Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Hollywood actress Freida Pinto wrote an article for The Oprah Magazine about her issues finding work as an Indian model with a dark skin tone in Bollywood, and the moment she decided to embrace her complexion. Here’s what Freida had to say:

“I’m from a culturally rich and diverse nation, India. We speak many languages and have unimaginable variety in our traditional cuisine. People in the north look completely different from those in the south—sometimes it’s hard to believe we all come from the same country. But there is one disturbing notion prevalent throughout India: that light skin is more attractive than dark. And as someone who has what Indians call a dusky complexion, I used to think there might be truth to that. When you doubt one thing about yourself, you start thinking there’s also something wrong with your hair, your body, your clothes, your accent—everything.

A few years ago, my modeling agency asked me to audition for skin-lightening commercials. I knew those products were wrong, so I’d show up with a burden in my heart, thinking, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Those commercials sent out a message that if your skin is lighter, you are more acceptable to society. The strangest part was that the people creating these negative images were some of the most attractive dark-skinned people I have seen. They always rejected me for the ads, and I’m glad they did.

Before my first movie, Slumdog Millionaire, I hadn’t traveled outside Southeast Asia. But while promoting the film, I went on a world tour and interacted with people of many different ethnicities. One day I was checking in at my Los Angeles hotel and a woman who was as pale as pale can be said to me, “I’d love to have your skin color. It’s so beautiful!” I thought, “What? Where I come from people want to be your color, lady.” I wish all Indian girls could have heard her say that.

Then something just clicked. I thought, “I’m going to stop thinking my complexion or accent isn’t good enough.” Then and there I decided to be happy with what I have.

In my travels, I’ve seen that self-doubt is not just an Indian problem. All people—African, European, American—worry about being different. But I’ve learned that the traits we’d rush to get rid of are the very ones that others desire. People always covet what they don’t have. That’s why we should look at ourselves every now and then and say, “I’m proud of myself. I like the way I’m made.””

To read more about the Indian beauty ideal, click here. To read my post on skin brightening instead of skin whitening, click here.

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Sonam Kapoor and Fan Bing Bing at Cannes 2011

“Jolie Asie”, French for “Pretty Asian”, is the beauty blog that brings you the best of both worlds – beauty and fashion tips, tricks, and secrets for descendants of East Asia and India… with a Western flair!

“Jolie Asie” is a beauty blog written for entertainment and casual informational purposes only.

Please assume that everything you read here is opinion, and not fact. The writers at “Jolie Asie” are not responsible for any losses, damages, injuries, or other grievances sustained in relation to accessing the site and acting upon information received here.

Here at Jolie Asie, we do not claim to be professionals or experts, nor do we receive compensation for any of our product reviews or posts.

Danqing and Meg are not physicians, makeup artists, fashion stylists, or experts in any other manner. Follow advice or recommendations at your own risk. If you are planning on undertaking any new beauty- or health- related program or regimen, please consult with a medical expert or certified professional before beginning.

Regarding product and clothing recommendations, “How To” guides, and similar posts: please remember that no two faces and bodies are alike. For example, clothing and makeup styling that works for Sonam Kapoor may not work for Fan Bing Bing, and vice versa. As another example: a skincare product or regimen that was effective for Danqing or Meg may not necessarily have the same results for some of our readers. Take all advice with a grain of salt, remembering that our guides and recommendations are written to the best of our knowledge and experience, but may not always be perfect.

We do our utter best to have our information as accurate and professional as possible, but we are in the end only human, and errors may occur. If you spot an error on our website, please contact us.

We will always attempt to give credit where it is due for information or media, most often titling our pictures based on our sources and naming our sources for interview materials. If you have any concerns, please feel free to leave us a comment and we will address them as soon as possible.

Thanks for visiting “Jolie Asie” at jolieasie.wordpress.com. For any questions or comments, email us at jolieasie@gmail.com.

Meg and Danqing

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The dominance of media and its unbalanced emphasis on beauty has, unfortunately, made physical attractiveness an incredibly hot commodity.  While beauty has always been valued more than it should be, after all it is mostly based on one’s genetic luck, the growth of access that we have to images, news, opinions, etc. have pushed society’s obsession with beauty to a whole new level.  In this day and age, it’s more impossible than ever to claim that your appearance doesn’t matter – because it does.

