I always wanted to be a Makeup Artist but I didn’t have that support as a kid. A lot of people would tell me “you’re not going to make money, you won’t be successful” and “what are you going to do, do makeup your whole life?” and it forced me to go a different path. I went to college for a little bit for interior design, which I absolutely knew that I wasn’t supposed to do. I liked it but I didn’t feel powerful in it and it wasn’t for me. I will never forget that I was going through a lot in life and took a leap of faith: I left college and felt I’m going to do exactly what I wanted to do.
I grabbed a friend and did Makeup, turned my personal Instagram page into a Makeup page and just started posting nonstop. At that time, it was so big to be working at Makeup counters because everybody always wanted to be a Mac or Sephora girl. I had the opportunity to work at a counter and I’ll never forget going into that interview knowing I had no experience doing any Makeup but I just knew I could draw anything freehand and I could create anything that you wanted me to do. So I went into that interview with a portfolio of drawings and paintings and the little Makeup that I did.
I was no Professional at that time, but I’m just so grateful I had that opportunity of them just falling in love with my personality and me proving that I can learn and do anything needed to do. Just show me once and I can execute it. I’ve always been hard on myself in that sense. Just having that confidence within myself knowing if I want to do something, I could do it because I’m going to put a thousand percent into it. Anything I could possibly build off of that, I’m going to. I feel like that’s how I became so confident within myself and started proving “I’m going to do this for me and SOLELY for me.”
I’m a Korean-American adopted from Seoul. I was raised in New Jersey by an Italian family. I have always felt like I didn’t know who I was. I feel like throughout my whole childhood, I have been dealt cards that I had no control over. Life has put me through situations that really hardened me and molded me to be who I am today. And I am so grateful for those hard dark times that really influenced me and made me really just find who I am as a person. I think that a lot of people don’t understand that we work so hard to maintain a certain happiness or a certain caliber in other people’s eyes when at the end of the day, none of that matters.
You really have to find something that fills your soul and makes you feel whole – wholesome and just inspired. I think we all need to be our own inspiration because so many people try to mimic other people’s stories when we should really be creating our own books. It’s cool to be inspired by other people, but at the end of the day, we really have to come to terms and be at peace with who we really are at the core. And once we really can identify our dreams, goals and just talking to that inner childhood within ourselves that you can reach any caliber in life.
You can be anything that you absolutely want to be, and you can’t let fear or other people diminish your ideas for yourself. Because I recognize that throughout my entire life, I never had solid mentors or anyone who I wanted to be like. I had so many people who just made realize that I’ve never want to be like them. I never want to treat people a certain way or make people feel bad. I just recognize that how I carry myself is who I inspire to be and who I inspire to be subjected to.
I realize that in life, we can have everything that we possibly want but it can’t always work out for us, and once we get there, it’s really not what we wanted. Throughout my career, I’ve worked for different salons or TV shows and it’s just so challenging because when I first started in the industry, there really wasn’t Asian makeup artists. It was just a certain way within the industry and I just knew I was going to be somebody one day, but had to know how I was going to make it happen. Throughout my life, I’ve used my artistry to save me in the darkest times of my life. If I didn’t have Makeup or the art to express myself, I truly don’t know who I would be today without it.
Even when I had no one in life, I had my career. I recognized that the one thing you can pour endless love into is your career because no matter what, it’s never going to not love you. The more energy and the more power you put behind your dreams and just your expectations and goals, you’re going to see them happen. And I’m really big on manifestation, claiming things, being positive and subjecting myself to really good people. I recognize that not everybody wants the best for you and at the same time, it can be deceiving but you can’t rely on other people to get you to where you want to be. You really have to understand that you can limit yourself with your mind and if you’re always going to paint this picture like you can’t do something, you absolutely can’t.
I got into the Makeup Industry when I was 21. Honestly, it was probably one of the lowest points in my life, where I had no direction and no support system. I was just all over the place. I was working at a bank, tattoo apprenticing – I was drawing people’s tattoo’s to make extra money on the side, but I just knew I couldn’t sit at a desk everyday and think that I was living my fullest potential. I felt like something was missing and just my soul did not feel like it was on fire. It’s always important to me to do things that make me feel something in every aspect of my life.
I will never forget a best friend named Matt who called me one day and just asked me “what are you doing with your life & what are your goals?” and “what’s feeding your soul and making you feel something and you’re doing something that you’re destined to do, Rebecca?”
I think it’s just important for people to identify that they just have to believe in themselves. Pour the love into yourselves – who cares about the support, who cares about who shows you love and social media reposts – you don’t need any of it. I think that a lot of people are able to really reflect and push themselves in such a way because we’re not taught that.
Spending so much time in such heavy dark moments of my life and people not knowing really pushed me to find myself in the sense that, at 31 years old, no one can tell me anything. I can do anything that I can put my mind to. I feel unstoppable, powerful and the best version of myself that I could possibly be.
I wish that at a younger age, someone would’ve challenged my mind and just me personally and made me recognize that no matter what we go through in life, we have to appreciate it and accept it because it shapes us. Whatever path we’re on, we’re destined to go through whatever we’re going through, but it’s also preparing us for the blessings that are in front of us. That was a hard pill to swallow because being in the industry as a creative, I think it’s just such highs and lows for us. At times as an artist, we really put our emotions through what we do creatively.
I’m so grateful for my platform and for what I do as a living within my career because it’s giving me an opportunity to really express myself and to prove to myself who I am. Growing up in this industry, there were not really any Asian Makeup Artists that were quote unquote famous, or known in the industry. It was just so important for me to make a mark for myself and to understand that my dreams and goals were always limitless. Now after being in the industry for 10 years and working with celebrities, multiple TV shows, having my own company and being called for different networks or different clients, bridal/destination weddings, red carpet events – if you asked 21 year old me that was literally almost homeless to 31 year old me today, living in an apartment to die for with a city view, it made me really appreciate everything I’ve been through in my life.
I wish more people had that motivation and that spark to understand that no matter what we go through, it’s always going to be okay. Within this industry, there’s no limits. As creatives, you can do anything. No one should tell you that you can’t do something because as long as you believe in yourself, that’s all you need.
It’s always been important for me to inspire, motivate and heal anyone who I’ve crossed paths with that I felt were lost or going through a dark time because I see that little girl version of me in other people and I understand what that pain feels like. I understand what that emptiness and loneliness feels like to know you have no one around. It doesn’t sit well with me knowing that people could feel that way. Anyone that I’ve crossed paths with that I felt has needed inspiration, it has always been important for me to make them feel good, whether it’s Makeup or words of Affirmation or Reassurance that it’s going to get better.
I’ve tried everything from freehand drawing, tattoo apprenticing and Makeup. I tried everything until it felt right.
I did everything in my own lane and didn’t want to be like anyone. I drew my own inspiration.
You can’t mimic someone else’s path.
You can be inspired by someone’s story because it’s their story.
You need to find your own footing and I did and am still doing it.
I’m not stopping. It’s only going up from here.
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