Rooted is all about the people and the places that make us proud to call our community home.
What’s Bean Happening is North Bay native Kim Bean’s personal online blog, store and more.
“When I was in university my friends said, ‘How do these things happen to you? Your life is crazy! You need a blog,” says Bean, who is a professional hairstylist and makeup artist who works on film and television sets around the province, and shares some of her experiences with her followers.
“The first movie I did starred Brooke Shields. She’s nice and very funny. She liked the makeup brushes that I sold on my website, and she ordered some. I was still living at home at the time, and I remember saying to my dad, ‘I have to go, Brooke Shields needs something from my shop’ and he thought I was joking,” Bean says.
Bean originally left North Bay to study film at Brock University and upon graduating she worked at a salon in Toronto for the next decade. That’s when the blog started to take off with most of the audience tuning in from completely different time zones.
“It was more popular in Asia than it was in North America, I still don't know why, I didn’t do research into analytics back then. I used my blog as a creative outlet. I wrote about my everyday life and beauty products, showing how they worked, and people often commented ‘I'm going to buy this.’ Then companies started sending products for me to promote. When I moved home to North Bay, I enrolled in the self-employment benefit program (which is no longer being offered). Someone said you know you should monetize this; you're selling products but for someone else and you're doing well. That’s why I started my own e-commerce business, which coincides with the blog.”
Bean says in addition to haircare and cosmetics, her shop retails sustainable lifestyle products, hand-crafted, ethically sourced jewellery designed in Ontario, and other coveted brands that (until she carried them) you couldn’t purchase locally.
“My business is entirely female-owned and led, from the graphic designer to the women designing the jewellery” she says.
Bean says she feels her business was a bit ahead of the curve with everything being online, in the early 2010s.
In the beginning, people asked ‘how are you going to make money off videos? That's not going to work, you need to offer services in a physical space.’ That was not totally accurate. When people from other provinces and countries showed an interest, I began offering one-on-one makeup intensives online. When COVID happened, I was already set up and I wasn't scrambling as much to survive. In 2014, I had over 10,000 followers on Instagram alone, I was fortunate, the pandemic didn't hit me the way it hit some businesses,” she says.
Bean says she feels the following grew because of her sincerity.
“People want to feel good, and I want to contribute to that. That's the best part of my job, helping people to relax and build their confidence. I love what I do. I love working in a salon and being on set. I love the movies, I always have, and my passion resonates with people. Being followed by famous people and public figures, 'sort of legitimizes you.' Thankfully, people read whatsbeanHappening (and the blog is personal). People can see that I’m still relatable. My clients are diverse and come from all walks of life. I don’t work exclusively with celebrities.”
Despite going to school for film, the path to working in the film and television industry came by chance for Bean after volunteering at an event called “The Show” at the Capital Centre. The goal was to feature downtown businesses and Bean volunteered to do the hair and makeup.
“That's how I met the woman who mentored me. She was from Toronto and had been working in the film industry as a makeup artist for 30 years. We got to talking and then about two months later she called me and said, ‘Look you're not my first choice but we're filming a movie in Sudbury, and I need an assistant. “Do you know what you're doing?’”
Bean continues, “I didn't know if I would be paid, or if the hotel would be paid for, but working in film had always been my dream and so I went. We worked really well together. Within the first week of filming, she asked if I would do the next show as her assistant. We worked on eleven shows, back-to-back for three years and she trained me throughout that time. The films were Hallmark and Netflix shows and when she moved on to bigger projects, she recommended that I take over, as head of the makeup department.”
Kim says in addition to working on film and television sets, she also provides wedding services.
“I do a lot of weddings, it's not uncommon for me to be out of town, on location, and come home on the weekend to do a wedding.”
She’s also teaching a class online to students in the United Kingdom once a week.
“Every Friday at 5 a.m., because of the time change, and it's been so rewarding. I've led teams of artists before, but I was shocked by how enjoyable it is to teach. I think filming YouTube videos on a regular basis helped prepare me, the only thing is now it's live and the students can give their feedback in real-time.”
Two years after becoming makeup department head, Bean started getting phone calls from Toronto productions. One of the biggest shows Bean has gotten to work on to this point in her career was Star Trek Discovery.
“I had just wrapped a show and was having dinner with my assistant, and I got a voicemail saying, ‘Hi Kim, my name is Chris, I’d like you to come to Toronto to work in the prosthetics department of Star Trek Discovery.’ I thought I was being punked!” she says.
After verifying it was a real call and a real job offer, Bean called them back to say, ‘thank you for the offer but I have to turn this down because I don’t work in prosthetics.’ But Chris wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“He said ‘I don't care. If you come, we will train you. We will pay you the same rate as everyone else, we don't expect you to have the skill set that we have, whatever you don't know, you can be taught- as long as you listen and you show up, that's all that matters’ and that’s incredibly rare and so I said OK.”
Bean says she was in Toronto the next day and adds, “That's part of why I've been successful, I don’t hesitate, if I want something I go for it. I stay focused and I do my best. The Star Trek set was amazing. I still get chills talking about it. I remember thinking, I’m not in Kansas anymore. They were supportive and so talented. I learned so much from that experience. They called me back the following year, but I was working on another movie so I couldn’t go, but it changed my life. I've booked jobs since then simply because Star Trek is on my resume.”
Bean says she has gotten the chance to work with people such as Sara Waisglass, best known for the Netflix series Ginny and Georgia and Degrassi: The Next Generation, as well as Canadian-born comedian Colin Mochrie and Julia Stiles who recently starred in the series “The Lake” which was shot here in North Bay.
Bean says there is a line she won’t cross, mixing her time with actors and her blog.
“I respect the confidentiality of the cast. I am often told things that are very private. When you work closely with someone, they tend to confide in you. And that’s information I keep to myself. Sure, it might generate a lot of hits and it might be clickbait, but that’s not the content of my blog,” says Bean.
Bean says through it all she is still a movie fan at heart.
“I still love movies, but it is a different experience for sure. I’m mindful not to annoy people when pointing out continuity errors. If the hair is great, I’ll mention it and my family says ‘Ok, now let's enjoy the show.’”
If you have a story idea for the “Rooted” series, send Matt an email at [email protected]