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Life & Work with Karla Bonilla

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karla Bonilla.

Karla, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I began training to become a makeup artist in 2014 when I enrolled myself in a 4-week makeup course to learn the basics. Around the same time, I began working at Rite Aid as a Beauty Advisor. I practiced on the occasional in-store makeup client and a few freelance gigs outside of work.

After working on a particular short film, I became interested in special effects makeup. So I looked for a program and immediately enrolled in a one-year makeup course at E.I. School of Profesional Makeup. In 2016, while still in school, I left Rite Aid to work for the beauty brand POPbeauty. I worked full-time with POP and simultaneously worked with POP’s sister company, Pixi, in the education department for the last six years. Meanwhile, I never stopped freelancing. I said yes to every opportunity that came up, paid and non-paid, it didn’t matter as long as I was gaining valuable experience. Earlier this year I made the tough decision to leave the comforts of a stable corporate job in beauty to dedicate all my time to being a full-time freelance makeup artist. It has been one of the best decisions yet.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has been a bumpy road. It has taken many failures and discoveries to get me up to this point. Self-doubt, juggling multiple jobs, the anxiety, and pressure to meet your own and other’s expectations, and at the same time trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to make it in this industry, and sometimes sacrifices need to be made. I’ve missed many huge friends and family life events. I’ve run myself to the ground working nonstop for weeks on end. Sometimes you have days on set that can be defeating if you let them. It has not been an easy road but it has been gratifying to overcome.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a makeup artist trained in beauty, theatre, fashion, special effects, TV, and Film. I am also experienced in makeup and skincare education. My specialty is in beauty makeup. Although I love to play around with special effects as well. I work on several types of projects including photography, film, TV, and with private clients for special events. The same thing that sets me apart from others is what I am most proud of. I am driven and bring a high level of professionalism to every project I work on. Along with my work ethic, I do my best to always bring all the good vibes. A great attitude can take you very far.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I was a bit of an introverted extrovert, I was initially shy and quiet in any situation but would come out of my shell when I was comfortable. I was also known to get a little sassy when I felt necessary. I was super close to my mom and brothers. I was attached to my mom’s hip and often admired her and her beauty routines. I loved to watch her as she’d get ready for parties or a night out. When I wasn’t with her, I was with the boys, growing up with them made me equally a tomboy. I was a little rugged thanks to them.

As I got older, my interest in fashion and beauty grew. As a little girl, I liked to sew little outfits for my dolls, I’d sketch out clothing designs and eventually started discovering makeup. My love for makeup flourished in my teenage years and once I graduated high school and entered the working world, the path led me to be at the right place and the right time for my journey to begin.

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Image Credits
Valerie Burke

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