GLAMAZON Beauty's Kim Baker Shares the Powerful Story Behind the Iconic Brand's Color Cosmetics
In case you didn't know it yet, Kim Baker is a bit of an icon in the makeup industry.
Starting her career as a model, she became an expert on all things cosmetics out of necessity, since makeup artists at her modeling gigs lacked the shades that suited her dark complexion. Those skills eventually led to her becoming a makeup artist to the stars, as well as the foundation of her own cosmetics brand, GLAMAZON Beauty.
GLAMAZON was founded around the idea of enhancing, not concealing, your natural beauty, with products made with good-for-you, plant-based ingredients that are great for skin of all shades. The inclusive brand recently launched a new look for their signature products, as well as their Perfect Face System, a step-by-step guide that helps users create their dream makeup look in under eight minutes. We were lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Kim Baker herself to find out all about how she got to where she is today, what GLAMAZON means to her and why it's so important to support women of all shapes, sizes and colors to understand their own beauty.
Sweety High: Tell us about your transition from being a model to becoming a celebrity makeup artist. Why did learning to do your own makeup become such a necessity, and when did you start seeing that as a career opportunity?
Kim Baker: I transitioned from a model to makeup artist when I grew spiritually as a human being. I grew past my face and people were always in awe of my bone structure! I had become terribly vain and did not like that trait about myself and I began to work on myself through prayer to become a better human. Then I discovered meditation and wanted to serve others, but I wasn't sure how until a friend of my mom's who was overweight asked me to do her makeup and so I did. She began to cry and said for the first time since her weight gain she felt pretty again, and that was the moment that changed my life.
I would model by day and work at the A & S department store counter at night for fashion fair with Sam Fine and that was where I learned how to work on every type of skin tone. From there, I worked for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics from the very first day Bobbi was in business! I stayed with Bobbi for 12 years before my first big break as a celebrity makeup artist. It came from Paramount Pictures where I went on to groom Laurence Fishburne, Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames for Mission Impossible 2.
Learning to do makeup became a necessity to make sure I didn't look like a clown or ashy in my images. My mom said if you want something done correctly, then do it your damn self—and so I did! I started really killing it as a makeup artist right after Tom Cruise and my now dear friend Nancy Bannister approved me to work for Paramount Pictures. From there, everyone was hiring me, including Rod and Kimberly Stewart. I've worked with Aretha Franklin and so many other people. That was when I began to believe, okay, so maybe I am a celebrity makeup artist now! I was still saying "maybe" even though I was working with the No. a box office draw in the world!
SH: How did that eventually inspire GLAMAZON Beauty?
KB: I would work in department stores and events for Bobbi, for Chanel, and Black women and deep-skinned Indian women would always stop to watch me do makeup and they would say, "I'm sure you don't have my shade," and that would hurt my heart. That is when I realized women of color wanted to see themselves and feel spoken to and not feel like the afterthought—well, here I am, and I am speaking to all my sisters—Black, white, yellow and red. Every shade is a color including white. I'm still waiting to meet a transparent human!
SH: How did you come up with the name GLAMAZON Beauty? Why did that feel like the perfect representation of you and your brand?
KB: Ironically, people think RuPaul came up with it! He did not—I did! I was always called a Glamazon and an Amazon by my family elders. In fact, my grandmother was called Glamagal.
I love fashion and beauty, the first time I ever heard the word Glamazon was from my great aunt Ann, and she was about 80 years old. RuPaul had to stop using the name because I owned it and sent his team a cease and desist. However, because I love Ru, I did not sue. I respect him way too much to hurt him. He was a true sweetheart and pulled back, and that's why you no longer see his Glamazon brand! However, Scott Barnes—that's another story!
SH: Tell us about the Perfect Face System. What is it and how does it work?
KB: The Perfect Face System is a method of getting women to see that the steps to a flawless makeup application are as easy as 123456. It's helping women see that this is not brain surgery, but a way to complete their wardrobe. It's your beauty wardrobe by putting on a full, softly polished face.
Ladies, to me, just putting on lipstick is like putting on a dress without a bra and panties—mama, you're not finished dressing, my love! Get that primer on to hydrate and protect your skin, then cover up the dark pigment under your eyes. Now let's bring a pop of color to that face with some blush and let's elongate those lashes to bring out those eyes. Next, we're going to take away some of that shine in your T-zone with some pressed powder. It's a process, and if you follow these steps daily, you will get better every day and then you'll start to learn more advanced techniques on your own once you're in your zone, and then you'll be killing the game and having your friends asking you to help them step up their beauty game!
SH: Why has it been so important to you to show people that beauty is so much more than one size, shape and color? How do you embody that in your products?
KB: I offer education through how-to classes for everyday women or men, but I also offer the conversation of empowerment. There is nothing sexier or more appealing than someone with confidence! I don't want one of my Glamazon beauties feeling she is not the society standard of beauty, so matter what size, shape or color she is! We're kicking in the glass ceiling and preparing our own place and category. "I'm no size six, so deal with it," is my stance. I'm not blonde, and I don't need to be, but I am beautiful, also on the inside, where it counts. God doesn't make junk or anyone ugly. My whole life, I was fortunate to be told I was beautiful, and so I felt beautiful. Every woman should know that every last one of us has features that make us uniquely us, and that with itself is beautiful! I embody that in the products by creating shades that enhance your beauty and bring out you and your skin tone and not trend tone! I'm not here for today and gone tomorrow—I'm here to create products that empower.
SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
KB: Yes! We always hear women say things about themselves that are negative. I encourage women to look in the mirror every day and say what they do like or love about themselves and what they feel they have to offer the world. What I have discovered in my journey of enlightenment is that the key to feeling happy is to feel as though you have purpose and a brighter future. Through that purpose, happiness is usually manifested. Know you have a purpose beyond anything else in this life and watch and see. You will speak light into your world! Own who you are!
Looking for more ways to up your makeup game? Click HERE for some tips on how to master the wet makeup look.