NJS Makeup: Work As I Know It

Published on 04 Mar 2016 / by: Tan

In a lifetime, we come across hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Researchers revealed that out of the many people we come to know, only about 400 are considered friends. According, “we form an average 396 personal relationships but only 33, one in 12, will stand the test of time”. One of my “33 people” happens to be a makeup artist and she is one I considered a friend for a good few years now. We met by chance and stayed friends by choice. We do not meet up often, but when we do, I feel like we can be very open to one another. She is one-of-a-kind, witty, crazy, adventurous, self-motivated, kind-hearted, loyal, chatty and most importantly, easygoing. Definitely a YOLO kind of girl. She is younger than me but her experiences makes me feel small sometimes. Moreover, she knows what she wants, she works hard for it, and she gets it. That is what I admire most.

This IT graduate turned makeup artist has her own interesting story. I am here now to share her inspiring life experiences. Hopefully it will motivate you to do whatever you want to do. Take what is good and leave the rest. Enjoy!

Considering your bachelor degree in IT, makeup is a huge turnaround, what made you choose this career?

Firstly, ever since I was a university student, I knew I want to be an entrepreneur because I personally do not think any bosses can stand my stubbornness. I do not like to be told what to do. I realized it even further during a group work for my thesis, I have a very little room for compromise.

After my first semester as an IT student, I almost gave up and went on another direction to go to a law school. I thought law school was the perfect place for me to channel my fondness for arguing and debating. However, my grades improved so much on the second semester so I decided to finish what I started. I finally graduated in just 3.5 years with a very satisfying GPA. After graduation, I considered a number of jobs related to my major. IT consultant seemed like a promising job but the thought of having to sit behind the desk for hours made me think twice.

I do not acknowledge the makeup artist profession as an ambition. I think becoming a doctor, teacher, lawyer, or the like are the sort of professions that can be considered as ambitions. Most people just stumble upon this makeup artist job and get on the track. Likewise, I never thought I would be a makeup artist. I was not the most feminine girl growing up. In fact, I wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger.

So, it all started when I tried to do my own makeup for a Valentine’s day date. My brother laughed at me and told me I look like a bencong (transexual). Shortly after, I immediately signed up for a self makeup class and the rest was history. I then thought to myself, this kind of skill will always be necessary and useful no matter where you are. Therefore I decided to learn more about makeup from various senior makeup artists and pursue it as a profession.

What are your thoughts on the increasing number of makeup artists in Jakarta?

The increasing number of makeup artists also reflects that there is an increasing demand for it. Nowadays women wear makeup as if it is part of their clothing. They need it more than ever before. So, I think it is just about more options.

How do you make sure you are maintaining your existence?

I feel like makeup is all about preference. A lot of makeup artists means more options. Some people may prefer my style of makeup, some people may not. The key thing is to have a good attitude. Whether they like my makeup or not, I always try to be nice. At the very least, they will have a good impression on me. Bad attitude does not take you anywhere. I believe that everyone has their own fortune when it comes to money. You just need to work hard.

Why did you start offering makeup classes?

There is a lot of demand for it. Women, of all ages, want to look beautiful. Makeup is not something you can just pick up from somewhere. It requires practice. Besides, teaching has been something I truly enjoy doing. I find pleasure in sharing knowledge. I was a tutor for bunch of students while I was in university and I even thought of becoming a lecturer. I guess I just really like talking and sharing.

Are you worried that your students are going to be your competitors later on? 

Imagine you are in a mall with a lot of clothing stores. They are all coexisting, right? So why can’t we? I do not and will not see my students as competitors. In fact, I will be so proud if they can make it too. If someone becomes something out of nothing with my help, it’s just priceless.

If you could only choose one between doing makeup and teaching makeup, which one would it be?

They are two very different things. Teaching is a long-term commitment while doing someone’s makeup is just a one time thing. There is no denying that teaching draws more cash, however, the commitment requires a lot of responsibility. If my students do not do well, my face is on the line too. But if I have to choose one, I would rather teach and share my knowledge.

Have you ever gotten bored of this profession?

With any kind of profession, there will be times when you feel bored of your job. But with me, I always have goals in mind to keep me going. Before I had a studio, it was what kept me going. Now that I have studio, I have to find other things to work for. If you take your job as a routine, you will not be as motivated. When you have to pay for monthly, let’s say, mortgages or installments, you have no choice but to get up every morning and do your thing to fulfill them. A goal does not have to be big and grand. Small goals are valid too. Personally, I do not set goals like “I want to be famous”. Instead, I set realistic and tangible goals, such as I want to be able to afford my own home after this amount of years. They really keep you going.

I know people who switch jobs every now and then. Their reasons usually vary from boredom to unreasonable bosses. I feel like it is such a waste. You should work until you get something out of it, then quit. If you quit because you do not like this or that about your job, you are not going away with anything. If you have unreasonable superiors, prove them that you are capable of handling the pressure. When you feel that you have gained the knowledge and skills, then maybe you can look for other opportunities to widen your horizon.

Would you say makeup is your hobby or passion?

I would say neither. As I said before, I grew up as a tomboy. No one would ever thought that I was going to be a makeup artist. But here I am now and I love my job. I work not because it is my passion/hobby. I work because I have a huge responsibility as the firstborn. I have to be able to earn my living and set examples for my three younger siblings. If you want your hobby as your job, it will not go anywhere. Hobbies can change. My hobbies used to include motorcycles, rock climbing, and soccer. But I realized that these hobbies do not last and do not feed me. So, makeup, for me, is more of a job and a responsibility. 

What are some of the challenges you face in this profession?

Makeup, like food and art, is a matter of preference. Sometimes it’s challenging to fulfill your clients preference while still keeping up with your own style of makeup. My best advice is, if you have chosen someone to do your makeup, just trust them. It will make both of your lives easier. For my fellow makeup artists out there, just be nice. Even if your client doesn’t like your makeup, still, be nice and polite. Don’t tarnish your own reputation. It will be worth it in the long run. Always keep this in mind, anywhere, actually.

Makeup artists seem like a fun and promising job. We get to travel to pretty spectacular places especially for pre-wedding photoshoots, which I absolutely enjoy, but what people don’t see is the struggle we had to face to get to where we are now. Obviously, we don’t become a makeup artist overnight. It is not always glitz and glamour. I, myself, had to go through a lot to get here. I have been in a job where I didn’t get to sleep for days. I have been in jobs where I was paid very little. All of those just to earn the experience. But to be here today, I am happy I have been in those situations.


Wherever life takes her, I am sure she will always find a way to prevail. I hope I have given you a fair share of her life experiences. Share the love!

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