Thursday, December 5, 2013

Welcome to SuperMomSpotlight, it's that time again when we get to focus on an inspiring individual who's trials in life have perfected her strengths and she has chosen to use her gifts to lift other woman.
I am so honored to have this opportunity to share with you my good friend Tara Starling!  She is a business woman, entrepreneur, author, writer, singer dancer, model, presenter, mentor, makeup artist, fashion consultant, creator, daughter, sister, Aunt, cousin, and friend.  
Who loves animals, life, serving, and people and as always chocolate!!
Tara, thank you for sharing this time with us and helping us to really get to know you well.

SMT* What size family did you grow up in and where do you fit in?

Tara: I grew up in what seemed to me a medium sized family. I was the oldest of four children, with two girls after me in two year intervals, and then a boy twelve years younger than me.  Being the oldest meant I had a lot more responsibility that the other kids, but it also gave me more freedoms.

SMT* Who would you say was an influential person in your as far female figure?

Tara: Certainly the most influential female figure in my life has been my amazing mother. I cannot remember a single time growing up when I ever heard her say an unkind thing about another person, even when they merited it. We didn’t have very much money growing up, but she always managed to decorate our house beautifully, and created a home that was not only clean and orderly, but full of love and fun and laughter. She always told me that it was more important to be kind than to be pretty. I also learned through watching her that no matter where you are, or how long you will be there, you should always do everything you can to make it a more beautiful place.  She is the epitome of Real Beauty, and my entire life will be spent striving to emulate the same unconditional love, grace, compassion, warmth, and kindness she embodies.

SMT*  How did you discover your true passions in life?

Tara: Some of my true passions in life were a part of me as long as I can remember, and then others I stumbled upon by way of what I like to call “Providential Accident.” I grew up wanting to be a singer, dancer, and a dolphin trainer. My mom says I was dancing in the aisles at church and at the grocery store almost before I could walk, and I don’t recall a time when I didn’t sing as a way to express the deepest feelings of my heart. I have distinct memories of meeting my first dolphin at age two, and I have been transfixed with cetaceans ever since (a couple of years ago I worked on a film about a dolphin researcher and his dolphins, and I was in absolute heaven!) I started speaking and teaching a few years ago by one of those “divine accidents,” and it has quickly come to be one of my greatest passions. To have to opportunity to share life-changing tools and truths with people--and see the transformation it facilitates in their lives—is one of the most rewards things I have ever experienced.

SMT*  How did you get started doing makeup?

Tara:  I never really even realized that being a makeup artist was actually a real career path until I got hired on my first film job as a senior in college. Right out of high school I modeled (for about five minutes until I realized what an unhealthy environment it was for me) and after doing makeup for a couple of photo shoots where the stylist fell through, photographers started hiring me to do makeup for other shoots. I put myself through college doing makeup for photographers (as well as working at Taco Bell and the dish room at my college cafeteria…but that’s another story for another time) but it wasn’t until I took the beginning “Makeup for Film and Television” class in college (a required elective for my Music Dance Theater Major at Brigham Young University) that I realized that people actually did it for a living. I took the intermediate and advanced classes, and started doing makeup for student projects and little tiny independent projects. The first “real” film job I got hired on was a Biblical piece where I was putting movie dirt on the extras. I remember being astounded that I got paid so well to do something that I would have been excited to do for free! A month later, right after graduating with my BFA, I got hired by an LA makeup artist who was in town working on a small feature film starring Rhada Mitchell and Mia Kirschner.  That was the domino that really started the chain of events that sealed my fate, so to speak, as a professional makeup artist in film and television and ultimately led me to where I am today.

SMT*  Who are some of your favorite and most memorable people to work on.

Tara:  I have been tremendously blessed over the last 17 years to work with some of the most talented actors, musicians, and athletes in the world. It’s been fun to end up doing makeup on many of the actors that I had huge crushes on as a teenage girl…I remember the day I first worked with John Schneider (Bo Duke on the original “Dukes of Hazzard”) and laughing because my younger sisters and I watch that show every day after school growing up, and we used to fight over who “got” Bo as their boyfriend. I called my sister up and said, “Guess what…I GOT BO!!!” It’s always fun to work with people that you have always been a fan of, and get to know the real person behind the characters or behind the music. After attending three of his concerts in as many years, I was so exited to do Harry Connick Jr.’s makeup at the 2002 Olympics and experience first hand that his personality is as classy as his music. My favorite people to work with, though, are those who teach me profound lessons about what it is to be a stellar human being. One of the stars of the movie I am currently working on is Carey Elwes, who played “Wesley” in the cult classic film “Princess Bride,” and watching the way he treated every person with absolute kindness and true regard was inspiring. Probably my favorite person I have ever worked with is Anthony Hopkins.  The first two days of filming he learned the name of every single person on the crew—down to the last assistant—and made a point to address everyone as if they were the most important person on set. I watched him take time to connect with people and affirm them as individuals of worth and value. He is arguably one of the greatest actors of our time, but in working with him I learned so much about what it means to be a great person.

