By EMILY QUAK
AH, the beauty blogger. A social butterfly that flits from launch event to hi-tea, a picture of grace and beauty, swimming in a pool of makeup and skincare. At least that’s how most people see it.
Hello, everyone. My name is Emily Quak, and I am a beauty blogger – but not quite like the one described above.
Over the next few weeks in this column, I’m going to let you all in on what it’s really like being a beauty blogger – all the challenges and stigmas we face, what goes on at launch events, and how I actually film in my pyjamas.
But first up, let me give you a bit of background.
I was once a girl who wore – pretty much exclusively – a jeans-and-T-shirt combo with sneakers.
Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the point is I barely stepped out of my comfort zone and never, ever wore makeup save for a crooked application of pencil liner to rim my eyes at special events.
Makeup was a brand new and slightly frustrating discovery when I was a teenager.
Raised in Klang, beauty blogging wasn’t something that had ever crossed my mind.
In fact, I decided to become a lawyer when I was 15, and though I excelled at physics in school and briefly considered medicine (I even took the requisite course in college to qualify), in the end, I still went with law.
Over the course of seven years, I studied in Monash, Australia, graduated, studied the bar, and started working in Melbourne.
Life was great. I explored a new culture, made lasting friendships, and basically had the time of my life.
And that was when – for the first time in my life – I started taking an interest in fashion and beauty.
I was going out with friends a lot more in Australia, and I started to notice that my makeup wasn’t coming out quite right in all our photos.
I always looked washed out and pale. None of the colours I had so meticulously applied earlier in the evening were showing under the harsh flash of our cameras.
And so began my tireless research into the world of makeup. I distinctly remember Googling “why isn’t my makeup showing in pictures”, only to realise that the Internet had not yet come up with a solution to my problem.
No matter, I thought. I persevered. I learned new techniques and proper methods of application. I bought new products and some of my first ever makeup brushes. All my research paid off.
I was rewarded one night when I finally decided to put all my research into action on our uni prom night.
Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t bother practising at all before the big night – those false eyelashes took over 30 mins to put on!
I stepped out of the cab that night to an immediate compliment from a good friend, followed by another. And another. I was in makeup heaven the entire night!
It was this love and passion for makeup, learning how to apply it properly and what products worked best, that spurred the creation of emilyquak.com, a place for me to share my passion for everything related to beauty and skincare.
Because of my love for makeup in particular, a natural next step was the creation of my YouTube channel, where I share makeup tutorials and beauty reviews.
It wasn’t an easy transition, though. I had been taking pictures of my makeup steps for the blog, but my readers demanded more.
It was my mum, ironically, who introduced me to the world of beauty vlogging when she told me about Michelle Phan, the wildly successful YouTube beauty blogger.
“Hey look, she does beauty videos! Maybe you should do it too!” she said.
“NO WAY.” I used to feel so awkward in front of the camera.
After a year, I finally caved. I hid in my bathroom, where I pointed a camera at my own face (and felt ridiculous doing so), and painstakingly edited my footage with Windows Movie Maker.
Of course, the views I got for that video were nothing compared to what I get now, but it was a very important first step.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving you the low-down on what does on behind the scenes of the beauty industry, which is in no way skin-deep. Hope you’ll stick around for the next installment!