Karen Wong | Student Spotlight

Posted on October 12 2018

TAOM Graduate Karen Wong applying makeup to a model

Why makeup artistry? 

I strongly believe that makeup is an art form. That everyone has an idea of beauty that is unique to them. I love the idea of not having rules when applying makeup. There is no right or wrong way, as long as you get the result you want then ‘anything goes’… that’s what’s so fun about it. Every job is different. I never expect to paint a face exactly the same as I have done in a previous job. 

Model with a bold eye colourModel with a bold blue eye makeup by Karen Wong


What is is your favourite style of makeup? Fashion, bridal?

It’s difficult to choose what my favourite type of makeup is. I thrive on the buzz and creativity of Editorial work and the atmosphere and excitement of doing makeup for Shows and Events. I adore the idea of being part of someone’s special day for Bridal. Every face has a different story and I just love creating a unique look for the character and personality they choose to have for that day. Red lips for extra confidence? Or maybe just glowy, dewy, fresh skin?? The list is endless.

What’s not to love about being a makeup artist!? It’s certainly a job I don’t get bored with…

Runway model at the GUFCS show.jpg

Why did you choose to study at the academy over other schools? 

I did quite a bit of research before choosing The Academy to do my makeup course and by far The Academy exceeded all my expectations and more. The tutors are all well known and established artists who still work in the fashion, commercial and bridal industries, so you are guaranteed a deep and accurate understanding of it all and are able to pick up all the latest tips.

The aftercare program is simply amazing, I have been offered so many opportunities through it that have helped me to build my confidence in the world of makeup. I don’t think other courses offer this level of support after the course finishes.

The Masterclasses are fantastic as well, you are constantly learning and it feels great to return ‘home’ once every so often. The Academy has truly become an extended family who I can always turn to if I have any makeup related questions or if I simply need a confidence boost. 

Karen Wong applying makeup to a model in a red jacketModel with running eye makeup holding a blue phone. Makeup by Karen Wong

Who inspires your creativity? 

I get my makeup inspiration from all over but at the moment. I am crushing over Olga Tomina @tominamakeup, I just love, love, love all the bright vibrant colours that she uses and quite often it’s colours I would not think of using together. Nikki Wolff @nikki_makeup is all about the glowy, fresh looking skin and that’s the kind of style I adore. My new found love is Terry Barber @terrybarberonbeauty his Instagram always makes me smile. He’s different and unique as he always compares his makeup looks to the most random stuff. Sometimes it’s weird but at the same time you can relate to it. It’s a different play on makeup and again that makes it so interesting. Last but definitely not least our very own Sara Hill, her makeup tutorials are always so creative and inspiring. She makes it look so easy and that is the ultimate goal... having a job that you love, making it look so easy but at the same time others look at it and go, "Wow! how the hell did you do that!?" 

model standing under leaves makeup by Karen Wongmodel standing amongst leaves makeup by Karen Wong

Any top tips when reaching out to other creatives to organise shoot? 

There are a few Facebook groups I’m a member of such as Blank Canvas, Creatives in Scotland. I would just put up a post that includes a brief intro for myself, ideas for a test shoot and asking if there are any creatives interested in taking part. Normally you would get a good response from that. It is all about networking, making friends with models and photographers. Even something simple like commenting on a photographers work saying you love what they do and would love to work with them.

Also offering to assist other makeup artists on shoots. That way you get to learn, meet new creatives and it's a fab way to create contacts for the future. 

What's your favourite makeup job so far? 

I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities, it’s hard to pick my favourite. One of my favourites has got to be working with the GUCFS as Lead Makeup Artist last year. Again this was part of an aftercare job I had successfully applied for. It was the best part of a year-long project involving a series of photo shoots with different designers all leading up to a big fashion show at SWG3. They ran this event over the past few years and each year it's in aid of a chosen charity. Last year was for The Glasgow Children’s Hospital and a total of over £22,224 was raised so it was a great feeling to be part of this. One of the images from the photo shoots made it into British Vogue too so that was an added bonus. 


Bridal Makeup by Karen Wong

Where do you see yourself in five years time? 

Oh! In five years time?? I would most definitely be Beyoncé’s go to Makeup Artist or be the makeup creative director on a Victoria Secrets Fashion Show... hahaha... Joking aside I would just like to be in a place where I’m still waking up every morning and doing what I love whether it’s painting faces for a shoot in a car park or on a beach doing a summer commercial job. As long as I can still be creative, I’m happy.  #lovemyjob

Favourite new makeup product right now?
My favourite makeup product just now is Nars Liquid Blush. I use it on my cheeks and it just gives me a nice wee uplifting flush of colour. Sometimes I put a touch on my eyes and lips too for a nice sheer finish.


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