photography Josh Nistas
model Deidra Sherman
hmua Kiersten Carson
What is a day in the life of Kiersten Carson like?
My day is always different, depending on the day you catch me on. Currently I am a cosmetology student at the Aveda Institute Tucson in Tucson, AZ. I attend school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays all day long. If you catch me on a day not at school, I am either prepping for a shoot, shooting or networking to set up for a shoot. I also love to travel and spend time with my boyfriend, David, and our two pets, Cleo and Pipp.
How did your career begin as a mua?
I first fell in love with makeup when I was a freshman at the University of Arizona, which was three years ago. I use to really dislike makeup and hair because I felt it made people see a side of you that wasn’t honest. When I met my random roommate, Riley Myles, she showed me a whole new side of makeup and hair. I fell in love. We would watch YouTube videos together and just learn everything we could about makeup. At the time, I was studying business and did so for about 2 years. One day, my current roommate, Evanna Kessler, came to Aveda Institute Tucson to get her hair done and I came with her. I talked to a student, Lindsey Chenoweth, and she told me how much she loved going to school here and if it was something I wanted to do I should do it. Right then, I knew this was what I wanted. I messaged my parents and told them I wanted to drop out of the University of Arizona and go to cosmetology school. December 2015, the December before I first came to Aveda with my roommate, I had started doing makeup professionally on models for photo shoots. My coworker, Emily Bernat, also modeled and told me she was doing a shoot with Fenix.Fox (Josh Nistas) and wanted me to do her makeup for it. I was nervous but never turned down a challenge. Because of all these people, my life changed forever.
Nice, so where are you located?
Tell us how you came up with the concept of the Starchild photo shoot.
The concept came from Pinterest. I always loved doing Avant Garde looks and decided to make a board of looks I wanted to recreate with my own twist. I saw a photo of a girl with her whole chest covered in red glitter and I knew that this is something I wanted to do. I didn’t know of any makeup artist or body painters in Arizona that have done such a crazy project. I messaged Fenix. Fox and told him that I had this idea and he loved it. He said why don’t we turn this into a series and just go big with it, so that’s what we did. It was amazing to see what we could create.
How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart from other makeup artists?
I wouldn’t say I have a signature look and that is what I think sets me apart from others, I am very diverse in what I do. I never turn down a challenge because I feel it makes me a better makeup artist. I create looks from bridal to editorial to Avant Garde. Everything is different but the end result is always happiness.
What is the most memorable moment you have had while doing makeup?
The most memorable moment I’ve had while doing makeup is the first time I ever did someone else’s makeup. My roommate, Evanna, asked me if I could do her makeup for her before she went out. I was so nervous but ready to try. After it was done, she loved it. I remember feeling such joy, knowing that I made her feel beautiful. It was the best moment in my life. I knew then that I could make everyone feel this way and that it was a feeling I never wanted to lose. Since then, every time I create a look I still get that same feeling. It’s the best feeling in the world.
What is the most important beauty advice that you can give to women?
Don’t change who you are when using makeup or hair products. Makeup is suppose to enhance your beauty not change it. I may create different looks with makeup but as for myself, I usually wear minimal to no makeup because that’s who I am. That’s the beauty of makeup, you can wear hardly any to a full face. If you have the confidence in what you are wearing, people will see that and love it. Beauty is what’s inside, makeup enhances that.
What are some common beauty mistakes that women make?
Black eyeliner. Black eyeliner gives the illusion that your eyes are smaller. When I tell clients that white eyeliner gives the illusion that your eyes are wider, surprises them. I have wide eyes, so I use black liner on my water line because I don’t look so doe eyed. People with smaller eyes should use white liner because it will brighten and give the illusion they are wider. It all has to do with shadows and highlights. It’s like contour for the eyes.
Do you feel that looking and feeling beautiful is important in regard to a woman's confidence and self-esteem?
Absolutely. If you do not feel that you look or feel beautiful, confidence is hard to portray. It’s not impossible but definitely more difficult. Looking and feeling beautiful doesn’t mean you need to be fit or wear a full face of makeup. Looking and feeling beautiful is about looking into a mirror and saying, am I who I want to be.
An exercise we do at school is the following:
Write down four words that you would want your loved ones to describe you.