That fact usually doesn’t bother me.  Why?  Well, one of the mantras of this blog, and an idea that Meg and I really believe in, is that beauty is a reflection of what is within: health, emotions, personality.  We believe that what is inside is reflected on the outside and that if a person is healthy, happy, and at peace that they will be more beautiful.  This is why we encourage healthy habits and positive lifestyles along with a well-matched concealer and tailored pants.

So, it usually doesn’t bother me because I think that striving for beauty encourages positive habits.  Well, that and because I like all things beauty.  However, starting this blog has made me think about the idea of beauty more and I came to this question:

How fake is too fake?

Can beauty truly be a reflection of health and happiness and whatever else is inside when there is so much that we fake?  Fake breasts, fake noses, fake hair color, fake eye color, fake eyelashes, even, to an extent with makeup and contouring, fake faces.  At what point does all this fake completely debunk my (admittedly idealistic) concept of beauty?  And, with all this pressure around for us to all be beautiful, can we blame anyone for a little fakery here and there?  How much is too much?

It’s all about perspective.  For example, to me plastic surgery is a big no no.  I would never change the structure of my face or drag the skin of my face up to look younger.  But what if I was a celebrity whose career hinges on looking beautiful, wouldn’t I do whatever it took to maintain my looks?

And what about the crap we have to put up with as Asian women?  Whitening skin products overflow the makeup counters in Asia.  Women walk around in long sleeves and with umbrellas on bright, sunny summer days.  Beautiful black hair is dyed brown; deep, dark eyes are turned light.  Some Asian women even get surgeries on their eyelids to make their eyes look larger and more deeply set.  It’s a sad fact that the beauty ideals perpetuated by many Asian cultures are based on standards that are naturally not our lot in life.

Some people say that these Asian beauty ideals are the result of years of western dominance: light skin, colored eyes, etc.  Others argue vehemently that these are the standards that Asian countries have always had – they argue that all beauty standards are incredibly hard to achieve and that if they weren’t, we wouldn’t consider them beautiful.  Personally, I think it’s a combination of both.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you an answer to my question.  How fake is too fake depends on you, on your life and your choices.  And no one should judge (though we all, inevitably do).  I would encourage us all to keep a healthy perspective upon beauty.  It can be great and fun and exciting, God only knows I love to get dressed up and go out, but it’s also important to check myself.

It’s not going to kill me if my makeup doesn’t look good today.  It’s not going to kill me if I eat a piece of cake.  It’s not going to kill me if my lips aren’t perfectly symmetrical.  It’s not going to kill me if I’m totally wearing the wrong shoes for my outfit.

In a world where there are so many standards thrust upon us, we need to remember that the only opinion that truly matters is our own.  Don’t be too influenced by everything out there, focus on what’s inside, on how you feel and what you think.  If you feel like you’re carrying more weight than you like, then lose it.  If you like your bushy eyebrows, keep them bushy.  As long as you’re happy and healthy that’s really all that matters.

 Of course Jolie Asie is a beauty blog and we’re going to write about beauty every day.  And we love it!  We love makeup and fashion and skincare and celebrities.  I’m sure you all do too!  (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this absurdly long and rambling post)  I just hope we all keep it in perspective.  Beauty should be fun, it should never hurt us.  So, I hope you all enjoy our blog and can have fun with the information we put up here.  We sure have fun writing!  And remember that, at the end of the day, beauty should be about what makes you happy.

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Hey, Danqing! You are thousands of miles away from me right now, somewhere in the bright lights of Shanghai. If it was any other day we’d be lounging on the black leather couches of your apartment, gossiping about the latest makeup trends or a friend’s fashion faux pas over pina coladas.

Instead, I’m interviewing you for our beauty blog over email! I want to hear all about the secrets of your closet and makeup bag, AND about advice you have for our readers.

Let’s get started!

1. If you were stranded on a desert island and had only one beauty product with you, what would it be? Name the specific product and why.

DANQING: God, this is super hard!  My makeup scheme is more Shakespeare than a one act play.  Well, OK not Shakespeare, my makeup isn’t very complicated, just the same thing most every single day but still.  (So, maybe it’s like a day time talk show/morning show).  But, I guess for my makeup soliloquy I would choose mascara, specifically Lancome Hypnose.  I love mascara, can’t live without it.  Though it would put a big cramp in my lashes if I couldn’t also have my Shu Uemera lash curler.

