Mimi Choi The “ILLUSIONIST” Makeup Artist Speaks To Us About Life And Experiences.

by JAD

Ms. Choi is a Makeup Illusionist and may I add a good one and when she posts a new look I always get amazed on the reality of her work.

Ms. Choi originated from Macau – a former Portuguese colony on the southeast coast of China known for its distinct European and Chinese influence. She has takened some time from work to answer some question for us and for that I am sincerely greatful.

OFS: Do you speak Portuguese?

MC: I learned a bit of Portuguese in elementary school as it’s one of Macau’s official languages, but unfortunately none of it stuck with me.

OFS: You suffer from sleep paralysis that makes you see visions that inspired your work, Is this how your inspiration to do illusion makeup start?

MC: My sleep paralysis is something that inspires many of my more morbid looks, but I also gain ideas from my environment, emotions, visiting museums, and digital art.  One of my first illusion looks was a realistic spider on my face which was the first time that I attempted to paint one of my visions.

Courtesy Images of Mimi Choi

OFS: Do you still have visions and if so, How do you deal with it?

MC: I do still deal with sleep paralysis but it occurs much less frequently than before.  Ever since I got married and moved in with my husband, I have experienced fewer bouts.  However, when I do have a vision, there is very little that I can do other than to let it play out.  After I awake, I am usually exhausted despite having slept for several hours.

OFS: Is there a person that has also influence you into makeup illusions?

MC: The first illusion look that I did was a cracked face look for Halloween which I had seen online.  After I posted the look, I remember the original artist commented that I had did it better than her!  This really motivated me to continue with the genre.  Other influential artists in my life include surreal masters like Dali and Escher to name a couple.

Courtesy Images of Mimi Choi

OFS: How long have you been doing these illusions of faces?

MC: I’ve been doing illusion for the past 5 years or so and have always enjoyed incorporating facial features into my looks.

OFS: Any art or makeup educations in your resume?

MC: I graduated from Blanche Macdonald Center which is a makeup and beauty school here in Vancouver.  It was here that I fine tuned my technique and learned invaluable lessons about the industry.

OFS: Anyone in your family also into artistry or makeup?

MC: My parents are very artistic in their own way, but art is not their careers.  My mother is very fashionable and loves to express her style through her clothes.  My father used to do sketches and draw a lot.

Courtesy Images of Mimi Choi

OFS: When a person comes to you and says do something in my face, how do you go about on figuring out what to do?

MC: Usually, a client has seen my work and has an idea of what they want.  For example, when I did Ezra Miller’s makeup for the Met Gala, he mentioned that he really liked the kaleidoscope look that I had done the year previous.  When I met him in person, I came up with a look based on his face shape on the day of the gala.  I usually don’t plan out my looks and am quite spontaneous.

OFS: Is there a makeup illusion that you have done and have said WOW? All your work is WOW but one that you thought came out exactly how you wanted it to come out in your mind.

MC: I am proud of all of my looks but I am also my own harshest critic.  I always see areas that I could have improved on first.  Also, because the painting process is slow and time consuming, I am never “surprised” by the final product as it is the result of many deliberate steps.

OFS: What brands do you work with at the moment?

MC: I work a lot with makeup brands like Kryolan, Make Up For Ever, Mehron, Garnier and Mac.  I also collaborate with non-cosmetic companies like Warner Brothers and Bombay Sapphire.

Courtesy Images of Mimi Choi

OFS: Have you ever competed in makeup competitions?

MC: When I was a student, I competed in Battle of the Brushes which is a makeup competition hosted by IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show).  Hundreds of makeup students would submit their application to compete and I was fortunate enough to be selected for two editions of the competition.  I didn’t win either of them, but I feel that in retrospect, those humbling experiences made me the artist I am today.

OFS: Do you do workshops?

MC: I have a background in teaching, so I love combining that with my other passions – makeup and traveling.  I teach workshops and masterclasses around the world and am looking for to leading classes in Peru, Italy, Argentina, Wales, and Poland this year!

OFS: What would be your advise to anyone that would like to follow your footsteps in Makeup Illusions?

MC: I always encourage my students to discover their own styles rather than reproducing other people’s work.  While it can be good technical practice to copy someone else’s look, it is so much more satisfying and rewarding to create a trend on your own!

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