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Rising Stars: Meet Kirsten Gavina

Kirsten, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up in a very small city in Southern California. I was always surrounded by extremely intelligent peers who always knew what they wanted to do with their lives. For me, things were very much different. Growing up, I was very exposed to the arts, I took dance for ten years along with piano and fine arts. I have always had such an instant connection to anything in the creative industry. But because of where I grew up, I always thought I had to blend in and choose a career path in something very secure and impressive. Right out of college, I decided to just do general business at Cal Poly Pomona. I was very unhappy and not interested at all. I most importantly wanted to make my parents proud so I convinced myself it will get better over time. Some days I would just cry myself to sleep because I felt like I was forcing myself to be someone who I knew I was not. As much as I wanted to believe this is what I should do with my life, I had to make a change. I made a risky decision and dropped out.

Luckily with the amazing love and support of my family, I went to pursue Makeup Artistry at Make-Up Designory LA in Burbank, California. I could not have done this without them. Little did I know this was going to change my life forever. I have never felt so passionate about anything I have ever done in my life. I was going to do whatever it took to succeed. The commute was intense (About 2 hours each way on the metro train) but I didn’t even care because I loved it so much. Right out of makeup school I made so many connections. I was so blessed to work on all sorts of multimedia gigs. I’ve done LA Fashion Week, magazine shoots, short films, music videos.. you name it! I felt so grateful to have been busy with work just straight after school. I’ve also had the opportunity to do makeup for amazing brands such as Lancôme and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. I still felt like something was missing, so that’s when I dabbled into the wedding industry.

After I did my first bride, I knew that this is what I was meant to do. That instant gratification when my clients look at themselves in the mirror- almost in tears as they admire their transformation was pure fulfillment for me. I joined a bridal team in Pasadena, CA the same year I finished school and I’ve been doing weddings almost every weekend since! It’s crazy to see how far I’ve come and how I’ve built my brand over the past five years. To this day, I still do a few multimedia gigs here and there. It is a part of me that I will never let go of. I’ve also returned back to school to add more tools under my belt as a licensed cosmetologist. I cannot wait to see where this takes me. I hope to one day open my own studio somewhere in the area and just keep growing.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely not!! There were so many bumps along the way to where I am now. Something at the beginning that I learned not to get to me was people judging my career choice. This is my full-time job. Not a side hustle or just a weekend thing. It is not traditional nor a “normal” job so I made sure to work extra hard in silence to prove that it definitely is. I removed myself and my personal life from social media for the first few years. I wanted to really establish myself in the industry to show everyone what I’m really capable of. I did a ton of free work at the beginning of my career.. some days I would think how am I going to make a living out of this?? Hard work definitely gets you places, and knowing the right people!! I can truly speak from experience. I remember sacrificing my whole social life out of my early twenties just so I can jumpstart my career but I kept telling myself it will all be worth it in the end. Confidence and faith have guided me down the road, I never doubted myself. And if I did, I made sure to snap out of it quickly.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Originally I started as a Multimedia Makeup Artist. I was known for fashion shows, music videos, films, editorial work. A lot of the jobs I was getting needed hair styling too so that’s when I had to teach myself to do that as well. Then I branched out into bridal which is what I still do today. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few tricks like eyelash extensions, microblading, and now hair cut and coloring. I think what sets me apart from others is that I like to consider myself the Jack of All Trades. I believe that the more you can do, the more you can offer. Being very diverse in what you know makes yourself stand out more.

Any big plans?
Since being in the industry for five years now, I hope to one day open my own small studio where I can offer all of my services. I feel like I’ve collected a lot of experience and am almost at the place in my life where I can do this! I hope to keep growing my business and to be more present on social media now that I have built a brand for myself.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

@aevitasweddings @hilaurenhello @dee.lake_ Isabel Dimaranan Addam Rodriguez

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