Kelly Zhang is a renowned Los Angeles-based bridal hair and makeup artist and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Kelly Zhang Studio, which encompasses hair salon Studio K, and Kelly Zhang Makeup. You can shop Kelly's favorite Kinn pieces HERE.
For our AAPI Heritage Month feature, Kelly spoke candidly with Jennie, shedding light on the challenges she faced as a Chinese immigrant and business owner.
Kelly came to the US from China when she was just thirteen years old. “I’m an immigrant and English isn’t my first language. People assume that you speak perfect English, and can look down on you when you don’t understand them.” Looking back fifteen years, she remembers “trying to run a business and become fluent in a second language.”
Despite this hurdle, Kelly grew up in an entrepreneurial family and always knew that she wanted to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. After finding it difficult to work with a makeup artist experienced in Asian makeup for her own wedding, Kelly decided that she wanted to be in the bridal beauty industry. “In 2017-2018, I went back to China on and off for about two years to learn Asian makeup.”
Today, Kelly and her team serve a largely Asian client base. When Jennie asked what she’d like to pass on to other AAPI founders, she said—“I think just if you decide to do something, don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t hold back. You have to follow your gut and do whatever you think is right. And you have to be proud of yourself.”
Learn more about Kelly Zhang Studio here.