Kasey Adam Spickard has gone from the corporate world of tech to the fickle world of fashion, with the help of a business degree and a sideline in drag

Why I’m here

I’d been working for Google in San Fransisco for about four years, living in the Castro, coming back and forth to New York every three weeks for work, and I just fell in love with the city. But with all the travel, I was exhausted. I’d been dating a guy for about a year, and he said: “Let’s just move!” So I got a transfer from Google, Darius got a transfer from The Gap, and we’ve been in Hell’s Kitchen now for about five and a half years.

We looked at probably 25 apartments up and down the west side. We’d even put a deposit down in Chelsea, and our broker said: “I’m going to show you one more place, it’s just opened up.” It was a brand new one-bed with brick wall, wood floors, totally renovated, and cheaper than the place in Chelsea. We said: “OK, we’re doing this!” It’s a great little Broadway building – one of the girls was in Wicked and the guy who was Pippin lives upstairs.”

Why I stay

I switched jobs to Pinterest, Darius went to Ross Dress for Less, and we always debated moving. But my boyfriend does drag (as Jackie Cox) once or twice a week in the neighborhood, at Therapy, Industry, and Hardware, so for him to be able to walk to a gig, it’s super easy. It just makes sense for us to stay in Hell’s Kitchen. Plus, all our friends are here – it’s the gayborhood!

We love to go to the 9th Ave Saloon – a good dive bar, we’re there every Friday – and Flaming Saddles (I’m from Idaho, I love country music). For Thai, we go to V{IV) – we call it Aunt Viv. And Frisson, of course. When that opened it was a godsend. The guys who run it are so sweet, and Emeli, the main barista, is a doll.

Me and make-up

Growing up, I loved watching my mom put on her blush in the mirror. Then I started doing drag too, so that’s how I got my first taste for doing make-up myself.

And when I started at Pinterest, covering all the beauty brands – L’Oreal was one of my biggest clients – I felt drawn towards creating the looks to sell the product. So it was in the back of my mind for some time.

Last December I quit Pinterest, took three months off and just hung around the neighborhood – which was actually amazing. Then I went to make-up school. It was brutal, with long days (we spent three days just on eyeliner), but I finished in August.

When I was in Pinterest I was in sales, so I kind of just took the same approach with my own business. I wake up in the morning, I have my coffee, and I send emails out. In six months I’ve worked with big brands like Maybelline, Colgate, Nyx, and I’ve created some beautiful work.

The five-year plan

My boyfriend’s originally from LA, so I want to be traveling to do red carpet and award shows there. I got my first taste of that with a friend of mine, a big beauty influencer called Deepica Mutyala, at L’Oreal’s Women of Worth awards. It’s a performance and high stress but a lot of fun.

I’m also fascinated by the “artistry in context” idea: there’s something to be said for being able to understand a client’s deep business challenges and needs, but also being able to actually create something to meet those needs, and there are not many people who can do that.

This interview first appeared in the February 2018 issue of W42ST magazine. Be first to read stories like this when you join our daily newsletter at w42st.com.