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Meet Kelli Zehnder of Kelli Zehnder Hair & Makeup in Silverlake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelli Zehnder.

Kelli, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started in the 90’s working for MAC Cosmetics while in college at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I was working with brides, then fashion shows, and music videos. When I moved back to Los Angeles, my hometown, I began testing with fashion photographers building my portfolio. At this time I had to collect a negative from the photographer and take it to the lab to be printed lol. Anyway in 2008 when I gave birth to my daughter I went back to school at Los Angeles Trade Tech earning my cosmetology license. Now I cut and color hair in Silverlake and continue to freelance for advertising etc mostly with Chad Alan photographer in L.A.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been many struggles but as the Nigerian proverb says, “smooth seas do not make for skillful sailors” For the most part people that I have met and collaborated with have been great and my clientele is awesome. I can give you 2 struggles that I can think of, one when a model kept crying and fighting with her boyfriend on the phone as soon as I finished eye makeup. I would reapply and then she started all over again. The other was when I was asked by a certain photographer to help him on a shoot and he kept criticizing me the entire time to the point where he felt that he had to go home and get his little suitcase of makeup and do it himself. I cringed as he blew on the model’s eyes trying to dry the lash glue faster. He later texted me to give me his “constrictive” (sic)criticism. I could go on but at the end of the day I love what I do and there are many characters in this field
and I have learned for the most part not to take any of it personally. I guess the other major challenge is that as a single mom there is just never enough time.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Kelli Zehnder Hair & Makeup story. Tell us more about the business.
So my company is basically myself and my two assistants. I do hair and makeup and lots of listening. I am known for my color work. I am most proud that I can support my children and am able to give back to others. I love working with Makeovers That Matter a group dedicated to female veterans, as well as Uprising Yoga where I get to go to the juvenile hall to primp the girls once a year. I also am passionate about perinatal mental health which helps women get help without judgment if they are suffering mentally after giving birth. All of these opportunities are so wonderful and I am blessed to be able to contribute.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Hmmm, I saw on National Geographic that grooming is actually the oldest profession in the world and all this time I thought it was something else. So I can’t say that there will be any major changes although I am planning a big one with my own career that I, unfortunately, can’t share just yet. My goal is always to make my client look and feel beautiful as opposed to her eye makeup or her highlights look good. I want you to notice the eyes, not the makeup so I hope that the shift will be in terms of appreciating natural beauty as opposed to going against it or competing with it so much.


  • Balayage $160
  • Full Highlights $150
  • Airbrush Makeup $125

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2850 West Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90026
  • Website:
  • Phone: 323.812.9583
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @kellizhairandmakeup
  • Facebook: Kelli Zehnder Hair and Makeup
  • Twitter: kellizehnder
  • Yelp: Kelli Zehnder Heir and Makeup

Image Credit:
Chad Alan
Robert Wilde

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