Meet Victoria Donelda, beauty expert, nursing student, and frequent host of Dia&Co Facebook Lives. Victoria splits her time between taking classes, working part-time retail gigs, and connecting with her social-media following. Long story short, she likes to stay busy. Read on to learn what connects the dots between everything she does and why she believes that makeup is a powerful art form.
I’ve grown up, my entire life, in Kansas. As a kid, my style icons were Princess Diana and the Spice Girls. For Princess Diana, my mom loved her and was so in awe of her, so I obviously was, too, because my favorite person in the world loved Princess Diana. Looking back now, it was definitely her classy style, but also that she wasn’t afraid to just wear jeans and a sweatshirt. She could do it all. With the Spice Girls, it was probably because they were so bold and vibrant, and just so specific to each of their personalities.
My sense of style gets better as I get older. I’ve been following the Met Ball for as far back as I can remember. And I’ve always looked at the correlation between art and fashion. So I feel like I’ve always thought about clothes as an extra layer of your personality—not just something that you need.
I would say that my style is either pink and feminine or very edgy. It’s hardly ever a mixture of both. It just depends on what challenge I want to take on for the day. I’m a dress person—I love dresses. Just because I think they’re so much more comfortable than jeans. So, usually, if we’re going to town or doing something, I’m always in a dress. It’s not to dress up, it’s just because I’m comfortable that way. In my day to day, or if I have to get up and run around and do a bunch of things, I always love a good band T-shirt or a graphic tee of some kind, a pair of black skinny jeans, high-waisted, and a belt.
A Beauty Love Affair
When I was 19, the first Sephora opened where I lived. I completely lucked out and got a position there and thought that was pretty great, pretty special. I was very creative—I was into art and theater. So I got a job based on that even though it wasn’t really very substantial. One day, that turned into this amazing world of beauty and knowledge that I know now, which I love, and I’ve been working in makeup ever since.
When I was in art school, there were always a few people in my graduating class who would try to keep me down and say, “Oh, makeup’s not art. You’re not really that good of an artist.” If you scroll through Instagram and just look at makeup, you’re seeing really creative things. You’re not just seeing a nice smokey eye, you’re seeing people forcing those boundaries out a little bit. I just love that. I also love teaching people how to use makeup to empower their feelings about themselves. And I would say that’s a lot of what I’m really, really interested in right now, is just being able to help people express what they want to say through their makeup.
Why Makeup Matters
It’s very personal for each person. I know some days I’m like, “Yeah, I’m sure I can create something with makeup.” And other days I’m like, “I don’t really want to wear that much makeup as I’m doing day-to-day stuff.” So it’s very easy to pick and choose what I want to do each day. And I think there’s a lot of people who feel that way, but there’s a lot of people who use makeup to transform themselves—they don’t feel complete without it.
There are also people who use it to rediscover themselves. It’s been able to help people through their cancer treatments and journeys into remission. And I know a lot of people who say, “I just don’t feel pretty anymore.” So makeup helps them work through some of the things that they’re feeling and get that sense of themselves back.
It’s just pure joy helping people with their makeup. A lot of what I do is education-based, so I’m bringing knowledge to the store where I do makeup, the rest of the staff, and for people who are shopping as well. I had my girls I’d been doing makeup for four years—last May, they graduated. I’ve been with them throughout the entirety of high school. Even if it’s only through social media and four or five times a year when I’m hanging out with them and doing their makeup. I’ve done people’s prom makeup and then years have gone by and I’ve done their wedding makeup, too. It’s pretty cool to be able to keep up with people and see how their style has changed and progressed—as your own style has changed and progressed.
Back to School
After I finished art school, I ended up going back for nursing. I first realized I wanted to make the transition when my nana had an extended stay at the hospital in the spring of 2017. We had no idea if it was going to be a recurring situation or not. Seeing the nurses take such good care of her, I was like, “Wow.” It was about a year after I graduated from art school, and I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I’d really struggled to find a purpose. I was like, “I just don’t understand what to do. There’s no homework, there’s no pat on the back when you do well.” I was having a really hard time with that.
