Posts Tagged ‘Make-up’

Swati Singh worked with designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee for four years

Swati Singh worked with designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee for four years

I was meeting my old school pal Swati Singh after more than a decade. But I don’t know why sitting by the window of Café Coffee Day on Ekdalia I was filled with anticipation. Maybe this was because the Swati I knew was one of the prettiest girls in our school, she was a great dancer, a superb singer and a fantastic painter and I was waiting to see how she’d turned out after so many years.

Swati was working as an assistant designer with Sabysachi Mukherjee, the man who probably commands the highest price in India when it comes to his creations, and gets away with it too.

But during our conversation over the phone when we were planning our meet Swati told me, “I have quit!”

“Why…?”

“I will tell you when we meet,” was all she said.

I waited for Swati looking out for her red Maruti, the car in which we had travelled to so many movies, birthday parties and luncheons, not realizing that it probably hadn’t stood the test of time.

Swati emerged from a white car in a bang-on-trend black and white striped maxi dress looking like a dream.  When it came to complimenting her I did not know where to start and where to end.

“It’s all make-up yaar. If I want to convince others to hire me as a make-up artist the first thing I should show them is my own make-up, right?”

Swati likes to work on her own make-up to give people an idea of what they can expect

Swati likes to work on her own make-up to give people an idea of what they can expect

She told me she wanted to start off as a make-up artist on her own so she tossed up her four-year-old job with Sabyasachi that involved overseeing the production at his Topsia workshop and ensuring that each piece met the standards he had set.

“It was a wonderful experience, I learned a lot and I am grateful to Sabyasachi for giving me this opportunity but I wanted to pursue my own creativity.”

While she was excelling at her work at Sabyasachi’s workshop, her personal life was all about dealing with ups and downs. Being in an unhappy marriage for several years and later on dealing with the consequences of a separation was draining for Swati. But she believed in fighting it out.

“I knew that I had to start my life from scratch. I had to stand on my own feet, I had to move on. So many times I was on the verge of having an emotional and physical breakdown but I didn’t give up. While dealing with the mental trauma of a disturbed personal life I struggled to keep my creativity alive…”

Swati with Marvie at her hair and make-up academy in Mumbai

Swati with Marvie at her hair and make-up academy in Mumbai

She’s taken a professional make-up and hair styling course at the Marvie Ann Beck Make-up and Hair Academy in Mumbai and she is all set to step into the glamour world as a make-up artist. Swati’s also got back to painting, something she always wanted to do but never had time for because of her busy schedule and she is selling her work through her Facebook page which she has aptly named Colours of Hope.

“I know I am setting foot in a tough profession as a make-up artist because here nothing but word-of-mouth publicity will work for me and it won’t be easy but we have only one life and I don’t want to live with any regrets. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams,” she said with conviction.

She is starting off with bridal and party make-up but she wants to test her creativity with photo shoots and ramp styling too.

A Bengali bride before make-up

A Bengali bride before make-up

The same bride after Swati worked her brush strokes

The same bride after Swati worked her brush strokes

“I am taking one step at a time. I don’t want to rush things. There are some well-known make-up artistes in Kolkata and I respect the work they are doing. I hope and believe I will be able to make a space for myself here,” she said.

When I left CCD that day I kept thinking of the Swati I knew – a talented girl bordering on the shy sometimes, who never believed in breaking any rules and I thought of the Swati now – brimming with confidence, not afraid to live her dream.

Life has put her through the tests but she has transformed her negative experiences to emerge a positive person. She has mustered the courage to be what she wants to be. I couldn’t help but admire her for that.

Swati at work

Swati at work

Some quick questions I asked Swati and here’s what she said:

What’s the biggest make-up mistake we all make? Not blending the blush-on well which makes it look patchy and also neglecting the neck while applying the foundation only on the face.

One make-up item that can alter your looks drastically…..A well defined kajal or eye liner

A quick fix for unruly hair…Hair pulled back and tied into a tight ponytail at the centre or on one side of the neck. Taking small sections of the loose hair, twist and pin up forming a messy bun. Spray hair fixer generously. It looks very chic and works with every look.

A Bollywood actress you want to work with…Kangana Ranaut

A Tollywood actress you want to work with…Swastika Mukherjee

A model you want to work with…Noyonika Chatterjee

A challenge you want to take up…Life is full of challenges but the biggest and toughest challenge is to ‘maintain your smile’ at all times. I just want to keep smiling.

