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.
JUST TAKE THAT ONE STEP AGAIN AND AGAIN EVOLVE. GROW AND ALWAYS REMEMBER.YOUR SUCCESS IS DEPENDENT ON YOU ALONE
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