Alley Gage, local makeup artist turned face of Sephora, answers The Pitch Questionnaire
For its holiday advertising campaign, the beloved French cosmetics chain Sephora hired from within, so to speak. The company encouraged its 11,000 North American store employees to apply to be featured in ads featured in Sephora store windows and a print and social-media campaign. Roughly 1,000 employees responded. Alley Gage, a senior makeup artist who works at a handful of Sephoras in Johnson County, was one of only 10 selected — and the only one from the Midwest. Get to know the girl in Sephora’s window.
Hometown: I grew up in Overland Park.
Current neighborhood: I live off Red Bridge, in south Kansas City. I really like it, too.
What did you do when you first saw your portrait up at Sephora? There was a reveal party with my coworkers and friends, and when I saw it, I stood there with my mom and I cried. My mom said, “What would 13-year-old Alley say?” Because I was really severely bullied when I was growing up, so it was this moment of, like, You made it through all these things and now you’re the face of this beautiful company, and it was this super surreal thing.
Your drink: Black cold brew from the Roasterie. It’s my jam. I feel like I can taste the caffeine pouring into my veins. It’s really great.
How did you find out you’d be in Sephora’s campaign? The email went to work, so my best friend, Danielle, called me. She said, “You’re going to New York.” And I was like, “For what?” She was like, “You’re going to be in the window. You’re in the holiday campaign. You got it!”
When did you first start using makeup? I started using makeup when I was 11. I have a very cool mother.
What does Kansas City need more of? More Ubers [and] public transportation in general. In Kansas City there are so many cool pockets, and if there was a way to weave things together, how cool would that be?
What is your soapbox? I think my soapbox is that not everyone’s path is the same. You should go do what fills your heart and makes you excited to be alive. That, and wear lip liner! It’s the number one thing that’s neglected with makeup.
What is the last thing you laughed at? My boyfriend singing me Britney Spears. It was amazing. He sang “Born To Make You Happy” on Instagram with a filter just to make me laugh, and it was spectacular.
How does makeup help with self-expression? I think makeup catches a bad wrap — like you’re being vain or you’re being superficial, you’re hiding yourself — but for me, it’s my war paint. That’s why I put on makeup: I get ready to face the day.
I am currently binge watching… The Office is always on loop. It’s my favorite show; it captures my humor no matter how many times I’ve seen an episode.
Your favorite social media platform? Instagram. I love to see through the eyes of another person. I think it’s a really great way to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
The last book you read: Radical Self Love by Gala Darling. It awesome, it’s also a really good book to read if you’re a single person because it teaches you how to be solid within yourself.
What’s your hidden talent? Rapping Childish Gambino and making beef jerky. I’m an eclectic gal.
What makeup trend should we be on the lookout for? I think the biggest thing is really soft and polished makeup. In the last couple years, makeup has been a little bit more graphic and intense, and I think [future] makeup is going to be more effortless and soft.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate-covered gummy bears. I’ve gotten many people hooked.
The best advice you ever got: To go where you’re called. I always felt like, for me, I had an unconventional path in life. Listen to your inner voice and go where you need to. It has not failed me yet.
The makeup artist inspiring you now: Olga Tomina, @tominamakeup. Her work is insane. She does really beautiful, fresh, soft work, but her eye makeup is always elaborate and beautiful.
Who did you want to be when you grew up? Baby Spice. I was so obsessed with her. When I was in kindergarten, I wrote my name as Emma on papers because I wanted to be Baby Spice.
What’s your greatest struggle right now? Time management is so hard, and right now I’m in the process of starting my own YouTube channel, balancing work, balancing a social life, being involved with church. It’s hard to find enough hours in the day.
Where’s dinner? This is such a hard question for me, because I love food and I love to try food. Ever since I went to New Orleans last summer I’ve been on a shrimp and grits kick. So, shrimp and grits from Summit Grill.
Your favorite products right now: NARS Super Power Matte Pigments: I can eat a cheeseburger with it, and it doesn’t move. Tarte Park Avenue Princess Contour and Bronzing Palette: I can do my whole face with it in one; it’s a beautiful palette. Drunk Elephant Baby Facial: it’s like a peel in a bottle, and it gives you refreshed, retexturizer, refinished skin.
What makes Kansas City special to you? I think my favorite thing about Kansas City is that it’s such a supportive community. There’s this really deeply rooted, support-local mentality that I really love.
How does living in the Midwest change the way you approach beauty trends? The Midwest woman is much more functional with makeup. I think a lot of people think you can’t do makeup beautifully in a quick amount of time, but you really can.
Worst beauty trend of 2017? Overly-mattified skin.