Couple of weeks ago, Michelle Phan aka ricebunny came to Australia. Needless to say when I was offered the opportunity to interview her when she came to Melbourne, I jumped at the opportunity only because any beauty blogger/vlogger would already know who she is and aspire to be her to a certain extend. Thanks to Lancome who brought Michelle in for an appearance I got the opportunity to pick her brain on all things beauty and blogger related.
I won’t dwell on the partnership between Michelle and Lancome because this is already old news and she’s mentioned it many times in her past videos and blog posts. Let’s get on with the interview shall we?
What are your top 3 skincare and makeup products from Lancome?
Skincare: Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate, Visionnaire Advance Skin Corrector & Bi Facil Eye Make up Remover.
Make up: Rouge in loved #340B Rose Boudoir, Hypnose Doll Lashes Mascara & Artliner Precision Point Eye liner.
With Lancome’s partnership, what is your key message to women out there?
I think the key message is to be not afraid and experiment with your beauty. Beauty is something we are all born with and sometime people don’t see it. You know growing up being insecure and we all find flaws in ourselves. We’re always beautiful since the day we are born; make up is an incredible tool and its free to discover and allow us to self discover, finding who we are as a person and identifying beauty.
What inspires you to help produce Lancome make up products and videos?
Lancome approached me to produce videos for them and to establish this partnership. I really believe in Lancome, it’s a brand that’s been around. My mom uses Lancome, it’s been around for 77 years and they have an incredible reputation and is one of the biggest beauty brand from around the world.
To me it is such an honour to work with such a prestigious brand, they work with people like Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Isabella Rossellini & Emma Watson. I am really grateful that I get to do the videos that I enjoy and I am able to soft produce, Lancome don’t dictate what I produce and they give me 100% freedom to create videos.
In Australia, women believe in natural beauty. For everyday women, what make up products do you recommend for them to wear more makeup?
I recommend women to first identify what colour they like, so if you like yellow, pinks or blues; once they’ve established the colour that they really like and look within the colour family to find colours that they could wear – something that can be added into their colour collection. Really, it’s added accent colours to your face to subtly added colours to your make up look.
Women often feel intimidated (by the vast amount of products and pushy SA) when they are at the make up counter, do you have any tips or tricks to encourage women to come and play at the make up/skincare counters?
It’s no different then going into a car lot buying a car, do your research online. Write down a laundry list of products you want to try out and look at online reviews, make mental notes and bring the list to the counter. Once you head to the counter with your list, they know that you’re there for the list and won’t be pushy on everything. To me, beauty counters is almost like a show room. You can go in to try and test drive it out and if you really like it ask for samples.
We have all witness your success story from blogging and vlogging. What do you think is the single factor that helped contribute to the success today?
For me, I’m all for consistency. I am always consistent when it comes to uploading videos, quality, people know what to expect and sometimes people also know to expect the unexpected. Having consistency and clarity in my videos really helped.
My fans have told me that they like listening to my voice, it’s soothing, it’s friendly, I’m talking to my viewers like a friend, a big sister not talking down to them in a threatening way. Also, my videos are so easy to watch, anyone can watch them and I do this for a reason. I love teaching so much and I want to simplify anything that seems complicated.
Who inspires you to do what you do?
Steve Job, for sure.
What is your little dirty habit when it comes to make up? Everyone has one!
I don’t wash my make up brushes often enough.
For bloggers out there, what message do you have for aspiring vloggers/bloggers wanting to be recognized.
Be sure to collaborate with other bloggers/vloggers. To establishes themselves within the community, instead of starting a beauty website and expecting people to read, go onto a beauty forum and promote your site/blog to get people to watch and to read.
MAC or PC?
Always been Apple.
What camera do you use?
Arri Alexa (the camera they use to shoot Pirates of Carribean), Red Epic (the camera used to film a lot of movies) and I also like the Canon Mark III. It’s all about getting a good lens, investing in a really good lens.
What is your favourite own produced video?
My recent one. My recent videos are always my favourites because I always want to improve. But I think I have a soft spot for Midnight Kiss because I filmed it on a go without any planning.
What is your favourite video on Youtube?
I like music videos and I listening to music all the time. It’s so hard for me because I don’t have time to watch videos on Youtube. I like soundtrack, right now I’m loving Dark Knight soundtrack.
Where do you find time to juggle everything?
I recently got an assistant and she schedules out my entire week and sometimes entire month by the hour. I sleep very little but I do take power naps which helps. For me, I am at the point of my life where my vlogging is a success but what is the next step. I can keep vlogging for the rest of my life but for me I am all about growing and I am all about finding what’s next. I never want to feel comfortable, sit back and enjoy my success.
For me, I want to constantly find the next challenge and do something crazier and bigger. I am so passionate about all these it doesn’t even feel like work and sometimes I feel exhausted exactly like raising a kid. You don’t really know what it’s like but you love the kid to death you just want to shower it with love and attention. Every night when I sleep I feel like I’m fulfilled.
