June is a creative and passionate professional with more than 10 years of experience in as an in-demand make up artist for celebrities, models, photographers and bridal groups.
She was certified & trained in Paris by Danny Sanz, Founder of Make Up For Ever and had previously been a trainer for Make Up For Ever in both Singapore & Kuala Lumpur. Some of the local and international celebrity clients June has worked with include Irene Ang (Actress/Comedian), Rebecca Tan (Model/Host), Celest Chong (Actress), Steph Song (Actress), Adrian Pang (Actor/Comedian), Denise Keller – (Model/Host), Nadya Hutagalung (Host/MTV VJ), Jason Scott Lee (Actor), Thunder Down Under (Dance Group), Royston Tan (Actor/Director), Jimmy Taenake (Actor), Natalie Foster ...
That's not all, fashion shows are another area where June's beautiful makeup art can be found. She was also previously Lead Artist for Hair and Make Up for the Gucci Fashion Show (Singapore & KL) and YSL Fashion Show (Singapore) June's work can also be found in magazines like Amica, Dolce and Maxim on the beautiful faces of models representing Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Channel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Celine, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein, Miu Miu
Some projects that June has worked on include "Yellow Ribbon Project 2007 & 2009", "Body paint and air brush tattoo Batey (Singapore)", "Aaron Kwok De Reel Show 2009", "Evolusi KL Drift Part 2", "Dance of the Dragon – Movie" and many more.
It has been a fun and exciting journey and today June is currently the Head of Make Up at Resorts World Singapore!
How did you start in the Makeup industry?
By sheer serendipity.
It started with wall murals, I was painting the church walls with a close friend. After that, my friend asked, "why don't you come and join me at the tatoo studio and give it a try because you can paint well." And so it started, painting people, then tatoos, followed by body piercing . The funny thing is that I've never been really interested in makeup, but after a year and a half of body painting, it was kind of like, "Hey I'm painting the body, why not paint the face? Duh!". So I went to makeup school, got my diploma, came out and went freelance while holding a full time job in the hospitality sector for a good 12 years. It was only during the last 3 years or so that I decided to provide makeup services full time.
At that time, I found that the makeup industry in Singapore was not challenging enough. It was largely focused only on weddings and fashion and it seemed to me that many of the looks were similar. So I wanted to further my skills, to go beyond this, to do special effects, movie prosthetics and all that. I checked out the Makeup Forever Academy website and saw that they had a advanced special effects class which got me really excited. Unfortunately, they said that the course was not available and it was only a few months later that I found out that there was actually nobody teaching it in Singapore. The trainers were all in Paris! But I was very lucky when I went to the Makeup Forever academy, it was the start of another exciting journey in my life. I started working with them freelance and I was very very fortunate, they sponsored me to go to Paris to further my skills.
In fact, I was sent to Paris twice for my training and certification. I came back and ended up being one of the trainers conducting the courses that I originally wanted to apply for, which is so funny. I ended up taking over the special effects classes and conducting the body art classe, teaching classes that I originally wanted to take up a course for, at the very same academy.
Ah, the Paris Trainings!
Going to Paris is so very different ... in Singapore, you go to a school and only basic skills are taught, like fashion, photography, bridal and very basic theatretical makeup. Many people just get by with beauty and bridal, they don't do anything more than that.
Makeup Forever is owned by LV and they are a very strick brand. Every year only the best two trainers from each country gets to be sent to Paris for advanced training, audit and to get certified by the creator herself. The Paris trainings was a real eye opener and I also felt quite stressed because I had heard that in the previous year a lot of people failed. There are different levels, from One (basic) to Five (latex, full body painting, theatrical), always focusing on how to bring out the character of a person through makeup. I learnt a lot from everybody, shared experience with the best artists from Romania, Italy, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan. It's a one week intensive training session from morning to evening and the exam is held on the last day. That's where you get audited by a panel consisting of Dany the creator and the top trainers of the LV brand.
Can you image a room with huge spotlights trained on your model and you and the panel of judges scrutinising every move you make? It was really intense. You won't know the topic until just before the exam. The exam topic could be like "level 3" which would mean Fashion but at a more artistic level" and the theme would be like "John Galliano Summer Collection". If you don't know the designer, you're screwed, because all these designers have a certain style. If you look at YSL or Prada, they have a very clean sleek look whereas John Galliano has got crazy high bright colored eyebrows. So you got to do your fashion research even before you head over for the Paris trainings.
After that, all these models will come in and they'll say "pick your model now" and everybody goes rushing for their models because you're looking for things like bone structure. As an artist when you want to work on a face, you don't just look for a pretty face. Not all pretty girls have good bone structure. Sometimes when you look at a girl or a guy, they've got a very plain simple unattractive face but they have really good cheek bones, strong jaw lines, something that stands out. You look at that and you go like "Hey, I can work with that face!". And that's what we look for. If your focus is on cheeks, nose and lips, then you go look for that. Or if your focus is on forehead and eyes, then you look for that. You quickly grab that model who pocesses those features!
Stressful but fun too. I've always been one who pushes myself one step further, everytime.
Please share with our readers the type of makeup you do.
Theatrical/Production Makeup, Special Effects, Airbrush Makeup/Body Art, Full/Partial Body Makeup, Temporary/Permanent Tattoo and of course, Glamour and Beauty, Bridal Makeup.
About Drag Queens and problematic wardrobes
Hmmm ... challenging looks that I've created? Drag Queens would be one of them, they're quite challenging, and it's not just because of their features or lack thereof. Well, most of these men have day jobs so you can't pluck their eye brows, you can't really shave them. That's makes it tough. So you got to do it the hard way, covering their eye brows with wax, applying foundation over it and then redrawing the brows and other stuff you got to cover up. There was another time when I was only given four hours to design a new face for one of the new jugglers but the problem was that he didn't have a wardrobe yet. Without that, I couldn't design his face because I wouldn't know what colors to even use. Well, I ended up helping with the design of the costumes, the show must goes on!
Any tips for people who are interested in entry this industry
First you have to go to a good school, that can give you a good education, a strong foundation. But it's not just about getting a diploma. As an artist in general, clients or hiring companies want to see your work too.
Education is good, you need a good base and then you need to practice, practice, practice and more practice. You've got to be able to handle criticism, the good and the bad . At the end of the day, it's art, and everyone has their own vision and views. What you think is beautiful may not be same as another person.
You've also got to be versatile.
In general, there are two types of make up artists, one that is very commercialised, who is just happy with fashion and bridal, because you know what, it pays the bills, it's simple. You do one bride, you do them all, they all look the same, more or less, makeup wise. I mean it's like, what would you want to do, what can you do? You're limited by what type of makeup the bride and their families will accept. But hey, it pays the bills.
But there's also something else to think about ... it's really about what you want to push yourself to become.
I went to Paris and picked up special effects class, body painting, and artistic makeup, stage and thereatical. Do I use them everyday? No. Do I get jobs like that in Singapore? Not really. But now I'm head of hair and make-up in Resorts World Sentosa. Five years ago, if you asked me whether there would ever be a circus in Singapore, I would have said "What? You're crazy. Are you mad?" Five years down the road, I'm actually designing the looks, working with all these talents, all these crazy acrobats and contortionists and it's unbelievable. Never in my life did I think I would have an opportunity like this. But if I did not push myself so hard a few years ago, I wouldn't have gotten the job. I would have been just another makeup artist doing what pays the bills but not something that drives you. I actually look forward to going to work everyday. It's stressful sometimes but in a good way.
June has a series of shoots currently in progress and we'll post the pics when she passes them to us. Meanwhile, you can find out more about June at her Facebook page.
Posted by Richard Chai
My Right Eye is a Viewfinder!
Writer, Photographer, Videographer