How Allison Kaye Became the Go-To Makeup Artist for All Your Favorite WAGS


You don’t have to be a huge sports fan to realize that we are currently in the midst of a major WAGS (aka the wives and girlfriends of professional athletes) renaissance. While WAGS have always been an iconic part of the sports world, ever since Taylor Swift’s romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce started dominating the headlines last year, there’s been a renewed interest in all aspects of their lives—including their stadium style.

Photo by Franz Orban

If there’s one thing that we can say with almost certainty, it’s that the WAGS always bring the glam on game days, and a big reason why is because they have Miami-based makeup artist and game-day glam expert Allison Kaye in their corner. As the go-to makeup artist for WAGS of the NFL and MLB, Kaye is the creative mastermind behind so many of the insanely gorgeous makeup looks frequently seen on your favorite sports wives and girlfriends. Whether she’s glamming her clients for the Super Bowl or a home game, Kaye never fails to create incredible beauty moments for all of her high-profile clientele, which now includes WAGS from over 15 different teams in the NFL alone.

The Tease had the pleasure of chatting with Kaye about her incredible career as a celebrity makeup artist in the sports world. Here, she discusses building her clientele through social media, navigating football season, her signature soft-glam makeup look, her dream clients, and so much more.

On her journey into the beauty industry:

“When I was younger, I was the one who was always styling everybody in the neighborhood. I would try and do hair and makeup on people at the age of seven. I taught myself how to do a bunch of different styles because, back then, Youtube didn’t exist. So with everything I was doing, I was just constantly teaching myself different things. I would see something on the TV or on a Barbie doll and be like, ‘Oh, I want to recreate that.’ And so I just really have always loved it. My grandma had a hair salon out of her basement and so I think that watching her do that growing up also inspired me to want to be in the same business. I was also very girly. I grew up doing pageants. So all of these things together just made me interested in beauty.”

On how she started doing makeup for WAGS:

“When I started doing makeup, I worked in pageants and then I worked really heavily in the bridal industry for a while. I like to tell people that I just fell into what I’m doing now. It wasn’t something that I set out for myself, because it wasn’t a thing that existed that you could aspire to be; I essentially created what this is.

So I styled someone for the NFL draft in 2021, and she had found me on Instagram by searching with the ‘makeup artist’ hashtag. I did her makeup as well as the mother and the sister of a guy who plays in the NFL. From there, she tagged me on Instagram and a bunch of other NFL girlfriends and wives started following me. I didn’t have another NFL client until eight months after that, so I thought that this really cool opportunity was just a one time thing. 

My second NFL client was from the Miami Dolphins and she asked, ‘Can you work my wedding?’ Unfortunately, I was not available for the date, so I wasn’t able to do it. But I got to do her makeup for a photo shoot that she was doing. She and I connected really easily and so she then referred me to everybody else on the team for the Miami Dolphins. With that being the team that I lived by, I just started doing a lot of their people. And then I went back to Cleveland for two months in the summer, because I have a second home there, and I started doing the Cleveland Browns’ girls too. That was when I truly started doing things for game days.” 

On how she became known as the game-day glam expert in the industry: 

“So the first game days that I was working were with the Cleveland Browns’ wives and then, from there, the press picked it up. I’m so thankful that one of the writers from the New York Post saw everything and emailed me. She said, ‘I would love to get on the phone with you and I would love to do an article on this.’ So she talked to me on the phone for an hour and asked me about how I worked with so many NFL wives, because I think at that point I had worked on over 10 of them. She then wrote an article deeming me as the NFL makeup artist for wives, so I credit my title to her. She was the one who kind of decided it for me and wrote it in an article. From there, it just kind of stuck.” 

On how social media has helped her build her clientele: 

“Instagram is honestly where I get all of my referrals, because when I do someone’s makeup, if they love their service, they always end up sharing it and tagging me. I don’t ask clients to do that, but if somebody is happy with their look, then they’re obviously going to be happy to share who did their makeup. So I think that is what has happened for me. And since the NFL wives community is a lot smaller than people think that it is, they all follow each other on Instagram. So when one person posts about you, another will too. 

That’s actually how I started traveling to different teams for games. I was working with the Cleveland Browns’ girls and somebody from the Pittsburgh Steelers was like, ‘Oh, we’re not too far from you. Would you want to come and do us too?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, of course!’ It was a two hour drive from Cleveland and so I went there and did their makeup. And when I did their makeup, someone from the Washington Commanders said that they saw their friend post about me and that it was the best that they had ever seen her look. She said to me, ‘Look, how do I get you to do my makeup? If you are ever in D.C., let me know.’ I said to her that if you want me to come there, then let’s make it happen. I told her what I would need in terms of the girls and just gave her the specifics and within 20 minutes, she had seven girls from the team booked and paid for their Thursday night football game. So I booked a flight and a hotel, and went out there.