SMT* What advise would you share with someone considering your line of work as a career?

 Tara: Every job comes with it’s own set of trade-offs, and I would advise anyone interested in becoming a film/television makeup artist to learn just what those are and decide if they are in-line with your own values and personal goals. Working in film affords you the opportunity to see, do, and experience a great many things otherwise inaccessible to the general public. At times, though, it comes at a great cost, as your personal life is often held hostage by your work schedule. You work really long and usually unpredictable hours in film and television, so it’s important to be mindful of creating a way to still invest quality time in the relationships that are important to you. I would also encourage anyone in this line of work to always remember that there is something valuable you can learn from everyone you work with, even if they have been doing makeup for two minutes and you have been doing it for twenty years. Never take your skill set for granted…keep learning and growing and expanding your talents. Some jobs will pay great rates and some jobs will pay horrible rates, but always do every job like it is the most important job you have ever done. Be uncompromising in your personal excellence. And always, always, always be kind to every single person you meet.

SMT*  What is your favorite thing to do with your career?  

Tara:  One of the really fun things about being a makeup artist in film and television is that I get to a lot of different things, from period beauty makeup to wounds and burns, to zombies and elves and sea nymphs to historical figures. But by far my absolute favorite thing to do is to help women debunk the dangerous profit-driven beauty myths of the media, help them see themselves and their own beauty in a whole new light, and then give them the knowledge base and techniques to express their own brand of beauty in a way that is authentic, powerful, and unforgettable. I’ve been fortunate to work on some of the most successful films in cinematic history and work with come of the most famous celebrities in the business, but I have to be honest and say that my favorite days at “work” are the days I am teaching my Celebrity True Beauty Bootcamps and giving everyday, wonderful women the blueprints, tools, and truths to look, feel, and live like the stars of their own lives.

SMT*  What is the hardest thing you had to do?

Tara:  It seems that often the things that are the hardest on set also end up many times being the funniest. On High School Musical 3, we had a huge cast and it seemed that we were filming gigantic musical numbers every other day.  It was an intense exercise in diligence, fortitude, cardio training and agility to keep the cast looking fresh and touched-up as they danced their hearts out take after take. One of the most technical challenges I have been faced with was making coming up with an apparatus that would shoot a 3 inch wide geyser of “dragon blood” up at a 22 degree angle for 5 seconds, covering Mathew Perry’s face in black runny sludge. Usually the special effects department handles contraptions like that, but this was a small budget film and I was put in charge of making it happen, so I had to just adopt a “success is the only option” policy and keep experimenting until I came up with an invention that would do the trick. I learned a lot more about myself and what I was capable of than I did about special effects on that job.

SMT*  What in your opinion gave you the strength to succeed?

Tara:  One of the things about working in film that proves to feel like a curse but many time is a blessing is the expectation that failure is not an option. When you are hired to do the job, you know you have to figure out a way to make it happen. So if the script calls for a goblin queen and a small army of goblin warriors in bald caps, prosthetics, fangs, contacts, claws, and full body makeup, all battling a human/orc arm in the rain, then you have to figure out a  way to make it all work. When the expectation and assumption is that there is no other outcome than success, you are forced to push yourself, your strength, your creativity, and your talent further than you many times believed possible. I am a firm believer that when we are willing to push beyond the borders of our own strength, talent, and abilities, God will always be at our back and help us accomplish what we could not otherwise do on our own.

SMT*Because I know you, and have had the privilege of attending your Beauty Celebrity True Beauty Bootcamp...  Do you mind sharing with us how this message of your heart came about?