Swati's all-new visiting card

Swati’s all-new visiting card

 

Are men naturally better looking than women?.

make-up

For the last few days whenever I have been leafing through a newspaper or a magazine all I have seen are a spate of advertisements and discounts for make-up and creams that would make women better looking on International Women’s Day (March 8) and Mother’s Day (March 10). You can’t blame the advertisers for this because we women do need our make-up.

Recently I went to my locality studio to re-print my passport size photos but they had lost my file photos because of a virus attack. So I needed to get new snaps done. I hit the panic button. I had unwashed hair, tied in a ponytail and pushed back with a hair band. I had my specs on and not contact lenses. Then I fretted, “I am not wearing kajal and lipstick. How can I take a photograph like this?”

I was instantly put in my place by my husband. He said, “Are you going to find a match with this snap? No! Right? Get on with the photograph and don’t waste time.” The staff at the studio liked the joke and laughed and I glumly sat in front of the camera. Thankfully the deft studio guys quickly made me look like Deepika Padukone after Photoshop. And yes, I did look like I had make-up on. I quickly moved from glum to jovial.

This incident got me thinking. We women have become truly dependent on make-up. I salute those who don’t carry eyeliner and lipsticks in their bags and quickly fetch out a small mirror to replenish the gloss (thankfully I still know few women who don’t). Frankly, I haven’t yet managed to have my bag make-up free.

The question is if most men don’t need make-up to look good why do we? Maybe they don’t because they are naturally more good looking and maybe we do because we have not come to terms with our natural self in front of the mirror.

Although on a walk out with my son I don’t wear make-up but if I am out for my freelance assignments or attending events or parties I can’t do without it. I fear being judged for my “lack of grooming.” So once again society (or for that matter all those cosmetics manufacturing companies who make money out of me) have drilled into my head that I am not complete without make-up and I am bowing down to that perception.

When I arrived in Dubai I used to initially wonder how all the women in my office had their make-up perfectly in place all day when my lipstick was gone with the morning cup of coffee. I soon realized it had to do with touch ups every two hours with a folding make-up bag (holding every possible brand of cosmetic) rolled out in front of the mirror in the washroom. This sight used to really intrigue me.

And I was pretty shocked once when one of my woman bosses in Dubai decided to hire a girl despite knowing she was not too good at her job, only because she was, to put it in my boss’ words, “well put together”.

I have even seen if a woman does not wear make-up for a job interview employers sometimes, instead of taking a look at her impressive CV, quickly dub her “shabby”.

I wonder where this thing came from – that women will have to wear make-up to look good and be “presentable”. Make-up should have been an accessory to enhance our beauty if needed but it has become a necessity in modern life. Such a necessity, that we feel less and less confident in front of the mirror without it.

This is something that does not feature in a man’s radar that’s why I say they naturally look and feel good. Nowadays there are so many products for men in the market and treatments offered in the salons too. I am not saying men don’t go for it but it’s not in their psyche that they can’t do without it.

Yesterday, I was browsing through some with and without make-up snaps published in MSN and I realized Kim Kardashian looks so much better without make-up. Much better than the extended eye-lashes, over-done pouty look she flaunts most of the time. (Ok…ok I know she is ‘naturally’ so made-up anyway but still…)

Kim without make-up

Kim without make-up

Kim with make-up

Kim with make-up

I couldn't find a make-up free snap of Aishwarya Rai. Sigh!

I couldn’t find a make-up free snap of Aishwarya Rai. Sigh!

In fact, I remember once Aishwarya Rai was shooting in Kolkata and I caught up with her for an interview at 6am. She was leaving the hotel for shooting and did not have any make-up on. She looked ethereal. I have never seen any women with such lovely skin and beautiful eyes. To me she looked thousand times more beautiful sans make-up than she does with it.

But will she go to a press conference without make-up? No way. (And chances are she will be criticized if she did so.) But I have seen Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan doing exactly that- attending press conferences and events without make-up.

So are men naturally better looking than women then? Not really. But in my opinion they have learned to embrace their natural looks more wholeheartedly. Something we haven’t done yet.

But will we ever?

Darn!! I can’t find that foundation I bought yesterday that will make me look like I don’t have any make-up on. Err…sorry what was I saying?