Kate Best's Country Retreat
This week on Wynne's World we visit the stylish country home of Celebrity Makeup Artist Kate Best. Kate and I share a very close friend and have been following each other on Instagram for several years. Last summer when my usual makeup artist was not available for a photoshoot due to travel, our mutual friend suggested that I contact Kate. I had always admired her work and knew she was highly skilled however she exceeded expectations. It was an honor and privilege to work with her and she is such a lovely and compassionate human being. A consummate professional, Kate is not only talented, she has exceptional attention to detail and went above and beyond to ensure that the shoot was a success. She has since become a dear friend. I've always wanted to learn more about her esteemed career which includes loyal relationships with legendary beauty icons J. Lo and Vanessa Williams. In addition to being a top makeup artist, Kate has a sprawling country home with a menagerie of animals that she has rescued. Think Brigitte Bardot however replace Saint-Tropez with the Pocono Mountains. I asked Kate to describe her career and tell us about her country home and animal sanctuary in her own words.
Celebrity Makeup Artist Kate Best with J. Lo
Kate Best: I've been a makeup artist for 30 years now. I started out as a model and worked in Paris and other parts of Europe. I first came to New York with Richard Burbridge, a fabulous British photographer, and established myself In the editorial world with him, working for Vogue, ID Magazine and many more. Another very special reason for coming to New York from London was to design the makeup for Kiss of the Spiderman. This is where I started my career as a theatrical makeup designer and also where I met Kevyn Aucoin. He was originally asked by Chita Rivera however Kevyn was busy with Liza Minelli so I was was the next one on the list.
It changed my life! I fell in with love Kevyn instantly, like all of us did, and assisted him for a while and then was on his team at fashion week. I pretty much haven't stopped since!
I went on to design many more broadway shows but I've spent most of my career being “celebrity request”. I have had the amazing luck to spend my career with incredible iconic women who have been clients and friends including:
I met Vanessa Williams while working on Kiss and we have been working together ever since on movies, television shows, editorials, broadway shows and red carpet.
I met J. LO when she requested me three years ago for the television show Shades of Blue and I've worked with her ever since. We just finished a soon to be released movie called Marry Me and we’ll be working on another new project soon.
I feel incredibly grateful for longevity in a career that I love and have met so many dear friends and clients who mean the world to me. In fact, these woman have shaped my life.
Cut to .....Vanessa was always encouraging me to “get that horse farm” I've always dreamed of and when I finally did she bought me the most impressive cupola to go on my barn roof. It made it so real for me! She’s always been so supportive of everything I've done.
Kate with one of her horses
As time went on, I realized that in order to keep creating and working hard I needed to fill my soul and after 25 years in New York the country was calling. I made a decision, one that many people thought was nuts, however I knew it was time and what I needed to be happy and continue to be a creative active artist. I sold my Riverside Drive apartment on the Upper West Side and moved full time to the country to start my animal sanctuary. It has been the craziest, scariest most rewarding thing I've ever done and I don’t regret it for a minute. Even now with Covid and almost no work to speak of, caring for the animals has been so rewarding. The horses bound for slaughter need a soft landing and someone to give them a voice. I couldn’t look away and felt compelled to advocate for them.
It has been a very enriching though painful journey and one I know I’m meant to be on- no question! Funny where you find yourself! The mix of makeup glamming and mucking out horses stalls seems somehow to be the perfect balance!! Lol!
The simple beauty of these animals and their pure love is so inspiring and gives me such a sense of peace that I find myself also feeling the same about my humans. Caring for them and nurturing them is so fulfilling, not just on a superficial level but deeper, to me it is the same thing. The beauty business and the animals- it all makes sense!
I spend my days caring for the horses (which also keeps me very fit ) and prepping for makeup work. When I travel I have someone who stays here to take care of things. I also do the occasional wedding. The brides come here to the sanctuary for a consultation and some rosé. It’s a beautiful place for people to come and recharge surrounded by animals and nature. It really has become a very special place for both people and for the animals. We have photo shoots here on the property and soon it will be open for Airbnb (which pretty much takes care of my interior design obsession!) so we will be able to share this retreat with everyone.
I think that in these times we really need to find our bliss and when we do we need to share it and give a little back. I think that’s the magic!