Also, if I were really going to be on a desert island I should probably choose sunscreen…

2. Who are your celebrity muses for beauty and for fashion?

DANQING: Well, I love celebrities.  I have quite a few fashion inspirations.  I love Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson’s street style, so cute and their looks translate to my life pretty well.  Very downtown casual meets California cool.  I also love Kate Moss, more for what she was rather than how she looks now, but she’s Kate Moss!  And without her, we’d all probably be wearing flares.  Finally, there’s the immortal Tina Chow who I’m doing a post on soon.  She’s my #1 style icon.

Beauty has been more difficult for me.  It’s hard to find beauty inspiration in people who look nothing like you (i.e. Kate Bosworth), and maybe that’s why I’m more of a clothes girl than a makeup girl.  I’ve learned mostly from my mom and friends, but, like I said above my makeup is pretty routine/simple.  I was never very inspired by famous Asian actresses (Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, FBB) simply because I like being tan and their makeup revolves so much around being pale. (Though currently Gong Li is getting tan and people are freaking out, but I like it … maybe I’ll take another look at her). Maybe I can count Tina Chow as a beauty inspiration too, though to be honest, it’s more that she really validated my existing makeup shtick – natural makeup with a nice lip color or smoky eye for night.  God I love Tina Chow.

3. Tell me about your worst makeup/hair/clothing experience.

DANQING: I’ve had a lot of crazy clothing experiences over the years (sophomore year of college I loved Mary Kate Olsen and, well, let’s just say my clothing reflected that), but I don’t regret any of them.  They were fun and really let me explore what I liked and didn’t like.  The worst makeup experience was probably freshman year of college when I let my friend Erin put purple glitter on my eyes for a Halloween costume.  It looked awful, but when I went to take it off it left purple glitter all over my face and got into my eyes.  It hurt so bad and I had red and puffy eyes for the rest of the night!

4. What do East Asian and Indian beauty and fashion tips have to do with one another? How can such different races learn from each other?

DANQING: For me, I think the mutual lesson any Asian/Indian American (or Asian/Indian living in the west) needs to learn is that we can’t model ourselves after western trends like many of our classmates can.  It’s a hard process.  I remember when I was first getting into makeup it was really hard because I’d be doing the same things that my friends were doing but I’d look weird!  My mom’s not big on makeup either so I was kind of at a loss.  It wasn’t until probably college that I started experimenting more with makeup and wearing it regularly.  Of course now I’m hooked like a junkie, go figure!  I do think Indians have a bit of an advantage in that regard because of the popularity of Bollywood, but still I think it’s hard to be like “OK, I’m different” and really do things differently.

And, it’s more pronounced with makeup I think, but it’s the same with clothing.  Certain colors or cuts of clothing simply don’t work for some Asians/Indians, but it’s harder for people to realize.  With clothing people are conditioned to be like “OK, do I like it?” or “is it pretty?” and then “well, does it fit?”.  A lot of the time we don’t think about things like “Is this color complementary?” or “does this cut flatter me?”.  I’ve known a lot of Asian and Indian girls who wear clothes that fit correctly and are in style, but fail to consider aspects beyond that.  It’s unfortunate because that stuff really matters.

5. Name your favorite sources for beauty and fashion news/opinions.

DANQING: Well, Jolie Asie!  Kidding, kidding.  I read a lot of fashion blogs.  I’m a blog junkie.  Google reader was made for me.  I love the street style blog The Sartorialist, as well as celebrity blogs The Vogue Diaries and Red Carpet Fashion Awards.  I also enjoy style blogs like Fashion Toast and The Glamourai (Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast is half Japanese and I have gotten some makeup ideas from her blog).  I love the fashion industry beauty blog Into the Gloss as well.  I read Vogue and Elle almost every month for the fashion inspiration and stay up to date with fashion-y things with Fashionista.com.

Finally, I just love to shop and talk with friends!  I might get a lot of ideas from the internet but when it comes to translating those ideas to my life it’s all about what’s available and what looks good.  I might have an idea of what I want to buy, but I’m a pretty physical shopper.  I like to touch and see and try on, so for me the stores around me play a big part.  When I’m in the U.S. I’m all about Club Monaco, J. Crew, and websites like Shopbop, but when I’m in Shanghai I hit up Zara, Uniqlo, Muji, and Mango like a maniac.  I also rely on my friends (and my mother!) to keep it real for me.  Plus, what’s more fun than shopping with friends?

6. How has your heritage- including your family- influenced your taste in makeup and clothing?

DANQING: I’ve kind of touched on this, but both me and my mom keep it simple in the makeup department.  This probably led us to channeling all our energy on clothes.  And shoes and bags.  My mom and I are big shoppers and we love to try out new trends and styles.  (Though my mom usually lets me take the first plunge).

