Artist Interview With Kandee “The Minister Of Make-Up” Johnson
I know you will enjoy this professional, passionate and educational makeup artist interview with Reno – Lake Tahoe, Nevada based Kandee Johnson who by the way boasts an impressive client list (VH1/MTV, Playboy, Dick Clark Productions, Honda, Visa, History Channel, Bio Channel, Entertainment Tonight).
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: I love the transformation. When you see the actor or model, see themselves completely transformed into the character or image they are going to present, to the in that instance their confidence soar. I love that! And of course the final result, knowing I was a part of the creation of the final outcome.
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are a self taught makeup artist?
A: Was allowed to go to beauty school for free…(I know!) I met an Emmy-winning make-up artist, Myke Michaels, right when I was finishing school, and he offered me to work on a movie..and within weeks, I was on location in a real make-up trailer watching him put scars and prosthetics on the actors. And I fell in love with being on set.
Q: Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
A: Yes, for the basics…you need to have a strong foundation to build a career on. If you know the basics, you will soar to the top with your artistic and creative eye. If you are an artist, you can create anything. Many times I’ve been on a shoot thinking, “how am I gonna do this?”, and then I tell myself, “You’re an artist, think of it as sculpting, contouring, shading, painting”.
Q: Did you always wanted to be an artist, or did you stumble upon your talent by chance? Who or what inspired you to become a makeup artist?
A: I always wanted to be in art, I’ve been making movies in my head since I was about 6. I wanted to be a fashion designer, photographer, jewelry maker, director, writer, actor ….. everything involved in creating! I was always doing make-overs on my mom and poor sister. Then in beauty school, I realized I would do 30 make-up application a week, instead of the 30 haircuts I was supposed to be doing, and they would tell me, to do more hair cuts…..so I’d do more but keep making everyone up! HA HA HA
Q: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
A: How many people don’t notice all the details I put into my work, or the difference that make-up can make.
Q: Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty.” how do you define beauty?
A: Beauty is truly what you radiate from the inside. So when someone looks at themselves, and sees beauty that I just amplified, you can see this happy, sparkling, confidence, start bubbling up from inside. I love making people feel beautiful. Some people have been brought to tears just seeing how I added “some dewy sparkly to their already beautiful flower, of a face”……that makes my heart glow.
Q: What individual products and brands you’re “addicted” to at the moment and you use on a daily basis?
A: Laura Mercier Moisturizing Foundation (i love it, and you can keep adding more layers for more coverage), Un-Petroleum Moisturizer, I slather it on at night to keep looking like I’m 20! ha ha ha ha
And I really like L’Oreal Double Extend Tubes Mascara, it will stay on for 2 days if you don’t wash it off! And of course a pale lip color…..I like Pink Lemonade from SeneGence Cosmetics and their gloss it stays on for 12 hours or more….and when I’m on set, I don’t have time to touch myself up! ha ha ha
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
A: Drink tons of water. Wash your face at night. Avoid things that make you break out….for me it’s soy products. And use a really great moisturizer without mineral oil. I like AnneMarie Borland’s night moisturizer at the moment.
Q: What is the biggest skin care dont’s?
A: Don’t get a facial before a big event! It just brings all the junk out to the surface…..blemishes ahoy!
Q: Have you had an extreme, crazy or bad experience with a skin care product or during a makeup session? If so, what happened?
A: I’m trying so hard to think of one…..I had a couple make-up melt-downs when I was shooting a tv show outside in 103 degree weather….I resorted to using skin-antiperspirant, that clowns use, it worked pretty well, with all the sweat going on.
Q: What do you find to be the most common mistakes women make with makeup? What’s the worst thing a woman can do to her skin?
A: Not applying foundation, concealer, or powder….and maybe not blending eyeshadow. Without priming your canvas (you face) the painting will never come out right! And the worst thing that a woman can do to her skin…not moisturize it!
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup / skin care industry right now?
A: I think, and I hope it’s not just a trend, is moving toward all organic, natural products, without mineral oil, petrol derivatives, and soy or lecithin. So much is absorbed through the pores, that we should be mindful of all that we jam into our skin.
Q: Do teenage girls needs to splurge on high-priced makeup products, or are drugstore items are just as satisfactory?
A: You can get a lot of cheap treasures at the drug store, L’Oreal Tru Match Foundation is great, and I have some favorite lipsticks and liners from NYC, Covergirl, and Wet N’ Wild! It may not have the staying power of some of the pricier brands, but it would get you through the day looking great!