How do you deal with negativity/negative comments on youtube/blog?
We all get them, we even get them in real life in school. The thing with people who write all those nasty comments is actually when Youtube started to roll out the thumbs up system. People now have the power to become popular because they can get alot of thumbs up by writing negative comments. You don’t get thumbs up with positive comments but you get them when you say negative things.
People who like the attention basically just go around and become trolls on videos. They don’t mean it, they say things because they think it’s funny and honestly I don’t think of it as much of a big deal. I ignore them but some of the girls are girls that I know who are trying to push my buttons. Sometimes I’ll lose it and say what I feel like but it can become a struggle. Focus on the positive comments. My best exercise is to write a really long reply to the negative comment and just delete it. Let it out of your system and delete it. It helps 90% of the time for me.
I am working on a few other new projects that are huge and is going to launch next year.
PS: Michelle loves Ponikuta.com’s font. Yay!!
PS 2: Most of the photos credits are to Tine.
Recently I got to have an exclusive interview with Tom Pecheux regarding backstage at the Derek Lam Fall 2012 fashion show and some make up tips.
Can you describe what it’s like working with Derek Lam?
I’ve been working with Derek since his first show, so he’s not only a designer that I work with, but he is also a friend. It’s very precious when you can work with someone who you also know. This way you’re not afraid to put everything on the table – I think a person always works much better when they do that.
What about the Derek Lam Fall 2012 collection inspired you to create the makeup look we saw at his show?
When I walked in and Derek showed me the collection, I thought it was very elegant and very youthful looking. Derek and I wanted to create a chic, yet girlish, university student look. This type of woman is someone who is educated and focused on work or her studies.
You may have noticed, however that I also applied black eye shadow with a very thin brush to create “fake lashes” on the bottom of the eye. This was to suggest a bit of a “twisted doll” effect because the woman who inspired this look, also has a fun, flirty and naughty side to her. That’s essentially the type of gorgeous, extremely fresh and beautiful, young woman I had in mind for this look.
Can you describe the process of creating the makeup look for Derek’s show? Do you go to him to get the inspiration or is it more of a collaborative process?
Usually, Derek and I make an appointment three days before the show and he introduces the collection to me. My job is basically the last touch before the show – the cherry on the cake. Derek will have a board with images and things he likes that inspired the collection. We also look at the models wearing the clothes during their fitting. This is when I can see and feel the clothes and the quality, texture and shape of the material.
Accessories come into play as well because a girl wearing flats isn’t the same girl if she’s wearing twelve inches heels. It’s from there that we start to talk about the type of woman Derek would envision on the runway. We also collaborate with the hair stylist. In this case it was Orlondo Pita and working with him has been amazing. After that we test everything. Orlondo starts teasing the model’s hair and I start applying her makeup.
What makeup did you decide to use to create the look for Derek’s show?
This season, I played with a new foundation that we created at Estée Lauder, called Invisible Fluid Makeup which works nicely on the model’s youthful skin. Generally, the models don’t need a lot of coverage, so this light foundation helps to enhance and even out their skintone. I follow that with a little concealer here and there – just to cover pimples or any bags under the eyes (everyone looks a little bit more tired during Fashion Week). Then, I applied a little powder to give the skin a matte satin finish.
On the eyes, I started with the eyebrows, which I just groomed – nothing specific, no drama there. On lashes, I used a new mascara called Sumptuous Two Tone Eye Opening Mascara. It’s basically one mascara with two ends. A big brush with black mascara that helps to paint top lashes, opening the eyes and creating a lifted effect. The other end has a small brush with brown mascara for bottom mascara lashes. Together, both brushes create a lovely “made-up” eye, but without being too aggressive.
I then applied a mix of burgundy and black shades from Estée Lauder’s new Pure Color Violet Underground Eye Shadow Palette to create a smoky, oval eye. I really wanted to follow the natural shape of the eye, rather than a pointed cat-eye look which would have appeared too grown up. I also added a touch of pink on the eyelid because the combination of those three colors is amazing and makes any eye color more impactful. Finally, I added a little bit of white, matte eye shadow to the inside corner of the eye, under the eyebrow, which created more contrast and volume around the eyes. Even though I wanted a soft, oval shape around the eye, I also wanted to give the girls a naughty look, so I used black shadow under the eyes to draw fake-lashes. I like to describe this as a very, very sweet, yet “twisted doll” look.
For cheeks, I used Pure Color Blush, on the lower part of the cheeks, which created contour and gave the face a little more definition. On the lips, I used a lovely pinky beige color, called Vanilla Truffle and put a little bit of white eye shadow on top of it, to give lips more of a matte finish without being dry.
There seemed to be a focus on the model’s cheeks at Derek Lam today. You gave the girls a beautiful glow – can you tell us a little bit more about your outlook on brush this season?
