As style in the Kingdom steps up a gear and new industries garner pace, a new market for makeup artists is opening up. Editor Marissa Carruthers meets two who are at the forefront. Photography Luvas Veuve.
Dou Pothmolita adds the finishing touches to her latest test creation – sweeping, colourful patterns representing the elements of wind, earth, fire and water that cover her friend’s face. “I don’t know how to describe my style,” she says dabbing the delicate makeup brush in mint green face paint. “Maybe something arty and fun.”
The 23-year-old, who goes by the name of Apple Love, is familiar with experimenting, having started her career as a makeup artist four years ago after testing her talents on pals. But it was her obsession with horror films and passion for art, which she has harboured from a young age, that led to her initially dabbling in the art of makeup.
“I always wondered how Hollywood movies managed to create those scary looks,” she says recalling repeatedly watching films, including 28 Days Later. “I really wanted to recreate these looks so I started trying.”
For two years, Dou spent half of each day scouring YouTube for tips, perfecting her techniques of creating wounds, fake blood and distorted zombie features using make-up, tissue paper and latex. She posted some test shots on Facebook, which went viral, and quickly landed her dream job creating the special effects for the Kingdom’s first zombie film, Run, which was released in October 2013.
This led to her carving herself a niche, specialising in the field of bringing brutality and guts and gores to life. She has since worked on the sets of noir thriller, Before the Fall, which is set in the days leading up to the Khmer Rouge take-over in April 1975, Those Below about unexploded ordinance in Laos, and Khmer action movie, Hanuman.
“I became addicted to the amazing things that makeup can do,” adds Dou, who originally hails from Stung Treng province. As her confidence has built, she has branched out into other genres, styling models for fashion shoots and experimenting with body paint art.
“There aren’t many makeup artists in Cambodia, and there is definitely a growing demand as the film industry grows and more labels and designers start up here,” Dou says. “I’m getting busier but I still try to practice my creations because it’s a way to keep my brain awake and it makes me happy.”
Hungarian expat Dori Molnar has also quickly made a name for herself on the burgeoning scene. Forming a passion for makeup at a young age, in January, she decided to turn her hobby into her profession after returning to her homeland to complete an intense five-week course.
During that time she was taught the different skills and techniques involved in the craft, perfecting her skills long into the night on different models. “The face is like a canvas and I am the artist,” says Molner, recalling her obsession with Avon products as a 15-year-old.
The country’s growing fashion scene has also proved prosperous for Molner, who has worked on several fashion shoots and catwalk shows – her preferred line of work. “I have been given many opportunities here, and I have enjoyed every one of them, and hope they continue into the future.”
Cambodia’s clammy climates can make it difficult for makeup to stay put. Molner and Dou offer their top tips. Use a primer, such as NYX, or BB cream to prepare the face before applying makeup. Using bronzer on the cheekbones, forehead and chin enhances features and helps highlight eyes. Water-resistant mascara is better to use than waterproof mascara, as it is less harsh. Add subtle shine to lips by using tinted lip balm. Use blotting paper to absorb excess shine to the face.