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Many people associate makeup artists strictly with A-list celebrities. They’re part of the “glam squad” that your favorite stars are constantly posting about on Instagram. While this can be one aspect of the job, there’s much more depth to the field than just getting movie stars ready for award shows. Catie Starr, who is a production makeup artist and owner of Catie Starr Makeup, has about as diverse a client base as you can get. From NASCAR drivers to on-camera newbies, how does she keep a broad range of people looking and feeling ready for their close up? Let’s find out! She’s our newest FACE of Charlotte!

Catie Starr, production makeup artist, owner of Catie Starr Makeup and our newest FACE of Charlotte

Catie Starr, production makeup artist, owner of Catie Starr Makeup and our newest FACE of Charlotte

How is your job different from what someone typically thinks of when they hear “makeup artist”?

I do bridal- and catalog-type work, where you’re working with experienced models, but for the most part I’m on set doing a lot of men’s grooming and man makeup. It’s really great, but it’s not the Hollywood version that people think of when they think of being a makeup artist. A lot of times I’m keeping people from looking like they’re sweating. I’m cleaning out people’s noses; that’s one of the harsh truths. I’m trying to make people look comfortable on set when they’re really horrified.

On any given week I can be working with really experienced models one day, and the next day it’s a consumer interview, so it’s somebody from Akron, Ohio, or some place that’s not glamorous, and they’ve never been on camera in this capacity before. Then I can end up with an athlete who’s used to makeup and the camera, and then it can be a bank exec the next day. It’s never the same day.

"A lot of times I’m keeping people from looking like they’re sweating. I’m cleaning out people’s noses; that’s one of the harsh truths," Catie says of her work.

“A lot of times I’m keeping people from looking like they’re sweating. I’m cleaning out people’s noses; that’s one of the harsh truths,” Catie says of her work.

What’s your favorite shoot or project you’ve ever worked on?

I’ve loved almost every single project. I just love being on set. It’s my undying passion, and I never want to do anything else. But my all-time most favorite is the first shoot I was ever on. I was terrified and didn’t know how to act on set, or what I was doing. It was just kind of a chance I took when I was living in San Francisco. When the shoot wrapped that day and I walked away, I knew that was the only thing I was going to do for the rest of my life. Every time I look back on my career, that’s probably the most pivotal moment.

Another favorite and more recent shoot of mine was the first shoot I did with a household name and crowd favorite NASCAR driver. When I was planning to move to Charlotte, family and friends joked that if I had the chance to work with this person, I had officially made it in Charlotte. I first worked with him about a year and a half after moving here, and have many times since. I even got him (and his groomsmen) ready on his wedding day.

How did you learn what looks good on so many different skin tones and looks?

Since the time I was a little girl, I was always observing the way people looked, and the way makeup looked on different people. As soon as my parents would allow me to get my hands on a little bit of makeup, I was always experimenting on myself or my babysitter or anybody that would let me touch their face. I made a lot of mistakes on myself, and I still make mistakes. Luckily it’s makeup, and I can wipe it off and do something else. It’s like any sort of art that you do — you just begin to train your eye over time, and it’s just little bits of trial and error over years that make you have an instinct for it.

What’s your best piece of makeup advice?

Definitely to blend, blend, blend. And not to suffocate your face.

"Blend, blend, blend," Catie says, offering her best piece of makeup advice.

“Blend, blend, blend,” Catie says, offering her best piece of makeup advice.

What’s the best way to take care of your face if you’re wearing makeup all day, every day?

Always wash your face at night. Every single makeup artist that’s ever existed will tell you to wash your face and moisturize. I definitely think people should exfoliate two times a week, but no more than two times a week. You should have an SPF of at least 15. The other crazy stuff people do, I think, is more irritating to the skin than good for it.

What’s the biggest makeup mistake that people make?

Just following YouTube tutorials and Instagram tutorials and packing so much makeup on, especially at inappropriate times. If you’re going out to run errands, you don’t want to look like you have a full face of makeup on. I think it’s really off-putting to other people when they see you, so I think just understanding what the appropriate time and amount of makeup is for a given situation.

If we were to see you at the store on a Tuesday, what products would you be wearing?

Typically I have very dark circles, so I’ll always have an under-eye concealer on. I’ll have a little bit of powder and blush, mascara, a little bit of brow gel and ChapStick.

Catie says that it's important to know the appropriate times to wear heavy makeup — and the times when you shouldn't.

Catie says that it’s important to know the appropriate times to wear heavy makeup — and the times when you shouldn’t.

What’s one product you can’t live without?

Under-eye concealer. I look like a zombie, sick, dead person without under-eye concealer. That’s my desert island item. Also, my Mason-Pearson hairbrush.

When you’re buying products, where should you splurge and where can you go cheap?

Splurges would definitely be your complexion-type items, so a good foundation and powder. I would splurge on a blush as well. Things that you want to look like skin. Things that I save on are mascara. I buy Maybelline mascara. I never stray from it; it’s the best mascara there is. Lip liners, lipstick, you can save your beans on those. I don’t think there’s a huge difference between an $8 lipstick and a $40 lipstick. Same with eyeliner. Anything that’s a powder product that you need to blend, it will cost more because it should be more finely milled. I also think Glossier is the best under-the-radar product line. I’m obsessed with everything they make.

Catie recommends you splurge on foundation and powder, save on lipstick and mascara.

Catie recommends you splurge on foundation and powder, and save on lipstick and mascara.

You have a breakout on a big day. What can you do?

First of all, it’s gonna be there. You just have to accept that. The more you mess with it, the more aggravated you’re going to make your skin. Your body needs time to go through its own healing process, so hands off as much as possible. To cover it up, take a little bit of concealer that matches your skin as closely as possible. Warm it up in your fingers and pat it onto the blemish. Don’t rub it, because you don’t want to aggravate the skin more. Just lightly tap and set the concealer with a powder.

When you’re not on set, where can we find you?

I’m kind of an introvert, which people don’t realize about me, so I stay home a lot. But I’m usually riding my bike or at a brewery. I love Free Range. I love Lenny Boy so much. My boyfriend and I go camping in our camper as often as we can, and we love to see live music.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When it comes to life in general and my career, it’s just not to give up. I think there were a lot of times when the general consensus was that I should turn back and do something different, but really just knowing not to give up and being told that your path to being successful isn’t typically a straight up trajectory. It’s wiggly and windy, and just as it feels like it’s going backwards, you just have to keep going forward.

When she's not working, Catie can be found at local breweries, camping or catching a live show with her boyfriend.

When she’s not working, Catie can be found at local breweries, camping or catching a live show with her boyfriend.

What are three things you can’t live without, besides faith, family and friends?

Definitely my kit. I would starve to death if my kit was gone. Currently I’m really relying a lot on my assistant Taylor to help me to get through lots of busy-ness and help me to get to the next level. And a good pair of shoes that I can stand in all day.

Thank you, Catie! To learn more about Catie Starr Makeup services, visit catiestarrmakeup.com. And thanks to the talented Piper Warlick of Piper Warlick Photography for the beautiful photos of Catie. 

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