Kimberley Margarita Weber has the skill to turn herself into anything she wants, including a barnacle-covered mermaid queen.
The 30-year-old Nanaimo makeup artist, who goes by Kimberley Margarita on Instagram, has racked up more than 780,000 followers on the social media platform since she started approximately six years ago, and has worked with numerous cosmetics brands in the process.
Her journey into the online creative world first started while attending the John Casablancas Institute in Vancouver for its makeup artistry program, with the then-goal of working in the film industry.
However, due to health concerns that required surgery, Weber was unable to work or attend school for about a year.
“During that time, I really wanted to keep up my skills, what I was learning in school – and by that I mean more of the visual effects – so I just started doing my own makeup at home because I couldn’t really do anything else at the time. And then I started posting it on Instagram, just as a hobby for fun. And that really took off,” she said.
Although Weber did return to finish the artistry program, she said without the medical break she likely would not have approached her art or online presence the same way, and possibly would not have gained such a following.
From what started as a hobby, the makeup artist is now able to support herself full-time through branded partnerships with companies such as Google, Amazon, Disney, Snapchat and Warner Brothers.
She even appeared alongside rapper Lil Nas X in a Logitech commercial that aired during last year’s Super Bowl.
“It was amazing. I love getting to work with brands like that and collaborating. And a lot of the brands I work with have let me take creative control over the makeup concept … It’s so much fun getting to create with these big companies.”
She said her following came as a gradual build with occasional peaks, like when she was named as a finalist in the ‘cyberpunk’-themed 2017 NYX Face Awards, a global professional makeup competition. She also noted that having a strong online presence, regularly posting content and finding a niche is essential to building a following.
Besides creating beautiful and eye-catching works of art that sometimes encompass her entire head, Weber provides online makeup tutorials through Instagram and has even hosted a series of makeup master classes.
For aspiring makeup artists, regardless of their niche, she suggested “trying it all at the beginning” with as many different mediums, styles, looks and tools as possible in order to “figure it all out.”
“Finding a way to stand out from everyone else, especially right now with how social media is very oversaturated – there’s a lot of people trying to do the same thing. So I think the difficult thing is finding that edge that separates you from everybody else,” she said, adding that she spends a great deal of time looking at various mediums of art for inspiration. “My favourite looks are Halloween looks … And I just really love looks that tell a story, with the hair and the makeup and the set and the props.”
And while her seasonal content is usually most popular around holidays, she was surprised by how well-liked her “everyday looks” had become.
“It’s not always about the extreme crazy looks,” she said. “It’s also about the basics, too.”
As far as retail opportunities, Weber has teamed up with beauty brands such as Benefit Cosmetics, Urban Decay and Quo Beauty, to sometimes create haunting depictions of “dark queens” and otherworldly “galaxy skulls.”
She will be featured in a campaign for NYX Cosmetics this Halloween, which was done in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil.