Crazy three – Cat

Editor’s note: Cat is an office manager who also does freelance makeup and I’ve had the great pleasure of collaborating on a couple of shoots with her, and the greater honour of being able to call her my friend. She’s very kindly agreed to take part in my project and has been most prompt with her answers.
For our collab project, we worked with Linda (another friend who’s agreed to take part) as our model for a shoot based loosely around the theme of “Summertime sadness”. (That’s what I’m calling it at least)
How did we meet?

Wow. The specifics will take a while to recall, and I’m totally not recalling anything right now. But the connection? Via your dear sweet sister. Probably during a dinner, or a movie, since those are usually our common activities.

What’s your creative pursuit, and how did you get into it?

I love doing makeup, on my own face or another’s. It started with dolling up close friends, and then exploring different looks and creativity. Loved colours and brushes. Paid jobs for a few close friends and a few referrals and that got me into freelancing.

So what is it about your creative pursuit that speaks to you?

I love looking at happy faces after they have been dolled up. I love “exploring” different facial features. I love when conservative mentality opens up and embraces new colours.

Where do you find your inspiration, and where does that inspiration generally lead you?

From everyday objects to nature walks, from glossy magazine editorials to random internet pictures, from looking at beautiful scenery at a distance to looking really closely at a tiny flower.

It leads me to have new perspective on different hues, different combinations, different texture, different moods.

What is it like in your head when you first take on a new project?

An explosion of many ideas, waiting to be sorted out.

So how do you deal with that explosion then?

Hmmm.. I try to google for images that I can use and remember, that I feel relates closest to my ideas. But most of the times, I can barely contain it and try out the look on my face as soon as my makeup and I reunite. From there, I immediately know what is feasible and what is not.

What’s the first thing that goes through your head when you start? Is there a particular feature you always focus on first, or is there a particular plan of attack you tend to follow?

Am I going to make the eyes my focal point?

I usually focus on the eyes first, may it be to compliment the key focus (lips, brows, cheeks). The eyes are the windows to the soul, and I always try to make the eyes the best feature, even if I am doing a bold lip.

How different is one face from another, and what sort of challenges does this present?

Facial features, skin condition, skin texture and bone structure all differ with every face. Customising each look is essential, as not all looks are made the same.

The same Cat Eye, has to be flicked differently. The same Smoky Eye has to be smoked at different intensity.
I usually spend more time to prep the face base, for I do not believe in putting a ton of makeup to cover everything. Makeup should accentuate, not change one’s face completely.

Thus, I usually would like more time with the face, because even if the face is not new to me, trying out a new look doesn’t always guarantee 100% satisfaction.

Beauty is after all, in the eyes of the beholder. And to me, a familiar makeup artist is like a familiar hairstylist, it’s a personal experience, and a lot of communication is required.

What’s the hardest part of doing make-up?

Perception. We all see beauty differently, and we are especially more judgemental when it comes to what others view as “nice” on us and what we ourselves are comfortable with wearing.

How did it feel the very first time you were paid for doing something you love, and what was the biggest lesson you learnt from that experience?

It felt really, really, really good. I remembered my hands were so shaky from the constant reminder to do my best.

Being in an extremely cold room with lots of curious eyes didn’t help. But answering queries with answers from my heart, that was one of my biggest prides.

And the biggest lesson I learned?

Adaptation is the most important trait I need to always have. It must be my second nature. Because no matter how prepared you are, there will be changes; nothing is fool-proof. When you are not afraid of changes or accidents, and always have a Plan B, there is nothing you can’t tackle.

What are some of the best lessons your creative pursuits have taught you?

Practise your techniques, practise your creativity.

Don’t be afraid to do and show, don’t be afraid to try something new. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail and be scrutinised.

Sure, it doesn’t feel good, but it is always better to find out what you need to improve on now than when it too late.

What goes through your head when you look at other people’s work?

What goes into that technique, what products are used, how is that shape/colour/blending/effect created, what kind of lighting I can use to simulate that effect, can I create my own version of it to learn from it.

Who’s been the biggest influence on you? And how has he/she influenced your work?

Justin has been the biggest influence on me. He doesn’t do makeup, but he has always been supportive of my work.

He believes in what I can do, and he always tries his best to give me feedback, teaches me simple hair work when I ask and shares interesting editorials and magazines with me so that I never run out of ideas.

He has seen me through the hours of practice; my triumphs and my failures. My close friends are also my mental support, without them, I wouldn’t have the courage to try out so many looks.

What’s the one thing you’d like to change about the way you approach your creative pursuit now?

I would like to take the stress out and enjoy more of it. Do more personal creative projects, so that I can let my creativity run free when I feel it, and do the small fun ones when I just want to relax.

What would be your ideal project? No budgets, personnel restrictions (ie living or dead), or time constraints (ie you can work with anyone from any time period), anything you wish is available to you, and you have perfect technique to pull off anything you wish.

Hmmm… I have never thought of that before.

I have always wanted to do a really elaborated skull face painting on a face with great bone structure. But maybe that is still a baby project. I enjoyed doing a mini makeover for my mum quite recently. And shortly after, I did natural makeup look for a mother-in-law and her sister. Seeing them smile, and feeling confident in front of camera, just makes me feel really good. If I can do that for other people’s mums, no heavy makeup, a little simple hairstyling, and a whole load of smiles, that will be something to remember. Let’s make it 20 mums!

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