After that, a lot of other teams saw that I was flying out for game days. So then people just started reaching out to me saying that they saw that I worked with their friend or some of the other girls. A lot of these girls have been traded to multiple teams, so they have a very large network from being on one team and now another one. So just from them posting about me, tagging me, and then also my Instagram reels or TikToks going viral, that has really helped to spread the word about my business. But everything has mostly been through referrals, so I never sought out anything. I never chose this life—it chose me, and so I’ve just taken everything that’s happened and ran with it.”

On her most requested makeup looks:

“I think that a lot of times people want to go with what they see on someone’s Instagram page. My general niche is that I do a neutral soft-glam. Obviously, sometimes you’re going to get a request that doesn’t necessarily reflect what your normal style may be. I can still execute on that as being able to do different things is part of being an artist. But when someone sees something on your page that they like, it is often what they pull up and say that they want to look like.

To go into specifics about the neutral soft-glam look, it’s a medium to full-coverage foundation type of look. It is neutral colors on the eyes, mostly going towards browns. However, you can get the request sometimes for those more pink neutrals as well. Sometimes it can be all matte and sometimes it will have a pop of shimmer, but it’s never ever anything very heavy like a glitter. And there is always a neutral lip color to finish it off. For the Kansas City Chiefs, I think I did one red lip at the Super Bowl last year. But other than that, it’s always just a neutral lip color because it’s easy for the girls to touch up since game days are often very long days.” 

On her creative process for curating game-day makeup looks for her clients:

“No matter who the client is, whether it’s one of my NFL clients or a celebrity or influencer client, I always ask them the same set of questions. I start by asking them, ‘Do you have an idea for what you want to do today?’ If they say no, then I got through my whole list of questions. It’s almost like an interview to figure out what type of look we’re going to do. So I always ask, ‘What are you wearing?’ And they’ll usually have a photo of their outfit to share. Then I kind of just go from there because what they will be wearing plays into what kind of tones we will likely use, as does their hair color and whether or not they have a spray tan. I take all of those factors into consideration and then make recommendations as to what I think is going to look best based on their undertones and their natural colors. And I’ll also just ask them about their personal preferences when it comes to makeup. So I like to ask a bunch of questions, which does take time, but clients always tell me that no other makeup artist ever goes into that kind of detail with them. I take the time to ask very in-depth questions so I can get the right answers and be able to put together the correct look.”

On how her makeup looks for her NFL clients differ from her other WAGS clients:

“I definitely feel like the NFL is more glamorous and I think that this is something that we know in general, with what the sport is. The NFL is the biggest sports league in the entire world, so that makes sense. The stage of it all is just bigger so in terms of makeup, it would call for something a little more glamorous. However, I have also had plenty of NFL wives want something very simple for their makeup. At the end of the day, it really just depends on the person.

For my MLB clients, I feel like it has always been more of an elevated natural look. I don’t know if it’s because of what the sport is, but I think that the MLB hasn’t become so glamorized yet like the NFL has. I think that baseball is a little bit more toned down. And maybe it’s coming, because we are in this WAGS renaissance and it may spread to more teams than just the NFL, which I hope that it does.”

On how she prepares for game days during football season: 

“Being an artist, it doesn’t matter what type of clientele I’m working with, I have to stay very organized. So the night before a game day, I will always prep my kit. I will make sure that everything is clean and that I have everything that I need. I go through a little checklist in my head and make sure that everything is good for the next morning so when I get up, I can focus on getting myself ready. Once I eat breakfast and do my own hair and makeup, I can just grab my suitcase and go from there. 

Even if I’m flying somewhere, a few days before I leave, I start to go through my kit and make sure I have everything I need. I am able to work out of just a carry-on suitcase, so it’s very easy when I fly places. I can get away with my personal stuff in a backpack and my makeup in a suitcase. I have got it down to a science now with just having so many years in the business.”

On what her schedule typically looks like during football season:

“I didn’t start to travel to teams until this past season, so I’ve only done one season of that now. Beforehand, I was only working with teams that were close to where I was. If I was in Cleveland, I would work with the Cleveland Browns’ girls. And if I was in Miami, then I would work with the Miami Dolphins’ girls. This past year, from 2023 to 2024, was when I started actually flying out or driving out to a team, from the hometown that I was located in at that time. So it would just depend on what the situation was. When I was driving two hours to go over to the Pittsburgh Steelers, I only did makeup for three girls and that was worth it for me because it was only a two-hour drive.

However, if I’m flying somewhere, I need to do makeup for more people. So for the Washington Commanders, I did seven girls. For the Philadelphia Eagles, I did eight girls. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, I did only three girls, but that was because they made it work for me to be able to do them. I don’t necessarily have a requirement, but if the girls and I are in the same place at the same time, it makes it way easier. For example, for the Cleveland Browns’ home games, I have a second home there. So when I am there, the girls will come to me the morning of the game and I will do their makeup. I am located diagonally from the stadium, so they’ll just go right over to the stadium after they’re done with me. Sometimes I’ll do makeup for one girl and sometimes I’ll do four girls. But, in a situation where I will be attending the game, I personally don’t like to do more than four girls. 

