Kiana Jones started out as a YouTube special fx makeup artist who quickly gained notoriety for her unbelievably good (and by that I mean gross) special fx gore. She runs a YouTube channel which focuses on teaching FX makeup: Freakmo, and is slowly transitioning into the professional makeup industry. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and IMDB.
Frontline: How long have you been a special fx artist?
Kiana: I started four years ago.
Frontline: How did you learn your craft?
Kiana: I'm self taught. I have a few DVD's by people like Stuart Bray and Neill Gorton, a Stan Winston School subscription, a few good books by people like Todd Debreceni and Mike Spatola, a subscription to Makeup Artist Mag and the Prosthetics mag, and lots of industry friends who are very generous with their knowledge.
Frontline: What is your specialty?
Kiana: I love gore! I love making encapsulated silicone prosthetics from reference images of injuries.
Frontline: What sets you apart from other artists?
Kiana: Right now I'm not sure anything does, but I'd love to keep pushing this as far as it will go until I have an answer to this question.
Frontline: What advice would you give an up and coming artist looking to build a career?
Kiana: Have a good attitude, don't gossip, be willing to learn and try to learn as much as you can, and be open to advice and feedback.
Frontline: There are a lot of people making a name for themselves on social media, in makeup. What's your take?
Kiana: There's two sides to this, for me. One on the one hand, I see people come up with ingenious creative solutions to get faster and cheaper fx makeups done; not everyone has the patience or the money or the knowledge to make encapsulated silicone appliances. This also allows people who live in countries where you cannot get all the FX makeup products, or where there are no makeup schools, to be able to learn and practice fx makeup. One the other hand, I have seen mediocre and unprofessional makeup artists get a huge cult following, to impressionable pre-teens, who probably don't even know who Dick Smith or Rick Baker are. It's created a new area of fx makeup where it doesn't need to look realistic, it doesn't need to last through a 12 hour filming day, it doesn't even need to move on the face, it just needs to be easily recreated with cheap materials. It can get depressing.
Frontline: Who are some of your industry idols?
Kiana: Adam Johansen, Damian Martin, Mike Marino, Thom Floutz, Vincent Van Dyke, Bill Corso, Stuart Bray, Steve Wang, Steve Johnson, Francois Dagenais, Duncan Jarman, and Barrie Gower, off the top of my head.
Frontline: Who is a hair/makeup artist beside you that we need to pay attention to?
Kiana: Kate Anderson!
Frontline: Where do you find your inspiration?
Kiana: I find a lot of inspiration through photos of real injuries, I like browsing on the app Figure. 1 to find reference images.
Frontline: If you weren't a special fx makeup artist, what would you be doing?
Kiana: Maybe something in Visual Art, which I studied before makeup.
Frontline: What’s the most important beauty advice you could give?
Kiana: Wear sunscreen everyday! It will keep you looking younger much, much longer.
Frontline: What was the craziest experience you've had on a job?
Kiana: I think I'm lucky in that I haven't had any super crazy experiences yet. YouTube in general is a bit of a weird experience because you subject yourself to being cussed out by 7 year olds in the comment section, and then their moms when they realize what their child is watching, and it's somehow my fault that they weren't monitoring their children's online activities. That still confuses me greatly.
Frontline: What are some must-have products you need in your kit?
Kiana: I adore silicone, so I always take Sculpt Gel with me just in case. Also Fleet St. blood in dark, and my Skin Illustrator palettes.
Frontline: What are some products every woman needs to keep in her purse?
Kiana: Band-aids, painkillers, and chewing gum or mints.