Campaign Jobs: Making politicians prettier

Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova Aug 19, 2015
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Campaign Jobs: Making politicians prettier

Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova Aug 19, 2015
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Kriss Blevens works quickly. She can have a man camera-ready in 45 seconds and a woman prepped in about three minutes.

Kriss Blevens

Kriss Blevens

“I’ve got it down to a science, and I can work that swiftly if needed,” Blevens says.

But for Blevens, getting political candidates made up for the limelight requires more than just assembly line efficiency. She remembers an encounter with Hillary Clinton during the 2007 debate cycle that highlighted her creative touch.

“I was responsible as the head makeup artist for the debate. Her assistant held up a red lipstick and said, ‘Here’s her lipstick, this is what she wears,’” Blevens recalls.

The shade of lipstick was all wrong though. “So I just courageously looked at her assistant and said, ‘I’m not feeling it.’ And Hillary Clinton just lifted her face to me and said, ‘Just do what you feel, Kriss.’”

Blevens thinks her Clinton experience put her on the map a little bit when it comes to making politicians prettier.

But just because Blevens works for politicians doesn’t mean that her business is partisan.

“I freelance,” Blevens says, “and I do that so that I can work for all parties, all places, all networks.”

She’s even traveled nationally as the head makeup artist for CNN. And after almost three decades of working as a makeup artist, Blevens says she’s never put makeup where it’s not supposed to be.

“I love to live on the edge, so I really love to not put on a cape and have that guarantee that not one thing is going to drop,” she says.

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