Beat to Tha Gods
Kiera DzKeedz Sanders gave Hood Talk Magazine an exclusive interview, sharing what inspires her, what she loves most about doing makeup and the staple make up products every Black woman should carry in her purse.
HTM: Tell us what you love most about doing make up?
BBK: What I love most about doing about make up is talking to people. I get so many different women in my chair and for a long time I kind of lived in this bubble [thinking] that everybody was raised the same and brought up the same and had the same things going on, but the more and more different clientele I have, the more and more I realize that everybody’s from a different background, with different issues and different things going on in their life. So just talking to people …and once they get up from my chair and they see how beautiful they look … I’ve made their day. You know … like that is a good feeling to me. I just love that part about it. I love the art about it. Taking someone’s face and correcting all their dark marks and transforming them into a prettier version of themselves.
HTM: Yeeesssss! We love that! Transforming women into better versions of themselves!
BBK: Yes! When I post pictures of my work, I always say, “On this Beauty … ,” or “This beautiful person …,” because you know they were beautiful before, I’m just perfecting it.
HTM: How long have you been a makeup artist?
BBK: I started in 2013 and I just kind of stumbled across it. It wasn’t like a plan. I was practicing on myself and I got really good at doing my own make up and I was in a store one day and this lady stopped me and was like, ‘Oh my God, your make up looks so good.’ And I’m like, ‘Thank you.’ She was like, ‘Who does your make up?’ And I was like, ‘I do my own makeup.’ So she was like, ‘Well how much do you charge?’ And I’m like, ‘Charge? I don’t charge anything you know.’
Well I went home and thought about it that night like, yes I do. Like what do I have to do to turn this into a career? So I immediately got online and started looking up things and found out that you really don’t have to have a license to be a makeup artist. You’re what they call a freelance, self-taught make up artist. And so I just started practicing on like church members, family members and it really just started from there and blossomed into me working full time doing it.
HTM: That’s what’s up! So one of the things we love about you Kee is that you are an artist and it’s not limited to make up because you draw as well, right?
BBK: Yes. I started drawing in elementary and I won my first art contest in 5th grade. It was abstract art and I won first place in that national school art show. [In fact,] my grandmother still has the picture hanging in her living room. I wanted to go to art school, to performing arts but, at the time … which I feel like parents just want the best, so when you’re trying something new and different, it’s a little scary for them and they want you to focus more on becoming the doctor, the nurse … so my mom thought I wasn’t ready for a school like that because you have to keep up grades and you have to perform as well. So she really didn’t push me into it. So I didn’t go to art school and I just, you know, not necessarily let it go but just let it go a little bit. But then once I discovered make up it was like, okay I’m back to what I really love, which is art.
HTM: And now you’ve turned your passion into your business.
BBK: Yes. It happened like overnight. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been doing this since 2013 but I kind of took a break in 2014, got in a relationship and just going through other life issues, and I kind of took that time to just sit and really research and learn more about the business. In 2015, I started getting a few gigs and doing make up here and there but then in 2016, I just decided, it’s either do or die. So I put all my energy into Beat By Kee. I started my own website, business cards, promotion … I started getting in contact with designers for my advertising and everything and it just really kind of blew up overnight. Now I’m so busy … sometimes I can’t even think straight!
But I prayed about it, you know. I have a strong faith system. I believe in the power of prayer. I’ve been Baptist since I was 15 and so I really prayed for success. This is such a scary path to take. Going in to business and especially a business like this where it’s so up and down. But I love it.
HTM: That’s awesome. So who are some people that have inspired you throughout your career?
BBK: I would say, the first makeup artist I ever followed was Alexandria Butler from Atlanta, Georgia. She worked on the set of Love & Hip Hop and she’s the real reason why I started even doing any makeup. I look up to her because she started off in college going for engineering. I love her story and how she got started and now she’s moved on from the reality show to doing bigger and better things and I just really look up to her as a makeup artist and as a woman.
Then also my mother. My mother has been doing hair for 24 years and she’s been a business owner for several years. So just growing up in the salon and being around her, I knew I would do something like this but I never really pushed for it. But its my comfort zone, being in the salon with the ladies just talking, chit-chatting, laughing, gossiping, lol. This is my comfort area.
HTM: Your clients have shared that when they sit in your chair, they feel peace and serenity. What do you do to set the tone and atmosphere so that when people come into your space, that they leave feeling better than when they came?
BBK: Yes, I always try to have a happy atmosphere. I want to greet people with love. If I have outside issues going on, I try to keep that outside and always have a smile and always be ready with a joke to make people laugh. My music …don’t get me wrong, I love my hip hop, my Future, and Drake and all that, but I try to keep it real mellow. Everyone always asks what station am I listening to and it’s always on the Jazmine Sullivan station. Love her to death!
HTM: Okay! Shout out to Jazmine Sullivan!
