If you’re ever in need of a skillful set of hands to make you feel like a million bucks, Danee Bolan should be your go-to. Sure, Danee will make your skin and hair shine for your big day (or photoshoot), but more importantly, she will infuse your session with positivity and laughter so when you leave her chair you’ll be looking and feeling fabulous. Read on to learn about her journey into business, and her tips for feeling great every day.
Danee, tell me, have you always been a Glamagician?
I've always been pretty obsessed with makeup, beauty, skin care, and the power of transformation. Ever since I was a teen, I've been fascinated by how makeup can transform us into different personae and characters. I was the go-to amongst my friends when we had a dress up party to go to- everyone always wanted me to create some kind of makeup look which was so much fun, even though I knew nothing about what I was doing!
I've meandered through many different jobs and career pathways in my time, but when I moved to Melbourne over a decade ago, I knew I wanted to take it seriously and start a journey. I felt energised by the amount of creative souls and the unique opportunities this city presented. I was pulled into the world of beauty and haven't looked back.
How did Killer Queen Creative come about? How did you carve your own path?
I've been a makeup artist for about 9 years, but it wasn't until I became a mama 4 years ago that the seeds of Killer Queen were planted. My beauty career up until that point was a creative side hustle, and I lacked a bit of direction and purpose. I didn't know my niche or who my ideal client was; or even how to market myself. I just enjoyed the art of it, and because it was a side hustle, I could indulge that. I really had no idea about business, or how to build a brand.
When I became a mum, I started dreaming of bigger opportunities for my business, knowing that I wanted to focus on that and not return to 'regular work'. I knew that I couldn't juggle a 'normal job', as well as motherhood, AND my business. I knew I had to give my business the focus and attention it had been lacking up until that point. It was time to create a path forward.
So, in essence, having my son was a catalyst for a whole lot of change for me; most of all, creating a brand that represented strong, diverse, individual beauty and the power of women. I wanted to create a bit of a movement, a brand that would encompass all of my creative desires as well as empower others and make them feel good about themselves. Having experienced such a momentous change in my life, I realised a lot of women lack confidence, time and energy, and can lose a bit of their former identity, and I wanted to find a way to allow them to celebrate themselves, express their individuality, and find confidence!
I also really wanted to forge a community of like minded souls- women who walk their own path and do so with confidence, and without apology. It was the best move I ever made. I relish my role as a business owner and am so glad I took that step to create a life that I love and is so rewarding.
What was the biggest hurdle when you first created Killer Queen Creative?
Balancing my time and priorities, and giving myself the space to let Killer Queen grow and breathe organically!
I'm very much the type of person who is always thinking and dreaming of the next big thing, and I get very frustrated when I can't make it happen quickly. Having my son forced me to slow down and to be patient, which was a GOOD thing, but it was hard to do at the time. I wanted big changes and quickly! The juggle is real!
If you could give younger Danee advice, what would you say?
If I could look back now and offer myself some advice, it would be to enjoy and trust the process. To be patient and celebrate the baby steps. It's ok to dream big, but don't get too frustrated when you feel like you're treading water. Every single achievement - no matter how small- is a step in the right direction, so it's important to acknowledge that.
I'm so proud when I look back now at what I created and how it's grown, no matter how stop-start or haphazard it's been at times.
You help womxn feel amazing on their most important days - weddings, parties and photo shoots. What’s the most rewarding part of that?
Yes! The most rewarding thing for me is the connection and the end result. Helping someone to feel great about themselves when they've probably not spent a lot of time on themselves, or taken that kind of time out to unwind and not have to think about anything.
Helping someone to discover new things about their face or bring out their unique beauty in a way that makes them say 'wow!' I love that part of my job, and I love making women feel empowered and confident in my chair. I guess I'm usually working with women who have a little bit of trepidation or anxiety about what they're about to do- whether it's walking down the aisle or stepping in front of a camera, so it's really satisfying to be able to chat with them, connect with them beforehand and make them feel calm, and amazing about themselves. I feel like a little bit of a cheerleader, helping them to take the next step.
What are your top three tips for feeling confident and fierce?
No-one can do you like YOU. No-one has walked your path, in your shoes; so be PROUD of who you are, what you've achieved and all the good special things that make you who you are. Write a list of all of your unique assets and magical abilities, and the special sparkle you bring to life.
