The title is kind of misleading in that I didn't just suddenly start "believing" in these things (and people). It was over the course of several years that my fondness and respect grew for them. I just thought I'd mention it now because I probably should at some point.
After my trip to the Philippines last spring, I came back home with a strong desire to connect with my culture, particularly with Asian women in pop culture and beauty. I sought out more Pinay and Asian beauty gurus and influencers (eww I hate that word) on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. In finding these women, I felt pride not only in myself, but in them. Instead of finding their place in a world full of Kardashians, Jenners and Hadids, they created it. They're thriving and spreading a message of self-love. They helped me to recognize that our culture can and should be appreciated without needing the consent of white people. The whole Vogue/Karlie Kloss debacle has only shown that Asian culture isn't a trend and that we should be the ones telling our story.
It's only in the last few years that I recognized that representation is important in pop culture. Yes, I'm 30 years old but I still have "role models." In seeking that representation, I found some amazing women, young and old, famous and not-so famous. Here are just some of them:
Lea Salonga - Singer, actor, Disney legend, my queen, my inspiration since day one (quite literally since I can remember)
Eva Chen - Instagram Director of Fashion Partnerships, former Editor-in-Chief of Lucky magazine
Liu Wen - Supermodel
Pony - Korean makeup artist
CL - Singer, trendsetter, badass
Sable Yong - Writer and my everything beauty goals
Rachelle Ann Go - Actor, singer
Marjorie Liu - Comic book writer, novelist
I love all women because we are all amazing. I mean, we can grow humans in our bellies which is pretty fucking incredible. But there is just something about the gentleness, the quiet conviction and strength of an Asian woman that I so admire. My list isn't meant to isolate any particular culture or group. These are just the women I've been exposed to. I'd love to hear about the women that inspire you, so please do share!
Hooded / Mono Lids
In the past year, I've taken up issue with people being apologetic about their hooded eyelids. Tutorials from "Western" or American Asians always include some sort of explanation about why they have to do their eye shadow a certain way because they "lack" a certain feature. Listen, you lack nothing. Stop treating hooded/mono lids as some sort of genetic disorder. You're not inferior to anyone because you don't have a bloody socket. Besides, why should this be the standard in beauty? Makeup is an art form and you already have the perfect canvas: your beautiful face, as it is. Own it. And if you ever go to a "make-up artist" and they tell you they can't do your eyeshadow because of your eyelids, then they're not a real make-up artist.
Although Maybelline is one of the top drugstore brands in the world, I still feel like they don't get enough love or mention. In the past 5 years, they've consistently put out quality products. And while they do receive hype, it's not nearly as much as they deserve. So many of their products are comparable to high end ones and dare I say better than some. I mean, I could live off their entire Fit Me line alone. Their Studio line is just as impressive and if I had to pick a brand that has got everything down top to bottom it'd be Maybelline. They still make my favorite brow pencil, the Define-A-Brow pencil. And as stupid as that bulbous wand is, the formula for their EyeStudio Sculpting Brow Mascara is legit.
I could write a whole essay about how much I love their Dream Cushion foundation because it is that good. The ColorTattoo 24HR Cream Gel shadows blew the competition out of the water when it came out and it is still my favorite cream shadow formula. They've also consistently put out good mascaras. Sure there are some flops, but generally speaking, they have decent ones. The Colossal Big Shot mascara shot (all the puns intended) all the way to the top of my HG list when I first used it. And their Color Sensation Matte lipsticks are just that, sensational. And they just came out with a ton of new products that I cannot wait to try. Do yourself a favor and pick-up a thing or two from Maybelline. You're welcome.
Like most of you, Michelle Phan was one of the first YT'ers that I started watching back in the day. I remember she would always use that Lise Watier color wheel and back then I was much more impressionable and naive so I bought myself one at my first IMATS. I didn't really know how to use it back then and I thought color correcting was pointless. I bought it simply because Michelle Phan was using it. Back then it felt like a waste of money, but now I kind of wish I still had it.
Color correcting kind of seemed like an unnecessary step because you were going to cover everything up with foundation anyway. It wasn't until I attended the Sephora Color Correcting Class that I realized I had been doing myself a disservice by skipping color correcting. That's not to say that everyone needs to color correct, but I myself have hyper-pigmentation as well redness because of acne scarring and such. The class opened my eyes and introduced me to the magic of yellow color correctors. While I do use green on really angry red spots, yellow neutralizes and brightens up almost everything. I remember applying the Urban Decay Naked Skin yellow corrector on the red areas of my face and the feeling I had when I applied foundation afterwards. I literally said out loud to one of the MUAs, "Oh my god, I barely have to put any foundation on!!" Popping my color correcting cherry was a moment I'll never forget. And I hope if/when you finally get around to it, it'll be just as good for you as it was for me.