Kandy Kane Interview

Professional make-up artist Marlize Veenhof – better known as YouTube beauty vlogger Kandy Kane – chats to Leigh Hermon about career upgrades, what’s really important in a marriage and becoming a social media star.

Born in cape town and raised in Joburg, Marlize, 28, was dead set on studying graphic design after school, but after losing out on a bursary, she had to rethink her life plan. She jobhopped for a while before entering the world of cosmetics, where in 2013 she landed a job in sales at haircare brand Schwartzkopf. about two years later Marlize caught the eye of Moroccan Oil and became the brand’s national educator. during this time she’d been working weekends as a make-up artist and had started making videos for her youtube channel, Kandy Kane. in 2016 she took the plunge and left the safety of her full-time job to pursue a career as a professional make-up artist and youtube vlogger. She lives in Germiston with her husband Kevin, 30, and their dog ivan. i have my mom to thank for my make-up obsession.

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From the age of 11 I became fascinated by my mom’s morning beauty routine. I’d watch as she outlined her eyes in blue eyeliner and added a lick of mascara to her eyelashes. I’d notice a shift in her confidence when her make-up and hair were done; it was as if it brought out this bolder, more courageous woman. I wanted to experience this change too, so I begged her for eyeliner. During the school holidays she’d let me wear some and I loved it. Once I had been given a taste of make-up, I wanted more so I spent my pocket money on building my own collection of cheap eyeshadow and eyeliner. Soon enough I was that girl in high school who’d wear a full face of make-up to parties on weekends. I knew it was frowned upon, but I didn’t care, because it made me so happy. My make-up education didn’t come from an expensive course. When I was 16, I remember my mom taking me to CNA so I could buy a specific magazine that came out every two weeks. Each issue would focus on an area of make-up expertise, and came packaged with a free lipstick or eyeshadow. I’d pore over each issue from cover to cover, learning about skin tones, face shapes and different techniques. These magazines gave me the basics, but it was only when I discovered YouTube makeup tutorials that I really started to build my skills. Even today, YouTube is still my go-to for learning about the latest trends and make-up application techniques. after school i found myself bouncing from job to job. I only ever pictured myself studying graphic design and hinged my hopes on getting into the coveted graphic design course at NorthWest University, but when my bursary fell through and I couldn’t attend I felt lost.

I got a job as a receptionist answering phones, but the pay wasn’t much. I jobhopped for a bit before landing a role in the HR department of a gas manufacturing company. My colleagues would often compliment me on my hair and make-up, and asked me why I wasn’t working in the beauty industry. Even though I didn’t have much experience, I decided to apply for a sales position at haircare brand Schwartzkopf and I got it. I hit my targets each month and soon enough I was headhunted by Moroccan Oil. In 2015, I became the national educator – a far cry from answering phones. i used to do make-up for about five weddings a year, but now i’m booked every weekend. The first bride who ever asked me to do their make-up was my husband Kevin’s sister. I was flattered and happily made her up for her special day. Before I knew it I was getting calls from friends of friends to do their make-up. But I began to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of my day job and what I had promised my bridal clients. I wasn’t coping and so had to choose between working for myself or someone else. In the end I chose me and I’ve never been happier. My weekends from now until the end of the year are booked up with weddings and matric farewells. it took a long time for me to feel comfortable in front of a camera. I was working in HR when I started mulling over the idea of starting my own YouTube channel. There were loads of international beauty vloggers, but not many local ones and I thought I’d give it a go. I uploaded my first video in 2012 after filming it on my iPhone 4 and editing it with iMovie. Even though I’d uploaded it for the world to see, I was still so shy about it and knocked my sister’s phone out of her hand when she tried to show the video to a friend! I was so anxious about what people would say about the way I looked and how I sounded. In time I got used to seeing and hearing myself on screen and I started to let go of all these insecurities.

Now, I’m just having loads of fun. youtube doesn’t pay the bills – it doesn’t even fill my car’s tank. A lot has changed for YouTubers in recent years, like the new algorithm that’s reduced the ad revenue for vloggers, so I have to keep an eye out for other opportunities. I’ll fill my week with one-on-one makeup tutorials with clients, or even other make-up artists wanting to fine-tune a specific look. I also have my bridal and matric dance clients who keep me busy on the weekends. Then I’ll spend one or two days filming videos for my YouTube channel, which could be anything from a product review to a how-to. In the past I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with the likes of Urban Decay, who’ve flown me to London and Réunion Island for the launch of its new products. i’ve learnt that not everyone is going to agree with you on social media. I’m a sensitive person, but I’ve realised that everyone has a right to their opinion and that if they disagree with me it’s not always personal. I’ve had to grow a thick skin, but for the most part I often try to turn a negative comment into a positive conversation.

I delete unnecessary comments, like the ones that say I’m ugly or fat because I don’t think these have anything to add to the post, or the conversation my followers are having. Being woken up with a cup of coffee was a real treat growing up. We didn’t have a lot, but our parents made sure that my younger sister, Belinda, and I always felt loved. My dad worked full time while my mom stayed at home to take care of us. I remember waking up to a steaming bowl of porridge and a mug of hot coffee made by mom before school each morning. She was also an amazing seamstress who spent a lot of time making us dresses for all the school dances. it took a financial crisis for Kevin and i to realise what was important when it came to planning a wedding. We had been dating for about four years before he asked me to marry him. We planned our wedding for months, spending a massive amount of money on it. Just before the big day, the venue burnt down and we lost our entire deposit. The financial stress got to us and we fought constantly; eventually we called off the engagement and broke up. We couldn’t be away from each other for long and were back together within a month. Two years ago, Kevin got down on one knee again.

We were a little older and wiser and we realised that our wedding didn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. We scaled it down by having it at Kevin’s aunt’s beautiful home, with the ceremony in the garden and the reception on the tennis courts. I’m so glad we did it like that, because it helped me realise that spending all that money on one day wouldn’t make a difference to our marriage in the long run. Marriage has taught me that sometimes it’s OK to go to bed angry. We’ve been together for 10 years so we’ve really grown together, which also means we’ve had all the fights that couples can have – and I’m sure we’ll have more! We’re incredibly open with each other, even when it comes to things we know the other doesn’t want to hear. There have been nights when we’ve both gone to bed fuming, but in the morning light we’ve cooled off a bit and are then ready to discuss the issue rationally. In the heat of the moment, you’re more concerned about your point of view, and you’re not thinking clearly. A good night’s sleep can change all of that.

Kandy Kane Interview

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