Youthful, ferocious and admirably ambitious – she’s merely 22 years of age but Roxanne carries herself with decided maturity. She discovered at the tender age of 17 that being her own boss was the only way to go after lasting barely 3 months in a property company. She then embarked on 4 years of freelance modelling which she decided to cut short. Her confidence as a fashion model had faltered due to abrupt weight gain. Refusing to allow this change in physical appearance impede her #girlboss ambition, she took her fascination in cosmetics to a professional level by attending a make up course in Houston, Texas, 2 years ago.
Today, Roxanne is the fastest growing Indian makeup artist in Singapore. So how did she grow from zero to hero? How did she grow from having less than a hundred followers on social media to a solid combined pool of over 15,000 followers?
Q&A WITH ROXANNE SYLVIA
Hi Roxanne! What made you decide to be a #girlboss in the makeup industry?
Hi Tatum! Thank you for featuring my work in your article! I have always been intrigued by the wonders of makeup since I was a little girl. During my modelling days, I had the opportunity to work with countless MUAs – some of whom did my makeup really beautifully for photoshoots… others did not-so-great jobs. This lack of MUA talent pool in Singapore pulled me in deeper to want to be a MUA myself. Also, it was so much easier for me to do my own makeup than to trust someone else with my face… it didn’t take long for people to realize that I was good at doing my own makeup and that really motivated me to hold my breath, cross my fingers and venture out as an independent MUA.
(Above: 2 stunning pictures from Roxanne’s modelling portfolio.)
What a ballsy move! What is the biggest challenge you face as an independent MUA in Singapore?
The biggest challenge would be having to convince people to trust me with doing a good job with their faces. I don’t blame them because it is very common to get a bad MUA if you’re not careful. I do have proof of my makeup skills on my website and Facebook page but sometimes pictures fail to make someone entirely believe in your work. That is why I feel that spreading good reviews of your work via word-of-mouth is crucial for a MUA to succeed.
I’ve had my fair share of bad MUAs too! And you were definitely not one of them. I remember you did a spectacular makeover for me during a photoshoot about 3 years ago! You weren’t a professional then but it was still close to flawless!
(Laughs) Yes! I still have a picture of that… I posted it on my Facebook page all those years ago! My makeup technique has changed so much since then especially in terms of definition… attending the makeup course in Houston 2 years ago was when contouring was trending. This means that I picked contouring up from scratch and contouring has been an indispensable part of my makeup routine for all my clients since then! I am constantly improving myself to acquire the latest makeup techniques so that my clients will benefit.
(Here’s an embarrassing picture of infant me 3 years ago at an outdoor photoshoot for which Roxanne had done my makeup and hair)
Now tell me the secret behind your social media fame. You actually attracted thousands of followers over just a few months! People usually take years to get to that level. How did you do it?
I don’t upload pictures often – but when I do, I make sure that the picture post is of good quality (especially on Instagram). The images I share are always different… I change my hair colour regularly… this keeps people interested to find out what my next hair colour would be. Also, I think my signature ‘resting bitch face’ (RBF) also adds to the charm of my posts – according to my recent selfie that I posted on Instagram 1500 people quite like my RBF. Lastly, tagging the official accounts of the makeup brands that you use in your beauty selfies will definitely gain you many more followers.
Personally, I have dolled up many local celebrities for their castings… they usually tag me on their photos as a way of saying ‘thank you’ so that also does bring in many followers to my account. It’s a fantastic form of publicity. I’m really fortunate to have such links which has established when I used to act on local TV… it definitely has opened quite a few doors for me as a MUA.
I feel so honoured to be interviewing a TV celebrity! (shrieks) Besides being a celebrity, a MUA and all that cool stuff… I know that you are also coming up with your own makeup line… you have been terribly secretive about this though. Please spill the beans!!
It’s not going to be a secret anymore because I’m ready to tell you what exactly it is that I’m doing! I am currently working on ‘Roxx Pigments‘ which are basically neon coloured eyeshadow pigments. Good bright neon shades are really not easy to get your hands on in the market today. I’ve spent the past 2 years tirelessly researching and experimenting on ways to conjure up a recipe for organically made eyeshadows in the comfort of my own home… I plan to give the samples that I come up with to a factory to mass produce once I am done manufacturing the samples. Because there are many restrictions in Singapore, I intend to launch my makeup brand overseas in about 2 to 3 years time.
You’re full of wonderful surprises! Alright, last question before we go behind the scenes with you for the Indian bridal photoshoot tonight! What advice would you give to aspiring MUAs who are afraid to go independent?
I would advise them to start by working for a well known beauty brand or outlet (such as MAC Cosmetics or Sephora) until they have gained sufficient confidence to fly solo. They should also use this job as a platform to build up a good set of photos for their portfolio. Secondly, go around doing free work! Get ‘before and after’ pictures of the makeup looks that they create and use them as promotional material to share on their social media space… this would ignite response from their existing followers which will in turn create a positive domino effect!
Lastly, never. give. up. When I started as a professional MUA 3 years ago, I only had one client in a month or two… but I had to keep going because I knew that I was in this for the win. I linked up with other freelance MUAs and slowly increased awareness of my work through social media. Today, I am fully booked for the next 1 year! I will be starting bridal makeovers from next year onwards.
BEHIND THE SCENES: INDIAN BRIDAL MAKEUP LOOK
That’s all for this post, folks! Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for dropping by! Roxanne has kindly agreed to share a few MUA tips and tricks in a post which will be coming up soon! Ultra special thanks to Roxanne and her lovely model, Ashwini for making this post possible.
Roxanne’s Instagram / Mizroxx
Roxanne’s official FB page / Makeup By Roxx
Roxanne’s personal FB page / Sivaranjani Roxanne Sylvia