The beau­ti­ful Barbi Chan gets real about the creative life


The gre­gar­i­ous Barbi Chan shows us what age­less beauty is about

Like her name­sake doll, Barbi Chan turns heads. It may be the pur­ple hair, the per­fect, al­abaster white skin, the lithe fig­ure or—and most likely—the out­sized personalit­y that bursts forth like fire­works, light­ing up the room and mak­ing ev­ery­thing seem brighter and hap­pier. Chan started her ca­reer in the 2000s, the nascent boom of the lo­cal makeup in­dus­try. Like many of her peers, she is as pic­ture-per­fect as the faces she paints for a living, mov­ing as eas­ily in front of the cam­era as she does behind it. She’s not just easy­go­ing—she’s down­right fun—a personalit­y that you’d love to bring along on those ex­ploratory photo shoots where any­thing can hap­pen. This is ex­actly what MEGA did a few years back when we trekked to Ice­land to shoot an episode of #Mak­ingMEGA. A “seny­ora,” a

term the in­dus­try fondly calls the older group who’ve paved, and in many ways, built the foun­da­tions of the mag­a­zine, beauty, and fash­ion worlds we in­habit to­day, isn’t usu­ally some­one you’d dare to bring to a lo­ca­tion ed­i­to­rial shoot, much less one that in­volved climb­ing up icy moun­tains in sub-zero tem­per­a­tures, lug­ging her makeup kit along to do mul­ti­ple makeup looks in a short amount of time. But there she was, hap­pily work­ing with the team, ru­in­ing her boots and laugh­ing about it, all the time pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful makeup looks that the team re­mem­bers with ado­ra­tion to this day.

At that time, Chan was living in Paris with her hus­band and child. Nowa­days she’s tem­po­rar­ily based in Manila, de­cid­ing—lit­er­ally—on her next big move. Chan, an avowed makeup lover, learned her trade all over the world, from Los An­ge­les to Mi­lan, New York

and Ger­many. Since mov­ing to Europe, she took up mi­crob­lad­ing in Ser­bia with Phi Brows, the glob­ally renowned mi­crob­lad­ing group, Learn­ing from the grand­mas­ter him­self, Branko Babic, Chan found her­self hav­ing to re-learn her brow-draw­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, as there was no eras­ing a stroke once it was cut into the skin. “Makeup, you can play and mess around and erase it with you don’t find it good,” she says. “With mi­crob­lad­ing, there is no room for er­ror as you lit­er­ally have to cut the skin and draw hair. Ev­ery­thing needs to be pre­cise and ex­act.” The self­de­scribed “age­less makeup and tat­too artist” had her work cut out for her with Phi Brows. “I re­searched to find the best school and in the end, I chose Phi Brows Academy. I love that they do not just give you the cer­tifi­cate. You need to prove to them that you de­serve it. I had to com­plete 11 lev­els of ex­ams be­fore I passed. It took me two months, and I nearly gave up as I was so stressed and tired all the time.” Her drive and re­solve is per­haps why Chan is a beloved makeup and brow artist. Not only did she make it, but she also achieved be­ing a Royal Artist, which re­quires a nom­i­na­tion from a Master and ap­proval from all the Mas­ters in the world. The next step for her is to be­come a Master her­self, which means she can fi­nally teach and travel for her craft. This is not all that Chan has in plan—she has an­other “se­cret” one that she is work­ing on, one that is meant to give back to the women and the in­dus­try that has been good to her. Oh, and she does all of this while tak­ing care of her child, too. That she man­ages all of this while keep­ing her good spir­its and crack­ling sense of hu­mor is noth­ing short of amaz­ing.

Chan is aware that she has been blessed with good for­tune, but she’s also worked lu­di­crously hard to achieve it. For those look­ing to carve their own path in a chal­leng­ing in­dus­try, she has this to say of her own ex­pe­ri­ence: “Never say never when you feel you are about to give up. Just take that one step again and again and again. Evolve, grow, and al­ways re­mem­ber, your suc­cess is de­pen­dent on you alone.” A strong heart, a sta­ble mind and a re­li­able part­ner are also key, she adds. In a ca­reer that isn’t for the faint of heart, she proves that one with bold­ness and dar­ing—and a sense of hu­mor—can stand the test of time.


Makeup artist and now eye­brow tat­too artist, Bar­bie Chan be­lieves that one’s suc­cess is de­pen­dent in one­self

SWEPT AWAY In Ice­land, Barbi Chan took on the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing mul­ti­ple makeup looks in record time

SHE WHIS­PERS Much like her work, Barbi Chan al­ways has a story to tell

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