Despite coming from a Ukrainian background and being born in Vancouver BC., Kesar Lacroix has become one of the top artists focusing on makeup and hairstyling in Calgary for South Asian weddings.
“I found that most women — anything we apply ourselves to, we can do really well at.”
Lacroix spent six years of her childhood overseas going to school in Rome while her mother lived in Switzerland. Her mom practiced Sahaja Yoga — a South Asian practice — her whole life, so when the family returned to Canada, the South Asian culture was brought into the home as well.
She explains that beauty in South Asian culture is different from American beauty standards. South Asian culture is all about colour, jewelry and celebrating women’s beauty by decorating brides in jewels, bold colours and makeup complimented with beautiful hairstyles.
“My mom was always so pretty and I would always use to steal her lip pencil [growing up],” Lacroix says.
Her mother bought her proper makeup to cover up acne and protect her healthy skin. The lessons continued, teaching her how to pluck her eyebrows. In time, everything Lacroix knew about make-up had been learned from her mother, lessons that stayed with her even as she went on to college.
After switching her major a couple of times, she graduated six years later with a bachelor’s degree majoring in chemistry with a double minor in biology and business.
“I’ve gone through school, through lots of different career paths that I enjoyed and learned a lot from but at the end of the day I was always doing makeup in the background.”
Lacroix loves being her own boss at Kesar Designs and constantly puts pressure on herself to make her clients happy and prove that she is a worthy investment. Clients put a lot of trust in Lacroix’s experience and work so that their wedding day and week are perfect.
“Kesar brings excitement and enthusiasm, which makes you even more excited and enthusiastic for the looks that are being created. Her touch is so gentle that you don’t even feel the makeup or hair brush.” says past client, Kiran Kandola.
South Asian weddings are a very festive affair. The ceremonies go on for three to seven days with multiple outfits, hairstyles and venues.
South Asian girls typically don’t wear makeup until they get married. Bold lipstick and henna are two key aspects of the look. Lacroix always ensures that each look she puts on a bride’s face matches her outfit and the jewelry being worn.
After three years of being a self-employed makeup artist for South Asian brides, Lacroix now finds herself traveling all over the world to work. She spent three months in India immersing herself in the culture and learning about typical Indian weddings, but she never forgets her first home makeup trial or practice run for her first Indian client.
“I had never done [someone’s make-up] before and I was terrified. I was responsible for how that bride feels for [the] week and forever and ever in her photos. If I did this well maybe I would get other brides.”
Word of mouth travels fast among family and friends and Lacroix received lots of clients after her first job. She started working with different vendors and travelling to accompany brides for their destination weddings.
The mother of now Lacroix’s close friend, Marisa Miller, had asked for her makeup services as a pick-me-up after the loss of a family member. Seeing Lacroix in action and how happy her mother was at the end of the session, Miller was immediately impressed.
“I tossed my business card on the table, given that I was a wedding planner, and encouraged her to add me on social media. I got to see her work on my friend and was impressed with her skill and talent and how she handled all that was thrown at her on that wedding day.”
Lots of clients who first meet Lacroix are a little surprised because her first name is very South Asian but she, in fact, is Caucasian. However, her nationality is never a concern for brides and their families because Lacroix does such fabulous work for them.
“I’ve gone through school, through lots of different career paths that I enjoyed and learned a lot from but at the end of the day I was always doing makeup in the background.” – says Kesar Lacroix.
“The level of care, attention and detail she puts makes it all worth it. I really appreciated her ability to truly connect with me and my friends,” says Kandola.
Lacroix hopes to slow down her business starting in 2019, since she is completely booked up in the upcoming year. She hopes to start taking fewer clients, maybe finding a different field and focus more on her relationship in the coming years.
Lacroix has been with her boyfriend, Tim Macrae, since she started her make-up practice a number of years ago and has noticed her excel in her field. He admires Lacroix dedication to her career and is inspired by her to never get complacent in what he does.
“I have seen Kesar progress both artistically and personally over the years. Her career has given her an excellent sense of focus on whatever she is engaged in at the moment, both at work and outside,” says Macrae.
Lacroix is looking forward slowing down her business, settling down and starting a family.
Editor: Kendra Crighton | firstname.lastname@example.org