Kelly Thorpe

How did you get started as a make up artist?

I’ve always liked makeup growing up, but as the only girl in a very athletic family I was not exactly exposed to the ‘beauty’ world early on. I mostly admired it from a far and played with my mom’s old box of blue eye shadows in secret.  That all changed my first year of college when my parents visited and bought me my first set of “real” make-up brushes (it’s amazing what distance can do to open one’s wallet;).  It was then that I began diving into make-up books and watching tutorials… often instead of finishing my homework.  When it came time for summer break I needed a job so I applied and got hired at Bare Minerals.  I had no make-up experience, but I loved it and thrived with the company!  This job inspired me to start recreating make up from photo shoots I admired. I realized there was a make-up industry beyond retail and I dreamed of becoming an international make-up artist for print, TV and film so, after finishing my degree in Communications, I moved to Los Angeles!


 What has been your favorite job so far?

Traveling to the Caribbean with an 80’s Norwegian pop star!  The trip was paradise, and I got to spend time traveling with and getting to know someone from such a different world than me. I love getting the chance to build relationships with my clients.  My mom is a therapist and my dad is an artist so we like to joke that I am the natural combination of the two… a make up artist.  It puts me in a position to affirm and really listen to my clients. Some of these people end up becoming very close friends of mine.


 LA can challenge ones self worth? How do you maintain a positive self image in the line of beauty?

To be honest, sometimes I feel like haven’t totally figured it out yet. It’s so easy here to seek out external validation about who we are that sometimes we forget how to listen to ourselves and stay true to our hearts.  I think we all intrinsically know what we need in order to feel healthy, but sometimes it’s easier to follow the crowd instead of listening to our bodies, especially if it means going against the flow for a bit. For me, finding a loving and fun community that accepts and grows with me is crucial for keeping my self-confidence high.  We all need to feel loved and I have found that when we are in alignment with who we really* are (not necessarily what’s popular) and find a supportive community, we begin to grow in our self-image and confidence.


 What do you love about yourself?

I love my red hair! I also love that I am capable and strong and generally have been able to accomplish anything I’ve set my mind to it. I have a strong athletic build which took me a while to learn to love but now I see myself as a beautiful blend of strength, beauty, and grace!


 It’s important to love yourself and make sure to give yourself grace when wrong thoughts re-enter your mind. Unlike pop-culture tells us, we don’t need to have everything figured out at once, we just need to keep moving forward in our passions and stay true to who we are genuinely designed to be. I did not grow up with idea that I had to be stick thin, but somewhere along the way I developed a complicated relationship with food.  I have a strong build from playing sports all my life and in middle school I began to feel like I had to look and feel more “feminine”. I thought this meant I needed to be thinner. While I didn’t develop full fledge disordered eating, my sense of well being and self-confidence became far too tied up in my weight and I took myself out of many fun and social situations. To this day it is still often a battle for me to truly believe that my worth is not connected to my weight, but I genuinely love my body, trust it, and respect it!


Follow Kelly on instagram for more photos of her work @KellyThorpeMakup!