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Meet West LA Makeup Artist: Ashley Kucich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Kucich.

Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I originally thought I would go into psychology, as I have always had a fascination with understanding and helping people. However, I was equally passionate about the arts. I didn’t know when I chose it, but being a makeup artist would end up fulfilling both of my passions.

When I was starting out, I dabbled in many different areas in the industry. Everything from TV to runway, commercials, music videos, even the blood and the guts and the gore with prosthetics. I tried everything related to my field. At one point, I worked on a giant king kong replica that went to universal studios. Sometimes you just have to keep trying new paths until you stumble onto the right one.

I landed in beauty makeup mostly for print, commercial and the celebrity market. I was mostly happy with my work, but there was still something missing, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but if I was being honest with myself, I wasn’t truly fulfilled. So, part of my journey included stopping working in the beauty industry for 2 years to go realign myself with who I really was and what I really wanted.

After my soul searching, I’ve been back working in the industry with even more passion than I started with 10 years ago. I realized that what is and always has been important to me was making beauty and art, loving the people you are creating with, and helping people to be the most beautiful and confident version of themselves.

Within the last year, I have struck a nice balance between working in the beauty industry and creating my own passion projects to help women understand the importance of their inner beauty and the simplicity of their outer beauty.

I am so happy I took the time to step back and look at what direction I was going, instead of just drifting along with an emptiness in my heart. Now each (most) days, I know I am on the path that is right for me, and each step I take is with certainty and excitement. It’s been a great journey so far and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 will bring!

Has it been a smooth road?
No good road is ever perfectly smooth. The only smooth roads I’ve ever encountered are the ones where I’m playing WAY too small and it’s just too easy of a game. I’m not saying you need a crazy bumpy road either because those roads can knock us out completely. A healthy road to be on is a balanced one. There, of course, will be obstacles, but those bumps are critical, that’s how we grow, by overcoming what we once couldn’t.

Personally, I would say I had two main struggles:
First, not knowing what direction I wanted to go. You can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where you want to go. So that was the first thing for me to figure out. I would recommend to anyone that doesn’t know where they are headed to get out of that confusion first before doing anything else. Even if part of your plan is to just go try a bunch of different stuff to see what you like and what you don’t. That’s a good use of your time. Knowing what you don’t want will help to you figure out what you do want.

Second, not knowing how to be successful. I spent too much time doing the wrong actions. I should have asked more questions to get all the information I needed so I could be working on the right things.
I’m sure the following apply in most fields but these were the areas I needed to work on and that I continue to work on. Providing a good service and doing good work, being on time, being timely when doing my work, being a good communicator, being kind, pleasant and open, marketing myself more than I’m comfortable doing, getting comfortable talking about money and negotiating pricing, managing my finances, being organized, being honest, keeping myself and those around me inspired, and always pushing myself up against my own edge.

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
For a long time, my focus was on “making it”, now my focus has shifted to making art that makes me happy and working with people who I enjoy spending time with. If there are any big changes coming down the pike, it would be to make more time for projects I’m passionate about.

Let’s explore some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way. What was the most difficult part of your career so far?
The hardest time in my life had nothing to do with my career, but it did influence how I would handle the hard times throughout my career.

When I was 19, I had a very traumatic experience happen and I had no clue how to get through it. Up till then the hardest thing I had to deal with was which college I was going to go to. And then, WHAM, I got hit like a freight train and felt entirely incapable of dealing with something at this magnitude.

I think that’s the hardest part about dealing with big life experiences, especially when you are young, is that unknown factor. You haven’t been through anything up till that point to know that you are strong enough to withstand mass amounts of pain…and you actually don’t know that for sure until you get to the other side.

So how does anyone get through hard times? You just keep going. Some days really suck and some days REALLY REALLY SUCK, and some days are ok, but no matter what, you just have to keep going.

It was a constant battle for me and for a long time, every step forward felt like 3 steps back. There were plenty of times where I wanted to give up. I was in so much pain and didn’t want to keep going, life seemed completely chaotic and entirely out of my control, but somehow I kept making the decision to keep going.

And then, somehow, you get to the other side of this weird obstacle course life set up for you, and your gift is a knowingness that you are capable of dealing with so much more than you ever knew was possible.

Then, at some point down the road, you’ll likely come across more of these life obstacles, but in the back of your mind, you know, I’ve dealt with worse, I can get through this. Or, I’ve made it through before when I had no clue how I would ever make it, I can do it again. And you have that, forever, and no one can take that away and you get to carry that knowingness into every area of your life.

What about “Wow-moments” – any moments that stick out? Any moments when you felt like you had made it?
I love WOW moments, I think we all get excited about seeing our achievements actualized. I’ve for sure had many along the way. The thing about those WOW moments is the moment you achieve it it’s done, then you’ve got to set a new goal otherwise you start to just drift along.

Now I love taking the time each year to set new goals and work towards achieving them so I can have as many WOW moments as I can experience in this life.

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