It started with an accident. A car spinning out on the freeway. Shekiera Bright stared into oncoming traffic as trucks swerved around her. That terrifying moment served as an awakening: “Life is really short. I could’ve died. I had to decide what my purpose was in life.”

Bright, who goes by Kiera, knew it wasn’t banking. At the time, she was working at a bank, dreaming of a career as a makeup artist. She found a one-week intensive class, took money out of her 401K and used vacation days to attend. Then she sat down and made a plan: “That was September 2011. I gave myself till June 2012 to quit my traditional job.”

Bright began taking clients before and after work, honing her skills and building her reputation. Still, it wasn’t easy to walk away from a steady job and into the unknown. “I was so scared. I was like, ‘I’m going to give myself two months,’” Bright recalls. “I’ve never looked back.”

Five years later, the 32-year-old has built a thriving business giving brides and bachelorettes flawless skin, perfect brows and a soft, clean look that enhances their natural features. And it’s a constant source of joy, both for herself and her customers. “There’s so many times that I have to hold back tears myself because my client is so happy to see that beauty brought out of them, that maybe they didn’t know was there,” she says.

The before-and-after shots on her Instagram feed are a testament to Bright’s talent with brushes and powders, and to her dedication to making sure clients feel their best.

“I will do anything for a client. It’s crazy,” laughs Bright, who has gotten up at 2 a.m. to primp a bride for a sunrise wedding at Valley of Fire and has done prom makeup in the bathroom at Green Valley Ranch between appointments. “I just love it. It’s truly my heart’s joy. I really believe I was put on this earth to do this.”

Click here to follow Shekiera on Instagram.