With blush, sometimes you have to create a statement with a stripe of very strong color. This is reminiscent of popular looks from the 70’s and 80’s. I think this season is more about looking very healthy and creating a glow with natural and nude shades.
To create this look, I layered various shades of Estée Lauder’s new Pure Color Blush. I used a darker, bronze shade that has a gold shimmer on the face and then applied a more matte, pink shade on the cheek to create a rosy, flushed look. As a result, the models didn’t look like they were wearing blush exactly, but rather, they appeared to be polished and elegant with a natural, healthy glow.
What is your tip for applying Invisible Fluid Foundation?
I think the best to way to apply it is with your finger. This foundation is really a veil so it’s the perfect product to use with your fingers.
What is your favorite product ever?
I do love the Sumptuous Two Toned Mascara. I’ve been playing with that technique for many years and I’ve never had this two in one product.
“The new shades in the Pure Color Violet Underground Eye Palette are really beautiful and sultry. I think any woman would look beautiful in them.”
“I just love the energy when working with Derek and Tom. I think Derek is extremely talented and Tom is always so much fun. He makes you feel beautiful as soon as you sit down in his chair, so I always get the sense that I’m in good company.”
“The makeup look that I’m wearing at Derek Lam is very nice. The eye is smoky and Tom used black eye shadow to create extra eyes lashes on my lower lash line. It’s a very cool look for an Asian girl because we don’t have very bold eyelashes, so it’s nice to make them look more dramatic this way.”
Invisible Fluid Foundation available on counter 6th May 2012
Sumptuous Two Tone Eye Opening Mascara will be available on counter 3rd June 2012
The other day I got to sneak into MYER Autumn/Winter 2012 backstage to interview Clare Lille of Illasmasqua UK to talk about the make up direction of the night and what are some of her inspiration. Clare Lille chatted about how majority of her personal inspiration comes from the 1920s including her make up look of the day.
On make up for the night
- Muted palette inspired by the beautiful, flawless 1930s – 1940s. Think masculine and powerful look through the eyes and inner corner of the eyes, heavy contouring around the cheeks and classic lips.
On key products used for the show
- Skin base foundation (formulated like the BB cream)
- Eye Brow Cake (to obtain the soft look but still defined structured brow shape)
- No#14 False lashes (cut into halves for the outer corner of the eyes, no bottom lashes)
On personal favourite products from Illamasqua
- Blusher Powder in Lover (A gorgeous apricot shade that really compliments fair skin)
- Matt Primer for all skin types and a HG for makeup artist
- Pure Pigments – Great for eye liner, pat on lids or over pencil liner.
On tips for everyday ladies
- Choose highlighters that has no shimmer in it. Anything with shimmer in it will highlight flaws (acne, wrinkles, fine lines, pigments) on skin. Instead use Illamasqua Skin Base in #1 + matt primer to highlight instead.
- Always use brushes to apply primer instead of fingers so the primer doesn’t get too worked into the skin.
- Trim and bend false lashes prior to applying them for a more natural and beautiful finish.
On skincare tips
- Remove makeup before bed (a no brainer)
- Use oil cleanser to remove excess sebum and dirt (very important if you wear heaps of make up)
- Always use eye cream to moisturise the eye area to prevent drying out and premature fine lines
On her personal favourite skincare brands
- Emma Hardie Moringo Cleansing Balm (A UK brand magnetic cleanser that pulls out dirt, I am keen to try this)
- Emma Hardie facials
- Shu Uemura oil cleanser
Click on image to see the full interview
I know this is a old news but I am going to publish this anyway. Couple of weeks ago I got interviewed and featured homepage on beautyheaven.com.au. Truth to be told, the actual interview took place around Oct/Nov 11 so when this piece for published, I had totally forgotten about the whole interview. It got me by surprised why so many of you dear readers tweeting to me about it.
Thank you beautyheaven for making my day/year.
Couple weeks ago I got to sit down and interview George Gonzalez of George The Salon while he is in town for The President Cup as the hair stylist for the golfers and their wives. As the director of George The Salon in Chicago, George (who is so humble) has worked with Harpo Studio (yeap, the perks of that was rewarded with cruise holiday with Oprah) and has been in the hair dressing business for years.
Having opted to attend beauty school instead of your regular university, George knew from the very beginning being in the beauty industry was exactly what he wanted to do. Nothing means more important than following the gut feeling of doing something and feeling right about it and being able to envision success.
What is the current hair trends?
Balayage is still going strong as it is a natural look and they are so versatile with the colours you can play around with. Long hair is a simple look and will always be in trend (I totally agree with this). Reds and Rich Browns are the colours in season.
Three simple tips woman should do to keep hair easily managable
- Make sure your hair is in good condition to begin with. George recommends Pureology (available in Australia) and Davines (Italian) hair care brand.
- Always use a spray protector prior to heat styling.
- Have regular hair cuts (roughly once every 3 months)
Check out George the Salon on Facebook here.
George and me at The Waiting Room