The Valley of the Sun has plenty of makeup artists available for photo shoots, but the really good ones are hard to find. One of those really good ones, Amanda Kolasinski, took time recently to give us her opinions about her craft, the industry, modeling, and life in general.
Where are you located?
Amanda Kolasinski: Mesa, AZ
How long have you lived in the Phoenix area?
AK: I’m a native. I’ve lived here my whole life except for 8 months when I lived in California for school.
What was your proudest moment growing up?
AK: When I was 14 I decided I wanted to get certified in SCUBA diving and went and took the class all by myself. I even went to Catalina Island for the open water dive. I didn’t end up getting certified because I had a problem with my ears, but it was the first grown up thing I did all by myself.
When did you realize you were first interested in beauty/fashion? Was there a point where you decided to specifically focus on makeup?
AK: I’ve always been into makeup and beauty and the fun you can have with it and how you can change it according to how you want to portray yourself. I was the girl in high school that wore the bright eye colors and experimented with it, but I never really thought that I could do it as a career. I knew it was something I was passionate about though so six and a half years ago I decided I wanted it to be my career. In about a month’s time I had found a school in California called Make-Up Designory (MUD), applied, been accepted, drove to California to find an apartment, and was living there. It was the best decision of my life.
What products do you use and recommend? Why?
AK: I use a variety of products that I have found to really like. Some are professional brands, some are drugstore, it really just depends if it delivers on what it is supposed to do. Some of my favorite professional products are Vueset eyeshadows, Makeup Forever foundation, and Stilazzi eye shadows which are actually a really good price. These products are designed to last and they do. Some of my favorite drugstore products are L’Oreal Voluminous carbon black mascara, and the Maybelline Fit Me matte foundation. These two really deliver as well.
How would you compare the Phoenix fashion scene with other markets that you may have worked in? Phoenix has been playing catch-up to other major cities in fashion for years. Do you, as I, see fashion in Phoenix as a renewed effort that is building momentum and starting to rival the markets in other big cities? Please explain.
AK: When I lived in California I was still very new and did not do a lot in the fashion industry, but it was California, so obviously it’s a large market. When people say fashion Arizona isn’t somewhere that pops into their minds, however, I do see a lot more happening in Phoenix now and I think it’s great. I see many smaller shows happening, but that is what will build to the bigger shows I think. I’ve also seen many shows that are getting bigger and bigger each year and I think that will draw a lot of attention.
Are you familiar with any local designers? If so, whose work do you enjoy most? If not, who are some of your favorite “big name” designers?
AK: I’m unfortunately not that familiar with too many local designers, though I would love to be. One I have worked with once before, and I know many that have worked with her is Modifiedminds. I can’t really name just one famous one. I enjoy seeing their creativity and get inspiration from all of them.
After being down for a few years, Scottsdale Fashion Week is returning in 2016. Do you think that it will benefit the Valley of the Sun to have both Phoenix Fashion Week and Scottsdale Fashion Week, or do you feel it will be somewhat redundant?
AK: The more things that happen here, and the more people see it happening, the more designers are going to want to show their stuff here. There is such an oversaturation of designers in the large markets that I think they will see that maybe they have more of a chance here. That goes for the designers here as well. If they weren’t able to be in one, then they don’t have to wait as long for another large show.
How would you explain your personal artistic style? Classic, edgy, experimental, etc.? Do you just do makeup, or are you in to other areas of cosmetology and/or fashion in general? Do you have anyone whose work inspired/inspires you? Not just a hair/styling artist, but maybe you get inspiration from Van Gough paintings, or David Bowie songs?
AK: My personal artistic style is probably more classic with some experimental thrown in. I also style hair. Kevyn Aucoin was my inspiration to get into makeup in the first place. I had two of his books that I was always looking through. I just really loved his approach to makeup. I also just love looking at other artist’s work, either a new artist or someone who has been in the industry for years. I love seeing what their mind came up with and how they decided to show that to the world. I also get inspiration from every day things from a table cloth to the sun set. Colors and texture are everywhere and I like to imagine how I’d use it.
What other areas of fashion are you most interested in? Is there anything going on right now in the industry that excites you?
AK: I think designing is awesome but definitely not something that I have skill in. I know in the film industry there was a push to get tax incentives and even a studio out here. I’m pretty sure that did not pan out though which is sad because there are so many talented people here and we are so close to California we could get a lot of movies here.
What about plus-size models? Do you feel that the time is right for them to be mainstream / catwalk models? Do you agree that some plus models are photographically stunning and should be given every opportunity that other models get (magazine covers, featured articles, designer endorsements, etc.)? Or would you prefer that modeling in general should be mainly reserved for models size 6 and under? (yes, I am finding out that some models that are a size 6 are being passed over because they are plus-size.)
AK: I think if they have what it takes and that is really what they want their size shouldn’t limit them. I feel there is change beginning to happen in the industry so, yes, this is a good time for them to be mainstream. There are so many gorgeous plus-size models now that show girls they can be comfortable in their own skin, because most girls are not super model thin. All models have to work their tails off though so I admire them plus-size or not.
Have you done any fashion shows (ignore if you answered this in one of the previous questions)?
AK: I have only done a few fashion shows.
Have you ever worked on anyone famous? If so, can you say who?
AK: I’ve worked on a few people who have been on TV and such but nobody super famous. I have, however, met Samuel L. Jackson. I was working on a set at a college in California, and he was filming a commercial. I got to see him acting a little bit. Then later he came in to see what we were doing and he came into the makeup room where I was touching an actor up! I was so shocked I just kind of stared at him, haha. Then he got all of us together so we could take a picture.
Most memorable / proudest moment as a professional?
AK: I have many memorable and proud moments. A memorable moment is when I graduated makeup school. My proudest though are when someone is sitting in my chair, and I hand them the mirror, and they see themselves and say “Wow!” Or “I can’t believe that’s me!” Or any version of that. I love seeing the transformation and the confidence that comes with it.
What do you plan to do to the world (where do you see yourself in 5 years)?
AK: I would love to be doing print and editorial. I have also thought about opening a studio that makeup artists, hair stylists, and even photographers and designers could utilize if they didn’t have anywhere else to go. It would have rooms or stations that they could use for whatever they needed, and I think it would be most beneficial during the summer since nobody really wants to be outside.
Perfect way to relax after a long hot day:
AK: Listening to music, or reading with a cup of tea.
Hobbies / pastimes?
AK: I love being outdoors (when it’s not too hot), reading, watching movies, and hanging out with my family and friends.
Favorite movie / actor:
AK: My favorite movie is 50 First Dates, and my favorite actor is Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Favorite concert / musical artist:
AK: I really love Train and Matchbox Twenty.
If you are a reader of books, favorite book and author?
AK: James Rollins is my favorite author but my favorite book is Watchers by Dean Koontz.
What advice would you give to anyone in the fashion industry? In your opinion, what words would help people new to the industry who are trying to find their way?
AK: I would tell anyone working in the industry to go for quality over quantity. It’s better to have 5 amazing pictures for you to show people than 15 OK ones. I know even for myself still that this is hard to do, but it really makes a difference. For makeup artists specifically: Practice. Matching skin tone, applying lashes, and winged eyeliner are hard to do and the only way to get better is to practice on different skin tones and eye shapes.
Professional contact info. Amanda can be reached via:
Facebook: Makeup by Amanda K
Twitter: Makeup by Amanda K
Instragram: Amanda Kolasinski
She’s also available to do weddings through: babydollweddings.com