Kara Reade Gomez (Co-Founder/ Lead Skin Expert & Pro Makeup Artist) After watching her mother Susie, Kara also developed a passion for skin care and cosmetics. For 15 years, Kara has developed loyal clientele for general services throughout Virginia. She is well known for her skin care expertise and often referred to by her nicknames, “The Acne Assassinator” and “The Skin Whisperer.” After planning her own wedding in Oct. 2010, Kara understands the importance of making your prep time stress-free and fun! She heads up our Northern VA team, but travels throughout VA and is the primary coordinator of our event services in both areas. She has been trained by industry professionals including Carl Ray, Jordan Liberty, Erica Carr, Rick DiCecca, Michelle D’Allaird, and Sonia Roselli. Her clients include five Miss District of Columbias, and Miss Americas, Grammy winning musicians, lead personalities of all major national news networks (CBS/NBC/ABC), presidential cabinet members, numerous US Senators, former Secys of State, Defense and National Security, and CEOs of global companies including Disney, YouTube, Boeing, and United Airlines.
DC/ MD/ NORTHERN VIRGINIA TEAM
Larissa Norris- Lead Makeup Artist & Skin Pro Larissa started her love of all things beauty at a young age. She started early by trying new looks on her friends for impromptu photo shoots. In high school, she often did hair and makeup for concerts, theatre and dances. Continuing this into college at Indiana State University, she began taking theatre makeup classes. Turning this fascination into a profession, Larissa went to Media Makeup Academy and HEX Makeup School in New York and was trained by Nika Vaughan, Bryan Lynde, Diana Solomon, Gen Nishino, Judie Tallman, and Angie G. Ford. In recent years, her training with Carl Ray and Rick DiCecca have continued to expand her luxury level skill. Larissa’s talents include: bridal make-up, proms, actor headshots, individual & group lessons, theatre and some special effect, film & television, fashion & runway shows, photography & print, and special events! Nominated multiple times for her makeup and hair work within the Washington DC Theatre community and has serviced elite clients for us such as Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen as well as for major events like the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Leanne Heatley- Lead Stylist Leanne has over 16 years of experience in the industry. Starting in high school, she graduated #1 in her Cosmetology class, receiving her Maryland Cosmetology Licensure in 2003, passing with a score of 100%, and later doing the same upon moving to Virginia. Her background in hair replacement allows her to be comfortable with extensions, weaves, wigs, etc. Leanne has practiced in salon settings performing colors, cuts, waxing as well as barbershops catered towards male clientele and women with shorter hair. She has an eye for tailoring any inspiration look to the individual and her skill with a wide range of hair lengths, textures and face shapes, helps her stand out. Leanne has worked Fashion Shows in DC and New York, working with local celebrities and Miss America. Leanne’s warmth for a client, comes from her home life, where she is raising 4 beautiful children. She is able to operate under extreme pressure, keep her cool, and come out on top. Her organization and dependability begins at home and spills enormously into her career, allowing her to be reliable for your biggest days.
Alena Gregory- Lead Makeup Artist/ Skin Pro- Bio coming
Antonia Richardson- Lead Stylist Antonia was born in Trinidad and Tobago and came to the states at the age of 7. She always knew she wanted to be a stylist. Her mom was a salon assistant so she spent many long nights there. At age 20, six months after having her first son she attended cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell School- Tysons Corner. She began building her career, and returned to Paul Mitchell 2 1/2 later as an instructor teaching a six-week beginner fundamentals course, and later as an advisor for over 150 students. Antonia enjoys freelancing and has now been able to take her fantastic work with our team on a full-time basis. Outside of being a full time freelance artist, Antonia has recently became a member of For(bes) the Culture, the founder of a social-digital platform for moms and Mompreneurs to connect and support each other. A mobile app creator & host of her podcast show Talk Space & Co.
