We had the good fortune of connecting with Katelyn Simkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katelyn, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I was fresh out of college, I made my living as a nanny. I felt like I was good at it, and fairly well paid for my age. But I also felt a lingering discontentment because of the lack of creativity involved. I began dabbling in the makeup world in felt a turbo powered drive that put the start of my career into fast forward. I was juggling both careers simultaneously – and something had to give. I was turning down makeup work because I had a job with regular hours that required my commitment, but I also knew that if I wanted to ride this wave of early success and enthusiasm I needed to jump in with both feet. This felt like a huge risk since I didn’t currently have enough work to support myself. But I made the leap, and I’m so damn glad I did. This job requires you to have an enormous amount of faith and trust in the fact that work will come. It’s often feast and famine- especially when you’re starting out. But the thing is that if you don’t leave yourself wide open, you can’t capitalize on the largely last minute nature of this kind of work. So you just have to accept that a reasonable level of risk is a constant factor at play.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I was a kid I was obsessed with eyes. I drew giant Keene-like eyes with big, long lashes in all my artwork. I made collages of eyes that I cut from hundreds of magazines. I guess I loved how much is communicated with this one feature. Makeup is another tool of communication. It helps to tell the world something about the person who wears it. What are we trying to communicate? I’m edgy. I’m sexy. I’m intense. I’m innocent. I’m youthful. Some of these stories come from a beautiful place of confidence, and some from insecurity. My personal mission through makeup is to make people feel like they are ready to take on the world. I want them to feel like exactly who they are inside and out is a beautiful, wonderous thing.
The whole “fake it till you make it” statement holds true to me – sometimes when you smile, even when you don’t feel like it – you end up feeling just that little bit better. Makeup can give us that same confidence boost to lean into being the presence in the room that we are hoping to be.
I started playing with makeup as a theater kid. It was so fun to transform into these Duffy characters and play with personalities very different from my own. I was very into counter culture and the rave/club scene as a teenager- because I was in awe of all these fabulous people expressing their creativity in loud and beautiful ways.
So all of these elements leading to a career in makeup make perfect sense. I get to connect with people one-in-one, and together we can both express our creativity.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The ultimate day with a friend from out of town would be:
– A trip to the Pearl Street farmers market where we could pick up some yummy local produce, mushrooms from Mile High Fungi, and eat some artisan nosh.
– Antique shopping down Broadway
– A visit to the Molly Brown House
– A Voodoo Doughnut snack
– And a concert at Red Rocks – I’d love to see Kimbra, or Lorde, or Halsey there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Alex Box is a constant source of inspiration- both in her artistry and her stance on preserving your personal life while perusing a career. She’s a badass mother and a brilliant artist.
Might be easier for you to just tell me which images you are Going to use and I will tell you the credits for that one. Photographers: Crystal Allen (first image with white liner) Caroline Miller (images with string wrapped around, and shadowy one in gold dress) Kevin Alexander