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3rd April 2017 / TFCS Mentor Spotlight / by Chia Sihan

Ginger Lynette Leong:
Painting her vision of beauty

From working in a corporate role to running a beauty counter, and later becoming a sought-after makeup artist, Ginger Lynette Leong shares how makeup became her life's passion

There are makeup artists, and there is the level of makeup artist who are sought after to conduct masterclasses and workshops, as TFCS Makeup Mentor Ginger Lynette Leong often gets to do.

Born and bred in Singapore, the seasoned makeup artist has worked with top magazines such as Her World, L’Officiel, Shape, Nylon Singapore, and the Singapore Women’s Weekly and is equally at ease working with editors, influencers and students alike. In addition to editorial fashion and beauty spreads, Ginger has also collaborated with US beauty brands Laura Mercier and Sephora and conducted staff training for other companies.

The 2009 winner of the Shu Uemura Beauty Art Makeup Competition, Ginger’s professionalism, innovative approach and flexibility towards her clients’ needs have many editors putting her number on speed dial. She speaks to The Fashion Collective Singapore on how newbies can get their head start in this highly competitive industry.

How she started her career in makeup

What led you from your first job in insurance to becoming a makeup artist?

As a child, I’ve always loved drawing and painting. After seven years of working as an underwriter at an insurance company, I felt that I wanted to do something with my life that stimulates my creativity.

What attracted you to a career in makeup?
Makeup is a canvas in how it allows everyone expresses their creativity and knowledge. The expression is something that you gain after getting experience and investigation.

How did you get started?
I took a course with Cosmoprof Academy, and then worked at M.A.C as retail counter staff for seven years. Although I took a pay cut of more than 50% from a cushy desk-bound job, that experience was a fantastic training ground for my entry into the world of beauty and makeup.

What were the lessons you learnt working behind the counter?
People tend to turn to counter artists as their go-to experts for beauty help. Customer service is everything in makeup services, and the counter is the best place to get valuable exposure and experience.

Getting the right exposure

In 2009, you won the Shu Uemura Mother Earth competition. How was the experience?
Initially, I was worried about failing as it was my very first competition. I thought, what if I failed? But after getting encouragement from my peers, I told myself, I shouldn’t remain fearful and retreat from other competitions in future. What’s the worst that could happen?

You also started taking on editorial work. Was it a huge transition?
It was definitely a steep learning curve. Counter staff need to pay attention to the customer’s body language, whereas for fashion editorial, the emphasis is more on taking initiative to observe and ask the right questions to understand your client’s needs better.

You took a pay cut to join the beauty industry. What challenges did you face as a full-time makeup artist?
For many makeup artists, the struggle is usually between finance and passion. Managing the client’s expectations as a professional is also a constant challenge. To me, it’s not about how much the project pays but more that I want to do every job that comes my way well.

Any advice for aspiring makeup artists?
See the art of makeup as a learning process, start small and continue to build your skills.

Photos: Instagram (@gingerlynette)

Follow Ginger on Instagram @gingerlynette and check out more of her work @TheFashionCollectiveSG. Check out Ginger’s portfolio for more of her works. Keen to come on board and start building your portfolio, or interested in collaborating with us? Get in touch at letsrock@thefashioncollective.com.sg.

About the Writer

Chia Sihan

A story junkie by nature, this TFCS scribe thrives on uncovering the backstories of her interview subjects, whether they are heads of corporations or a working Mum caring for a child with a developmental disorder. She finds it a privilege to be privy to these personal experiences. Some of the publications she has written for include the Singapore Women’s Weekly, L’Officiel Singapore, and Harper’s Bazaar Junior. It is this genuine love for storytelling and collaboration that led her to kickstart her journey as a co-founder of The Fashion Collective Singapore. Now the chief storyteller at TFCS, she is particularly inspired by the personal journeys of TFCS Mentors, not to mention their dedication towards the refinement of their craft.

Head over to The Editor’s Journal to read articles contributed by Sihan.

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