Marta Bota- Lead Makeup Artist/ Skin Artist & Professional Spray Tanning Pro Marta is a pro with over 30 years of experience in film & television, special event & red carpet, bridal beauty, pageants, & lessons! In 2017 she added organic airbrush spray tanning to her menu of services. She has worked for CNN, FOX News Channel, HBO, Comcast-NBC Universal and her work on Larry King Live included First Ladies and A-list celebrities like Audrey Hepburn, Carrie Fischer, Anna Kendrick, Jerry Seinfeld, and Whoopi Goldberg. She has been a beauty style editor for Viva Tysons and Copa Style magazines. Marta holds the titles of Mrs. DuPont Circle DC America 2014 and Ms. Virginia America 2016 and is an active philanthropist, receiving the Presidential Gold Medal for volunteerism in 2016, during the Obama administration.
Lindsay Hickling- Lead Stylist- Bio coming
Giannina Caraballo (Makeup Artist/ Budding Skin Pro) Giannina has been enjoying sharing her craft with clients for over 2 years. She’s always had a passion for makeup and through the years has developed a desire to turn that into a career. She was mentored by a friend in the industry, and that lead her to joining the Best Face Forward team. When she isn’t doing makeup, this full-time nurse enjoys traveling and spending time with her new puppy, Lola!
Vivian Lewis- Lead Assistant/ Budding Skin Pro Vivian began her passion in her makeup artistry over two years ago and endeavors to make her clients feel beautiful on the inside and out. She has worked an array of events for BFF. Her degrees in psychology and education allows her to put clients at ease by being responsive, reliable and compassionate, addressing their individual needs with products tailored fit for them. Vivian works with a wide range of luxury cosmetic brands in her growing kit. Still sharpening her skill set she attends all Artist trainings and regularly accompanies Owner Kara at opportunities with clients such as Grammy winning musicians, Pulitzer prize and Tony Nominees, Two Miss District of Columbia’s, Former National Security advisor, and CEO’s of global companies including YouTube, Ocean Conservancy and United Airlines.
Ericka Oakley- Team Assistant- bio coming
Not yet pictured:
Tanya Curtis- Makeup Artist & Stylist – Tanya got her start doing theater makeup and hair while in high school, for a local dinner theater in Chicago. Continuing into the military, she was called upon to provide makeup instruction for fellow Marines to keep in Military standards and regulations. Her love for serving others led Tanya to continue for four years in cosmetic sales and skin care education and twelve more providing onsite hair and makeup services. After twelve years she closed her own personal business to join Best Face Forward. She has trained with Tina Fortino-Kemp, Barbara Hill, Rick DiCecca and Carl Ray. When she’s not with clients, she homeschools four of her five kids and performs with The Showtime Singers.
Gabrielle Rogers- Stylist
Nicole McConnell- Stylist
ShaRhonda Brown-Simpson- Makeup Artist – ShaRhonda got her start in makeup working at the Cosmetics Center. She quickly realized her love for not only makeup, but skincare. This lead her to take training with Wendy Fiallo of Wendy Rae Makeup Design Co. During her training she began to provide services to local talents. ShaRhonda has been practicing makeup for 10 years and continues to grow as an makeup artist and skin care professionals.
Kristin Perine- Team Operations Assistant– Kristin came to the BFF team in 2019 after extensive experience in the events industry assisting several local event planners. She is responsible for all data imported into our systems and helps assist Kara in implementation of all initiatives as we grow. She is married with 3 children.
HAMPTON ROADS TEAM
Susanne Mayer- Lead Skin Expert and Pro Makeup Artist- Peninsula Susanne is a Skin Care and Makeup pro with 30 years of experience. She loves educating clients about ideal products for their needs and sharing her expertise in Gloucester/ Williamsburg and surrounding areas. She’s developed a loyal clientele bringing out every woman’s natural radiance, in a fun and relaxing way. She has been featured on major bridal blogs, lead our team coordinating fashion shows and pageants in addition to being one of our most popular Bridal Makeup Artists. She has been trained over the years by Industry professionals including Rick DiCecca, Michelle DiAllaird. Carl Ray and more. Her clients include the CEO’s of National Companies and CBS Lead News Personalities.
