Biology to makeup: One student’s journey

by Audrey Gore

Kelly Thorpe can make wounds appear as if from nowhere. She can also turn you into superman, give you a third eye or make you the perfect blushing bride. No, Thorpe isn’t some all-powerful sorceress or mafia boss; she is a makeup artist.

Anyone who has hung around Whitworth this year has probably seen Thorpe’s work. From doing body painting on students for the Whitworth basketball games to building gory wounds and prosthetics for Mac Haunted House, Thorpe’s brushes, powders and paints have been making their mark. She has also done the makeup for several Whitworth theater productions including “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Eurydice,” the opera workshop Jan Term class as well as making injuries for the Emergency Response Class’ practical final.

Thorpe got interested in makeup her freshman year at Whitworth. On parents weekend she got a makeup starter kit, what she calls her first real makeup. After that she was hooked. Thorpe took a brief detour in her makeup dreams when she transferred to the University of Hawaii to study marine biology. Thorpe worked at the Bare Essentials makeup store in Hawaii and soon realized she was more focused on being creative with makeup than studying science.

“I was doing make up and makeup photography more than my biology and chemistry homework; I hated my science classes,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe had decided to stick it out in Hawaii and get her science degree, despite having reoccurring dreams about becoming a professional makeup artist. However, after returning home to Seattle for spring break Thorpe realized that she wanted to return to Whitworth and pursue a career in makeup.

“I realized how much life it gave me, and joy; I loved it,” Thorpe said.

In addition to the work Thorpe has done around Whitworth campus she also worked for MAC makeup at Nordstrom, and has gotten corporate recognition from MAC for her work there. This year she met Trista Jordan who runs Last Looks, the makeup company that does the work for North by Northwest productions. Since then Thorpe has worked on movies and commercials and plans to continue working with them throughout the summer.

The chance to be creative and get up-close and personal with people are the main reasons Thorpe loves what she does, she said. From gore and wounds to high fashion, to doing wedding makeup for her friends she is driven to pursue her career.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to serve people; I really see it that way. They are looking for a certain something and I am able to give it to them,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe believes that working so closely with people will give her a chance to show how God can be a positive influence in the world, through her attitudes and actions.

“I want to show God’s love through makeup,” Thorpe said.

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