MUA Kiki Qabuki Doesn’t Reveal Her Nationality To Avoid Discrimination

This week, Likely features an uprising makeup artist/ beauty influencer, Kiki Qabuki (yup, her name was inspired by the makeup brush). Truly a talented person, she does it all, from makeup, hair and even henna!

All the way from Indonesia, Kiki immediately brightens the room with her bubbly, fun and energetic personality. Not to mention, super down to earth too!

Known for her dewy, glowy, golden makeup looks, she talks about her struggles of building her name in the MUA industry while painting Grace’s face with her signature look – but you’ll have to wait for that video, next week!

1. When did you start out and what inspired you to be a makeup artist? 

Kiki Qabuki: I discovered my passion in art when I was just as young as 7 years old. I drew a lot and I wanted to be a designer or an artist, but my parents told me to go and do business major which I did.

It wasn’t till 2012 when I discovered an interest in makeup. I visited the Sephora store in Bukit Bintang and won their blockbuster Palette through their IG contest. That’s when I really started to experiment playing with coloured eyeshadows.

I never thought of turning this passion into a full-time career until I quit my sales job in KL and moved back to Jakarta by end of 2016. I took a career break to really think about “What do I really want in life?” and “Do I really want to work for someone else for the rest of my life?” That’s when I took the risk as a MUA for both countries.

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it's official, I'm GETTING MARRIED!!!! . . . I'm getting married to @shuuemura UNLIMITED BREATHABLE LASTING FOUNDATION! Hehe #gotcha . SWIPE LEFT to see the difference! I'm using shade 734 . Like seriously, I'm so gonna get 2 more shades once they touched down to Malaysia. This was the look I created yesterday for @zaloramy #zaloraya2019, and everyone.. Literally everyone I met praised my look. I'm not kidding. Well of course, you know how much Ive been taking care of my skin (serum, Toner, mask) but i have never… In my life…get so many compliments from people, face to face, who passes by and stopped me to actually tell me how much they admire my skin – the whole look. Even from my housemates Hahhahahaa (my housemates are not easy to please okay, high taste!) . Darlings, the foundation works very well with the Block:Booster moisture primer! I didn't prep my skin with anything else except masking btw. I didn't set it with powder at all, but I sprayed setting spray . It is semi-matte finish, cz I do see a bit of glow even after I leave it for hours . I put on this makeup at about 1pm and it lasted till 11.30pm . NO PIMPLES crawl out my skin, no itchy, its sheer to medium coverage (buildable). VERY VERY Light I seriously feel like I'm not wearing makeup. I think my eyelashes were heavier than the foundation lol . It's a must have for every makeup artist andddd for personal useee! It has SPF 24! Hello protection! . This is my honest reviewwww guys, I'm having a hard time to find the right shade for my skin and I finally found it! . #shuuemuramy #giftsfromshu #makeup #kikiqabukibeautyhunt #skincare #foundation #muamalaysia #muaindonesia #makeupartist #glowlook #glow #shuuemura

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2. Do you face any discrimination in the beauty industry because you’re Indonesian? 

Kiki Qabuki: *grins.. Tell me about it! Thank god, I have that Sabah/Sarawak accent. So every time I speak Malay, they’ll think I’m either Sabahan/ Sarawakian. So, I’ll just act along. The thing is, I don’t disclose my nationality because I don’t want it to limit myself in the industry. But (discrimination) is everywhere.

3. Is there a difference between Indonesia’s makeup look compared to Malaysia? 

Kiki Qabuki: Yesss! Through my observation, Malaysian’s makeup style leans more towards western style –  one layer of foundation, skin like, bold on the eyes with mix of colors and a layer of eyelashes.

For Indonesian makeup –  we mix lots of foundations to cover the flaws of the client (very thick layers), 2 colors for the eyes (either matte brown or shimmer brown), “feverish” blush  and we play a lot on the eyelashes (like 3-4 layers of eyelashes). Then there’s the “jahit mata” technique, which enlarges monolid eyes without using eye tape.

4. What do you think of the local beauty brands & their products? Do you have any advice for them to step it up? 

Kiki Qabuki: Local beauty brands should really go to the core: find out what we (artist / makeup enthusiast) need. So many local brands copy and paste and sell same products (repackaging) which is sad. Even sadder when they claim that their products are safe, in fact it’s actually not. I think being a responsible brand is the key here.

Shade wise, I’d say target the Asian market. Create shades that Asians would use. I am impressed on how Duck Cosmetics and NR Cosmetics on their 6 shades. Perhaps adding 2 more shades will be great!

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring MUAs?

Kiki Qabuki: My makeup gurus used to tell me this, practice, rajin-rajin (be hardworking) in making contents and to always update social media.

Personally, I’d say to join a lot of competitions and volunteer/work for fashion shows. In my early days, I participated in a lot of online makeup competitions. Challenge yourself to go beyond and put extraordinary effort in what you do and winning will be a bonus. If you didn’t win, you will learn something valuable. #truestory

Don’t be surprised that you may feel that there will be little pay or no pay. If you are a newbie, it is the experience and exposure that you want. Build connections with other MUAs and as always… Be genuinely good to people.

6. What do you wish most people would know about you (but they don’t know it yet)? 

Kiki Qabuki: Hi, I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia. You should know I’m also a skincare addict! If you around the neighbourhood (Bandar Utama,PJ) let’s have a makeup a sesh or we can hangout and shop for new makeup stuff. Just DM me @kikiqabuki if you have any questions about beauty or skincare! 😘