Q: What feature(s) do you love to accentuate?
A: The Peeper, the windows to the soul, the eyes!
Q: What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
A: Fresh foundation, powder the eyelids before you apply shadow, conceal around the nostrils and lips (they are naturally red), a little gloss, mascara, and blush or bronzer….
Q: What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A: To knock em dead at night, rim the eyes (the inner part of the eye or waterline) with a black eyeliner, smudge a dark grey around the eye….and add some lipliner and nude shimmery gloss…and voila!
Q: What are the differences between applying makeup on models and on real women?
A: Models are paid for their desirable features, so it’s easy to make them look stunning…but the real women, they are more fun to work with, because sometimes they didn’t know a certain feature they possessed, was so beautiful….and I can show them how to highlight their “undiscovered” beauty!
Q: In terms of eyeliner, if you had to choose between a pencil, liquid, or creme/gel based, which one would you choose? Why?
A: I have to rank them! For everyday, multi-purpose….I have to go with a Black Kohl liner..you can smudge, blend, define, and line the inner rims of your eyes perfectly. Then gel liner, because you can paint it on so easily and smoothly. And liquid is perfect for precise, pin-up liner, and it stays really well, and is dark and inky.
Q: Lip gloss or Lipstick. Which product is best? Why?
A: Both baby….cover the lips with lipstick…and highlight those puckers with some gloss!
Q: What should a client consider before deciding to try permanent makeup? What is the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
A: I am an avid believer in change….so I don’t think I would ever opt for permanent anything. Unless it was a case of, hair loss, or eyelash loss, where it would be a beautiful gift to have permanent eyebrows. Trends change and so does the color of the ink that the tattoos are done with….you start with auburn eyebrows and 2 years later they are magenta! Not good.
Q: What brand/type of concealer is your favorite for covering up the after effects of a late night out i.e. under-eye circles, blemishes?
A: I like Dermablend…that stuff will cover up tattoos! Make-Up Forever is pretty great, and comes with color cancellors like green, purple, yellow….so if you have purple rings under your eyes…yellow those babies up.
Q: How about airbrush spray makeup trend? Are these products better or easier to use than standard sponge or finger application? If yes when would you recommend using them?
A: Just like how email and texting has become faster and easier…..it will never replace a good, real. phone conversation. I feel the same way about airbrush. You didn’t see Picasso airbrushing…..it’s fast, and has it’s place in the Sci-Fi Effects world, but I think real artist uses real art tool…your hands, brushes, and sponges. It takes more time…but so does everything worthwhile.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: They love me and I love them! From the last film I worked on, they said, they had never seen so many people so excited to get up and go to the trailer in the morning Here’s some text quotes: “I double heart U! You are a testament to finding the joys in life, thank you for being exactly who you are lil’ miss KJ”….and Kandee Johnson !What an amazing person u r.
I have never known so many actors so looking forward to going to wardrobe every morning but of course u r smiling face and sense of humor was there to welcome them…
You are so beautiful and funny…good times and lots of laugh…. I think people can feel and receive the love I pour out onto them…and they usually always leave with more in their heart….I fill up their love and confidence tanks!
Q: Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
A: A sample of my future plans are….make-up brushes….a tv show, and the big guns are in hiding until later!!!
As for words of wisdom and motto:
#1 The most beautiful flowers are grown out of manure!
#2 Life is like a tapestry, all knots and indistinguishable, but when you turn it over, it all makes sense, and it the most beautiful design
#3 Follow your dreams, and don’t settle for less, God put those gifts in your suitcase when he sent you to Earth….open it up and use ‘em!!!
It’s art and and artist truly feels alive when they are creating…don’t give up, and sometimes a good attitude beats all the talented “mean” people, in the world!
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
A: Start with a make-up class or school. Ask to apprentice with a make-up artist, you’ll learn so much more than any school will teach. Call your local modeling agency and tell them you’ll do make-up for free for tests (test shoots with a model), and you can start networking with photographers that way. And don’t stop, be kind and thankful, and people will want to help you!
This artist Q&A is one of the most informative, enjoyable and lighthearted of my MUA interview series. It is packed with useful beauty and skin care tips; here is a teaser for you: is your face “melting” in 103 degree weather? Use clown makeup!!!
Kandee’s: Blogger – Facebook – MySpace profile.