February 2008 was my second experience modeling for genuineHI‘s The Next Movement. To be perfectly honest, I’d been involved in other shows where my hair and makeup wasn’t up to par because they weren’t used to the texture of my hair or my skin tone. Thinking this time would have similar results, I had already prepared a back up kit in my purse if I needed to touch up my face. I waited for my turn and once her chair was free, this gorgeous woman gestured for me to come to her.
I was relieved seeing that her own makeup was flawless with explosive colors. Hmmmm…this might not be too bad. She did a once over on my features and commented, “Oh, you have lashes on already.” “Yeah, I figured I’d save you some work.” After peeling off my used lashes with globs of old glue on them, she switched them with a brand new pair worthy of complimenting her work. I’m still kinda embarrassed about that. Haha, sorry MaiLe!
After chatting it up with her and her team, I was informed that some of them were students and still new to the fashion industry–just like myself. We discussed the possibilities of collaborating on photoshoots and were excited to get started! Once she put the final touches on my face, I had to do a double take. I had never seen a better makeup job! Not to be vain, but I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirrors and actually contemplated ways I could go a few weeks without washing my face.
A few hours later the show was over, but our friendship had just started. Within weeks, MaiLe and I did our first shoot with Nimai Wong on Easter of last year. Since then we’ve done countless fashion events, shows, and photoshoots (with me as a model or the photographer). Her work has graced the cover and insides of magazines, and she’s been adopted into GroundUP Agency as the lead makeup artist. She currently works at Regis Salon and freelances for MAC Cosmetics. So where did this woman get her skill, confidence, and glamour? I’ll let her tell you for herself!
What inspired you to first try your hand at makeup?
I was kinda thrown into it as a kid. I started Jazz and other forms of dance around the age of three. We had a few shows a year that we had to do our makeup for. By the age of 7 my mom had given me my own makeup kit to take on the road (so I’d stop raiding hers), and I remember having a bright red Wet ‘n Wild lipstick and blue eyeshadow that was so cool.
Were you formally trained or self taught?
I was not formally trained for makeup. I am completely self taught. I first started off practicing on myself, and my tools then were actually looking through magazines and copying it as best as I could.
I was trained at Paul Mitchell–the school–in Hawaii for doing hair. That’s where I developed a life for coloring.
Where did you get most of your training and experience?
To this day I have not been formally trained for makeup. I am still very visual and have just been teaching myself new tricks. I like to say that I learn much faster and comprehend a lot more when I teach myself. As for hair, Paul Mitchell and just feeding off of other hairstylists played a very important role in my education.
Between doing hair a makeup, which is your favorite?
Makeup will always be my favorite because I am a makeup artist first. Hair is a great bonus. I love changing the way people look at themselves and the confidence they get after having their makeup done. They come in one person and–after I do their makeup–they transform and get into character where they have a different mindset and take on an alternate life at that moment.
Where do you get most of your ideas for photoshoots?
I don’t really have a specific idea when I have a shoot. I just kinda wing it in that moment. I love to feed off off the model and photographer’s energy. To me that determines how the shoot will go because we all have different ideas and that is the time when we all come together to portray them.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a series that I will be turning in to the NAHA Awards makeup artist division. I am so stoked and can’t wait to start it!
Where do you ultimately hope for your talents to take you?
I would love for my talents to take me all the way to the big screen. Movies are my ultimate goal and I am going in full force. I love to teach as well. It is so fulfilling to help out kids who are creative to channel that energy towards an industry that is so rewarding.
How would you describe your style of makeup?
Unforgettable (I can’t describe it, it’s just me!)
What kind of “look” are you most passionate about executing?
I am very passionate about a clean look. I love to challenge myself to not do anything over the top, and that also helps me broaden the spectrum a little bit so my work doesn’t always looks too intense. I do have a cleaner softer side to me 🙂
Where do you get most referrals from?
I think word of mouth. I have gotten a lot on the internet as well.
How would you say creativity enhances technique?
I think that everything boils down to creativity. You will always have that strong technique, but it all comes into place when an artist let’s their creative juices flow.
What is your favorite feature to work with? Why?
I love the eyes! That’s where I can be very creative. My favorite will have to be the eyebrows because that finishes off the entire look.
How have you experienced competition amongst hair/makeup artists in Hawaii’s fashion industry?
There is a lot of competition, but I feel that as an artist you have to stand out. Friendly competition really motivates a person to take it a little further. I am close with a lot of other artist and we share info all the time. No biggie 🙂
Any shoutouts and/or thank yous?
I just want to say thank you to my hubby Kevin because he is the one that believed in me. My family who has supported me from the beginning. My besties Bo, Kari, Tiffany and Liz . You guys always keep it real and keep me grounded. My three mentors from Ulupono Academy that I have learned so much from. Noa and The GroundUP family for taking me under their wings and accepting me for who I am as an artist (even though my canvas happens to be a persons face). Also all of the models, designers, and photographers who have challenged me creatively. Nimai Wong for opening my eyes into the world of photoshoots. Harold Julian for really letting me think outside of the box. Tia for being my muse and loving me as a sister. And last but definately not least GOD who put me on this earth to help make people feel beautiful…one brush stroke at a time.
Amen, sister. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her future. You can also check out MaiLe Meno on MySpace, FaceBook, and Model Mayhem!
❤ K. Love