For night games, I obviously have more time. When I did the Philadelphia Eagles’ girls, I think their game was at 4:30pm, so I was able to get eight of their girls done. However, we started at 7:45am or 8:00am to be able to get all of them done in time. So it can be a little different, depending on the situation. This upcoming season, I’m looking forward to seeing where I can go.”

On how early she start preparing for massive events like the Super Bowl:

“In general, with the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, you really just have to take it day by day. Even though I am a very large planner, I have learned to just let go and understand that these events are not something where we are really going to have an idea what’s going on. You don’t know who’s playing in the Super Bowl until two weeks beforehand. And with every week of the playoffs, you don’t really know who’s playing in which game, because it depends on whoever wins or loses. You always have to wait for the new schedule for the next week to come out. So between all of that, I have just learned to be able to put things together at the last minute. 

In order to prepare for the Super Bowl, I will just book myself a flight to where it is and a hotel close to where it’s happening. I know that all of the bookings are going to come at the very last second, but that’s okay. I’m now at the point where I’ve worked with 16 out of 32 teams in the NFL. I have had some repeat clients, so I don’t really even have to think about what I’m doing to their face, because I just know what to do. And with the Kansas City Chiefs being in the Super Bowl for a second year, it was very easy for me, because some of the girls that I did the previous year, wanted to rebook with me for this year.” 

On the makeup products that are always staples in her kit:

“A lot of people are intrigued by the fact that I really like to use airbrush makeup. Temptu is the brand that I use and I have used them for almost 10 years now. The reason that I started using them is because when I used to do a lot of bridal clients, many of them requested that they only wanted airbrush makeup. And so I was like, ‘Well, I guess I have to learn airbrush makeup if I want to do well in this business.’ I invested into their airbrush system and it is definitely not cheap, but you have 20 different colors of foundation. You can actually airbrush an entire face—like blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow. I don’t do that. I just use airbrush for foundation only, but it is something that I think makes me work faster. I can just put the color in the machine, spray it right on their face for foundation, and I can get a perfect match every single time.

I think that sometimes airbrush makeup gets a bad reputation because people have had cheap airbrushes or airbrush makeup that was not well-formulated put on their face or they’ve just had a bad experience with it. Anyone who has had my airbrush done on their face texts me every time that they absolutely love it. I think that it helps to fill in people’s pores and give people that “babydoll” look, if you will. Plus, it’s waterproof and sweatproof which are two things that are very important for a game day.

Other than airbrush makeup, the other thing that you’ll find in my kit is just different kinds of neutral lip colors. Lips always need to be touched up because the girls are going to be eating, drinking, and doing a lot of talking with the other girls on the team at the game. There’s truthfully no product that’s going to stay on perfectly for twelve hours, so I do send the girls with touch up kits. The neutral lip colors are obviously the easiest to touch up and some of my favorite ones are from Charlotte Tilbury and DIBS Beauty.”

On her advice to makeup artists who want to find their own niche in the beauty industry:

“You have to find what you like and stick with it. I have always loved the NFL and I know a lot about it, even before I started working with these clients. So I think this career is just truthfully coming from a higher power. I was the person that was meant to be able to do this. And as I said earlier, the media was the one that gave me the “game-day glam expert” title, I didn’t give it to myself. So my advice is this: if you are given an  opportunity, just take it and see what can happen. I always say yes to everything and I don’t turn down opportunities. I think that throughout my career as a makeup artist, saying yes to things has really helped me. There were times when I would work three weddings on a Saturday and obviously, I could have said, ‘No, I can’t start at 4:00 am. That’s too early for me.’ But, I did it every single time. I was very hungry for work and I still am, in terms of, just always wanting to be at that next level.”

On who she considers to be her dream client:

“I think that everyone on the Internet is waiting for me to do Taylor Swift. She would be my dream client. I feel very thankful and blessed that I have been able to work with basically my entire bucket list of clients so far. And there are people that I would love to work with, but they aren’t necessarily realistic because I live in Miami and I don’t live in New York or LA. I understand that where I’m located is going to determine opportunities that may happen for me. So it is a bit harder for me to get to people like musicians. But, Taylor Swift is definitely on the bucket list.”

On her future plans:

“While I’m waiting for the NFL season to start again in September, I’ll be down in Miami. We have Miami Swim Week coming up in June and July, and until then I’m keeping myself busy with other clients that I have down here. There are a lot of NFL clients that come down here for the offseason to train. And there’s actually some NFL weddings coming up too. So I’m trying to catch who I can while they may be down here on vacation or for the offseason. When the schedule gets released in May, I’ll start to figure out where I can go when the season begins in September.”

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

To see more of Kaye’s incredible work, be sure to follow @allisonkayeglam on Instagram. 

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch:

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