A prettier version of myself is on today’s Philippine Star! Strangely enough, not as a writer, but as a makeover subject with my mom.
Several months ago, Bianca Valerio Tweeted us asking if we would like to participate in a makeover session that would be published in the Philippine Star. Naturally we jumped at the chance – me, not so much to get my photo on a newspaper as to experience the honor of getting made up by one of the sweetest and most genuine celebrity makeup artists in the country. When Bianca Valerio asks to give you a makeover, there really is no other answer but “yes”.
The funny thing is that I always thought I’d get quite offended if someone offered to give me a makeover. A makeover implies one of two things: you have no clue how to put yourself together and have to be shown the way, or you just plain don’t conform to society’s standards of beauty and THAT needs to change. The latter really gets to me because this is often the motivation behind Hollywood makeovers in chick flicks and reality shows. I don’t think I’m conventionally pretty by any means, and my tastes gravitate around things considered “unprofessional” or inappropriate for my age (see my new black-purple hair color). However, I’m also confident enough about my appearance to flip the finger at people who dare try to make me feel insecure about how I look and suggest that I need some sort of “makeover” to gain acceptance from my peers/get that job I want/bed the man I want.
Getting a makeover from Bianca Valerio involves none of that aggressive Hollywood shaming about your taste or appearance. Quite the opposite, in fact. She’s always been about loving yourself and using cosmetics as a tool to generate confidence, which her makeup-slash-self-help manual, Face to Face: The Healing Power of Makeup discusses in detail. In person, Bianca is as warm, friendly, and sassy as her written persona. At salons, we’re used to beauty professionals criticizing the state of our hair or the quality of her skin, but Bianca has nothing disparaging to say about her makeover subjects. In fact, she ignored the awful state of my bare face and complimented me when I said I had DIY ombre hair.
It helps that it’s easy to feel comfortable around Bianca. She greets you like an old friend even though you’ve only briefly met once or twice, and she goes out of her way to make you feel at ease. During the makeover itself, Bianca stays silent to focus on her work, but in between applications you can talk to her about anything, even your sex life! Well, at least my mom did. I pretended to bury my face in a MAC makeup trend book as they discussed all sorts of things that mothers should probably never talk about in the same room as their daughters. Don’t get me wrong – I am not a prude about sex at all, but it’s not a subject I like to bring up around my family.
The former implication of the makeover – the one that teaches you how to highlight your best features – was also something I never considered until I sat on her makeup chair. I pretty much taught myself how to apply makeup through YouTube videos, and I thought I already knew everything I needed to know. But getting a makeover from Bianca is like a crash course about personal makeup. There’s no shroud of mystery around the process; she explains what she’ll be doing to your face as she mixes the perfect shade of foundation or contemplates the color of your lipstick. And if you have any questions about what products she’s using and why, she’ll gladly tell you.
With every swoosh of the brush, I realized that there was much I needed to learn. Like, that I can use eyelid tape to widen my eyes (but only at night under heavy makeup; the tape is very obvious in the daytime). And that a silicone-based primer is what my hyperactive oil glands need to stay under control (I only blotted once that day and when I did, there was hardly any oil). And that I’m not the only one who took ages mastering the art of applying false lashes onto yourself (honestly, I still haven’t mastered it). And that maybe I should look into mixing my own foundation shade or something because damn, my skin looks really flawless.
I don’t have any photos of the makeover and shoot itself, since it happened in the midst of my blogging hiatus. But I hope this gives you a good idea of what it was like to get prettified by such a talented and inspiring makeup artist. Bianca Valerio’s makeovers aren’t really about creating a new and improved you. Rather, they’re more like a glamorous therapy session where you recognize how beautiful you already are and learn to love yourself for it, while picking up a makeup trick or two along the way.
In case you weren’t able to buy last Sunday’s Philippine Star, you can read the article online.Google+