BBK: Okay! Yes. Like she’s somebody like if I ever had the chance to do her makeup, I would just be like ‘Oh my God,’like star struck. I love her. And she’s so underrated as a performer and singer. But I love her to death! So different things like that. Like I try not to have no drama type of clientele only because it’s just not that kind of place. I don’t gossip too much. I just like to focus on me and client and giving them what they want. So all of that plays a part of the atmosphere.
HTM: Would you say that you have a signature look or style that you like to beat?
BBK: Um yea … I guess my signature look would be like full glam with a touch of naturalness. I’ve been asked this question before and I don’t necessarily like to categorize what I do. Because I can go ahead and give you your glam, or your natural look, I can you know get really artistic and put a bunch of different things on your face … jewels, etc. One thing that I don’t like to do is gore makeup, blood, cuts, stuff like that. But um, I guess you can say I’m your full-glam artist. I love that kind of makeup … just real pretty, glowing skin …
HTM: What are some of the common beauty mistakes that specifically Black women make?
BBK: Brows! That’s like the biggest thing. And I guess it’s the biggest thing because everybody wants good brows right now. But a lot of people don’t know how to do their brows. If I’m being honest, they just don’t. The most common mistake I see [Black women] doing is using too dark of a color on their brows. You’re supposed to use a natural brown but a lot of people are using black, which is horrible! We don’t have naturally black hair so our brow should not be jet black.
And then the shaping of it … they don’t get that correct. A lot of people, even makeup artists, don’t do their research on facial structure. Every facial shape has a different brow shape. And most likely, you can just follow your natural brow, but some people overdraw them. That’s one of the biggest, common mistakes that I see other than foundation matching …people using too light of a makeup.
HTM: What is the most important beauty advice that you would give a Black woman?
BBK: Healthy skin. Even though I will beat your face to the gods and back, but at the end of the day you should have some type of skin regimen going on when the makeup is not on. Whether it’s a facial scrub, or a cleanser, or something all-natural based … you should be taking care of your skin. Drinking a lot of water, helps your skin, but that is the biggest thing. Another key to having flawless makeup is having flawless skin. So, if your skin is right, this makeup will lay and sit so pretty. So, that’s one of the biggest things for me.
HTM: That’s great advice. So, what products do you think should be a staple in every Black woman’s purse?
BBK: Oh! Lip gloss. Every woman should have some type of lip gloss or lipstick in their purse. Lip gloss would be my number one thing. After lip gloss, I would say mascara. And then after mascara, something to do your brows. Becausebrows are like the focal point. When people look at you, the first thing … especially if you have makeup on, the first thing they want to look at is your brows. Are they on fleek? And if they’re not, it’s going to throw your whole look off. So, I would have some type of brow product, either like a brow gel, brow mascara, pencil, something that you can kind of lightly touch up your brows and make them look good.
Also, get your brows cleaned up! That’s another thing … like don’t be afraid to go them waxed, or arched or threaded, however you want. But clean brows … I mean like I said, brows are just number one on any list when it comes to makeup for me.
HTM: What advice would you give young, Black girls looking to begin their career as a makeup artist?
BBK: The trend now is to watch the YouTube videos, which … I can’t tell people not to watch the YouTube videos because that’s how I originally started. But as you progress, and the more that you want to learn, you need to start researching what exactly they want in the industry and the type of techniques they want. As far as when you’re in film … they don’t want a lot of the beat faces and you know slay terms that we do, they kind of want that editorial look. So be a diverse makeup artist. Be able to slay ‘em to the gods and also have ‘em to where they can be put into a top magazine or you know, on news or whatever.
But to really get started, you need to research and then go for it! I mean if this is something you really want to do, don’t let anybody get in your way, tell you you can’t do it, you shouldn’t do it. Practice, practice, practice! Please, I cannot stress practice enough. For the first three years of my career, that’s all I did was practice. Just know your market when it comes to pricing because that will help you too, you know you need to get those people in so that you can continue to get that practice. So that practice can take you to other places.
HTM: What’s next for Beat By Kee?
BBK: What’s next? Um, I have a lot things in store. Um, I really can’t talk about one of the big things that I’m working on because we’re still trying to work out the details but I think reality TV show is in my future. And then my next big goal for myself is that I want to open up my own salon. I want it to be a one-stop-shop. I want to have the best weave master, the best natural hair care person, the best mink lash extension specialist and of course, me doing the makeup and maybe even a nail tech and if I could have all of that in one salon, I’d feel like I would be super successful, because right noweverybody wants that on-the-go, that quick one stop shop type of thing and I think it’s a market for it here in Cincinnati.
HTM: Hood Talk Magazine is all about bridging the gap between the Black dollar. What is your philosophy on keeping the Black dollar within our community?
BBK: I tell anybody, you know if you have something that you’re talented at, turn it into a business. I’m always saying let’s bring back Black Wall Street. You know, nobody wants to talk about Black Wall Street, but let’s bring that back. Let’s start working for us.