Kim Reyes, Makeup, SFX & Body Paint Artist, Tells Her Story

Being a Navy brat, I moved to a different city and/or country every three years and being an extremely shy child, I found comfort in drawing, painting and dressing up my menagerie of pets in fashionable costumes. My mother was an artist and it also came naturally to me. I didn't remember this but she recently gave me old drawings I did when I was four years old and they were all female figures with long black eyelashes and ruby lips!

I remember in my teens making up my poor 11-year-old sister and photographing her in ridiculously overdone makeup and my version of couture outfits - it was the 80's!!  It wasn't until my 2nd or 3rd career that I discovered I could make a living doing those lashes and lips.
After earning a degree in Marketing and Fashion Design, working in the ski fashion industry in Aspen, Colorado, then the New York fashion scene for several years I felt empty, hollow and unfulfilled in my career choice. I made my way back to Virginia where I got a makeup counter job and fell in love with making women look and feel pretty.

The Georgetowner Magazine Cover

I loved being able to transform women into a more flattering vision of themselves through makeup but I hated the retail grind and sales goals. Two years later I took a job with a wonderful jewelry designer for 9 years and was able to use my makeup skills for all her media, while meeting and working with photographers. During that time, I was able to save money to build my makeup kit.
In 2001 I set out on my own, all the while taking classes and workshops to hone my makeup skills. I spent countless hours testing (working for free with photographers and models) to get good images for my portfolio. I also learned and loved body painting and special effects makeup, which has taken me to many interesting jobs and situations.

Personal Project (Georgia O'Keefe inspired) Backdrop, Costuming, Body Paint 

I have body painted models for fashion shows, art openings and private parties, made up role players with bloody injuries for first responders and mass casualty exercises around the country and created war injuries on role players in the middle of the desert for the US Army's pre-deployment training.
 Injury Makeup

My client list includes celebrities, politicians, astronauts, Supreme Court Justices and everyone in-between.  I work in television, video, print, live events, and charities like The Look Good Feel Better (makeup lessons for cancer patients) and Flashes of Hope (photo-shoots for terminally ill children and their families). Currently, I'm working a few times a month creating wounds and medical conditions for a production company that produces nursing training videos and textbooks.

Newsweek - Alan Greenspan

I just love what I do and the fact that every day is a brand new experience: new locations, new people, new challenges, and working for myself!

Current Mattress Warehouse Ad

Aldrin Michele Richard, Chef
My job can be challenging and surprising. I was booked to do grooming for a famous chef with a celebrity photographer and what I ended up having to do for the shots was to break a raw egg over the chef's head, mush it into his beard and then clean it all off after the shot. 

IDEM Cover
My job can also be very glamorous. I had a magazine shoot about octogenarian lawyers and had to very tactfully remove nose, ear and chin hair from both the men and the women. I've had more than a handful of times when I've been down on all fours with bleach scrubbing up fake bloodstains from floors, furniture, and bridges. 
One shoot, at a new stadium under construction, had me trudging through sand, rusty nails and 4 inches of mud in the summer heat. I just go with the flow and do what needs to be done and at the end of the day, it's all about having a good attitude, sense of humor, much caffeine and making someone feel special while in my chair.

I do believe if you follow your passion you will be happy and successful.

Personal Project (Georgia O'Keefe inspired) Backdrop, Costuming    
This is week 48 of Artists Tell Their Stories. Thank you for reading and sharing Kim’s story today. To connect with Kim and see more of her work, please visit the following links:

(Headshot of Kim: Photo Credit: by Nicole Harkin)