Now read them and think, do you feel that you are those four words? If not what can you do to become them? If so then great! think this exercise really makes you think about who you are as a person and if that person is beautiful. Once you become what you want others to think of you as, your confidence will sky rocket.
Do you feel that you have achieved all of your goals as a successful makeup artist?
No way. I want to achieve as much as I can. I believe learning never ends and that as long as I keep saying yes to crazy makeup ideas, I will achieve goals I didn’t even know I had until the opportunity came up. I believe in order to be successful, you have to step outside that comfort zone and try things maybe you didn’t know you would like. In order for me to be a successful makeup artist, I need to keep learning new techniques and keep trying crazy looks.
Who are some people that have inspired you throughout your career?
There are so many people that have inspired me. Random people on Instagram and Pinterest to my friends and family to YouTube Icons such as MannyMUA, Shaaanxo and Jaclyn Hill. Not only do their makeup skills inspire me but their personalities. They inspired me to stay creative and never give up
on a dream that seems so unrealistic.
Do you see yourself someday creating your own line of makeup?
To be honest probably not. I love being able to look at random colors and textures and being able to create something out of that. To me, there are so many makeup lines that are so similar and it would be very difficult to come out with something that isn’t already available. I would rather create looks from what is available to me. To me that is a more creative route.
What are some of your favorite products in your makeup kit?
Some of my favorite products in my kit would be NYX Glitter primer, Kat Von D Liquid Lipsticks, Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Highlighter, Morphe 35O palette and L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation.
What's your favorite concealer of all time?
My favorite concealer would be L.A. Girl concealer. It glides on so well and very blend able. They also have shades for every skin tone.
What products do you think should be a staple in every woman's purse?
A staple in every woman’s purse should be their favorite lipstick, I prefer Kat Von D liquid lipstick in the shade Lolita, and a translucent or banana powder with blending brush, and I prefer Ben Nye Banana Powder or Laura Mercier Translucent Powder. This will help if you become oily throughout the day to just apply a little and blend away.
Do you believe that sometimes less is more?
Depending on what the item is. For instance, reapplying liquid lipstick is not the best option. It becomes very cakey and not the best looking. But on the other hand, thin layers of translucent powder to help with oiliness; I have never had a problem.
What tips can you give to young women who want to start preparing their skin in advance for a special event like prom?
If you can visit a dermatologist I would. My mom is a dermatologist and she has helped with my problematic skin. She would recommend a night cream. As for what I would recommend, go to your nearest Aveda store, salon or institute and pick up their cleanser, hydrating lotion, toner and wedding masque. The wedding masque is an overnight masque that you apply once you’ve washed your face. You sleep with it on and then rinse it off in the morning. After my first use I noticed a HUGE difference. It was life changing.
What about if you can't afford a derm?
If you can’t afford a dermatologist, don’t stress. Cleaning your face every night and using the Aveda Wedding Masque will be enough I promise. If you want to do more, try eating healthier or drinking more water. Stress is also a cause of problematic skin so try to not stress out about things. I know easier said than done.
What do you recommend teens do to cover up problematic skin?
To cover up problematic skin, I recommend L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte or Kat Von D Foundation for oily skin only. For normal to dry, I recommend L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Glow or Too Faced Born This Way Foundation. These are all full coverage foundations. I would also recommend an HD powder such as Ben Nye Banana Powder or NYX HD Finishing Powder. They will help give you a smoother complexion.
What do you suggest Prolific Quarterly readers do to achieve the perfect everyday look?
I recommend doing makeup that makes you feel confident whether it’s only foundation or a full face. Find products that compliment your skin. Also skin care will help you achieve the look you want. Invest in things you love and do research. I always watch at least five YouTube videos on products that interest me just to make sure the product is right for you. The perfect everyday look is what you want it to be.
What message do you have for woman out there aspiring to have the everyday celebrity look?
Celebrities usually have HD Finishing Powders on because they are always in front of the camera. I highly suggest an HD Finishing Powder. As for eye shadow and lip, invest in good products. Morphe is a great line that is affordable. A palette is usually in the $20 range and lasts forever. Also the brushes you are using can change the look. I watched so many videos about brushes. My favorite are Morphe. If you are unsure of which to buy, the have a monthly subscription of $20 a month and they will send you random brushes. Once you get a brush that you are not sure on how to use it, YouTube will become your best friend. -PQ