Boss Babes: Beauty & The Editor

Written by Tamara Styer | Photographed by Matt Loveland

DEITRA MAGAZINE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tamara Styer and Beauty Director Kristen Lentz met while working at Victoria’s Secret in Springfield, Missouri. They have since become great friends and creative allies, on a mission to turn the local fashion and beauty scene on its head. These two boss babes sit down for lunch at Springfield’s Cafe Cusco to talk about their journey working together at the magazine since its debut in 2011 — as well as plans for the future and some of the most important moments in their careers. As seen in Issue 14 of Deitra Magazine!

TAM: So, Kristen, what is your professional background in beauty?

KRISTEN: I have been doing hair for more than nine years, and I have been working for Sexy Hair for about seven years.

TAM: Is that how long we’ve known each other?

KRISTEN: I moved to Springfield in June or July of 2010 and immediately started working at Victoria’s Secret, so whenever it was when you started —

TAM: I think it was 2011.

KRISTEN: It must’ve been pretty close to the start of 2011 or the end of 2010, because you and I built up a strong enough work relationship for you to ask me to be part of the magazine, and the very first magazine cover shoot.

TAM: So you’re the longest-running person in Deitra Mag history. You also helped me do an issue where we did a [gender] transition piece.

KRISTEN: Yeah! That was fun, too!

TAM: So, what has it been like to work with Deitra Magazine through all these years?

KRISTEN: It has been exciting all throughout, but there have definitely been some ebbs and flows in the seasons of Deitra. It’s all been wild and fun.

TAM: How so?

KRISTEN: Well, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when you first asked me to be a part of the magazine. I hadn’t started working with Sexy Hair just yet, but I had known enough people who work photo shoots and various things to know that doing a photo shoot in someone’s house was the norm.

TAM: Even now, many years later, we still do that.

KRISTEN: And it works out really well, too, because Jasmine’s shoot (“Awakening,” pg. 20) was really amazing.

TAM: Part of the reason I think it’s getting better, even though we are still using people’s houses, is because we have such a big team, and we always know who to bring. We have so many photographers — we always have a backup photographer, we have people who can set up lights and do backdrops, do makeup, hair, etcetera.

KRISTEN: And that is where it has changed a lot, too, because it has gotten a lot more organized and people know the roles they’re playing so much better than when it first started out.

TAM: Everyone really cares about their roles, too. They’re very passionate about it. Almost like an ownership thing.

KRISTEN: It has been really fun, because I have been a part of the team for nearly seven years now, and you didn’t see a lot of that in the past

TAM: Organization, you mean?

KRISTEN: Organization for sure, and basically everyone outside of you — no one really knew how to take ownership for their roles.

TAM: I think so, too. And I hadn’t really found people I could plug in, in those ways. As far as the entire group goes, I pride myself in being able to find what a person is really good at, and being able to see if they are really going to stick with it. We have had a lot of people come and go, and all those people have been a great benefit, to be honest. But I always know when a person is ready to go. And the ones I know are in for good, I feel like that is my team right now. And I always have it in the back of my head, “What if someone leaves?” But it feels like such a family now, it is a lot different than what it used to be. I have had so many people on the team that have loved it but it wasn’t the same type of ownership, you know?

KRISTEN: Yeah, not like the full family vibe. It was a good, friendly vibe, but just not the same as how it is now.

TAM: Right. So tell our readers about your role as beauty director at the magazine and at fashion shows.

KRISTEN: It started out with me just being involved with hair in general. You gave me a job, and I would do my job. I would collaborate with some of the other stylists in the beginning and just create some hair on the fly. It allowed me to be extremely creative, but I don’t thrive in just flat-out chaos. I need to have an organized chaos. So that is where it first started out and I had that conversation with you about having some sort of organization to the system, and that role just got created on its own.

TAM: Exactly. We have 52 models right now, and even more knocking at the door, and I have to cut it off somehow.

KRISTEN: Right, but at least we know for the next show and when we start that process over again, it is equally as fun. As far as the fashion shows go, it’s really nice creating inspiration views for almost every single model, or depending on the theme of the show, we would have different groups, even if it wasn’t for any particular model. My role has developed into one that involves getting the stylists together and discussing the inspiration before hand with them, and just getting their creative juices flowing — along with my own. And when it comes to the day of the photo shoots and shows, I am also doing hair and sometimes makeup.

TAM: Yes, you’re in the trenches with them and keeping them on the same page. You’re the first man on the ground and the last one to leave.

KRISTEN: Basically.

TAM: For sure. And that has been so helpful for me, just knowing you will always be there. We got a really big team of stylists last time and they are coming back this time.

KRISTEN: Hearing that makes me really happy. All of that kind of attests to what you were saying earlier — picking out a group of people that really want to be a part of it, and that you can trust to work as a team.

TAM: Yeah, we have a really good group of models, and I think that is one thing that you and I talk about a lot — just having a positive team. There is no drama, and if there ever is something that comes up, we can handle it quickly. I’m so grateful I have you backing me up with that so we don’t have to be hard on anybody.

KRISTEN: We have a direction and a vision now, instead of just themes for the show, you know?

TAM: Yes, and the stress level has really gone down. I used to get sick before every show. I feel so organized now, though. It has been nice having you backing me up and building the team.


TAM: So, what is it like when I bring those ideas out of my imagination and present them to you?

KRISTEN: Well, I’m never sure exactly what to expect. I mean, we have an overall brand, so I do have certain expectations as to what you’re going to bring me.

TAM: What’s that?

