Krystal Kershaw’s Work With Celebs
By Calvin Tyler
Lake Charles is a small town built on industry. I remember a time before the casinos moved into town, bringing with them new economic opportunities. How different these casinos were from the ones in the Martin Scorsese movies I grew up on.
Many of my friends have worked in the Lake Charles casinos, and have built solid lives for themselves, just as my friends who’ve worked for the refineries have. But some people don’t have it in them to occupy this kind of job because their imaginations would never allow it.
They are dreamers perpetually seeking the next whatever to chase, study or understand. This explains their need to find interesting and passionate people; their unquenchable thirst for hearing about the achievements of others; and possibly why some have an infatuation with great films.
The dream of being involved in Hollywood dwells deep inside most Americans. The stars of blockbuster films are known as celebrities because they’re celebrated for their exterior beauty and for reaching one of the highest goals in our society — making it in Hollywood.
So, how does an average, boring anybody go about engineering their lives in a way that could bring them among the Hollywood elite?
There’s something about looking up to something great that forces us to look through the weakness in ourselves. This is where discovering who you truly are and what your life’s goals should be begins creeping up on you. Pulling the trigger and doing something about it is quite a different story.
“I’ll never make it,” says that guy over there. “There’s no money in it,” says another. “I’d love to, but I’m just too tired,” said me the night before trash pickup.
We know these lies are effective, but what would persuade a person to actually reach their crazy goals? What does someone have to tell themselves to get into the same room as Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Katherine Zeta-Jones?
I sat down with a local business owner who did exactly that, in hopes of learning her secret.
Walking into Celebrity Makeup Studio for the first time, I noticed the movie posters lining the walls. “This is cool,” I nerdily said to myself before turning to see the studio’s owner, Krystal Kershaw, sitting in the waiting area speaking with one of her employees. Awkward and unsure of how to respond in these situations, I began walking about the place in slow repetition before she excitedly called me over.
I quickly discover that Kershaw has worked on real-deal, big Hollywood movies. Movies that a lot of us have actually seen … in a real movie theater! Her resume includes The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Robert Pattison, Kristen Stewart); Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt); Killer Joe (Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch); and Broken City (Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mark Wahlberg).
I also feel obligated, out of pure fan boy adoration, to mention that she has worked with one of the greatest living director/writers in history. This man is Frank Darabont, and the project for which they worked together was the film adapted from Stephen King’s hit book The Mist. Another Darabont film you might remember is The Shawshank Redemption (Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins).
Kershaw has worked with Darabont, as well as with many other Academy Award winners. All the movie posters in the studio act as a type of living art résumé for Kershaw’s career.
Kershaw’s presence is calm and inviting, but also focused and professional. The first thing I wanted to discuss with her was what it was like to stand directly in front of John Cusack, to which she responded, “He’s super cool. Johnny would talk to everybody just like you and me are talking right now.” It made me happy, not only hearing that Cusack is as cool off-camera as he is on, but also that Kershaw seemed to have the ability to easily relate to people. This was obvious in my short time with her. It’s no wonder she could work with the world’s most elite clientele.
She’s definitely a different pedigree of stylist, unlike any I’ve ever met, so I had to know how she got herself onto the road to uber-professional makeup artist.
Kershaw explains to me that she always wanted to be a makeup artist, and that this desire was born from her admiration of Hollywood movie stars. I compare this to little boys wanting to be astronauts when they grew up. But those little boys, for the most part, eventually realize that becoming an astronaut is super hard and decide that it’s easier to bail on their dreams in exchange for a steady paycheck, house, two cars, and a boat.
Kershaw laughs and assures me that these thoughts never crept into her mind. Somehow, she was able to maintain her innocent ambition. Her father was a little more apprehensive about the whole idea of his little girl running away to Hollywood, and only asked that she go to college and earn a degree before leaving. She agreed, and decided on a two-year business degree because she thought, “eh, two years isn’t that long.”
Kershaw applied, and was accepted into the Joe Blasco School of Makeup in Hollywood. It was there that she received extensive training in camera-ready cosmetics and applications, eyelash extension, special effects and everything else required to make people look their best for the largest audiences on earth.
After graduating, and working in Los Angeles for a bit, she had planned on moving to New Orleans to further her film career in the booming Louisiana film industry. But her plans were altered after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
She made it to Shreveport, where she landed a job as a makeup artist on the Kevin Costner film Mr. Brooks. This is where she would meet Costner’s personal makeup artist, Francisco Pérez. “He taught me so much,” she says. “There were times I would ask him about his career, and he would go on and on about these amazing adventures he had had. He even gave me the greatest advice when he told me, ‘our jobs look glamorous, but there is always a sacrifice when doing what you love,’ and that has stuck with me.”
The sacrifice Pérez was referring to is always being away on movie shoots. Personal life has to take a side-seat to the professional life. It’s reminiscent of the old saying “nobody sits on their deathbed wishing they’d spent more time at the office.”
Kershaw loved her work and continued chasing her dream, landing projects with A-list celebrities such as Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Queen Latifah, Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Tommy Lee Jones among many others. She even became, and still is, Bobby Jindal’s makeup artist, making him camera-ready for interviews with Fox News, CNN and other major broadcast networks.
But what would put Kershaw onto her current path, bringing her back to Lake Charles, was a force of nature stronger than any hurricane.
Being a native of the Lake Charles area, Kershaw always knew how comfortable and inviting her little city could be. “There’s a certain friendly nature our people have that’s nonexistent in larger cities,” she says. “After discovering that I was pregnant with my little girl, Kiki, I made the decision to go back home and put the college degree my dad had advised I earn to good use.”
Taking all the knowledge she’d acquired during her time in the world of celebrity beauty, she started her own business.
Kershaw’s establishment is the Celebrity Makeup Studio & Lash Bar, located on the corner of Ryan Street and Prien Lake Road, which offers a wide variety of cosmetics as well as the same eyelash extensions she was trained to apply during her time at the Joe Blasco Makeup School in Hollywood (the same lashes used during the Academy Awards ceremony).
Celebrity Makeup Studio feels like it should exist in Hollywood, catering to the stars. High-end products that were once only available to the elite, Kershaw now offers to the public. She explains, “everything I offer to my customers are the same cosmetic lines I’ve used on movie sets to ready the actors/actresses for their scenes. I’m taking what I love to do and offering it in my hometown.
“Even my staff have been hand-selected by me to meet my standards of practice. One of my girls has even had her hair and makeup work published both nationally and internationally before ever working for me, and that’s why I hired her. I demand the utmost quality in my employees’ work, just as I do with my very own.”
Kershaw still leaves town to work on film projects, as well as staying home to work on local independent film projects (The Man In The Chair, Little Chenier, Good Boy). But her local celebrity makeup work is mostly limited to summer shoots.
“My dad is a great grandpa, but he can’t help with homework,” she endearingly jokes while laughing. She continues, “I love my journey. My clients are wonderful, my family is so happy, and I feel blessed to have found that infamous balance between my work life and personal life. Every day is more beautiful than the last, and I’m grateful that all of my dreams are still coming true.”