For this man, makeup isn't just a hobby. It's an identity.
"I’m definitely really comfortable in my skin," Kody says. But a few years ago, that wasn't the case.
When Kody was in high school, he hadn't yet come out as gay. He was young and still figuring out who he was.
"I wanted to fit in," he says. "I wanted to be just like everyone else."
All photos by L'Oreal Dermablend.
He struggled with his identity, trying to reconcile who he knew he was and who he wanted to be. It wasn’t until he accepted himself that he was able to begin moving forward.
"I came out when I was 19," Kody says. "It was terrifying. I was so afraid of what people would think." But once he took the leap, he realized that he was free. "You unlock the door, and now you can live your life and express the way you feel."
Free to start expressing himself without shame, Kody began to explore. He found his passion somewhere unexpected: in makeup.
"Once I discovered makeup and once I discovered I was good at it, I started to feel more comfortable about who I am," Kody explains. Makeup gave Kody an opportunity to show off his personality in a more visual way, as a form of art and expression.
Now as a professional makeup artist, Kody uses Dermablend on all his customers, from those with "perfect" skin to those with a skin condition.
He loves it because it improves the appearance of one’s complexion without feeling like a lot of makeup. Dermablend also boasts high-performance pigments which allow the foundation and concealer to cover any skin condition. So no matter who Kody's applying makeup to, the end result is flawless.
Kody hopes that, with his help, many more people will embrace who they are because they finally feel comfortable in their own skin.
"All you have to do is just be yourself, and if you do want to wear makeup, the choice is all up to you."
Watch Kody’s story of using makeup to find empowerment:
But makeup didn’t just help Kody find his identity. It also helped him find his purpose.
"Before, I just didn’t see where I was supposed to go in life," he says. Like any young person, Kody had a hard time figuring out what his passion was and how he could incorporate it into his career. But makeup turned out to be the answer to that question, too.
"I love how I can make a customer feel really good about how they feel," Kody says. "It really makes me want to help others." He works hard to help his clients make sure their face reflects exactly what they feel on the inside. And when he gets it right, he can tell right away. "Usually their face just brightens up. They glow up," he says.
Kody wants to spread the message that makeup isn’t something you should use to hide. It’s something you should use to reveal who you truly are.
"You’re beautiful with or without makeup," Kody insists. He emphasizes that makeup is something that anyone can do — or choose not to do. "Makeup is definitely a choice. It’s a very good way to have an outlet to express yourself."
In the end, it’s all about being true to yourself. "It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy, if you’re a girl," he says. "Whatever you want to express, whatever you want to feel, you just do it."