Own your beauty and celebrate it! Whether you're young or not so young, it doesn't matter. There are no rules! Life is too short- seriously. If you feel like taking a risk with beauty or fashion, and having a bit of fun, DO IT! What's the worst that could happen?
Thirdly, remember you are your own worst critic. Those little tiny things you focus on in the mirror and hate about yourself and obsess over? I guarantee no one ever notices them. So don't waste your energy on disliking parts of yourself, because nobody else would even see them! Turn those negative thoughts around and start being a cheerleader for yourself- you have to be!
You’re a fan of the alternative wedding. What advice would you have for someone who wanted to break free of the “norm” when it comes to getting married or throwing a party?
Absolutely- such a fan! My fave couples are those who shun tradition and do things 100% their way. It makes for such a special, personal celebration when people throw out the rule book and do things that are meaningful to them.
My best advice is to always focus on what looks and feels right for you both. There's always going to be a lot of 'well-meaning advice' from others who want to tell you how you 'should' do things; take that advice with a grain of salt and then throw it out the window! This is YOUR day! Stand up for what truly represents you and your love for each other. You won't regret it! Pinky swear.
If you only had 5 minutes to do your makeup, but wanted to feel fab, what would you do?
This is me often- like, most days! I would definitely fill in my brows quickly (a good brow makes a world of difference to your face), then I'd dab on a small amount of under eye concealer with my finger (so I can look instantly rested, even if I'm not).
My signature go-to is a bright red lip, which sounds complicated but it's not, I can usually put one on in about 30 seconds with a liquid lipstick. Just swipe it on, press and go! I know it's not for everyone, but it livens up my face and makes me look alive and more put together than what I am.
If I have time left over, a quick lash curl and swipe of mascara because my lashes are very sparse and mascara makes a HUGE impact.
When it comes to rituals that help you feel your best, what do you do when you have -
2 minutes: I'm always taking short little time out breaks during the day to rest and regroup, so I would probably have a quick read of whatever book I'm currently into- even if it's only 2 minutes. Other than that, if I was feeling tired or sluggish I'd have a little jump on my mini trampoline for a few minutes to get the lymph flowing- instantly energising and it makes you feel great!
15 minutes: I would do a stretch or some yoga, or beg my husband for a massage.
An hour: If I had an hour, I would take the time out to have a bath with some epsom salts, some essential oils and light some candles. That one hour of escape can really make a difference to my mind and to recharging my batteries. Or I'll go have an infra-red sauna!
Reading: I'm cycling through a couple of books at the moment- 'Girl A' by Abigail Dean, which is a psychological crime thriller; and 'Honeybee' by Craig Silvey (a gorgeous, life-affirming novel about a young boy with a deeply troubled home life coming to grips with his identity).
I'm ALWAYS reading! It's my secret obsession that makes me feel like I'm doing something a little indulgent and I love the escapism. I'm on a fiction bent at the moment because I like to completely immerse myself in another world for a week or a few days- it's truly the best.
Watching: 'Pose' on Binge, about the queer scene in NY in the late 80s (watch it for the tunes and the fashion- OMG!) I also just finished 'I May Destroy You', which was brilliant. Utterly moving and powerful, still gobsmacked it wasn't Emmy nommed!
Listening: A lot of females on high rotation right now (nothing unusual there!) : Kate Bush, Megan Thee Stallion, Lion Babe, Sampa the Great, Missy Elliot etc. I'm also listening to classic Chicago house playlists, excellent for getting into a state of flow while I work and shake off any negative thoughts! And it gets me in the mood for dancing, one of my fave things to do.
Smelling: Moon Night essential oil blend by Courtney and the Babes. It's lovely, warm and soothing. I also really love the scent of rose so I’m eyeing off the Rose Natural Perfume oil by St. Palm and a Rose Cedarwood Lavender Essential Oil Perfume by Theseeke.
Eating: Slightly obsessed with konjac noodles right now- made from a vegetable instead of grain, and surprisingly satisfying. I'm gluten free and mostly paleo, and it can be hard to find a good noodle! These go with everything and have just the right texture. I also LOVE cheese but it doesn’t love me, so I’m trying out different vegan cheeses to find something that I can obsess over.
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