As for my heritage, it’s definitely a love/hate relationship in the beauty department.  It’s been hard for me to reconcile some things with the Asian standard of beauty.  Like I said before, I like to be tan and that’s just a no no in Asia.  Also, I’m 5’7” which is quite tall for an Asian girl so I’ve had some strange experiences with that.  I try to take what I can and and leave the rest behind.  The tough thing about being multicultural is that, in some ways, you’re never actually fully either culture.  In terms of beauty and style that means recognizing that the standards are mixed and sometimes it’s impossible to satisfy both. So what’s important is being yourself and doing what you like best for yourself.

7. What is the most important beauty/fashion tip or trick you would advise for ALL of our readers?

DANQING: Find your identity.  It takes time and it’s constantly changing, but once you find your beauty identity everything becomes easier, and way more fun.  It’s harder for the multicultured (as previously mentioned) but it also means you have more possibilities.  Style is all about your experiences and influences.  Being multicultured can be an advantage if you recognize it.

Theoretical tips aside, always look at yourself critically in the mirror.  That way you can avoid lots of train wrecks: bad colors, weird foundation lines, you name it.  There mirror is a friend if used correctly.

8. Tell me why I, and our readers, should believe what you say and trust you as a credible source of advice.

DANQING: Hm, this is hard because I don’t have any professional credentials.  I won’t say they should trust me, but I’ll say they should give me a chance because I’m passionate about what we’re writing about at Jolie Asie and because I’m honest with everything I write.  It’s a labor of love, I think, for both of us.  And it’s a way for us to share our experiences and opinions and information.  We’re definitely not putting stuff out there that we think isn’t worthwhile.  The goal is to give people helpful and interesting information.

Also I’d recommend readers read one of our earliest posts about what beauty means to us if they want to see our beauty philosophy.

9. What is the most important makeup product a girl should own?

DANQING: Well, you already know I love my mascara but I think a well-matched concealer is the most important product.  It’s what gets the ball rolling.  Without a good concealer, you don’t have a good base to build upon.

10. What is the most important piece of clothing a girl should own?

DANQING: Yikes, this is so hard for me.  I think basics are really important, but to narrow down to one is really hard.  I’m going to say a nude colored, perfectly fitted bra and a nude thong.  Lay a good clothing foundation and everything else you add will build up to something great.  Lay a bad foundation and don’t be surprised if your end product isn’t as good as you would like.

Thanks, Danqing!

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Beauty is a state that is witnessed from the inside out. I understand beauty as a product of treating one’s own body with careful respect. Silky hair, clear skin, full lips, and glowing eyes are indicators of the vitality and radiance that emerge from excellent nutrition, smart exercise, and diligent grooming. These core principles set a foundation for the confidence, self-assurance and sense of pride that are necessary for achieving true beauty.

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Danqing Thinks …

that beauty should be personal, but not too personal.  Ok enough with this 3rd person stuff, I’m turning into Lebron James.  Back to beauty!  I think a person’s aesthetic should reflect them, however, I think people also need to keep in mind that other people have to look at them.  That means, if your personal reflection is scrubby sweatpants and greasy hair, you need to keep in mind that other people have to be near you and look at you … and subsequently go and at least wash your hair.

Catchy mantra aside, I have a few other beauty basics.

1. a person should look healthy.  and I suppose the best way to look healthy would be to be healthy!  (still working on the being healthy part … )

2. a person’s makeup should enhance her natural assets and look natural — heavy makeup is ok for special events, but for the most part looking natural is just better

3. a person should not look like a mess.  I get it, we all have our days.  But those days shouldn’t come around that often people! Unless you have children (then I totally understand) you should not be a scrub more than once a week.  Even that is stretching it.

My final point is my most important, everyone should have a beauty buddy.  A friend that they can bounce beauty ideas off of, a friend to exchange knowledge, and a friend who will give you an honest answer about your new eyebrow shape or your new slacks.  You might not always agree and you might still choose to rock those slacks even if the other person says they look like their mom’s (though when that mom is Meg’s, I’ll take that as a complement), but trust me 9 times out of 10 your beauty buddy will help you make the right decision.

And, really, it’s about more than beauty decisions and potentially avoiding disasters (too thin eyebrows anyone?).  It’s about sharing experiences, trying new things, hearing a different point of view, and, most importantly, friendship.

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