A noted makeup artist in Hollywood (her clients include Joan Chen and Madonna), Margaret decided to put her beauty secrets in print for all of us to use. We were able to catch up with her and learn about how she got started in the beauty business and how Asian Beauty became a reality.
Growing up, what resources did you use to help apply your own makeup?
I often watched my older sister and her friends play with make up at home and at the cosmetic counters when I was a little girl. They are much older than me so I guess I had an early start from a creative stand point. My parents also were in the entertainment industry as Producers of TV Commercials and Music. On occassion I would sit in the make up rooms watching the professional make up artist do their magic on the actress’s and models that were working on the sets.
How did you become a professional makeup artist?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer since my story is not the typical one. But to nutshell it, I was very young, confident and diligent about becoming the best I can be. Based on that I didn’t have any boundaries to what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to do fashion make-up, so therefore, I finished high school, then I saved all of my money and planned a trip to Milan, Italy. And from that point on it’s been a non stop life adventure.
What is your typical day like?
In my life there is no such thing as a typical day, however as I have gotten older, I have set certain regimes to fit my busy schedule. I make sure that in the mornings I try to workout by hiking in the hills (6 miles) everyday with my 4 dogs and close friends. It’s a great way to combine, exercise, stress management, being one with nature and spending time with my lovable friends and doggies . After all of that, that is when my business day starts. I am currently developing a Line that is specifically geared for women of Yellow skin tone. It will be out next year. I am also the Creative Director for i nuovi cosmetics here in the USA. That keeps me really busy too. Luckily, I have been blessed to have created a life of doing creative things and earning a good living with it. Perhaps part of that has been a reflection of my diligence and self value of what I deserve and not settling for mediocrity.. Bottom line, choose work that you love.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career in your field?
Make sure that you focus , focus , focus! It’s really important to be dilligent about what you want. Set intentions and build a style that is unique. That will become your trademark. Never fear of other people’s comments. Lastly, don’t be afraid of competition. It’s not something you can avoid, but if you let it bother you, it will become harder to focus.
What has been the best/worst part of your work?
Well the worst part of the business is that it has long hours that can be grueling and at times the political pressures of the business can get overwhelming. luckily, I have learned not to bring it home with me. The best part of it is that the creative process start to finish is always rewarding. But most importantly, I feel that when I get a person in my chair and I am able to help them look within their inner beauty as well beautify their outer beauty, my job is truly fulfilling spirtually.
How did the idea of “Asian Beauty” developed?
Honestly, it has been a constant demand by the Asian audience. The past few years, I have done a few TV appearences and I always included an Asian Model in the line up. I recieved a ton of mail from the Asian women who watched the programs asking if I had a book or a video. As time went by, I felt that it was important for me to do this. I wrote this book clearly from a consumers perspective. I wanted it to also have a universal message. That way if an non asian person would read it, they still would get something from it.
What was the response when you pitched it?
The response was great, however the hardest part was that I could not prove if there were a proper market to support it since the publisher did not have enough marketing research information to say that this book would be marketable.. Ofcourse, it’s obvious that there are many Asian’s here in the USA and Canada, but unfortunately not very much marketing material is written within our demographic. That became more of challenge than anything else. After months of hard core dilligent research and info to help the publisher understand the value and marketability, I was able to get the deal. I did find that the non Asian community really opened their arms in helping me by sponsoring this book. I also understand that the non Asian community is hungry for information based on the Asian market. So as you can see, there are many reasons why this book had to be made.
Why do you think that European features are consider the classic beauty standard?
Beacause 99% of the time, we only have European faces so visable when we look at fashion, beauty magazines as well as prime time TV. Slowly but surely I am hopeful things willl start to shift. Especially now that we have women like Lisa Ling and Lucy Liu as American icons.
What is one thing that many Asian women tend to do wrong with their makeup?
Certainly not stepping out of the box and trying out different looks and colors. This is no ones fault since information for Asians were so limited. I hope that my book will inspire women Asian and non Asian to step out of the box so to speak and have fun with make up.
Do you think that American magazines cover enough about Asian features (make-up tips, style, etc.)?