Hometown help leads local lady to national notoriety

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 19th, 2015

The past month or so has been a wild ride for Castlegar’s Krystal Sutherland, who has been catapulted to heights of both fame and success that she never could have imagined just weeks ago.

A happily married 28-year-old make-up artist with two children, two-and-a-half years old and 10-and-a-half months old, Sutherland is the first to admit she’s often so frazzled and busy that just getting out of her pajamas can be a challenge – but now she gets recognized by strangers in the grocery store here at home, and is heading to Toronto and her national television debut March 27, with at least a one-in-five chance of parlaying that into a trip to Paris, 100,000 Euros and a year-long contract with L’Oreal.

How did THAT happen, you ask? Well, she says it all started when a girlfriend shared a link on Sutherland’s Facebook page to L’Oreal’s The Brush contest, encouraging her to enter.  

“I looked into it, and I thought I’d put together a video for it. I mean, how hard can it be? And by the way, it’s a lot harder than I thought,” she said, laughing. “I ended up doing two videos, actually. People told me after the first one that you’re not allowed to have music – I couldn’t find that anywhere in the rules, but I thought I’d better redo it just in case, and I was worried my first one was a little boring.”

She submitted her second video just two days before the competition closed, and found out she had made the Top 50 only when a viewer left a comment on her video congratulating her. By that time, there were only 12 hours left for her to garner votes before the second deadline.

“I was a little disappointed and a little upset – I found out on March 1 and the deadline for voting was March 2. I contacted L’Oreal, and they apologized for the communication issue and said I had nothing to worry about because voting was extended to March 16.”

She used social media to get the word out to family and friends, asking them to vote for her – as well as taking the sage advice of others and doing things like setting up a VOTE KRYSTAL Facebook page, and telling local media about her efforts.

“The Source was the first one to jump on the story,” she said, adding that all four major media outlets in the city gave her publicity and support. “Almost instantly after the Source posted it, it just blew up. I was shocked. It was like my face was everywhere on Facebook.”

She said her mind was completely blown by the immediate and massive outpouring of support – it was so huge and powerful that other contestants actually accused Sutherland of cheating and buying votes.

“I was getting a lot of hate mail, which was really hard to read because I knew how hard I had worked and how hard everyone else has worked for me, but I ignored it as best I could,” she said. “In the end, hopefully I held myself in a positive manner. Besides, this part was totally outweighed by the genuinely kind, caring, supportive things other people were saying.”

Certainly, she was vindicated when voting closed and L’Oreal looked into the validity of winning votes, ultimately disqualifying two contestants, thereby bumping Sutherland up from third to second place.

Still, Sutherland thought the next step was for the five videos to be judged by a panel of L’Oreal experts, with the winner to head to Paris.

She was reading L’Oreal’s email out loud to her husband just yesterday, and was completely floored when she heard herself read, “We can’t wait to see you in Toronto on March 27.”

“As I read it out loud, I just about peed myself,” she laughed in an interview today. “I ran around my house screaming (some words that, unfortunately, my two-and-a-half-year-old son repeated, oops). I was just freaking out. My husband just laughed and said he’d never seen that kind of pure joy before.”

She said the whole thing has been exhausting and stressful and anxiety-provoking … and mind-blowingly heart-warming, exciting and wonderful.

“I didn’t expect any of this. I didn’t even expect to make the top 50,” she said. “And the way people cared so much! I keep having these moments of realizing this is all actually happening. It’s just a totally surreal situation.”

Especially when, while finding out her video was in the top five of all these glamorous films, she was also changing a diaper and wiping a poopy bum, she added with a giggle.

Now, she’ll travel to Toronto for March 26, 27 and 28, where she will stay at Shangri-La Hotel, be profiled by CTV e-Talk and then compete with the other four winners to determine who will be heading to Paris and a potential contract as a L’Oreal make-up designer.

She has promised to stay in touch with The Source, and through us, to share the experience with the many, many people who rallied so quickly and enthusiastically to help her dreams come true – ensuring that no matter what happens from here, she has completely won.

“Words can’t describe how happy this has made me.”

And, barring any bizarre new twist of fate, Sutherland says Castlegar will remain her home base.

“This is where our family is and where our heart is. This is where we want our kids to grow up, now more than ever.”


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