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Interview with Donny Liem, the makeup artist

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Donny Liem is a Jakarta-based makeup artist who has been working in the field since 1999. While he specializes in bridal makeup, he also does fashion and theatrical makeup for more artistic experience. In a team of four managed by their manager, Diana Lee, the Donny Liem makeup team has become one of the most in-demand makeup artists in Indonesia's wedding scene.

In our first interview section, we have the long-time makeup artist, Donny Liem, to share a bit about his profession, expectations on the job and how he handles difficult brides-to-be.

It started as a hobby, then it becomes a passion and a rewarding career...
I love all about women and beauty since I was very young! I'll say it started as a hobby. At first I worked in a salon for two years, but my big break came in 2001 after I did my friend's makeup as a gift for her wedding. People saw the result and I started receiving clients with my friend's recommendation. I've become a freelancer since.

Promoting before and after social media becomes major...
Technology wasn't as good back then. I only relied on print media as a contributing makeup artist in the fashion and beauty section and from these I got opportunities to do more commercial works. As for bridal makeup, it's all in the power of words-of-mouth and the results I show at the end become my portfolio. Of course, it's easier now with social media, but word-of-mouth is always foolproof!

About the close-knit relationship within the Donny Liem team...
I've known my team for a long time, they're old friends! I thought about having a team since early 2011 and Yamie was the first to join. She's been working in bridal and broadcast each for seven years, but she needed more practice so I trained her again for a year before publishing her works. After her, comes Charmie and Mey Chen who I also trained first.

On bridal makeup vs other types of makeup…
Actually, there's only slight difference. For me, I want my non-bridal clients to use products that are just as good, corrective and smooth. The thing is, when your client is a bride-to-be, you feel more pressure to boost her confidence and make her the most beautiful person that day. Pay attention to details such as lighting indoor and outdoor because you need to match your makeup to the time and location. You want her to look perfect from every angle.

In cases where brides-to-be are demanding for their big day…
First of all, listen to what your client wants and dig her personality. Find out her everyday style, design for her bridal gown, the reception venue and what she really likes. Sometimes you'll meet a client who have chosen a specific makeup which unfortunately doesn't really suit her. A good makeup artist will suggest another alternative that's similar to her first choice and show the difference on each side of her face during test makeup session. Let her choose what she wants and don't force your opinion because your client has to feel confident about herself too. In the process, educate her that every bride has a different beauty requiring different technique and that she chooses you because she trusts your skill and really wants you to do her face, not simply because of your fame nor (high or low) price.

Becoming the next sought-after makeup artist...
Be consistent in giving the best effort for every job instead of depending on how much you receive. Keep the mantra: your works are your practice to improve your skill. You're also responsible for understanding the beauty industry, so do your homework and research for both new products and products that you believe always work well. Don't try to jump ships and rush to earn popularity because everything needs a process and process is character building. Avoid unhealthy competition with fellow MUA and, always stay humble!


** All photos in this article are courtesy of Donny Liem

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