We had the good fortune of connecting with Emilie Widjaja and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emilie, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
I think the most difficult decision I ever had to make was when I was finishing my last years in community college. I was at the middle point in my education and career where I can take 2 routes. Route A being continue my business degree and transfer to a university to get my bachelors degree. And Route B being stop my education at an associates degree and go to cosmetology school to pursue my true passion. After a whole semester of being back and forth with my decision, I decided to continue my education to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then get my cosmetology license after. It was probably so difficult because I have so many people and huge influencers in my life, equally on both sides telling me opposite things to do. But I don’t regret my decision one bit.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I grew up drawing and painting and became pretty known for being artistic. I later used those art skills and combined it with makeup. I started off teaching myself how to do makeup because I was in color-guard and dance, where we had to use heavy stage makeup all the time. However, the problem was I have very hooded, mono-lid, asian eyes that no one knew how to work with at the time, in addition, I had really bad cystic acne. There was basically no other option than to learn myself. From there I opened a vast portal into the makeup world where I learned to use makeup to enhance one’s beauty including myself. I started out doing basic glam and slowly more and more people asked me to do their hair and makeup. The joy of making people feel confident and beautiful became overpowering and I just fell in love with the art. Aside from my clients I discovered special effects makeup where I really started to combine my artistic talent with makeup and transform myself to be anything and anyone I wanted. As I posted more on instagram I was then scouted by multiple makeup brands like dermablendpro, glamnetics, charlotte tilbury and more for my work. But the most important and most notable moment was when I was scouted by @bridalbyhaydee. I was mentored for a year and later became one of her makeup and hair artist. There was definitely a lot more trial and errors but I learned a lot from my mistakes and that’s what made me into a better makeup artist. At first I was hesitant about doing wedding makeup and soft glam because I swore editorial and special effects makeup was my calling. But after working with Haydee, I found my true calling in the wedding industry. Some lessons I learned along the way is less is more when it comes to makeup in 2022. The photo ready, no makeup, makeup is what is going to get you the clients to be gasping in awe at your work. I think something I want the world to know about my story is that I do everything with so much passion. Not just passion for makeup but passion for the arts and passion in making people including myself feel empowered and beautiful using makeup.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place that comes to mind is Balboa Park and Coronado Beach. Growing up in San Diego Balboa Park and Coronado beach are the 2 places that give me comfort and peace. I would spend one day in each location. However, if I were to give a week long itinerary I would start off the week with a day in Coronado island. I would rent the 4 pedal bikes and travel around the island, eat at Spiro’s Greek Food, go jet skiing, go paddle-boarding, go kayaking, and then relax and get a drink at Coronado beach. An additional plus is if they have a dog then I can take them to the dog beach. Then the next day I would take them to Balboa Park where they can go to the zoo, tour balboa, go to the museums, go to the Japanese friendship garden and grab a bite at their little farmer’s market. The next day I would take them hiking in La Jolla and take them to my favorite pho place, Ca Dao in El Cajon. They have the best spring-rolls there. I would probably go up to Carlsbad and let them visit the outlet and go strawberry picking and maybe visit lego land if they want. The next couple days I would take them downtown to Little Italy and their farmer’s market, Seaport Village and then take them on picnics to places like harbor island or sunset cliffs. I would then end their trip with a beach day in del mar and if it’s the summer, take them to del mar fairs.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a huge shout out to my mentor and my boss, Haydee Massey owner and head Hair and Makeup Artist of @BridalbyHaydee and @TheBristleHair. I was mostly self taught when I first started out doing makeup and hair. I mainly winged everything and used my artistic background as a guide to doing makeup, except I was the canvas this time. Ever since I started working for Haydee, my work has improved drastically. She taught me everything I ever needed to know.
Instagram: vanityyrouge and makeupbywidjaja
@makeupbywidjaja and @vanityyrouge on Instagram