Kirra Cruz is a makeup artist based in the Pacific Northwest — her Instagram is full of stunning looks and moody greenery, with cameos by locals like photographer Olivia Lazer and model Jessie, whose collaboration is shown above. It’s also a space where she, a longtime vegan, showcases leather alternatives by Haute Macabre friends Deandri as well as cruelty-free makeup products. Kirra was working for NARS when they announced they would begin testing on animals, and immediately resigned. Though I have long adored her artistry and ridiculously on point cheekbones, it is this dedication to her principles that drove me to reach out — I hope you enjoy our little interview!
When did makeup start feeling more like an art than just what you put on your face every morning? Or has it always been very creative for you?
I’ve always enjoyed doing my makeup but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago I really fell in love with what I was able to create on myself. Art has always come first in my life and I grew up drawing and painting and as I grew older, I discovered my love for portraits and the little details it took to make it come alive. I think that’s why I have such a connection with makeup because I get to play with as much detail as I want on a face.
Where do you get inspiration for your looks?
My looks are mostly inspired by how I am feeling or what kind of mood I want to portray. I also pull a lot of inspiration from traditional and classic goth looks. I love the drama and sharpness. I love marrying two different styles together too. A really natural soft complexion with sharp, dark details. Ahhh, it’s so good!
Who are your makeup muses?
That’s such a hard question for me to answer. I don’t really have one specific muse as far as makeup goes. I think the artists that influence me the most are the ones that you can see and feel how much they put into creating their looks, like abstract artsy artists who do makeup, not so much the MUs who use tape to draw on their wing liner. I’m also really drawn to more simplistic and classic looks, which can be hard to do but stunning when done right. So I guess you can say I’m more drawn to the feeling I get more than one specific being.
What’s the one product you can’t live without?
I have to do my brows everyday. So a brow cream, for sure. Right now I am using Anastasia’s dipbrow in granite. But If I was lucky and naturally had Vulcan brows, it would be Kat Von D’s tattoo liner. Or sunscreen… haha.
Describe some cool shoots you’ve been on recently as a makeup artist.
I don’t do a ton of shoots to be honest; some weddings here and there. The last shoot I did for a friend of mine at her house. She has the best place. Her and her boyfriend are curators of all things spooky — so full of all types of cool, creepy oddities and shit.
Can you tell me a bit about the NARS thing? Where were you when you found out? How long did it take you to decide to leave, and what did that feel like?
I had just gotten off work and was at dinner with some friends when I found out that NARS announced that they will be abiding by China’s law of testing on animals. Honestly, I felt very confused and heartbroken. I knew immediately that I could no longer work for the brand and that was that. I started looking for something else right away. Since becoming vegan, I grow more and more passionate about the lifestyle I chose to live everyday. There was no way I was just going stick around and be a part of something I knew was so wrong and was against everything I stand for. I’m still so upset about it. I just can’t fathom the idea of trading love for greed; it doesn’t make sense to me.
What’s next? What are your big goals for the next year?
I’m kind of taking a little break right now. I’m about to get married and focusing on living in the moment. I’m still going to be creating looks for my own enjoyment. But for what’s next, my babely partner in crime, (name removed by party’s request) and I have a big project we are working on. It’s kind of a secret but it’s something we both are passionate about, aside from makeup, and we will be opening an online shop! We’re very excited!
Anything else you want to tell me?
I had no idea I would get the amount of support I got when I announced on Instagram my choice to leave NARS. I got so many people messaging me about how inspired they were that I stood up for my beliefs and how brave it was. I just want to tell everyone reading this that I haven’t always been this way. I grew up being really shy, was bullied and in general was very insecure. One day I woke up and decided I didn’t want to or have to deal with anything that didn’t benefit me in a positive way. Don’t let anything get in the way of making yourself happy, whether that means standing up for what you believe in or wearing your makeup however you want, wherever you want. Self love is the most important love. Fuck what others will think, be true to yourself and stand up for yourself. Life is too short, don’t live one you’ll regret.