All pictures provided courtesy of Gali.
Hey Shelby, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 23 years old from St George. I graduated from Dixie High School and went to Taylor Andrews Acadamy for cosmetology. I married young to the love of my life, Ethan, at 19 years old. We have a cute dog child named Butters. In our first year of marriage, we did a study abroad program in China and lived there for six months. We LOVED it! The culture, the food, and especially the friends we made. When we came back shortly thereafter we moved to Salt Lake City and have been here for three years now.
What first got you interested in art and what influenced you as you grew up?
I have always loved art. I wasted so much paper when I was little. Every day after school I would get a huge pile of paper and draw, draw, draw. Art has always been my therapy and meditation.
At what point did you start looking at makeup and hair design in that aspect?
My great grandma, my aunt and a few of my cousins are hair stylists. I always looked up to them when I was little, and that's what got me started on wanting to pursue cosmetology. My poor little sister is traumatized by me because I would always try to force her to let me do her hair. I would be lying if I said I didn't accidentally burn her with a curling iron once or twice. And every hair stylist has a story that they cut their own hair, and that of course happened to me. Which resulted in my parents giving me a very bad bowl cut. I always enjoyed makeup,
but didn't really start getting into it until last year. I started watching YouTube beauty gurus religiously,
and started practicing on myself. I started to build a collection by getting makeup subscription boxes. Then that October is when I started to play around with face painting and FX makeup. I got a lot of great feedback, and that is when I really wanted to become an actual makeup artist and do it on other people. In November, I had my first photo shoot experience with my friend Ivy. And I fell in love. She added me to some groups on Facebook for networking and it just went off from there.
What was it like for you early on experimenting with different creations?
Most of my first experiments were on myself. I did a lot of skeletons, broken dolls, and even just your typical smoky eye was an experiment in itself.
At what point did you make the decision to turn this into a career?
For hair, it was always what I wanted to do! For makeup is when I did my first photo shoot. I remember being so excited I couldn't stop smiling.
How did you get involved with the Taylor Andrews Academy? What was your time like there?
Taylor Andrews was a great school! What I liked about them is they were very up with the times, and we learned everything, from your normal haircut and color to what it's like to do the editorial work for hair. I had great friends there and the time spent was very enjoyable.
When you finished up there, how was it for you breaking into local gigs?
Fresh out of school I went into a booth-rent
salon. And it was HARD. There was one week I worked over 40 hours and I only made $9. I didn't last very long there at all. I couldn't! I was just recently married, my husband was in school, and we had rent to pay. So I had to get another job. The only job hiring at the time was a call center. I still did hair on the side at home,
but didn't actually get back into a salon until we moved to Salt Lake City. When we moved back here we were struggling to make ends meet. I had a job at the post office but I HATED it. I can't do office jobs! But the hard thing was that it paid really good. So in desperation to find something better I checked out a Supercuts. I couldn't afford to just do them so I even got a second job as a para-educator at a special needs preschool. After about six months, I applied to be a manager and decided to quit my job at the preschool and focus on that. Then I got an opportunity to become a manager at The Salon at Ulta. That is where I am currently at and I love it!
What's the process like for you when approaching a new job and working with the clients?
The only thing that is hard when starting a new job is finding where everything is. The easy part is working with clients. No matter where you have been or where you are going, the time spent with each client is relatively the same.
How much do you follow their particular vision and how much do you try to put your own spin on what they want?
The consultation is a collaboration. The client usually tells you what they want, sometimes with a picture. It's then up to us to tell them if it's possible or not, and make suggestions that will work best for them. My consultations are very in depth. I even ask questions about their personal style and hobbies, because some people might want to go short, but forget that they do yoga every week and need to pull their hair back. I even go over their face shape and make suggestions on what would be best for them.
Your work doesn't just sit in a particular genre; you tend you cover practically every field possible. What pushed you to be so diverse in your skills?
Practice makes perfect! I have a pretty long resume. I've done serving
, customer service, data, food, you name it! Some people say having too much on your resume is bad but I think it's good. I have experience in almost every field and it has only made me a better worker!
I understand you're still working a full-time job as you do that. What's the goal for you to make this your full-time career instead?
What I do now is my career. My location might change, but I am doing what I love! As much as I love to do hair at a salon, my dream would be to do makeup and hair for runways and editorial work for magazines.
In the short term, what projects have you got coming up that people should check out?
I just finished the RAW Artists showcase! It was really fun. They brought so many artists together and it was a great way to network! I did hair and makeup for four models and had my own booth. Later in the night, we did a fashion show. For future projects, I don't have much planned as of yet. But I will say one thing: I'm really excited for Halloween!
As we start gearing up for the summer fashion season, hair and makeup artists are starting to find themselves in high demand. If you're going to showcase your latest designs right, you want the models going down the runway looking the part as best as possible. And while it may not always be a full-time gig in Utah, the shows these artists are able to work on are far more challenging than carbon copy shows you find on the coasts. Today we chat with SLC hair and makeup artist Shelby Gali about her career so far and what she's got coming up in the near future. (