Fashion

Makeup artiste Mimi Choi has a magical eye

On her Instagram handle, Mimi Choi, using herself as a model, posts carefully-created illusions

On her Instagram handle, Mimi Choi, using herself as a model, posts carefully-created illusions   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The makeup artiste behind Ezra Miller’s viral Met Gala look says she channels her nightmares into art

A lot of looks turned heads at the Met Gala in New York this year, but probably none as much as Ezra Miller’s. More than the pinstriped suit designed by Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci, it was the five optical illusion-inducing eyeballs painted masterfully on the actor’s face that packed a punch.

Mimi Choi, the Vancouver-based makeup artiste behind Miller’s look, is no stranger to the world of trippy, mind-bending looks. It was her Instagram account — which boasts over one million followers and caught the attention of Miller’s publicist — that landed her the gig.

“We spent five hours on the makeup [on the day], and leading up to the event, we had a call and I was so excited to realise that our visions for the Met Gala look were aligned,” shares Choi. “We were both thinking about doing multiple eyes to fit the gala’s theme and Ezra’s vision,” she says, sharing that the result was inspired by a kaleidoscopic look she did in 2018.

Ezra Miller arrives for the 2019 Met Gala in New York. The Gala's 2019 theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion” inspired by Susan Sontag's 1964 essay “Notes on Camp”.

Ezra Miller arrives for the 2019 Met Gala in New York. The Gala's 2019 theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion” inspired by Susan Sontag's 1964 essay “Notes on Camp”.   | Photo Credit: Angela Weiss

From chalk to paint

Choi’s journey to becoming one of the world’s most well-recognised makeup artistes is almost serendipitous. The former pre-school teacher only took up makeup five years ago, encouraged by her mother, who noticed her burnout and dissatisfaction with her teaching job.

With no experience in art or painting, Choi quit her job and enrolled at Blanche Macdonald, a Vancouver-based beauty and fashion school. “I realised immediately how happy doing makeup made me feel — it was like I had discovered something new about myself,” she shares.

Dream diaries

The decision to break away from the norm and work on illusion makeup was prompted by Choi’s bouts of sleep paralysis. A few years ago, when she started seeing spiders in her sleep, she decided to translate the dream to art. “I painted 3D spiders on my body and lips, and I realised that after doing so, I stopped dreaming about spiders.” Instead, she had new visions — of sliced and melted features — which inspired her more morbid looks. Some of her work features exact replicas of her visions, while others bring in sources of inspiration like photography, digital art and paintings, including those by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali.

Illusion of social media

Even though she credits Instagram for being her global portfolio and helping her reach new clients for photoshoots, events and artistic projects, Choi is wary of the pressure to conform. “It is much more rewarding to discover your own unique style than to fade into what is trendy at the moment,” she says. “Don’t adapt to trends, let the world adapt to you,” she advises. As for how she plans to beat her Met Gala look, she’s certain her ideas will never run dry. “I am very spontaneous, so even I don’t know what’s next. I’ll continue to combine my passions for makeup, travel and teaching.”

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 3:28:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/mimi-chois-magical-eyes/article27235332.ece

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