Kim Greene: Makeup Artist, Entrepreneur, Teacher

Kim Greene on “Face Off”

Kim Greene has been a very busy lady. Not only is she a successful L.A. based makeup artist, she is, also, a burgeoning entrepreneur and videographer, writer and star of instructional videos found on her own you-tube channel, now throw in her blog – tired yet. In her spare time she has just completed a guest turn as a judge on Face Off, the Syfy Network’s nail biter seeking out the newest stars of the mascara, rouge and prosthetic world.

“I am first and foremost a film maker,” says Kim, when asked if her other projects ever get in the way of being on the set, “It is who I am.”

In Kim’s case the appellation is not mere hubris. The Chicago native studied Radio, TV and Film in college. She followed a path trod by many before and after her; she was a utility player in the film world. She did everything from production coordinating to craft service; anything to be on or close to the set in commercials and industrials.

“One day I watched someone doing makeup,“ she recalls, “I had a true ‘aha’ moment.” I’m sure many of those in the business have a trace of a smile recalling their own moment.

Kim headed off to study under Vincent Kehoe the make-up artist, author and teacher who was among the foremost craftsmen of his time. Mr. Kehoe’s lessons were the foundation for Kim’s development of her skill set. Armed with this solid foundation she was ready to get into the game.

She moved to Texas to share an apartment with her sister when she heard of a film boom going on in the “right to work” state. Kim was able to get a job as a day player on the Oliver Stone film, JFK. It was there that she met Ron Berkley who was impressed enough with what she offered he chose to begin mentoring her. Soon after their first job he called “come work with me,” he offered. The job was the Michael Jackson Black And White video.

“Ron always guided her toward becoming a head makeup artist. “While I’ve always been a little disorganized,” she says, “ I find myself very organized at work. The head makeup is the organizer.”

Kim has gone on to serve as either key or head makeup person on dozens of projects. In addition, she has been the star makeup person for celebrities including Woody Harrelson, Drew Barrymore and Christina Applegate.

Kim describes her mentors as, “amazingly generous.” She keenly feels a responsibility to “pay it forward” as she becomes a maestra. She has taught seminars, including one in department heading. She is, of course, quick to take on a mentoring roll.

In addition to her blog, Kim has created her own you-tube channel for instructional videos. She is talent, videographer and editor. Some segments are primarily geared toward professionals, including one showing how to pack your kit for a mountain shoot. There’s that sense of organization again. All the videos, however will appeal to pro and amateur alike. You are, after all, getting free tips from a professional who is an expert in “beauty makeup”.

Ironically, Kim’s husband is an editor on major films “He finds it quite charming when I’m cutting my videos on I-movie,” she said. Kim is quick to add, “he is extremely supportive.”

In the film business, very few innovations come from a corporate R&D lab. New products are mostly the result of some craftsman getting tired of struggling with paraphernalia that doesn’t serve them well. Kim has joined the ranks of those pros that have developed a piece of equipment out of sheer exasperation.

“There was nothing available,” says Kim. “Everything was heavy, canvas and dark.” She complains that equipment would “get lost” in the deep beach bag like set bags. She decided she wanted something more convenient and to get it she’d have to make it herself. This led to the birth of “The Kim Greene Line” of set bags for makeup and hair artists.

“My first bag came to me in a dream,” Kim remembers, “I woke up and drew it out on a napkin on the nightstand.” From simple drawings she has grown into submitting her designs to the manufacturer on a 3-dimensional design program.

After the first bags were put on the market the inevitable happened. “The first time I saw someone carrying one of my bags, I said, ‘Oh my God,’” even now her voice rises two octaves with excitement, “’where did you get that bag!’” She says, “It didn’t seem real.”

She pays very close attention to all the bags’ details, from the exact size of the compartments for the materials used. She selects heavier vinyl and higher quality zippers. She examines her bags right down to the quality of the stitching.

It may seem to some that she has a lot on her plate – film work, internet teaching, blogging, entrepreneurship; it is a formidable load, indeed. In speaking with Kim there is passion, but no sign of stress. After all, she’s got it all organized.

Roger Kimpton