Siera Wildey does crazy makeup.
And she does crazy makeup well.
From Day of Dead, to superheroes, to Christmas clowns (check it out), she’s the queen of the wonderfully, beautifully weird.
When I started actively rounding up artists for this project, I knew I wanted to interview her because she had done some gorgeous work with a photographer I knew here in Temecula. She primarily showcases her work on her Instagram here, and her creations are not only unique, they’re executed with masterful precision.
She’s got plans for a YouTube channel in the works, and I cannot wait to see where that takes this up-and-coming artist.
A few weeks ago, she and I met in Old Town Temecula and she told me all about how she started.
As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved putting on makeup, and my mom always encouraged it. I never really thought of being a makeup artist until about a year a half ago though. I felt kind of stuck in my job as a waitress and I thought this is way too stststststssttressful; I don’t want to do this for the ressttstst of my life. I’d already been there for four years, and I just thought I need to get out and do something.
At the time I was a cooking assistant for someone, and I just noticed that she loved what she did so much. Every day when we were in the kitchen she was just so excited to be there, and she was so excited that people would sign up for her class. I would just look at her and think man, I want that for myself. What do I have that I’m passionate about that I’ve never really pursued?
And I immediately thought makeup, because I love makeup. I didn’t really know where to go from there because I love the costume side of makeup more than the beauty side, so I thought I’d start with cosmetology school. I went online that day, then visited a couple schools and before I knew it I was in Paul Mitchell.
It was really hard because I would say 90% of cosmetology school was hair and I just wanted nothing to do with it. However, the makeup teacher at that school loved the kind of makeup that I love, and it was his Instagram that got me excited about starting this and sharing my love for this with the world.
I was encouraged to start an Instagram to show people my work, but they were referring to hair. I didn’t want people to know I did hair, because that’s not what I wanted to do. I just decided to start one for my makeup. So I started taking pictures of things that I would do at home. Eventually I got better, and I got the right paint for it, and I started following more people and noticing what they were using and picked up on what helps to make a better quality picture, so I got a ring light and I put a black sheet behind me and that made all the difference.
It took off from there.
The more that I did it, the more confident I got in it. I felt like, okay, this is super weird but this is something that I created, and nobody else created it, so I’m going to post it.
It’s been really cool and encouraging to see people’s reactions to it. It definitely motivates me and helps me show a side of myself that I don’t show to people unless I’ve known them for a really long time. It’s cool to show them that I’m not just someone who’s super quiet.
Do you remember the first picture you were really scared about putting out there, that really felt like you were opening a part of yourself?
It’s a really old one, but it’s something that had more meaning to myself than any other one because until then, all my other ones were just makeup. I made a painting in 9th grade and I found it in the garage one day when we were moving, and I thought I wonder if I can paint that on my face?
So I did, and I thought it just looked horrible but then I did a side by side, and I think that might have been the first time that I thought that this is more than artwork, this is my past and my present.
So what were you most afraid of in putting it out there?
I just thought people wouldn’t like it. This was just more something I would appreciate and they wouldn’t understand. But after that one, I just kind of went crazy and I think I got better after that, because it became more about what I wanted to share instead of what people wanted to see.
Do you feel like you’ve gotten bolder as you’ve progressed?
I’ve definitely found my strengths and weaknesses. On days that I feel lazy I just fall back on strengths instead of testing myself; I just know what comes naturally and what doesn’t come naturally. Some days I don’t feel like trying but I still want to wow people, so I have to push myself to really go outside the box.
There was one picture that I really hated but I posted it anyway, and a couple months later it ended up on a website where it was comparing really great artists to really bad artists, and mine was the really bad artist. But a bunch of people commented and said they still thought it was great, and I even said that I hated it, so for her to go and post it, I thought whatever, I wasn’t proud of that anyway.
I think it’s just funny to look back on that know and think dang, my Instagram has improved so much since then. You can knock people down all you want, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to get better eventually.
What drives you to keep going, and keep working towards pursuing this?
People that I follow, friends that I’ve met through Instagram. Sometimes I think man, they got so many followers in such a short amount of time, but then I thought well, I don’t even care about followers. I like seeing that I’ve improved, and going to other people’s profiles and thinking I can do that, and yeah, I can have a YouTube channel.
Jaclyn Hill gets paid to try new products and she has her own line now, and she’s my age as well, and I’m like dude, I want to be like her. And then I thought, well what can’t I?
Anybody can. You just have to stick with it. I’ve done so many different routes with that I want to do with my life, just little things that I picked up and put down, and this is the one I really ran with and this is what I really want to do with my life.
People don’t have a say with what I post. They can comment all they want. It’s just a whole lot of me on a small little screen; it’s cool.
I think that’s the beauty of what you’re doing. You’re creating this thing that’s entirely your own. I find it’s a common thread with creatives, at least with many of the people I’ve met and it certainly resonates with me, just dipping your hand in a little bit of everything, but once you find your thing, you just go after it and make it your own.
Do you have a set timeline for your goals, or just one thing at a time?
I’m hoping by Christmas to have a couple videos up, and that I’m able to make at least one video a week, because I don’t know how long editing will take me. I just want to be constantly posting and not get lazy with it.
Do you have experience with editing?
(laughs) No, I have no idea what I’m doing.
But that’s exciting, because you’re just forging ahead!
I also think that’s the fun in it. Maybe like 5 years from now, I’ll look back and remember when I only had this much money because I poured it all into my camera or my new laptop, and it was just so worth it. Even looking back now and thinking I didn’t want to stay in cosmetology school after the first two hours because it was brutal, but then I finished. It was hard, but I stuck with it.
It’s fun being in that unknown stage. It’s exciting, and if I fail, I fail and I’ll just start something else.
What do you think propels you to keep going through that unknown?
I think part of me know that I’m not going to fail. I’m a one-woman show, so I can only blame myself and that motivates me to keep going. It’s more pressure on myself, but it motivates me to do it.
I know how much I want it, and just knowing that reassures me that this is a good thing, and it’s going to be really exciting.
Also I guess I don’t have a lot of fear in it because I know that this is the gift that God gave me. He’s just like “okay, well just run with it, have fun it with it.”
I’m always going to enjoy doing it.
Here's to Siera, for daring to step out and let the world see the kind of magic she can create with makeup and paint. To finding that passion and seizing it.