Beauty is her business

PHOTO: Beauty is her business

SINGAPORE - With her dark tresses, good looks and petite frame, Bubbly J. is the embodiment of what her business represents and is one of Singapore's leading Indian make-up artists. The 32-year-old has an extensive knowledge of the beauty and make-up industry and has carved a niche for herself over the years after venturing onto this path at the age of 17.

"I have always been interested in make-up and fashion. I used to be a beauty analyst for Estee Lauder Group and served customers at make-up counters," Ms Bubbly tells tabla!.

It was during her experience at these counters that she learnt how to deal with customers as well as understand the beauty and make-up market better.

In 2004, she teamed up with her aunt Baljit J. and established Looks Studio. Today, with a comprehensive portfolio, Looks Studio is a brand name that is familiar with many in Singapore.

"My aunt handles the business aspect of things while I deal with the make-up and training," adds Ms Bubbly who was trained in civil and structural engineering and holds a diploma in the subject. Not that she is not trained in business. She also has an MBA from James Cook University. Science and business aside, this professional knows how to work with colours and creates bespoke looks from scratch for her clients regardless of whether they are for fashion editorials or for weddings.

And over time, she has found new trends emerging when it comes to make-up for Indian women. "These days, brides come to me with pictures of Hollywood or Bollywood actresses as reference and tell me they want those sort of clean looks with neutral colours, dark eyeliner and bronzey cheeks that enhance their features. And that's the key to make-up, to enhance beauty," she says.

She also points out that brides should take into account special considerations when choosing their hairstyles for The Day.

She says: "Some hairstyles may not work for some women. It depends on their face shapes, the jewellery they are using and their outfits. Some women would want to have the dupatta (scarves) over their heads and some would want flowers, so it varies.

"During the trials I have with my clients, I make sure they understand and are able to visualise how they would look on their wedding day.

"Always, always book a trial make-up with your make-up artist. That way you know how you're going to look exactly on your day."

While she has dolled up numerous brides for their big days, she has also planned and worked on many fashion shows with local and international designers and has also collaborated with various brands, including Reebonz, for fashion editorials.

Does she prefer doing bridal or fashion make-up?

She loves doing both, she replies and adds that they both come with different demands. She says: "When it comes to fashion runways or editorials, I would have to work with the designers as the looks are dependent on their needs and clothes.

It's exciting.

"However, bridal make-up isn't repetitive either. I don't believe in 'one shoe fits all'. When it comes to make-up, every face is different.

And I take inspiration from the bride's face, her outfits and jewellery. It's an entire look I'm creating, not just brushing make-up on her face. It involves everything from top to toe, even the draping of her sari."

She also runs an academy to train aspiring make-up artists and does her bit to give back to society.

Using her make-up skills, she created over 80 unique looks with Indian women from all walks of life and featured them in a make-up "bible" titled LookBook 2010: Looks Beyond A Pretty Face that was published two years ago. The aim was to raise funds for Desire Society, a home in Hyderabad for children suffering from HIV.

Following the publication of the book, she and her team collected toys, clothes and money for the children and made a trip to Hyderabad that year.

On their effort, Ms Bubbly says: "It was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I have seen poverty up close during my travels and felt that I had to give back."

She is working with her team for the second publication that is expected to be out by the later part of this year.

"After all, my business isn't just about making faces pretty. It goes beyond that," she adds.

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