I have neglected my blog for some time now because I really didn't have the time to write and with the internet being over saturated with how-to and makeup blogs I was a little discouraged. I opted to begin blogging again and will be interviewing working makeup artists from around the world to showcase what inspires them, how they got started in the industry and celebrate their accomplishments!
I interviewed a friend of mine and fellow Latina, Karla Hirkaler. We recently worked together during NYFW for a few shows on the Maybelline team. Not only is she a talented artist, devoted mother and wife but also a great all around individual. Interviewing her allowed me to gain insight into her journey to success as an artist.
Name: Karla Hirkaler
Years in industry:
Professionally 8 years total but seriously about 4 years, basically since I moved to NYC.
What facets of artistry are you involved in?
A little bit of everything. At this point in my career I cannot specify just one thing. I do it all, fashion, e-commerce, editorial, television. The industry is changing so much that it is ideal to know a bit of everything versus simply focusing on one aspect if you want to be booked.
How did you get started in makeup?
I was born in Peru, and my mother was concerned because I was a major tomboy. So my mom decided to enroll me into modeling school called Geraldine, in which I would be taught how to be ladylike. They offered makeup 101 classes. I was never the type of little girl to play with my mom's makeup or anything girly because I was into sports. I really liked all things art and the makeup class payed off, at 15 I did my first makeup job, it was for a wedding. I took a break from makeup and only did it occasionally as a hobby.
I moved to the states and got a job in Ft. Lauderdale doing makeup for bridal clients at Four Seasons, in Del Rey Beach. They sold Make Up For Ever, and I asked the brand to train me so I could sell their makeup at the salon at Four Seasons. They trained me and I began to sell their makeup at a private salon to my clients. I worked at the salon doing management, and makeup when needed. After that, I got married and became pregnant and lost my job at Four Seasons because of new owners that wanted a fresh start with all staff. I took a break and was on unemployment and focused on my new born. At this point my husband encouraged me to pursue makeup so I enrolled Cosmix makeup school and attended for three months.
During that time I enrolled in a summit, similar to a makeup school and I met world renowned makeup artist, Even Pearl by approaching her makeup booth. I offered my help and she mentioned she was good for now but we became friends on FaceBook. Shortly there after she posted that she needed an assistant in Orlando. I only had three images of my work but I was determined and had nothing to lose so I sent her my business resume and to my surprise she booked me. While working for her for three days I expressed my desire to move to NYC to pursue makeup. This occurred in January, and in February, I came to visit family in NYC and I opted to contact her. I traveled through a storm to meet her in the office where she expressed that she believed in me and thought I had potential. She didn't offer an internship she offered me a job. I did a little bit of everything, social media, organizing trade shows and organization of inventory as well as makeup applications. This is where it all began.
What is your opinion on Model Mayhem, many creatives think negatively about that site?
While in makeup school, I got hired with Maybelline to work as a makeup artist on their pro team in Florida. Through this, I became close to the assistant of the global makeup artist for Maybelline and I began to work fashion week shows for them and also PR events for fashion night out in New York. My first show was Catherine Malandrino followed by Betsy Johson and Custo Barcelona and L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani. This was surreal for me because I had no experience in fashion or runway. At the Catherine Malandrino, I was super nervous because I had no experience and I arrived very early and another makeup artist, showed me the ropes, gave me advice and told me what to do and what not to do. She was so helpful without me even asking and she was willing to help me. Now she refers me to jobs. I found out about this position through Model Mayhem. So it was a positive thing for me.
Biggest accomplishment as an artist to date?
Being able to handle different clients: bridal to editorial. I am very shy and sometimes it was extremely hard to interact with clients and gain confidence with experience.
Any embarrassing stories on set?
I was doing makeup for a fashion show, the models were all lined up for last looks prior to walking the runway. I walked up to the front and didn't realize that I was so far up in the line that I was practically was on stage. The key artist was talking to the designers who were in the line up and I was literally on top of them stretching to powder the models up. The key asked me to step back and the designer gave me a look like: “umm, doesn't this girl no better than to do that?” At that moment, I was so embarrassed and I thought I was going to pee my pants. The worst day of my life as a makeup artist.
Eve Pearl. She is a woman, a single mother and she made an empire out of her products. Eve Pearl started out with one product and it expanded out into a full line. I truly respect how she treats everyone fairly and gives them all undivided attention when they ask her questions, from beginners to full time artists already in the industry. She also has 5 Emmys and is well respected by everyone in the industry.
Do you have any mentors?
I have a few. Lea & Kiyoshi as well as Eve Pearl who guided me when I first moved to NYC.
Biggest obstacle as an artist:
Being able to balance my family life and my job. I was married to my job at the beginning and I missed out on so many things with my son. Now, I put my family first and everything else will follow. When I am with my family I give them 100% of myself an detach myself from work.
Hardest thing about being a makeup artist?: Feeling confident and not doubting myself. When I am on set other creatives on set think I am younger than them and they somewhat doubt my capabilities as an artist.
Three random facts a bout you that don't necessarily have to do with makeup artistry:
- I was on the swimming team in Peru.
- I love eggs on everything, over easy.
- I was bullied in middle school because I had a very short hair cut and they used to call me "Carlos" instead of Karla.
What are your must have makeup items you cannot live without?
Always need Embryolisse moisturizer, Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray, Eve Pearl cream foundations.
To collaborate with Mario Testino, he is a fellow Peruvian and he is beyond talented.
Words of advice to beginners or MUA's that feel stumped in their careers:
Don't give up. There will be rejections, people will tell you that your work is not good enough. Take it in stride and use that to improve. A good attitude is sometimes worth more than having a beautiful portfolio. It's about energy on set and a positive attitude. Keep at it.
Follow Karla on social media:
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/KarlaHirkalerNYMUA