We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Llanes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leah, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I am inspired by people. This is complex for me because of how many different ways this can transpire. I think the biggest of this is being able to empower someone with confidence through self care & beauty. I feel like there is this stigma behind makeup & selfcare sometimes, where people want to label or judge someone for being extra or confident, so a lot of times people tend to shy away from that due to those labels or judgment in fear of what other will think, but I just don’t see anything wrong with it. In fact, I highly encourage it, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. I feel like people need someone in their corner to encourage confidence and I love being that person. Now, I will say I do believe true beauty starts within and not all things can be solved by outer appearances when there is inner work to be done, but sometimes we need the extra’s to feel good and i think that’s ok too. If I can make you feel like the very best version of yourself and that in turn makes you feel more fierce, beautiful, and confident then I am 100% with it! This inspires me to keep moving forward and helps me feel confident that I am in the right industry. I would say I am also inspired by hearing peoples stories when they are in a session with me. Makeup & facials can be such an intimate setting so majority of the time things can get deep and real quick. Some of these stories have really resonated with me as well, sometimes being inspirational and other times helping me reflect, but there is something to be said about the power of touch. Touch activates a nerve which is intimately connected with our compassionate response which is why I feel I have gotten to know some of my clients a lot deeper in such a short amount of time, but I love it. I feel connected to my clients through touch and conversation and usually this is in preparation for an important moment in their lives that they will probably never forget so it’s an honor to have someone put blind trust in my work.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Makeup is my art. I love transforming faces into more refined beauty and art. I think what sets me apart is my ability to communicate, but more so listen to my clients. I know what I like and what I would do, but just because I am the professional does not mean what I do or say should be the end all be all in what WE do. I think a lot of times in our industry there is a lacking in that. I do my best to communicate through pictures because things can get lost in just verbal communication, but I don’t just stop there. I try to breakdown the details and customize it to each client , but even with all that attention to detail, things get lost in translation and sometimes we just don’t get it right or something needs to be tweeked, but I will happily take criticism. I know how difficult it can be from a client’s perspective to give criticism but at the end of the day it’s my job to make sure they are happy so if that takes putting my ego aside, I will do my best to be the bigger person in the scenario, but that’s forever a 2-way street. As long as respect and understanding are in place -you’ll get the same from me in return. So really it’s giving that safe space for them to be comfortable about being honest.

I would say I am most proud of my courage to overcome personal obstacles to become a licensed esthetician and also coming back to the freelance makeup world after a 4 year hiatus and taking the risk of depending on that solely as my income. I’m just under a year of independently freelancing in CO and it has been an amazing and fulfilling experience got the opportunity to have my own spa room at Ilaria med spa in Centennial and be apart of shoots with 303 magazine as well as a featured article, Denver Fashion week, Fierce 5 in the city and more to come. As amazing as all that sounds though, I’m not going to lie. It’s been a scary ride. Self doubt gets the best of me and it really takes mental strength to overcome those hurdles and reminding yourself that the feeling feeling is temporary especially through my first year of slow season in Denver and a new spa room. It’s easy to go down this dark rabbit hole when the bookings slow down of questioning your talent and your worth, but I’ve really found that paying attention to the way I speak to myself has made a significant difference. I listened to a podcast last year that really resonated with me about just that and I think we all don’t realize how harsh we talk to ourselves. It can be very self sabotaging, and destructive, but recognizing that is probably the hardest part. We don’t criticize ourselves the same way we do friends so when I find myself falling back into those patterns I switch up the scenario as if it were a friend and every time the conversation sounds a lot different.

Glam x Glow Beauty is my brand and I started it in 2021 just as a way to make ends meet after my struggles of employment through the pandemic, but through the first few months things just came together and my passion for skincare and artistry was re-ignited and I’m thoroughly enjoying the process here in Denver.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So I have friends come into town from time to time quite often since I’ve moved here. The itinerary changes based on my company, but I usually try to embrace the outdoors with them since that is not my norm. First time my best friend from back home came we took our kids on an overnight trip to Aspen & glenwood hot springs and we had an amazing time. My go-to restaurants with guests have been El five, 54-thirty, Happy camper, Avanti and then usually some nightlife at Roosevelt, Nativ, forget me not, and Jing. I also like to look into events in town if there is a Nuggets or Rockies game.

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?
There have been MANY people throughout my career I could shoutout who have been amazing mentors & friends who’ve shown support & love to me in my journey, but I always come back to my late friend Judy. I really don’t feel like I took myself seriously as a young adult & I really lacked the support from my parents when I chose to leave a full ride scholarshipn from college on how to navigate the world outside of corperate america, so I leaned on friends a lot and I was blessed to have their support & encouragement along the way. I started doing makeup at the age of 18 just as my dear friend Judy’s modeling career had just taken off. She would always hire me for shoots and personal events even though she had access to seasoned artists and looking back now, I honestly think it’s because she believed in me and knew what I was capable of even if I didn’t at the time. Self doubt & sensitivity can be a large part of an artist’s identity and so when you have that support system of cheerleaders who believe in you and your work, it’s truly a blessing and should never be taken for granted.

Website: www.glamxglowbeauty.com

Instagram: @glamxglowbeauty

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/leahllanes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/glamxglowbeauty

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/glam-x-glow-beauty-centennial

Image Credits
Jackson Davis, Ginny Haupert, Kiara Proctor, Emily Sanders, Ruby Pierce

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.