We had the good fortune of connecting with Grac13lla Masterton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Grac13lla, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think every job I’ve worked/career I pursued there was always risk involved. From working at illegal dispensaries, waitressing at underground poker clubs, to to modeling & webcaming while going to makeup school and even now with being a tooth jeweler, theres been a constant pattern of there being an equal chance of failure as there was the chance of success. When I think about risk the first thing that comes to mind is weighing out the pros and cons of a decision or a situation. I’m not sure if I was ever really good at that to be completely honest. My mom always said I was the type to “push the envelope” and I think Im figuring out how to harness that trait to my advantage. I’ve always found that taking the risk is better than not taking it at all. When I was debating diving into tooth gems I had just finished makeup school and wasn’t sure if another big investment into another career was smart or would be a total waste of money and go nowhere. In the end I’m glad I did. My designs took off and have kept me busier than I ever was doing makeup which I thought I would be doing full time!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started doing tooth gems right after receiving my certificate as a makeup artist. I wasn’t getting booked enough to pay the bills so I started looking for a little side hustle for extra cash. I found Michelle at Tattoo Mania while getting tattooed there with my friend, I always thought they were cool and decided to get some myself with my sister. Later on during my side hustle hunting days, I found out she offered training and I decided hands down that’s the coolest side hustle ever so I was down to get right into it. I definitely did not think I would be doing tooth gems full time when I started training. Learning anything from zero is overwhelming and it felt even more so since I had just finished a makeup course. I definitely felt risky diving into another venture so soon but I’m glad I did. I stuck to it and I definitely learned a lot. I’ve never really stuck to anything before until makeup and tooth gems, I still do makeup to this day but I’m definitely a lot more selective about the projects I work on versus when I started where I would take any gig I could get. I learned a lot about self worth and setting boundaries as well. After a while I had built a decent clientele and was consistently booked and started to realize that tooth jewelry wasn’t a side hustle anymore and I could do this full time. I love tooth gems and I don’t think I’ll ever not love my job but I will admit, until not too long ago, doing the same simple designs was starting to bore me. I wanted to come up with new designs I hadn’t seen before and get creative like I could with makeup! I tried presenting some ideas to clients but most of them either wanted something more subtle or they didn’t want to have a bold design for 6 months to a year. So after no one biting I decided I’d just do them on myself and post a picture hoping to encourage more people to want bold designs themselves! And to my surprise it worked like a charm. I started going all out and do custom designs on myself I’ve never seen done before like checkerboards, smiley faces, dollar signs, shooting star, braces, dice, and my claim to fame; the navette butterfly design. I had originally came up with the the design in July 2020. I used round and navette Swarovski crystals to create a butterfly shape and fit it on a single tooth. A couple people liked it but it definitely wasn’t popular. It wasn’t until I played around with the placement and I tried out putting the design across my two front teeth, that It blew up! I started getting tons of clients requesting the design and other jewelers were recreating my design and tagging me in their versions! I love to see it! I even see other jewelers coming up with their own custom designs and getting bolder and bolder! I love that the industry is getting more exiting and pushing limits more and more.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So ideally this scenario is not happening during a global pandemic. Anyways, First stop were going to Cafe Fígaro for happy hour, then they’re coming to my studio and getting some gems duhhh! Definitely scheduling a few tattoo appointments w my favs @lulubleuu & @lambxchop. Getting Tatsu ramen or sushi at Sugarfish, Pho Cafe in Silverlake, Sanamluang Cafe for Thai food, Delanceys in Hollywood for Italian, Forage in Silverlake for a good lunch, Soot Bull Jeep in Ktown for authentic KBBQ, Dave’s Hot Chicken for after the bar grub, the list goes on. I be eating okay. Were going to the Silverlake flea market for sure and thrifting in the area afterwards because why stop? Roller skating along Venice boardwalk w the girlies is a must. Maybe a trip to the Broad Museum. Beach day preferably Leo Carillo because it’s fun to say Leo Carillo. A night out consists of whatever food we can make at home bc we took to long to get ready (I’ll do they’re makeup of course so I can give em the works to make their vacation that much better), pre game with friends at someone’s apartment and bar hopping, lots of pics for Instagram will be taken. Next morning tacos and micheladas at wherever is closest or ceviche at Siete Mares for the hangover. In this imaginary scenario where covid doesn’t exist we would also find cool art shows, pop up shops, Dj sets and events to go to through the week. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Michelle with @sugar_tooth_jewels 100% deserves a shoutout. She taught me everything I know and has been a great mentor while becoming a good friend and has always looked out for me! Also my mom&dad and little sister for being so supportive and encouraging of course. I also wanna give a shout-out to my boyfriend Soroush who’s been really patient and helpful. He has helped me work events that I would’ve been so overwhelmed doing by myself. Love them all very much.

Instagram: @toothgemsbygrac13lla

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