MANCHESTER, NH -- Kriss Blevens has spent the past 28 years making presidential candidates camera-ready.
As one of the country’s leading political makeup artists, Blevens, who lives in New Hampshire, is used to the unusually intimate access to White House hopefuls that her makeup brush provides.
But throughout the 2016 election cycle, she has been doing a lot more than just making-over their appearances. She’s also having heart-to-hearts with them about the opioid epidemic plaguing her region.
“I feel as though my talking to them is getting them talking to the American people and, in that way, I feel my makeup brush has been very powerful,” Blevens, who owns Kriss Cosmetics in Manchester, told ABC News.
As soon as Christie walked into the interview room and saw Blevens, the two embraced like old friends and chatted as she powdered his face.
While Christie has been one of the most outspoken candidates on the heroin epidemic, he is far from the only candidate who has developed a rapport with Blevens.
“I have probably the most intimate connection with all of the presidential candidates on both sides,” she said. “I’m definitely a bipartisan makeup artist because I work for both.”
Working in such close proximity to the presidential candidates, Blevens took advantage of her closeness to raise awareness of the issue that had caused her family -- and many like hers in the Granite State -- so much pain.
“Early on, my question was, ‘So what is your impression on the heroin epidemic?’” Blevens said of her conversations with the candidates. “And if they went, ‘Huh?’ I would share with them Amber’s story and open up the dialogue.”
Already an active board member at New Hampshire Hope for Recovery, a local organization providing addiction recovery support, Blevens is also in the process of opening an emergency recovery house for people in need of support immediately after a withdrawal. The facility will be named in her late stepdaughter’s honor.
“Our hospitals are releasing [addicts] about 2 to 4 hours after an overdose, and they’re going back out in withdrawal, they’re picking up, overdosing and dying,” she said. “So Amber’s Place will be a safe place for them to be while they’re trying to figure out where that closest bed is.”
Though Blevens’ level of access to the candidates is practically unparalleled in the state where the first-in-the-nation primary will be held in just a matter of days, she remains undecided.
“If you’re asking who I’m going to vote for I still don’t know,” she said, “and I’m doing everybody’s makeup.”