THE BEAT GOES ON
We’re extremely happy to feature Kristin Gallegos, the terrific young makeup artist/photographer who is taking the fashion world by storm. With her makeup brush and film camera in hand, she snaps photos of some of the hippest models in the downtown New York scene. We first met Kristin at a gallery opening in Soho and remember her fondly wearing a vintage Emilio Pucci minidress with a sixties fluffy fur coat thrown over it. She stood proudly in front of three hugely spectacular polaroid prints of lovelies she had photographed. She was surprisingly very down-to-earth, and oh so excited to talk about her prints hanging in the show. So, we thought she would be a perfect subject for a Ponyboy feature with that gorgeous 1960’s resemblance to Cher and her out-of-sight fabulous frocks. Kristin kindly presented us with some magnificent images of work that she has done for various publications, including Purple and So It Goes. Photographs of Kristin Gallegos by Alexander Thompson.
PONYBOY: Where were you raised?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: I was born and raised in Long Beach, California but moved and went to High School in Upland, California. And I have lived in New York City for the past eleven years!
PONYBOY: What were your teenage years like?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: My teenage years were interesting. I spent most of my time doing classical ballet after school and on the weekends, until I quit senior year of High School. I was so focused on ballet that I didn’t spend much time caring about a social life until I quit ballet, and then I went off the deep end! Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll! I went through a short raver phase right after I graduated which was dumb. Ha-ha! I was a little party animal and rock ‘n’ roll kid though! I went to a ton of shows as a teenager and was super boy crazy. I guess somethings never change!
PONYBOY: What brought you to New York City?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: I always dreamt of coming to New York City since I was a kid. I wanted to dance with American Ballet Theater but even after I quit ballet I wanted to move here. And when I decided to do makeup as a career my goal was to move to New York and work in fashion instead of moving to LA to do film/tv/celebrities. I think I just never really felt at home until I came here.
PONYBOY: How did you get into being a makeup artist?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: After I quit dancing, I took a few years off to be a normal person, but then got bored of not having ambitions and goals, and started thinking about what I could do with my life. I knew I wanted to do something creative, that didn’t require school. I am not a fan of school. Someone suggested doing makeup which I never considered. But I was quite good at it from years of doing my own stage makeup for performances. My mom taught me a lot too, she’s really good at makeup. So I took a workshop in Hollywood and then started doing freelance for MAC cosmetics and test shooting in my spare time. I was lucky to find some good photographers! I got hired full-time at a MAC store and became good friends with another artist there, Stevie Huynh, that wanted to go to New York. So we made an actual plan to move to New York City in a years time and we actually did! And both of us are successful artists now! He was the only person I knew in New York when I moved here!
PONYBOY: Well, your makeup career has certainly taken off. What have been some of your favorite projects to work on?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: Yeah I have been working as an artist in New York now for over a decade. It’s definitely a long career. I got an agent after working here for only two years which was really cool! That was a big deal for me. I worked really hard to get where I am that’s for sure! But I feel that I have been very lucky to have had this experience! I have gotten the opportunity to travel the world with this job. I grew up kinda poor and never going on vacation. So if it weren’t for this job I probably wouldn’t have been to any of the places I’ve been.
I guess some of my favorite projects were the jobs abroad. My favorite places I traveled to are Tokyo and Iceland, which I did with Urban Outfitters. When I was starting out I got to work with one of my idols, David Bailey, which I will never forget! And my Purple Magazine cover with Kim Gordon was pretty rad too!
PONYBOY: As far as your personal style, have you always been into vintage clothing?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: I got into vintage in my late teens. I had a few favorite shops in LA I would go to. And when I moved to New York, my love for vintage grew! I have always been a sixties girl at heart but went through many phases early on. It wasn’t until a couple years into living here that I really went for it though and did full vintage sixties. Once I started making good money I really got into designer clothes and my vintage went to the wayside for a while. I guess that comes with growing up poor. Ha-ha. I have since evened out and have mixed my designer stuff with my amazing vintage. But I feel like I shop for vintage way more now. It’s become an obsession to find the best most unique pieces from the sixties and seventies.
PONYBOY: Your look has been compared to 1960’s Cher. Is she your style inspiration?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: Yes I get that ALL the time! I think I genuinely look like her in the sixties, its weird! She is definitely one of my style icons. I usually describe my style as ‘Goth 60’s Cher meets Cher from Clueless’. I am really inspired by a mix of people though. I love Edie Sedgwick, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Francoise Hardy, Jane Birkin, and Bob Dylan (who I dressed up as for Halloween).
PONYBOY: Who are your favorite designers?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: I love Miu Miu, Saint Laurent, and Valentino a lot! But these days I mostly shop for vintage. I’m addicted to online vintage shopping! I only do new designer bags and shoes though, never vintage!
PONYBOY: Tell us about your photography. How did that all come about?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: Well I have always been obsessed with polaroids since I was a teenager. My ex-boyfriend and I obsessively took polaroids of each other for many years. And my walls as a teenager were covered in photos of friends. But I never considered going to school for photography or doing it as a career. I just liked taking photos for fun! So I decided last August to finally get a good 35mm point and shoot camera. I started taking portraits of friends and posting them on Instagram. And that’s literally how it all started! I have a decent amount of followers on Instagram and people started saying how they liked my portraits. I was then in a polaroid show at the Safari Gallery in Soho. I blew up three expired 600 polaroids of three of my best friends to 24 x 24 inches. That was an amazing experience for me! And then in December and January, I started seriously getting hit up on instagram to shoot for real! It all happened super organically out of nowhere and I just went with it! I shoot nude stories for purple.fr now. I’ve shot for the lingerie line CV-New York. I also shot for this sick brand called Sugarhigh Lovestoned which hasn’t come out yet. I have an ongoing portrait series for So It Goes magazine out of London, of my friends and muses. And I’ve just shot for my favorite vintage site, Stoned Immaculate Vintage out of LA! I have lots of cool things in the works!
PONYBOY: Your photography career is really taking off. What’s been your favorite editorial that you have shot so far?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: I’m so happy that things are taking off! I genuinely love taking photos and I do the makeup for my own shoots. I kind of do everything. It’s more of an all around art project! I don’t know if I could pick a favorite project! Although the portrait series for So It Goes was such a big undertaking for me. I started it in January! I came up with the project with the fashion director, Liz McClean, shot it, had clothes being sent to my apartment all the time, did some of the subjects makeup, sent out the interviews (Proust Questionaire), edited, etc etc. It’s been a long process but it was so fun getting to shoot a lot of close friends and muses! And reading everyone’s questionnaires was so much fun! I can’t wait till it’s all out!
PONYBOY: You shoot incredible models of the moment. Are these beautiful girls your friends?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: Yes! I like to surround myself with beauty always! I’m a Taurus what can I say? I only shoot my friends. And some of them happen to be models. Some of them are just beautiful girls and boys that do cool things. So I have an amazing group of subjects. We have so much fun shooting!
PONYBOY: What can we expect from you in the future, with your makeup and photography careers?
KRISTIN GALLEGOS: Who knows! Hopefully a lot more cool things. I am very excited to see where life takes me. You will have to stay tuned!