Today we’d like to introduce you to Graciella Masterton.
Graciella, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Being surrounded by creative people inevitably became a huge influence on who I am today. Especially growing up in Mexico, everyone in my life was an artist in their own way, from my parents to family friends and especially my friends today, I’ve always felt at home in a creative environment. I’m not built for life working a 9-5. I’ve done all kinds of jobs from trimming & budtending at dispensaries, service industry jobs, even some sales jobs and hated them all. It was miserable not making my own hours and having to answer to anyone that wasn’t me. You’ve all heard this corny ”I wanna be my own boss” bullshit before, it’s nothing new but if you know, you know. Regardless, this mentality kick-started my journey of ensuring I’d be a boss ass bitch. So first came webcam modeling then came being a karaoke hostess or “doumi”, which was great money, but heavy drinking and staying up till 6 am isn’t a good look to say the least. While working at karaoke bars, I enrolled in makeup school. I’ve always loved doing makeup on myself and my friends when we’d get ready to go out so it just made sense to me to try and make that Into a career. I had so much fun at school and really mastered different techniques and began to learn more about the business side of makeup which is what really made me want to take it to the next level.
I started doing makeup on other girls that worked at karaoke bars with me and friends that strip as well as prom and bridal gigs I’d book from previous clients referring me or through Instagram. Basically, anything people asked me to do, I did it. Eventually, I started doing makeup for different projects with stylists and photographers and runway makeup for Malcom Bracey of Pornhoodies. Around the same time, I was pursuing modeling and going to castings and doing as many gigs as I possibly could. It was mostly music videos and background work but I loved it, it was laid back and fun and I loved meeting new people that were on the same grind I was. Shortly after, I got signed to Contra agency, which felt so good not only because I hustled and DID it but especially because you don’t see a lot of girls with my measurements getting signed. Needless to say, I’m proud to be representing my thicc kweens out there, if I can do it so can you.
It wasn’t till after graduating makeup school that everything started to slow down, I wasn’t getting booked as often for makeup, karaoke was becoming oversaturated with tons of girls it became really competitive and I wasn’t making enough money with that either. I was starting to worry and began brainstorming other things I could do to make money. I had been getting tooth gems from my now mentor and good friend Michelle, a tooth jeweler and manufacturer running her own business “Sugar Tooth Jewels” since 2008. I saw her post on Instagram about her offering training and asked her more about it. It was an investment but I figured that it was worth it especially with how things were looking for me. With the help of my amazingly supportive father, I got a loan from him and began training. Before I knew it, I was getting booked regularly and back on my feet. Tooth jewelry definitely wasn’t what I thought I would be doing full time but I’ve completely fallen in love with it. I started booking events with Tara Byars and Justlickndip Entertainment, doing pop-ups all over LA and began working with Mamlaya Shop in my hometown San Miguel de Allende, Mexico doing pop-ups at their boutique. It’s really been a blessing to be able to do what I love and bring the experience to the country where I grew up.
Great, 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?
Getting here wasn’t easy and I’m not even close to being finished. I struggled a lot with drug addiction since a young teenager which lead to making a lot of bad choices and hitting many other bumps in the road. I’m now two and a half years clean from drugs. I still struggle with major depression and anxiety but I’ve gotten so much help and support from family and friends that I know how to handle it head-on and still live my best life and not let it consume me. Anxiety kept me from pursuing so many opportunities and chances I thought were going to be my one shot at success when in reality that wasn’t true. I was finally taking care of myself for the first time in my life after getting clean and realized I needed that time to get better and just put life on pause for a minute so that I could bounce back and boss up! I wouldn’t have it any other way, my mistakes and failures taught me so much and made me so resilient. I learned that when you get knocked flat on your ass you just get back up and try again. I feel amazing and I’m just barely getting started.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I still do everything I love. I still will get booked for a shoot or video with my agency now and then. I always say yes when people want to book me for makeup, I’m still so passionate about it and I just love to create looks that make someone feel beautiful, it’s the most rewarding part of my craft. It’s the same feeling I get with tooth jewelry, clients leave feeling brand new and smiling from ear to ear. I love it so much.
At the moment, tooth jewelry is what I do full time but I’ll never stop modeling and doing makeup. I’m proud of how well I’ve done especially being self-made and doing things I haven’t seen other jewelers do. Me and my homegirl Denise of American Electric Tattoo created a rainbow Swarovski outline on her tooth which really helped me stand out as a jeweler since it hasn’t been done before! I really do pride myself on gem placement and retention as well as thinking outside the box to make every client experience as unique as they are. I like to place gems in a way that helps a clients smile and suits them & their vibe. I want them to leave feeling confident and upgraded.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My sister Sophia and I are very close which I’m immensely grateful for. Anything involving us making each other laugh or doing something stupid and teasing each other about it are my favorite memories, there’s so many that come to mind. Even memories of us fighting and hating each other for 20 mins and then watching cartoons together like nothing happened to make me smile.
- Crystals $80
- Gold charms $100-$180
- Phone: 8186208098
Tara Byars, Morgan A. Coffey