High Definition: Organic Beauty with Indie Producer/Actress Katie O’Grady

ColumnEcoSalon Beauty Columnist Kristen Arnett gets actress Katie O’Grady ready for her red carpet close-up.

This past April the famed Tribeca Film Festival premiered 93 feature length independent films chosen out of over 5,000 submissions from all over the world and Rid of Me was among them. Portland, Oregon based Katie O’Grady starred in and co-produced the film with writer and director James Westby. Their highly acclaimed dark comedy is about a newlywed woman who moves to her husband’s hometown filled with yuppies and finds herself uneasy, awkward and ultimately rebellious.

Check out the Rid of Me trailer:

For her red carpet premiere in New York City, Katie wanted someone she could trust and she tracked me down through Katherine Ross, a mutual friend, makeup artist and a woman I considered to be my mentor in Portland, where I began my career.

The Lower East Side apartment Katie and James had rented out for the week was teeming with various friends and cast members with an energy of nervous anticipation and preparation. Katie was bustling around, hair and face freshly washed, while James was lying on the bed in almost a monk like state of what may have been meditation, or him just trying not to throw up.

We cleared off a small desk to lay out the makeup and utilized a window sill to hold the curling iron. I began to reassure Katie about the wonderful quality of natural products I would use on her. Like every woman I’ve encountered before her big moment in the spotlight, she seemed to not care if I used tar as long as she looked good when it was done. Shutting up about the whole thing, I wielded brushes, lashes, a curling iron and a lot of hair spray transforming her into a modern, sexy screen siren ready for her film’s premiere. We wondered if anyone would know she was the same plain-Jane woman from her movie.

Katie O’Grady in the movie, Rid Of Me.

One of the biggest thrills of my job is to see how makeup and hair can completely transform the presence of a woman.  I asked Katie how she felt about its importance in her work and life as an actress and producer.

“Makeup plays a huge role in any actor’s life. For Rid Of Me, it was important to keep my character, Meris, fresh and natural. She is a woman who believes that organic matters, that family matters, and that life is better when things come from the earth. When I shaped her look, it was from the outside in, because physically we look opposite from one another,” says O’Grady.

“It was so much fun to incorporate Meris’ same belief in an all-natural approach with my joy of dressing up for the red carpet, and that certainly included my makeup! We feel our best when we are honest with ourselves, our truth, and what goes in and on our body that is most connected to the earth. Staying grounded is a daily battle; it all begins with a fresh face,” she said.

Katie O’Grady shines thanks to Kristen Arnett’s experienced touch.

After all was said and done, her film received incredible praise, Katie said she floated on Cloud 9 through parties until the early hours of the morning. She wrote me an email later asking about the products I used and said, “It’s a rare night to have people actually compliment my make up. I felt like I looked like me but the best version of me.”

Since she asked and I’m sure you want to know, here’s a list of some the main products I used for Katie O’Grady’s red carpet look:

Youngblood Mineral Primer


Alima Pure Foundation



100% Pure Blush in Healthy


Youngblood Eyeshadow Quad in Starlet (appropriately  named!)


Image of Katie O’Grady at Tribeca Film Festival: Zimbio

Makeup: Kristen Arnett