CLARENCE LEE, 41
Lee, who has been a make-up artist for 20 years, has worked with celebrities such as Bianca Bai, Gong Li, Li Bingbing, Liu Wen, Maggie Q, Sheila Sim, Zoe Tay, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi.
1. What got you interested in make-up?
I had two primary school teachers who were always dolled up to the nines. This was in the 1980s, so they had the whole Farrah Fawcett hair, blue eyeshadow and red lipstick thing going on.
I would look at them every day and go "wow". Then, in secondary school, my friends and I would stage our own photo shoots and play around with make-up that we got from our mothers or from drugstores.
2. How did you get started in the industry?
I got my first editorial job at the age of 17 when I accompanied a friend to a model casting. I chatted with the stylist and when he found out that I was interested in make-up, he suggested I do the model's look after he had picked her to do the shoot.
After national service, I did make-up full-time for a salon before turning freelance in 1994.
3. Who was the first celebrity whom you worked with?
I think it was local actress Kym Ng in 1994. Twenty years on, I still get nervous if I'm working with a celebrity for the first time, because I want him to like my work.
4. Tell us about a memorable moment in your career.
When I saw Zhang Ziyi on TV during the 2005 Academy Awards. She always looks fabulous, but on that day, she looked phenomenal, even though the look I had given her was just clean and simple. She says it is still her favourite look till today.
I got to know her by chance in 2003. I happened to be at hairstylist David Gan's salon when he was doing her hair and he introduced us. Shortly after, she had an event for Coca-Cola and asked me to do her make-up. I've been working with her ever since. The last time I did her make-up was for the 4th Beijing International Film Festival in April.
5. Who have you not worked on that you would like to do?
Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Maggie Cheung and Christy Turlington. I think they are all iconic beauties.
6. What are the perks that come with being a make-up artist to the stars?
I don't get starstruck any more when I see someone famous. I've been asked to be a guest on TV shows, such as the local edition of the beauty variety show Lady First. I've also had endorsement deals from beauty brands, such as BeautyBiotics and Fancl.
7. What is the next step in your career?
If I have enough time, I would love to write a book on make-up tips.
8. Give us a make-up tip.
A lot of Singaporean women wear too little make-up. If you can afford to go without foundation because you have a good complexion and skin tone, then by all means do so. But, as a rule, always have some foundation on, a little blusher, eyeliner and mascara, so that you always look presentable and will never be caught off guard. Groomed eyebrows are also very important.