Tara:  In elementary and junior high school, I was always the girl that was made fun of for being ugly. I was taller than everyone in my school, I had acne and strange ideas of fashion, and I was bullied by boys and girls alike. I grew up believing that I was ugly. Once I began wearing makeup, people began responding to my physical appearance differently. The same boys that had before called me names and ridiculed me were now asking to walk me home and were bringing me flowers after school. So in my mind I became ‘the ugly girl who was tricking everyone into thinking that she was pretty,” and I wore makeup like a heavy, painful mask for most of my life, terrified that people would see what I really looked like without it and discover me to be a fraud.  I bought into the clever and persistent lies of the media which teach women that our worth is based upon our weight, our lovability is contingent upon our looks, and that beauty is not something we inherently have, but something we always have to buy in a bottle. I became slave to the horrible addiction of eating disorders and the distorted lens of body dismorphia. As I grew older the weight of these lies grew heavier and heavier, and I relied ever more desperately on the mask of makeup to hide the ugliness I thought was my true reflection from the world around me.  My own sense of intrinsic worth crumbled beneath the crushing weight of the broken and false beliefs I had about myself. I believed that because I wasn’t beautiful I wasn’t worth of love, and that belief sabotaged everything in my life. After two failed marriages, my business hitting rock-bottom, and a devastating emotional breakdown, I had to clear away the ruble of the destruction caused by those broken beliefs, and learn to redefine beauty for myself.  When I was able to debunk the beauty myths of the media that had poisoned my relationship with myself for most of my life and see my own reflection in a new way, everything in my life began to change.  As I went though the process of healing and learning, I began to see how our beliefs about ourselves and our beauty underlie and determine our beliefs about everything else in our lives. Beliefs generate emotions. Emotions result in actions. Actions create habits. And habits shape every corner of our lives.  As I experienced a life-altering paradigm shift and learned to see my own reflection, from the inside-out, in a whole new way, my entire world transformed. Sharing with other women the truths that liberated me from the chains of the beauty myth and empowered me to live a life beyond what I ever dreamed possible is the most rewarding thing in the world to me.

SMT*  We recently saw your skilled work that has gotten National views where you did the special effects makeup to transform a bishop (spiritual leader) from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints into a homeless man.  You did such an amazingly job that even his wife didn’t recognize him until he reviled himself.
Could you share with us how that day unfolded for you?  And what has happened in your life since?

Tara:  I was working on this current movie the day we did the makeup transformation on the bishop into a homeless man, so he came to my house super early that morning so I could get him ready before I had to be to set. All morning I was on pins and needles, waiting to hear from him how everything had gone and how the congregation had reacted. When I got a text from him around mid-day saying that everyone was blown away and that there had not been a dry eye in the entire room, my heart did a little dance. I quickly made a little collage of before and after photos and posted them on Facebook, along with my thoughts about the experience.  Within a day the post had been shared a couple hundred times, and then the phone starting ringing with all the news agencies.   Just seventy two hours after I had completed the makeup on him, the story was being run by every major news agency in the country and many over seas.  We have heard reports of people sharing it in church meetings all over the world. It’s been so exciting to see the message we wanted to share—that unconditional love and compassion is something was always can and should share with each and every person we meet—go viral and affect so many people.

SMT*  What was the message you came away with from the Bishop's
Has it changed the way you do things now?

Tara:  Two years ago my sister, Wendy  Starling, and I co-founded a local non-profit foundation called Soul Food USA that organizes volunteers twice a month to make between 500-800 sandwiches that we then serve to the homeless, along with a smile, handshake, or sometimes even a hug. The real purpose of the sandwiches is more than feeding their physical hunger…our mission is to feed their souls with kindness and compassion, and affirm their worth as a human being. When the bishop approached me with this idea, it was the perfect converging of two huge parts of my life.  I had anticipated that the people in his congregation would be deeply affected by the experiment, but I didn’t anticipate that it would go viral and have such a profound impact on people all over the world. I had almost canceled on the bishop, because since I had gotten hired on this film I would have to get up extra, extra early (we normally have to be on set around 6 or 6:30 am) in order to do the his homeless makeup and still get to work on time. When you are working on a film, sleep is the most prized commodity because you work such long hours every day. I had given him my word, though, so I was bound to do it even if getting up that early wasn’t easy. I am so glad that I didn’t pass up what turned out to be an amazing experience! The biggest message for me personally was a powerful reminder to always take every opportunity to use your own particular skills, talents, and passions to share a message of truth, even if it’s not easy or convenient. Even if it requires a little personal sacrifice. You never know just who will be listening, or how far the message may travel. And whether that message travels all the way around the world or just down the block, if it travels to the bottom of just one person’s heart and gives them cause to think about things in a new, better way, then it was well worth it.

 To enjoy getting to know this amazing influential woman of power check out these link.
Shop one the most mystical whimsical store on the internet!

 Get a copy of the Tara's co-authored book today!

 Get your free gift of Tara's top 10 beauty secrets.

 Tara's CelebrityBeauty Bootcamp will be available in Jan.  I know I plan to be there.  her message is so powerful and straight from the heart.  (detail and registration page for the next workshop on January 25, 2014)

 And for animals lovers I highly suggest you watch Tara's story of raising a baby humming bird!


  1. One of my most favorite women in the world! She is as fantastic as anyone I've ever met!

  2. I have known this woman all her life. She is truly one of the most caring people on the planet. She inspires me every day. She has a magical soul.