As far as I can remember I never had my make-up done by a professional since 1999 and that was at my elder brother’s wedding day. A day which I vividly recall having felt so made-up that I looked like I was about to kiss anyone who bars my way with my pursed-stiff, thickly painted red lips.
If I was working in a customer service-oriented industry, I probably would have invested in a beauty arsenal that would put any drag queen to shame but my current occupation however does not warrant such daily glam prep. Two decades into this lifestyle makes me a true-blooded fuss-free, low maintenance girl who believes that her spartan make-up kit containing a single, dual-purpose lippy and compact powder, will more than suffice to survive any unplanned, “special” occasion. But I do have an option though,and that is to raid my Mom’s make-up drawer. But that won’t make her happy so I threw that silly idea out of the window.
While I thought that I’d get along just fine admiring the beauty queens and ramp models from afar, I got a message from Abigail Adapon-Rivero last week. Abigail or Abi is a freelance make-up artist and hair stylist who I recently got acquainted with and she was asking if she can practice perfecting her skills on me. Of course, images of beauty queens and models (with my head replacing theirs) instantly flashed before my eyes and like a hungry puppy, I lapped up the offer like warm milk and said “Yes!” and counter-offered to blog about the not-so serindipitous experience.
The “makeover session” however took place one late afternoon, at the gym where we both work out, and under very challenging “conditions”: (1) My face (the shape and all the age-related thingies that comes with it) was about to be “transformed” (sans the airbrush tools) under (2) poorly-lit environment. Abi felt disconcerted at the prospect of falling short under my expectations (who me? Expectations?) and later decided that she might not be satisfied with her work at the end. But Abi, what if I’m satisfied? I asked her. It was an assurance that no matter what we’ll both get what we deserve – she get to practice her skills and I get to live my dreams.
Prior to the “transformation”, Abi took close-up photos of my face from different angles and studied its contour and skin tone. She then prepped my skin and shaved my eyebrows before filling it in. Minutes later she combined different shades of base foundation on a stainless steel palette with a tiny spatula and mixed it well to create a creamier consistency. The creamy concoction was judiciously applied all over my skin with a gentle dabbing technique. Once in a while she stops and looks at me from a distance to assess if anything is askewed (besides my sense of humor). It took quite a while before my face was ready for “contouring” and “colourisation” but I didn’t mind the wait because there are things in life that should be allowed to naturally transpose and harmonize under the hands of the artist. Like an artist to her painting, every sweep of the brush must add life to the blank canvas. In this case, that blank canvas was my face and it came alive under Abi’s masterful brush strokes.
A couple of hours later my never-been-shaved-and-technically-virgin eyebrows were trimmed with subtle arches to boot. My lips were fuller and more defined (not painted) with the plum-ish, Burgundy colored lipstick which Abi chose for me (I am in your hands, I always tell her). The blotches on my cheeks were concealed and the sun spots were naturally evened-out using her expensive High Definition Makeup.
For the finishing touch Abi decided to add fake eyelashes over mine for that “vavavoom” come-hither look. It was my first time to wear fake eyelashes and I was giggling as she glued them in over mine. I told her that it’s like peering through a curtain. It clicks when I blink hence I’m not exactly sure if I’d like to wear those all night. I must admit though that it does made my eyes look more “theatrical” and made me wanna grab a chair and belt out a Liza Minelli number.
We capped the evening with photoshoots done at the most unexpected places inside the gym: The entrance hallway and outside the ladies toilet room using its dark brown door as a back-drop. Indeed it was not the ideal set-up but whatever has gone inadvertently re-missed that evening only made the experience more fun and less stressful. I was just too happy playing the role of a blank canvas waiting for dreams to be painted on. I wouldn’t push it but just think – not all Plain Janes in the world can get an opportunity to spend the last few hours of her day feeling and looking like a ramp and print model, a “woman of distinction”, or even a beauty titlist.
Abi insisted that she could have done better but as I stared at myself in the mirror I couldn’t help but think that her apprehensions were unfounded. In fact, under the given circumstances, she has overcome the challenge and achieved what I was hoping to see – a very refined version of that fuss-free, low maintenance girl that I’m used to seeing in the mirror everyday.