Make-Up Artists in Northeast: Breaking the stereotype of it being gender-biased
By Ladiangti Rani
Women have been experimenting with make-up for generations, and society has always viewed the profession as a woman’s job, while men wearing make-up is considered a complete taboo.
But make-up does not always mean femininity. If we go back in time and do our research, we would read about how ancient Egyptian men would put black pigment around their eyes to create cat-eye designs or green eye shadow, as it was believed to evoke the gods Horus and Ra. Even Roman men would apply red pigment to their cheeks.
George Westmore, the first male make-up artist in 1917, led the way for many other male artists to come forward and now, thanks to social media and the emergence of male beauty influencers like James Charles and Derek Kildall, make-up is becoming more gender-inclusive.
In Northeast India, various male make-up artists have come forward to pursue their passion and earn their living by doing what they love.
TNT: When did you start experimenting with make-up?
Lalrinmuana Varte: I loved make-up ever since I was small, but I started stepping in the beauty industry since the middle of 2017.
Donly Hujon: When I was 15 years old.
TNT: To be a male MUA and posting your work on social media platforms must have created an impact. What were the hurdles you had to deal with?
Lalrinmuana Varte: I encounter no problems regarding what I do. I don’t think there is a drawback visible in myself. I know what I do; I love what I do, so hate comments do not settle in my head.
Donly Hujon: In the beginning, it was difficult as most of the people mocked me for choosing this profession, but as time goes by people started realising that it is through this profession that we can showcase the talent and earn our income.
TNT: Do you feel that your family and friends have accepted the choices you both made regarding your careers? What about society? Were there any hate messages? If yes, how are you tackling it?
Lalrinmuana Varte: My friends and family accept and support me and my craft. However, there is this massive notion among the society that finds it hard to embrace something that is outside the box. So, it would not be wrong to say a majority of the society does not support me. I do not believe that the hate comments come out of the badness in their hearts but the stagnant notion embedded in the society.
Donly Hujon: Well, family and friends are the ones who accepted me from the start, they have always been the one who supported me, and as for society, they mocked me, but when they see my progress, they started appreciating.
TNT: Have you come across clients who have different perspectives on how this career should only be a woman’s job? What would you like to say to this?
Lalrinmuana Varte: I am lucky because my clients have all been very accepting, supportive and open-minded. So, I have never encountered such mentality or remarks.
Donly Hujon: No, because most of my clients believe in my work. They don’t have a gender issue.
TNT: Is it difficult to come out of your shell and follow your dreams?
Lalrinmuana Varte: It has been very hard to step forward knowing that the majority of society won’t accept me. When I entered the beauty industry, I learned that if I accept myself in the first place and have a passion for what I create then, the negativity won’t settle in my heart.
Donly Hujon: Yes, it is difficult because society does not accept male genders to choose this kind of profession as most of them thinks this is a female job, but since I feel that this is my calling, I decided I should pursue my dreams and carry on with my work whether or not people will support me because, after all, people will always judge.
TNT: What message would you like to send out to our readers?
Lalrinmuana Varte: What I want to voice out is that whatever may be, occupation or profession, it’s important to do it with all our might and heart. It is very important and crucial for my fellow content creators/make-up artists. It is never a good move to do something for people to receive back.
We receive blessings if we keep preserving and work hard for something we love. As long as we live, as long as the worlds keep turning, there will always be an opposition party, someone who wants to see us fail, but we have to pay no heed and focus on what we do best. It’s also vital to never depend on other people’s opinion, especially the destructive criticisms, and never forget to remember, don’t take life too seriously.
Donly Hujon: Follow and listen to your calling no matter how small your background is. Keep working hard towards your goal. One day you will fly high in the sky!