my artistic interests sparked very early in life for me. For a while, society and my environment made me feel like that was an imperfection, rather than a benefit. I stood out like a sore thumb since elementary school, because I wasn’t like the majority of my peers. I never wanted to do sports, I worshipped female pop icons, my voice was higher than all of the boys my age, and all of my interests were more feminine. Because of this, for a while I fought between the choices of pursuing all of the things that excited me or acting like the other boys in my age group to fit in. I was so afraid of being different for a while that when I first created my makeup Instagram, I made sure not to use my first name or my full last name so that no one from the school was able to find me. Thankfully, the support of my family and friends, as well as the happiness I got from the things I loved motivated me to pursue my path to the fullest with transparency and pride. I am so glad that things worked out the way that they did, and I think the feeling of exclusion that I felt during school, motivated me to accomplish my dreams even more!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a professional celebrity makeup artist! I get the honor of working with amazing people every single day, and I get to use my artistic expression on my beautiful clients as my canvases! I think the look I am most known for, is my signature soft matte glam. It is what my clients ask the most for, and is what a lot of muas admire me for! I have been showered with so many amazing milestones and achievements but what hits the hardest for me is getting to work with people and brands that I’ve looked up to. I have had the honor to work with Cardi B, Lil Kim, Ashanti, Monique Coleman, and so many more amazing people. I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to have 2 Sephora campaigns alongside a brand I’ve admired since I started, Lilly lashes.

I think what sets me apart from others is the fact that although I have a signature look, I do not let it obstruct my range and versatility. I try my hardest to be cultured in every makeup style and time period. Whether it’s glam, editorial, bridal, SFX, no makeup-makeup, or theatrical. More importantly, I pride myself in my inclusivity of clientele- as I make it an effort to be educated in every skin tone, skin type, and skin undertone as if it were my own.

Any big plans?
So one of my big major changes that was in the works for a while was actually moving to LA from NY! Ever since I started working in LA, I knew this was the place that I had to be to get myself to the next level. In regards to the future, I truly want to accomplish any and everything I can in the world of makeup. I’d love to work with more role models of mine, work on more campaigns, more magazines, more music videos, etc. Overall I’d really just love to follow in the footsteps of some of my makeup idols! However, the ultimate goal is to be able to have my own makeup brand!

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