Interview by

1. How long have you been in the business? How did you start?

I’ve been in this business since 2003. I opened my first salon in Pasay City and I immediately saw that my staff couldn’t create the image I saw in my head. When I got deeper into the make-up world, I realized that I needed more than just personal experiences; I needed professional training to get my business where I wanted it. I knew I had to learn and turn my make-up into an art, so I enrolled myself at Ricky Reyes Institute in Quiapo. Since then, I have been hooked on makeup. The following year, I enrolled at Lasalle International School of Fashion and took up Artistic Makeup. While there, I discovered that I could draw amazing brows and that I could transform people, with makeup as my medium. At this point, I couldn’t get enough of it and am always looking to learn more, so I looked around Manila for makeup schools, but I couldn’t find any that would challenge my creativity. I searched online and found Cinema School (USA). In 2006, I ventured to Los Angeles for six months – three months of which were spent in makeup schooling, the rest of my time spent collaborating with great photographers and models. During this time, I was able to create my amazing portfolio and haven’t looked back since.

I came back to Manila and quickly started attracting Filipino photographers and models. I wasn’t worried about getting paid at that time because I thought of it as a way to hone my newly acquired skills, but then some of my closest friends told me that I deserved to be paid for my amazing work! Once I turned my hobby into a business, I found myself doing work for movies, magazines, TVC and model books.

2. Why did you venture into the wedding industry?
Weddings and Beyond approached me and convinced me to be part of their bridal fair, I never realized the potential in the wedding industry until I booked seven brides that same day. Doing makeup on someone’s special day is stressful, but 5-6 hours of hard work is all it takes and you’re back in your comfort zone. Wedding makeup has allowed me to make countless friends and contrary to popular belief, mothers-of-the-bride are some of the best people to talk to. My secret: go with the flow and communicate! Ask your clients what they want. If you think that the look that they are after, doesn’t suit them, you have to let them know why and make a better suggestion, somewhere in the middle. I am always surprised at how much my clients trust my opinion and allow me to turn them into works of art. One last thing I never forget; a smile goes a long way. At the end of the day, nothing in makeup is permanent, so there is never a reason to get upset, smile and be happy, you only have one life to live, so live it beautifully!

3. What is your style principle when it comes to bridal makeup? How should a bride be made up on her wedding day?
I really want my clients to look the way I want to look on my wedding day. Clean makeup, simple and elegant. The eyebrows should be shaped according to her face shape and her look is never complete without enhancing the lashes. I love long, full lashes. Who doesn’t?

4. Do you have a favorite look for brides?
Natural makeup. My makeup style is similar to Jennifer Lopez’s and Kim Kardashan’s styles. They always sport the natural and beautiful look, showcasing their eyes and lashes. I like to let the natural beauty of a woman stand out by accenting her most beautiful features and almost always; it’s the eyes.

5. Is styling a bride different from styling any other client?
-I treat them the same. The steps are the same but the use of colors varies for different occasions. I use airbrush makeup because it’s lightweight, long wearing and provides a naturally flawless-look, that even men don’t notice.

6. What preparations do you go through before you style someone?
-I make sure that I know what the client wants and what she doesn’t want. I also ask what the occasion is. I then assess their style and facial structure, building an idea of what will give them the look they want.

7. How do you keep your skills and style updated?
-I research online; I read books and magazines to keep abreast of the trends. I travel to the US periodically, to check out the upcoming styles and take makeup classes from other professionals know the Hollywood trends that I’m after.

8. What do you envision for your company in the future?
My vision is to bring Hollywood makeup school style to Manila. I also want to branch out Nina’s Touch Studio’s all over the county and to attract franchisees. I want to make sure I keep my standards high, provide my clients an amazing experience and be unique and innovative. I also want to combine my home spa business, Savasana, with Nina’s Touch, to not only transform a clients look, but promote overall well being.