I saw this sense of purpose among the nursing staff, and I was like, I have to do this. I love art and I love the way that it makes people feel, and I love makeup, and I love doing all of that. But that pales in comparison to this sense of purpose—this ultimate way to really help people feel good. And so that seed was planted, and a month and a half later, I had re-enrolled in school. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it’s been really good.
Everyone always asks what kind of nursing I want to do, and I’m very adamant about trying my hand in a bunch of things before I make a decision. But, right off the top, I know that I’d be so into dermatology or plastic surgery. I mean, your face is such a central part of your identity and who you are, so I think it would be incredible to touch people’s lives in that way. The skin’s my favorite organ, so I would love to help people with their skin. You can do so much through makeup and skincare, but medical treatments take it a step further.
Medicine and art, the two things I’ve been most focused on in my life, are seemingly very different on the outside. But when you dig deeper, you can find the likenesses. Both medicine and art can heal—art can heal the mind and soul, while medicine can heal the body.
If you look back at the times before we had technology, before we had even a basic understanding really of anything, it was the curious people. And that’s what I think you need to bond for medicine and art—it’s always the curious people who try to figure out how to learn more and do more. If you look at Leonardo da Vinci’s work, and the work of so many others, they took it upon themselves to figure out how the human body works and to dissect and see what’s inside of us. They did that out of scientific curiosity, but they also did it out of curiosity in general. They made teaching materials for other people to spread that curiosity.
You have these people who were robbing graves, unfortunately, and dissecting bodies. Back then it was extremely morbid and weird, obviously, to have done what they were doing. But if you look at it, it’s really just curiosity fueling your passion to know more and do more with your life. A lot of them weren’t traditionally trained as artists, but their art laid down the groundwork for modern medicine. If that curiosity didn’t exist, we might not know what cancer is today.
Hosting Facebook Lives
Being on Facebook Live can be nerve-wracking sometimes. I used to get really nervous about it. There have been several times when I’m doing a Live and I look up and there are four or five hundred people watching for whatever reason. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, why is that number so high right now?” So you only have about one and a half seconds to freak out about it, and then you have to keep going. I just think to myself, you do this all the time. You’re doing people’s makeup all the time, in real time, in a busy store. People are walking by and watching, and a mom’s always there taking pictures. So it’s the same, only you’re sitting a room by yourself and all the people watching are behind a mirror.
I almost always am doing something that I’ve done at least once before, or have practiced the day before. So I think the Halloween makeup looks are the most nerve-wracking because those are just so much more than the day-to-day things. Or the videos I do where I want everyone to pick your own makeup adventure. But those can be really nerve-wracking too. You never know how it’s going to turn out. And I’m one of those people that likes to know how things will turn out.
I like to just plan for things, but then also chase them as they come. Which is such an oxymoron. I just like being able to sustain a comfortable life, right? Whatever that means. That’s somewhere I’m happy and constantly able to do the things that I love. And I feel like there are so many things that I love that could go in many different directions. Then there are friends and family. I also would love to travel. So if there’s any way I can incorporate travel into my life, I always choose that. I just love it so much. Learning about new places and exploring locally are some of my favorite things.
I feel like I spent all of my teenage years moving away from Kansas, but then I grew up. And now that I get to travel, I get to go to LA every once in a while. I’ve gotten to go to New York and other bigger places. I love the energy, but it’s never more apparent that I’m from Kansas than when I’m in those situations. I love a good 5-10 days in a different area, and then I’m trying to go back to the prairie. It’s time to head back home. But I would love to travel and be able to decide where I really feel a strong resonance with, where my horizon calls to. Live in New York City or somewhere surrounding, just to say that I did it. It would be so different from, I feel like, anywhere else you could ever live.
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