Today we’d like to introduce you to Ali Lanning.
Ali, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a young ballerina, I always loved hair and makeup! I would even do some of my dance-mates’ buns for class and the moms would ask me to help them often. There were strict rules that if your bun fell out during class you had to sit out and couldn’t dance so having the bun secure was important. I have always had an eye for perfection which I get from both my parents and consider it both a blessing and a curse LOL.
My mom performs for charity each year in the show Night Court with a cast of lawyers and judges so helping them with hair and makeup for the stage at Rice University & The Hobby Center will always be a fond memory.
After high school, I worked with many of my classmates as a waitress for a high-end catering company in River Oaks and at a ballroom downtown, where I bumped into an artist doing makeup for the performers for that evening’s party. I immediately dedicated all my time to becoming a working artist with bridal as my focus and haven’t looked back.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My husband and I started growing our family shortly after (so my time was then split between Artistry and Home), but having the ability to make my own schedule is one of the many reasons I love my job so much. We now have three wonderful children and cope with special needs as well which is a very big challenge. Having an incredibly supportive husband gives me the ability to contribute to our family through my income while simultaneously giving me a creative outlet.
The rise of the internet and social media has also given some bumps in the road since there is generally a large difference in style between the “Instagram artists” of today and working artists. Sometimes you’re a good fit for a client and sometimes they’re seeking a style they’ve seen online which may not be a working artist’s cup of tea. Not to mention when I started out, directions to a client’s home or venue had to be given by the client or looked up then printed out or handwritten because we didn’t have phones with GPS LOL.
Please tell us about Beauty by Ali.
I specialize in On-Location Bridal and Special Occasion Hair Design & Airbrush Makeup Artistry for things such as Weddings, Family Portrait Sessions, Maternity Portrait Sessions & Events like Prom, Homecoming, Galas or even just a date night. Not only do I love creating and executing the hair and makeup look for each client and seeing their smiling face when they see their transformation, but it’s also incredibly meaningful to be there for their special moments in life.
I meticulously select the products and tools for my kit so that I can be sure the client will love their finished result. Like a beauty concierge, I bring my extensive professional kit straight to the client in their home or their venue to cater to their beauty needs like a “celeb treatment.”
I consult with the client beforehand to determine the details of the finished look they’re wanting, but generally my aesthetic is Natural Effortless Glamour.
I select products that smell amazing because it completely enhances the entire experience. I love leaving the client feeling special and generally comforted, amazed, & confident.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I could go back, I would give myself more Grace and remember “You can be the juiciest peach, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.”
Stay true to yourself and stay focused on your artistry. Always keep learning. I learn something new all the time even after 11 years in the industry. Sometimes you learn what to do, and sometimes you learn what not to do. Stay Humble and Work Hard.
By Amy Cole Photography