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Meet Kale – an LA makeup artist

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kale.

Kale, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
To summarize the first 18 years of my life, I grew up in a tiny little town in Texas where makeup was only a drugstore item, and I had no idea doing it was a job. I spent all my time drawing as a kid, and after high school, I decided to move away and attend an art school in “The Big City”, which to be fair, was any place with five or more digits in the population count. I landed at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.

Fast forward a few years, and I had started dabbling in makeup. I loved playing with over-the-top looks with lots of colors, and gluing down eyebrows, and the whole kitchen sink. I had become a huge fan of Alex Box, Kabuki, and of course Pat. It was around that time I decided I would be a makeup artist, but my artistry (and the industry) has evolved a lot in the years since.

At one point I won this big social media competition NARS did (before Instagram and all that came around…it had its own website). The objective was to recreate looks from one of François’ books, and people voted on the ones they liked…I think the pictures of me in those looks are still floating around on the internet, and they’re reasonably embarrassing. haha

What I won was a trip to NYFW. It was absolutely one of the most amazing, defining moments in my life. I met all these big time makeup artists and got to see them in action…Diane Kendal, James Kaliardos, as well as all the big NARS artists, and the legendary Mr. Nars himself. Almost immediately after that I moved to LA and had the opportunity to start assisting Uzo, whom I still know and count as a mentor to this day.

I’ve been in LA almost five years now. The wild, colorful looks have long gone, to be replaced (for the most part) with that clean, glowing Cali girl vibe. If you told me when I started that I’d spend most of my time making people look like they’re wearing next to nothing, I’m not sure I’d believe you. When I can get away with it, I still like a cool point of interest, but it’s likely to be just one unexpected thing on the eye or a bold lip. Almost never both.

At this point, I do have a lot of my own jobs and clients, but I’m still assisting as well. I don’t think this career has well-defined steps, like “here I am assisting for such and such time, and oh now I’m done with that and doing my own stuff for the rest of time”. There’s going to be some overlapping, which I’m fine with. Any chance to learn something new, I’m up for it.

Has it been a smooth road?
Is has been/is certainly a slow, uphill process. I’ll be completely honest. There have been days where I’ve sat in my car after a horrible day, or been at home for weeks on end with nothing coming in and thought “What on Earth am I doing? Why am I doing this?”

My advice to anyone trying to get into the business is to be prepared for the long haul. Be ready for a lot of “NO” and disappointment on the journey. It’s a lot like acting, where you have these lucky breaks here and there, and hopefully, at some point, you get “the BIG break”. As glamorous and fun as it looks, this job is really competitive, and it’s a lot of work. You have to really want it.

Tell us about your childhood, what were you like growing up?
I was a pretty quiet kid. I spent a lot of my time by myself, and would draw all day and night if left to my own devices. I watched at least as many nature documentaries as cartoons and loved learning about animals. I would tell adults everything I learned and was always surprised when they didn’t already know these things.

As far as kids my own age, I stayed quiet and sort of shy even through my teen years. I don’t think I really broke out of my shell until my twenties.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I get really nostalgic about spending summers with my grandparents. They lived about six hours away in Fort Worth, so we didn’t see them too often. But when we did, they’d take us (my brother and me) to Six Flags, and the Zoo, and we’d spend every evening catching fireflies in the backyard. That’s probably my favorite part.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well, of course, I intend on doing makeup for many many years to come. Some big changes might also be happening soon, but they’re under wraps for now! All good things.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.kaleteter.com
  • Email: kale.teter@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @kalelikethesalad
  • Other: @kale.teter on Snapchat

 

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