updated 21 May 2012, 14:26
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Tue, Feb 07, 2012
The New Paper
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Tomboy meets 'gyaru'
by Shaun Soh

Two years ago, she refused to put on make-up because it meant waking up earlier to get ready for work.

Today, Miss Joyce Ong, 22, confesses that without make-up, she feels "naked".

She spends an hour dolling herself up to get the "gyaru" ("gal" in Japanese) look.

Miss Ong, a freelance make-up artist, usually puts on two layers of false eyelashes on the upper eyelids and another on the lower eyelids.

Together with a pair of prescription coloured contact lenses, her eyes seem larger and "doll-like".

Apart from foundation, lip gloss and eyeshadow, she adds a light sheen of brown on her shaped eyebrows. She also does her hair in such a way that it frames her face and completes the look.

"Sometimes it can take longer than an hour, especially when I have trouble putting on eyelashes with the glue and I get frustrated," she said.

But she persists because without make-up, she looks "exactly like my younger brother with his hair pulled back."

The only time she does not put on make-up is when she goes out to get groceries near her home.

Miss Ong said that in her previous job as an inventory assistant, she had not bothered with dolling herself up. That was because she had to wake up 11/2 hours earlier to start on her make-up and hair, in order to reach her workplace at 7am.

"I still need my sleep, and rest for your skin is important because I also go to bed around midnight," she said.

She said she was a "tomboy" in her younger days. She had even been mistaken for a boy when she entered a ladies' toilet once and a shocked woman screamed at her.

She decided to put on make-up after that, becoming a cosplayer when she was a teenager.

Apart from having the costumes, it was necessary for her to put on make-up to look like the anime characters that she wanted to look like.

She realised that she felt more confident about herself with make-up on.

So why did she settle on the "gyaru" style?

Miss Ong said that "Asian eyes are too small and people find larger eyes more attractive".

Asian celebrities, especially Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki, have taken inspiration from the "gyaru" style.

"The thing that they have taken is putting eyelashes on the top and bottom, and nude lips," she said.

Miss Ong, whose online nickname is Sochii, posts pictures of herself heavily made up on her Facebook profile. But she said she is not "cam-whoring".

Instead, it is a way to document how her make-up skills have improved.

"I take and post the pictures because I want to remember how good I look. I'm not going to look that pretty in 40 or 50 years' time," she said.

Miss Ong maintains that the make-up enhances the way she looks, and it is not insecurity that gets her burying her face under thick foundation cream.

Over the years, she has been experimenting with different colour schemes from lessons that she picked up from YouTube.

For someone who uses make-up so often, she spends only $200 every three months because she does a lot of research on cheaper brands.

"Some of the cheaper make-up I used was not suitable for my skin and I ended up spending more to find the right product," she said.

Though she wants to look good, Miss Ong said she would not undergo plastic surgery to change her looks.

She is reluctant to fork out the cash and she also fears the consequences if the surgery fails.

"I can use the money on other items like more make-up or even a new laptop," she said. Last year she started a Facebook group called SparklingCottonCandy, which aims to "unite girls who are in the fashion".

Membership has been growing.

Since she adopted the Japanese-inspired heavy make-up, family and friends have told her that she looks like a doll.

"I feel that it is a compliment because dolls look flawless, but when they say it in a sarcastic tone, it can be offensive," she said.

She lives in an HDB flat with her parents and a younger brother.

For special occasions, she helps her mother with her make-up.

Her grandparents, who have been critical of how she looks, would rather that she not wear the contact lenses and the heavy make-up. But they have grown to accept it.

She said there have been suitors showing interest in her because of how she looks, but she worries that their interest may only be make-up-deep.

"If they like me because of my make-up, what's going to happen when I do not have it on?" she said.

Miss Ong has also encountered passers-by making comments and pointing at her when she goes out.

She feels that it's because they cannot accept the fact that people look different or they are jealous that she looks better than them.

As to whether she plans to keep this dramatic look forever, Miss Ong said: "I will still be putting on make-up as I grow older, but I will be reducing the amount gradually."

"I take and post the pictures because I want to remember how good I look. I'm not going to look that pretty in 40 or 50 years' time."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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readers' comments

MyStrawberry, these men exist across the world.

People like ELLIOTT SPITZER in America will pay for an escort, who I'm sure does wake up, floss and mouthwash, and put on a small amount of make-up, before the customer rises.

I am not flirting or agreeing in a sycophantic manner, but women should be expected to be able to sleep, attend their workplace, dress, and compose themselves, in a natural human way.

Men, if you can't handle a bit of acid reflux or flatulation in your double bed, then marriage maybe isn't for you...
Posted by Trouser Press on Mon, 13 Feb 2012 at 00:36 AM
There are guys who will expect their gals to wake up beside them with full make up and tidy hair. How shallow can they be. Be wary ;)
Posted by mystrawberry on Sun, 12 Feb 2012 at 16:39 PM

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