Markia Robinson-Lead Makeup Artist & Stylist- Southside Markia began doing makeup and hair at a young age and went directly into cosmetology school after graduating high school. She’s now been in the industry for 15 years. When she’s not beautifying clients, she’s mom to a sweet little girl named Vivian. While being a pro at all kinds of looks and styles, her favorite work is in the bridal arena since no two wedding days are the same. The energy of a wedding day is unlike any other! Fun fact- she actually ministered a ceremony for clients in a last minute emergency situation! Just call her Rev. Markia! Markia is the life of the party, and secretly dreaming of one day doing makeup and hair for TV personality, Tamron Hall.
Mandy Montgomery- Lead Stylist- Southside Mandy graduated Rudy and Kelly Paul Mitchell Academy in 2009 and has always had an interest in hair and makeup. She enjoys learning and staying up on the latest trends and has been taught by multiple celebrity stylists including Paul Dejoria (of Paul Mitchell fame) himself. She even hosted a charity hair and makeup show while in school. Mandy specializes and most enjoys wedding and special event hair, but her skills also include all color, cuts, extensions and styles. She is trained in all hair types and textures and has quickly taken on a leadership role with our team. Mandy’s work with our brides has now been published on several of the largest wedding blogs on the internet.
Brianne Jenney- Lead Stylist- Peninsula During high school Bri attended a 2 year cosmetology program, having to complete 1000 hours of training. Not long after, she became a licensed cosmetologist! She used to service clients in a local salon and was in high demand among the clientele. After having her 2 sweet little girls, ages 4 & 2, Bri continued her talents through her own business. Bri services her large book of clients from throughout the Peninsula onsite through the week and can do anything from color and cuts to the most intricate updos. If you ask her, her personal favorite is servicing our luxury brides with updos… her nickname is the “updo queen!” Our brides absolutely rave about her friendliness and hair skills. We are so pleased to have her on our team!
Not pictured- bios coming
Holly Morris- Lead Stylist
Shaelynn Riddle- Lead Makeup Artist & Stylist
Karen Solis (Lead South Texas Makeup and Hair Artist)– is a licensed cosmetologist specializing in freelance makeup and hair. Karen began modeling, having been published several times, and through that, discovered her love of makeup and hair. She is also a graduate of the multi-faceted cosmetology program at Robstown High School. Karen’s extensive experience in front of the camera makes her an asset at any photoshoot! Clients love her ability to make you feel your most beautiful and ready to be the center of attention. Just like Kimberly, Karen’s wide array of talents and training allow her to service all needs of any client with ease. Karen and Kim serve as trainers assisting with expansion in the South Texas area.
Kimberly Rios (Lead South Texas Makeup and Hair Artist)– is a licensed cosmetologist specializing in freelance makeup and hair. Introduced to the industry by her Aunt who is a local salon owner, Kim found her passion at a young age and is a proud graduate of the rigorous cosmetology program at Robstown High School. Having spent hundreds of hours working with an array of clients including many local professionals and politicians, they always comment on her fun personality and ability to create a relaxed environment. Kim has experience working with clients of all ages, from the most natural makeup and styling, to the most glamorous makeup looks and elaborate updos. She is also extremely experienced with Male Grooming services. Kim serves alongside Karen as Lead Coordinator and Artist for the South Texas division.
IN MEMORIAM AND FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS ALONG WITH BABY DEVYN- April 25, 2019
Satria Fulton -(Lead DC/ MD Hairstylist) Tria is a highly talented stylist who has been mastering her skill for over nine years. Her specialties include: Natural hair treatment and styling, weaves, wig styling, coloring, hair health care, and precise hair cutting (long and short hair). She attended Dudley Beauty College and has been working as a freelance stylist in the DMV area, where she met MUA Larissa along the way. She’s participated in several projects such as photo shoots and fashion shows for non-profit organizations, as well as with hair queen Charis on the YouTube phenomenon show “The Queen Charis show.” Satria hopes to continue to broaden her horizons in the hair care industry and transition into the business side of hair. She has her Business Management Degree from Norfolk State University. She serves the DMV and is based in the Landover, MD area. She has worked with some of our more elite clients like TV Journalist Soledad O’Brien, Miss America, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, and the executive staff of the Newseum, as well as other local area celebrities like Sole and Desean Jackson of the Washington Redskins.