my new face
2020 was big for me, not because of the pandemic or because of my personal dance breakthroughs, but it was the year I first started to embrace my Asian face. It may have been partly due to my second ever trip to Asia, where I saw so many beautiful Vietnamese women, further reinforcing my new sense of beauty. I discovered first only a few, and later a handful of instagram accounts with the most striking portraits and beauty shots of Asian models. I don’t mean Asian models for a western beauty concept, or Asian models portrayed for their novel features. I mean photographs that capture the subjects in such rawness, that they feel refreshingly “normal”, and yet so powerful.
These accounts have been really influential to me. I was inspired to start wearing a more natural brow, rather than the always perfectly sculpted and filled in brow. My skin, all one face, rather than needing to be contoured with defining killer sharp cheekbones and hollow checks. It has a softness in being just skin, fresh and dewy with rosieness.
And finally, wearing my asian eyes without reshaping them. They feel so beautiful in their gentle shape. My face no longer feels bare without my winged liner commanding your attention. I am grateful to the ad campaigns and instagram content for opening my eyes to another definition of beauty, so different from the only aesthetic I could ever comprehend in the past. Finally it feels so natural.
Though for a long time I knew I wanted a light, comfortable and organic mask, I didn’t yet have a clear vision of design. Finally I realized I could spare a corner of my precious artisan măc nu’a berry
dyed rare silk.
I’ve worn it for about 3 weeks now, hand washing gently in warm water with bar soap and shaping to dry (it dries perfectly on my shower head). I wear it usually between 1-2 hours daily and wash it at the end of the day. So far not much fraying or colour loss.
I continually made adjustments during the first week of testing the prototype. Not knowing what to expect working with this fabric, everything is stitched by hand. A few threads in the fabric would catch on the needle, but otherwise, very nice to work with – not too slippery, and holds its shape well. Shapes beautifully after washing and wearing it about 1 week.
How to Wear a Mask
I find it especially important to keep my mask fresh to minimize extra irritation of the facial skin. Diligence in exfoliating and masking (Vichy 3in1 Normaderm works well for me as a mask) keeps the exposed facial skin clear and glowing as well as the skin covered by the mask less prone to irritation.
Lip colour? So far, lip stains have the best staying power, or for something even lighter and more subtle, a light dusting of a small fluffy brush (or a few light taps of your finger) swirled in a baked shimmery bronze or pinkish palette. Seriously, this is my secret (you’re welcome). Keep the lips soft and plump with regular exfoliating, just with the damp corner of a towel works great. To moisturize, I dab a tiny drop of cactus oil (sourced from my trips to Morocco).
Earrings? Really anything you would normally wear (but nothing too delicate if you plan on getting it caught!). The important thing is to not neglect the ear jewels.
Currently developing a mask design available for sale, as many people have been asking for it. Im breaking all the rules and not using a pattern – every face shape is different after all. My goal is to learn the design and how to efficiently tailor as needed.
first published works
Somehow, I’m still surprised to have my work accepted and even published when Top Posters Magazine reached out to me to send in submissions. My first publication.. wow!
Image requirements for this magazine in particular are JPEG, 8.5 x 11, sRGB, portrait 300 dpi (2550 x 3300 px). The photos were taken on my Samsung Galaxy S6 – already 2 years old when I had bought it off my friend for $200, which just goes to show you dont always need an expensive setup to produce decent quality. Edited on Lightroom mobile, of course.
A trip to Chinatown (Vancouver, BC.) is always a trip to another world, and one I am neither confident nor brave enough to take without my mother. I always try and test out my rusty Chinese with the checkout clerks and other shoppers. I also always end up spending a little more, no doubt caught up in the frenzy of all the imported and specialty foods. More about my China shopping here.