1001 Personaliti

Jessy Kova on the Pandemic & Local Beauty Scene

It all started almost inadvertently for him. “I love make-up!” he uttered almost immediately at our interview without hesitance nor doubt.

“I never planned to be a make-up artist, but I did do my family and siblings’ make-up for big events. My cousins – they wanted me to do theirs for their engagements and weddings too. So, it started from there-lah. Then, grew out to their friends.”

The list of clients became even longer when he started posting pictures of his work on his social account. Instagram as a platform was non-existent yet around 2007-08. So, he turned to Facebook to get himself out there to a greater audience.

His inbox was then flooded with demands for prices for his make-up services from his circle of friends and also strangers.

Like any make-up novices in the business, he found it exceptionally intimidating at this new and almost unknown path but, “I took it,” he told us.

Now, he has been a full-time make-up artist for more than a decade and has
worked with Ezah Hashim, Dila Junaidi as well as other renowned celebrities such as Ismail Izzani and Naim Daniel during their visit to Brunei.

With the amount of experience gathered in those years, Jessy has swept from bridal to commercial jobs; trusted by many local companies and clients.

“For me, even though it’s been years now, make-up is (still) a learning process. Make up trends change all the time. There is a difference between today’s make-up and the past ten year’s. It evolves.”

Eyebrow looks and make-up techniques may differ in time and they can easily be outdated. It was because of this current, Jessy argued that this profession requires make-up artists to be on their toes on what is up to the minute. “All the time,” he stressed.

When it comes to his signature look, Jessy told us he has his own liking. Specifically, dark, smokey eyes that draw people’s attention to their orbs right away.

“Personally, I love to focus on the eyes instead of lips. I prefer soft lips and very bold eyes.”

This was a common look done by Brazilian make-up artists which he was usually inspired by. He expressed how his taste and his Brazilian counterparts’ sense of touch mirrored each other, to a point that he became known for it here by his clients and other make-up artists.

“I can go for a natural look too,” he voiced out. “Strong or soft make-up basically depends on each client’s personal taste or inclination. There are clients who don’t normally wear make-up and to them, light make-up is already enough,”

“Whereas those who wear make-up regularly, they tend to want something more or bolder. So, before anything, I need to ask them first, what’s their make-up expectations-lah,” he added.

For his concept look, he went out of his way to up his make-up style even more. Still retaining his essence of smokey eyes, he added a bolder lip colour, making everything look even stronger.

The deep red lips and the apple were a fairytale combo that we could not help but be reminded of Snow White, with the addition of midnight shadows on the eyelids.

Talking about make-up service, he elucidated that prices out there can reach up by more than two folds of the price in Brunei for merely one wedding event. When brides were not satisfied with his price, he found them apt to demand for reduction.

“This is usually what I face. They want a discount but they don’t understand how expensive the make-up items we have to buy can be,” he uttered. “To get everything, such as foundations, can reach up to a hundred dollars. That’s why the service price is that way.”

Jessy hoped that people would be a little more understanding in this regard. “It’s not fair for me too because I buy expensive items (for work).”

For a person whose schedule is usually packed with events, he finds it devastating how the recent pandemic hit him. “Weekly, especially on weekends, I’d get two or three brides in a day. So, it really affects me. We don’t have any other options – wedding events have to be cancelled and, of course, make-up artists too.”

Since Brunei has recently loosened some restrictions, he was grateful that things have slowly gone back on track. “But now it’s even better since we can do events in halls and at home.”

Despite our interview being interrupted multiple times, Jessy was as cool as a cucumber throughout. It gave us a sense of knowing that he is really an expert in what he does; in his touch and professionalism.

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