KRISTEN: Edgy, out of the box — and that is what has been pretty consistent. I mean, we have done some very pretty, non-edgy shoots, but overall —

TAM: There is always some sort of outlandish element. I like dramatic things. I come up with these ideas and I always wonder what it will be like.

KRISTEN: Yeah, and that has been really fun. I love doing avant garde styles. I would say between your super dramatic avant garde and your classic vintage 50s and 60s styles — I love those, but they are super different from each other, so you kind of create elements in the middle. For instance, with Jasmine’s shoot, you have a sense of history in it with Marie Antoinette, and you’re jazzing that up with the Deitra brand of avant garde and out of the box.

TAM: We also added in some Elizabethan, some Geisha — it’s a mixed bag. It’s amazing, but it’s also piercing. I do think that was really beautiful but it was also very intense and I love that. That’s one thing I like to always keep. I do like ready to wear looks, but I love there to be some sort of dramatic element to it.

KRISTEN: And it sets us apart from some of the other magazines and interests in the Springfield community, so we definitely reach a different part of the community.

TAM: I agree, and I am excited to push the magazine out more and get more wide-spread. It has been a long time we have been pushing this forward, but I feel like it’s at a sweet spot right now for me — right before the cusp of something really big happening. So we better enjoy this. It’s kind of that golden age right now. I wanted to ask you — if Deitra could send you anywhere or fund any trip or something for you in the future, what would your biggest idea be for that?

KRISTEN: One of my goals is to do hair for New York Fashion Week. I feel like that would be something that would be huge. Another thing would be to branch outside of Springfield. I could see Deitra doing really well in parts of New Orleans.

TAM: Really?

KRISTEN: There are so many cool parts of New Orleans. Between the history and the architecture, especially when you go down some of the streets and see the fashion, I could see it being down there. I think that would be really fun.

TAM: The reason I ask is because, someday, I would like the magazine to be able to fund shoots like Vogue does. Like, “Oh, let’s shoot in Milan today.” The thing is, the first step would be road trips — New Orleans, places closer, you know?

KRISTEN: Yeah, and New Orleans isn’t that far away, but it is still a really big city. Austin, Texas, would be really cool also.

TAM: Let’s dream a little beyond what we can do tomorrow and say we can fund a trip to wherever.

KRISTEN: That’s where I thought you were headed with that — just going a bit further than our favorite locations around the area like Eureka Springs, St. Louis, Joplin or Kansas City.

TAM: That’d be cool because, that is the kind of thing I want to start doing. I mean, it’s going to be easy to branch into Kansas City or St. Louis — we just need to make more copies. I have a designer in Kansas City who is going let me borrow some pieces for the show, and I always have bands up there that hit me up. But to branch out further in the future would be awesome.

KRISTEN: Yeah, and if we get the podcast rolling — because that is what a lot of people are doing nowadays. So I think branching out to that would be an excellent call.

TAM: Definitely. We are going to add in podcasts and films and just keep branching out.

KRISTEN: So going off the topic of podcasts, where would you like to see that go and how soon?

TAM: As soon as possible, as soon as we can get the equipment. I would like to do it once a week.

KRISTEN: Cool, and rotating in and out is a great thing because everyone’s life schedule gets pretty chaotic.

TAM: And there are enough of us who want to be involved — and we have Leslie Tucker, who has that great radio voice. I want to have people like LaComa Jefferson, our wardrobe Stylist for Deitra fashion shows — just some personalities we work with regularly like Matt and Charles. I just want it to be a fun time!

KRISTEN: Cool. So what are your two proudest moments in Deitra or life in general?

TAM: The first one that pops into my head would probably be the moment I walked into my very first Deitra Magazine release show at the Outland Ballroom [in Springfield, Missouri]. We had four bands volunteering their time, the bar was just incredibly generous with letting me use the space and even the lighting was perfect. It was me stepping into my skin for the first time and a million things I dreamt of doing, all coming to life.

KRISTEN: Yeah, I remember we had so much support, people dressed up for it, it was awesome. And I think we were just styling musicians at that point.

TAM: That is when I finally found my thing and I knew I wanted this to become my life.

KRISTEN: Yeah, it’s your passion and your calling. That is how I feel about hair.

TAM: That’s cool. I’m glad you feel that way about hair because you can take what I give you and just make it more beautiful than I ever imagined. We make a good team.

KRISTEN: I agree.

TAM: There were many times in my childhood where someone encouraged me. I grew up in a musician family and I always sang and played piano, but I really wanted to be the writer of the family. That is where I found a passion. Certain teachers saw that in me, and really encouraged me to keep going. They never told me I shouldn’t be writing about [certain things]. Because I would write these dark horror things and nobody ever told me, ‘No.’ I did have one teacher call my parents and say she was concerned about me, and my parents just told me about it, like, last year. But they didn’t want to stifle me. I was just writing.


TAM: But then I had a teacher funnel me into the journalism world, and it really changed my life. I would probably say that is another life changing moment for me, is when I discovered you can be a creative writer and still funnel that into journalistic ends. Then I got really into design and editing and being in charge of people. Then, within a year, I was in charge of the high school paper and got to keep doing that. I would say those are probably the two biggest moments for me.   DM

All contents property of Deitra LLC, Copyright 2018. Reproduction prohibited. All rights reserved.

About the Author:
Tamara Styer is the owner of Deitra LLC, Editor-In-Chief of Deitra Magazine and Branson Foodie Magazine and owner of Deitra Design Group and Deitra Productions.

This article was transcribed by Madison Shaffer.

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