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Life & Work with Rali Koleva

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rali Koleva.

Hi Rali, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I came from Bulgaria with a bachelor’s in English studies. When I moved to Orlando, I started looking into schools to extend my opportunities but nothing looked like something I would enjoy investing another four years of my life into, so I asked myself, “What is one thing I would regret not doing in my life, that has always been a dream of mine?” and the answer was taking a professional makeup course. So, I found out that there is a makeup school in town and enrolled right away. I can say with a hand on my heart that this has been one of the best decisions I have ever made and I made it following my heart and intuition and with the support of my amazing husband. I graduated in 2011 and a local makeup company contacted me thanks to a recommendation from my makeup school and I started working with them the same year. I dived right into the wedding industry of Central Florida and also started providing makeup services for corporate events, production, TV, and print. I have been doing this ever since and have loved every single day of it! 

My passion for continuous education combined with my passion for health and my curiosity made me dig into the ingredients side of cosmetics and the effect makeup and everyday beauty products have on our bodies and health. Becoming a mother amplified my curiosity and made me realize how important this is for our health and the health of our loved ones. This is when I gradually started discovering that many ingredients in our cosmetics are serious hormone disruptors, they get absorbed into our bloodstream and build up in our body causing an array of health issues. I started my search for cleaner, safer cosmetics for myself, my family, and for my professional kit. This is how I became a Clean Beauty Makeup Artist. I am still constantly testing and evaluating new clean products and as soon as I find something that stands up to my standards for performance, appearance, and long wear I put it in my kit. My job as a Professional Clean Beauty Makeup Artist is not just to make people look great! I take to heart the fact that I am a part of people’s special occasions and I enjoy making their time in my makeup chair the most relaxing time of the day, where I help calm their nerves, and help them look their best while providing a cleaner safer makeup service and sharing my knowledge with them.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have been providing professional makeup services since 2011 and I have been through a lot during these years. When I started, there weren’t as many people as there are now, providing professional, on-location makeup and hair services. The standard of service is getting higher and higher. Being a makeup artist is an expensive job requiring continuous investment in high-quality products and equipment. Being a mother of two has also played a part in the way my career has developed. I am thankful that my job has allowed me to be able to take off for the birth of both of my children and then afterward I have been able to adjust my schedule to fully fit the needs of my family. Being a freelance makeup artist and a mother is definitely challenging but not many other jobs would have allowed me to be the main caregiver for my children in these very important first years, for which I am very grateful.

But probably the biggest challenge so far for me and like most professionals in our industry has been the pandemic. For my job specifically, having to be face to face with my clients made it impossible to work for pretty much a whole year. After I started going back to work things were very different and many things had to be taken into consideration. I am glad that things are slowly going back to normal and me and my fellow artist are once again able to serve our clients and make them feel and look amazing for their special occasions.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Like I mentioned before, I am proud to call myself a Clean Beauty Makeup Artist and to provide clean beauty services for my clients. I feel that there are so many people out there that need to hear why I do what I do. During my first pregnancy, I found out that there are certain ingredients in cosmetics that I should avoid because they could be harmful for my baby and I. That made me start questioning things. Like most people, I also thought that if something is sold in stores for us to use on our bodies it must be safe. Well, I found that sadly this is not the case and unfortunately the cosmetic industry in the US is the least regulated of all. That is when I started making the shift to clean beauty. This was 9 years ago and though this topic is gaining more and more popularity I still meet people every day who have no idea that makeup and skincare can have harmful ingredients that get absorbed in your bloodstream and cause health issues. I used to work in a major cosmetic store and I had many clients come to me and ask for clean and non-toxic products. They would bring those apps that scan products and tell you how toxic a product is and if it is safe or not. That made me even more motivated to educate myself on the topic and start providing clean makeup services. I saw that this was missing in my industry. In addition, now there are such amazing clean products that perform just as good as all the regular well-known brands, if not even better in some cases, it is a no-brainer for me to make the switch. I get to work with many young girls, pregnant women, and clients with sensitivities and chronic or autoimmune health conditions and knowing that I have good clean products in my kit makes me feel even better about what I do. It just feels right to me and I am happy even though many of my clients don’t even realize what is so special about the products I use.

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Image Credits
Anna Shastie

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