La Toya Jasper captures the spirit of Carnival through her beauty looks

La Toya Jasper is a makeup artist capturing the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival with every look. 

Every year, Carnival season begins after Christmas and ends on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The national festival is like a massive street party featuring colorful masquerades, parade floats and music. It’s a celebration of the island’s diversity and an act of resistance to its early colonial influences. 

Jasper tells In The Know she began performing as a dancer in Carnival as a kid.

“From a young age, I was always involved in Carnival because I always got to perform,” she says. “In Trinidad, you have celebrations in your community. When it’s the season of Carnival, you know because the music changes on the radio.” 

You can expect to hear soca, calypso and steel pan music take over the airwaves during Carnival season.

Eventually, Jasper became a professional dancer which led to a gig with a U.S. circus. It was there she started developing her skills as a makeup artist.

“My confidence started growing because I got to practice every day because I had 14 shows a week,” she says. “Every day I got an opportunity to practice being better at my makeup. Every time I did a show I took pictures and I just started posting.” 

Jasper recently left the circus to pursue her career as a makeup artist. She currently has over 115,000 TikTok followers and 60,000 Instagram followers who tune in for her Carnival-inspired looks. 

“What differentiates Carnival makeup from regular makeup is all the colors, the gems and the costumes that ties it all together and what it represents,” she explains. “It’s bright, it’s festive, it’s exciting. Everything is bedazzled or glitter.” 

When Jasper is putting her looks together, she always starts with a palette first. But the colors are the only thing she really plans, once she starts painting, she just “goes with the flow.” 

“What I love doing through my social media is showing what a regular girl looks like to what a girl who has experienced Carnival looks like,” Jasper says. “The transformation of what I am without Carnival and what I am because of Carnival.”

The makeup artist feels lucky to have a career where she gets to embrace and celebrate her culture.

“I love my country. I love my culture. I got to have a job where I was able to express that culture,” Jasper says. “I didn’t know the power of my transformation. I make people happy through makeup. Who would think that people would be happy or feel inspired by makeup? I inspire people to be free.” 

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