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.
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