EXCLUSIVE: Kamani Alana Talks Leaving Dancing to Do Makeup
She can teach you a thing or two about cosmetics!
From the Stage to the Chair
CB: You are a makeup artist. Can you tell me how you got your start in makeup?
Kamani: I used to be a professional dancer. I danced with Missy Elliot, Chris Brown, pretty much all like the big artists, and I was looking to kind of push out of that. I remember being on set, and I just saw these amazing makeup artists. It just resonated with me and it hit me.
So I just began working with the makeup artists that I had met over the years dancing on set. As soon as I got my hands on an airbrush, it was over for me. I was like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing.’
CB: Did you stop dancing after that, or you just did a little bit of both?
Kamani: My dance agency was really mad at me because I just got the feeling that I’m going to do makeup full-time, and that was at a time where when Mary J. Blige called me to be on tour with her. My agency was livid. I was just like, ‘I have to stop dancing.’ I just wanted to go full time with makeup, and honestly that was the decision I ever made. It was definitely a huge, huge risk for sure.
Don’t get me wrong, that career was great for me as well. I got to travel the world, I worked for the best artists in the world. So initially that was how I met a lot of people in the makeup industry.
CB: It’s a big transition, but not that many people are lucky enough to know what it is that they want to do. And then also be good at it and have the resources to be able to do it.
Kamani: Yeah, definitely, and before I stopped dancing, I prayed about it.
And as soon as I started getting into it, it was such a natural thing for me. And you know my mom was like that’s what you were supposed to be doing anyway. I realized as a kid I used to win every art contest for painting. I was always such an artist anyway. So now instead of painting a blank canvas, I’m painting on people faces.
CB: Was backup dancing how you met Larry Sims?
Kamani: Larry was dancing for Missy Elliott and so was I. Then he became Missy’s assistant, and I was still dancing, but we just both became really great friends. We were together all the time. And that was just crazy because we both just wanted to leave the industry exactly at the same time.
We literally talked one night, and I was like, ‘I think I want to do makeup.’ And he’s like, ‘I want to do hair.’ I said, ‘If I do makeup and you do hair, we’ll be the Dream Team.’ We just went full force. We were doing photoshoots $20, whatever we could do. It was it was a lot, but we just did it. We both took that risk together. So whatever shoot that he was on, he would bring me on. Whatever shoot that I was on, I would always bring him on. So we just kind of built our careers together. Sometimes things just happen in such a beautiful way.
Teaching Her Craft
CB: You launched a YouTube channel to teach people how to do their own makeup. It’s actually my personal favorite YouTube beauty tutorial. Tell me what we can expect to see on your YouTube channel.
Kamani: My followers on my social media and my supporters really pushed me to do YouTube. I was doing was blogging and things like that on my social media, and they were like, ‘Please do a YouTube.’ So it took me a minute to get there, but now that I’m there, I’m really, really excited about it.
I have been in the industry for so long; I’m a pro makeup artist and a beauty expert. So my followers love my beauty tutorials or inside celebrity beauty secrets. Like, ‘Hey I use this primer on Victoria Beckham,’ and they say, ‘Oh, I’m gonna go buy it right now.’
I love that people are loving my personality which I totally appreciate, but I also love that because I take my craft very seriously. I love the fact that people really take heed to what I say because I’ve done makeup on every inch of every type of skin. When people ask me questions I’m able to really give them an expert answer. I really know skincare, and I really understand shades of makeup.
I’m definitely having fun with it, and I have fallen into it very naturally. Nars Cosmetics and Kevin Aucoin have approached me, and now I’m a Hot Influencer.
CB: Do you have any more projects coming up?
Kamani: A lot of my followers and my supporters have been pushing me to do makeup classes. You’ll learn a whole lot in these classes so definitely look out for those for sure.
Have Kamani’s makeup tutorials changed the way you do your makeup? Let us know what you love about her look in the comments and SHARE this story!