Yong-chin’s Unique Perspective on Beauty and Identity

By: Lily Mattimoe

At the heart of Samantha Siu's "The Coterie" campaign lies a diverse group of influencers, each bringing their own unique flair to Samantha Siu New York. Among them shines Yong-chin, a luminary in the world of makeup artistry, whose journey through multiculturalism and self-discovery has deeply influenced her unique perspective on beauty and style.

Yong-chin's presence within the campaign serves as a beacon of authenticity and innovation, offering a fresh perspective that will resonate deeply with so many. Her exploration of cultural identity, melded seamlessly with her creative vision, serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists and individuals alike, showcasing the transformative power of embracing one's heritage while forging new paths forward.

In this exclusive interview series, Samantha Siu invites you to unravel the layers of Yong-chin's story, exploring the depths of her inspiration and the challenges she's overcome in the fashion and beauty industry. 

Growing up in Glasgow with a Malaysian mother and Scottish father, how has your multicultural background influenced your perspective on beauty and style?

“Growing up in Glasgow, I didn't have a big community of multicultural friends around me so started to reject my asian roots during my childhood and teenage years. As I got older and experienced southeast Asia whilst solo traveling, I actually felt more connected to my Malaysian background. I felt a real gap in the beauty market for asian representation so wanted to exaggerate my asian features more in makeup. Eventually leading to my extreme take on Chinese Opera masks. I always pull inspiration from the vivid colours of the night markets and psychedelic artwork, as well as looking at the natural progression of colour in the beautiful temples in South East Asia. I do merge my makeup style with Celtic symbolism and have always had a huge interest in calligraphy.”

As a creative, how do you find inspiration for your work, and are there specific artists or experiences that have had a significant impact on your creative identity?

“I have a few makeup artists that I look up to: Pat Mcgrath, Alex Box, Chao LihSu and Valentina Li. All for completely different reasons but as a whole for their ability to push boundaries and their impeccable style. In terms of inspiration, I try not to look at makeup as I don't want to replicate anyone's work. I look at illustrations and take photos of any interesting patterns and colours I see when I'm out and pull ideas from them.”

What advice would you give to aspiring makeup artists or models who are looking to break into the industry and make a positive impact?

“Explore your own identity. Makeup allows people to transform and become a different version of themselves so I think it's a great starting point to figure out your own style. Which can always progress over time. I have been overwhelmed by how many people relate to the same issues I felt within the industry and really feel that if you have a distinct style with a clear message, you can build a community within the industry.”

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges facing the fashion and beauty industry today, and how do you hope to contribute to addressing these challenges through your work?

“I think the fashion and beauty industry have come a long way and representation is definitely being taken seriously within the industry and makeup brands, which is essential. I have always liked the idea of extreme beauty and creating beautiful yet shocking makeup so definitely want to keep exploring the limitations of beauty.”

How did the collaboration with Samantha Siu come about, what prompted you to join forces for this project?

“My relationship with the brand happened organically, I loaned a few Necklaces from BlackPR as they fitted my mask look perfectly. I actually had a vision of the jewellery I wanted to pair with the full look and Samantha Sius Necklaces were exactly what I was looking for! I am naturally drawn to work created by Asian artists and love the selection of stones inspired by the city the necklace represents.”

Can you share why Samantha's collection, "A Love Affair," resonates with you personally. Why did you choose The Gotham Nights Necklace to wear in the campaign?

“The collection "A Love Affair" resonates with me as I love to travel and fall in love with new destinations. Samantha allowed me to choose a necklace that resonated with me the most and The Gotham Nights, New York, necklace stood out with the colours in the stones representing the nightlife of New York. Which is a huge inspiration in my makeup. I am constantly referencing club kids and plan on moving to New York in the near future.”

With your experience in the fashion industry, how do you approach staying true to your authentic self while still adapting to the evolving trends and dynamics of the industry?

“I think the fashion industry is constantly evolving and I find myself evolving with it. I am still very new in the makeup industry and still exploring new areas within the industry, which allows me to have freedom in the roles I take on.”

Can you share any memorable moments you experienced? 

“Winning Glow Up season 4 was a huge goal of mine and I didn't really know what to expect after the show. Since then I have worked on huge fashion shows and created a community within the makeup industry that I didn't have before. Working on the cover of Pride Glamour Magazine 2023 with Lan Nyugen celebrating Trans Pride was a huge moment for me and the media outrage after the cover was published showed that I do have a political interest within my work. I have also presented multiple masterclasses all over the country which was always a daunting challenge after the show but now I have come to enjoy presenting my work and inspiring the next generation of artists.”

The fashion industry has the power to redefine beauty standards. How do you believe this collaboration with Samantha Siu contributes to breaking barriers and promoting a more inclusive narrative within the industry?

“Samantha has such a strong sense of identity as a person and it flows through the brand. She allowed me to be completely myself on set and gave me the freedom to choose how I wanted to present myself. I think giving people freedom to be themselves is the starting point in breaking down barriers within the industry as it encourages the narrative of inclusivity.”