Showcasing Khmers in the Creative Arts Industry.

Recognizing Inspiring Organizations and Aspiring Individuals.

Teena Kim – Aspiring Makeup Artist/Model

Teena Kim

Meet Teena Kim! She’s not only a model but she’s also an aspiring makeup artist. She has a Youtube channel where she shows girls how to apply makeup as she loves to share with others what she knows. Makeup can transform us in many ways but she’s in the work of making others feel good about themselves and she’s definitely an inspiration to many young girls out there.

“Even though I took art class four times in high school, I would never consider myself an artful person. I just enjoyed how relaxed and passionate I got from doing it. I’d skip lunch just to keep drawing. Now, I never said my stuff was super nice, but it wasn’t too bad. I did know I would never do art as a career. Well that was until I learned about being a makeup artist. If it wasn’t for me moving in with my boyfriend in his small town and getting so bored at his house that I discovered YouTube. I don’t think I would have ever thought about being a makeup artist. I would stay on YouTube from dawn til night. Just searching all kinds of makeup tutorials. I do remember the first thing I searched on YouTube though…Asian makeup. Typical thought from an Asian girl. Well from there on, I just practiced all the time. I admit I’m not the best makeup artist, but that’s what’s so great about this industry. Makeup artists can never be the best one, there are always new techniques, products, and styles all the time. Even professional makeup artists keep taking classes just to keep up with the change and new ideas. I love something that never gets repetitive. There is always something to look forward to learning and I love that.” – Teena

Are you a 100% Cambodian? If not, what else?

Teena: All I know is that I am 100% Cambodian, but I do get alot of,” You don’t look Cambodian. Are you mixed? Are you Korean (because of my last name Kim) or are you Thai.” I’ve never been guessed as Cambodian yet. I think my dad might be mixed, but he says that’s all he’s ever know is Cambodian. It’s a mystery for now.

I’ve seen your videos on Youtube, what made you want to create your own channel?

Teena: When I moved down to Cornelia, Georgia, there was nothing to do but scope the internet all day. The town was very country. We didn’t even have Super Wal Mart. Our Old Wal Mart was like the mall and entertainment of the whole town. I just decided to go onto Youtube and search up “Asian Makeup” and that’s how my obsession began. I got hooked on all the videos. I tried to recreate looks, with what I had. One day I just felt like recording myself. What did I have to lose. I was bored out of my mind there and wanted to keep myself occupied with something fun. I remembered checking every chance I got waiting for someone to comment. It sounds so desperate of me, but it made me happy. That’s all that mattered.

When did you come to the states and where do you reside? Or were you born here, if so, where?

Teena: Born and raised in good ole Chattanooga, Tennessee. From 2007 to half of 2010, I lived in a town an hour northeast of Atlanta called Cornelia, which is where my boyfriend lives. In June, I moved back to my hometown.

Are you a professional makeup artist, if so do you freelance work, or do you work in a studio or salon?

Teena: Lately, I’ve been trying to become a “pro” makeup artist. I’ve done makeup for friend’s birthdays, special events, and sometimes just for fun. I do work at a nail salon. It’s so stereotypical an Asian girl works at a “nail shop”, but hey it brings home the money and hours aren’t too shabby. Over the years of doing nails, I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met and helping them feel better about their feet or hands. When it comes down to it, I just love to help people feel good about themselves, plus I get to build new relationships. That’s how I knew if nails is anything similiar to makeup than I would enjoy it more.

How long have you been doing makeup, did you go to school or did you just learn on your own?

Teena: I’ve been doing makeup on myself since I was 18. I started practicing on others a year after and I’m twenty-one now. I’ve been doing it over 2 years. I’ve learned a majority of my makeup knowledge from Youtube. It’s so crazy how you can learn from average people all around the world. It’s pretty amazing how the internet has impacted my life. I also learned from the makeup artist at MAC, when I would go get my makeup done for events. That was when I wasn’t really into makeup. I just needed to get glammed up, because I didn’t know anything about makeup. I am planning on attending a makeup school in Atlanta pretty soon!

Have you done any major photoshoots or campaigns? If not which campaign would you most likely want to do if given the chance?

Teena: I’ve never done makeup on myself or models, since I was the model to be taken photos of. My agent suggested I come work as a makeup artist under her when I wasn’t working as a model, but I’ve yet to agreed. I just want to get more experienced, but I’m starting to believe that I should just jump in at any opportunities shot at me. I’ve always been really nervous about things, but I feel like overcoming it will get me where I need to be. If I could choose a campaign, it wouldn’t matter as long as I could do something for an illness. Charity funds makeup shoot would be a nice way of giving back for me.

What are your favorite brands of makeup and why?

Teena: MAC is my favorite! The products work great and there is a variety of choices. The main thing I love it for is that I can try on the products before buying it. When I buy products, I am very particular about the packaging. I like it to be sturdy, simple, and sleek. MAC packaging never gets old. I love it! It’s my “ocd” side. I like everything a certain way and neat looking. is a great place to buy eyeshadow pallets. Colors are so vibrant and it’s cheap! I’m actually about to order a concealer palette, blush palette, and more eyeshadow palettes to start up my supplies for my makeup artist bag.

What is your favorite Khmer dish?

Teena: Yoah Haun (Hot Pot) It taste great but I love it more because it’s a dish best eating with a group of people. It’s something my family enjoys together. It’s a great time to conversant and laugh about silly things.

Is this a profession you see yourself in for the long run, or do you do it just for the love?

Teena: Can I agree to both! I love it and I would not mind doing it for life. Makeup artist will always be a student. There are endless things you can learn, while in the business. I don’t see myself getting too bored of it. Maybe one day, I can create my own line of makeup. It’s all a goal for now. Hopefully, reachable one day.

What are your future goals in makeup artistry?

Teena: Well to be truly honest with you, I picked this career because I want to be my own boss and enjoy what I’m doing. I thought of what if I had kids, family events, and vacations never hurt anyone. I want to be able to make it to everything. My goal is happy artist, happy everything.

What advice would you give to others who are looking to get into the same profession?

Teena: What I’ve learned from this industry is that there are no rules or boundaries. Makeup is art and art has no limits. Just jump into it with open arms and learn as much as you can and want. Apprentice under someone or work at a cosmetic counter or store. Just playing with makeup like me got me where I am today. A person who has finally found something she knows she could enjoy for the rest of her life.

For more about Teena:

Check out Teena’s Website as well as this link (you must be 18 or older to view)

Teena Kim

Originally Posted by Tyan Y.

Disclaimer: Guest articles are accepted and published on the website. The opinions and statements made within the guest posts are those of the author and do not represent Cambodian Alliance for the Arts as a whole, nor do they represent other guest authors' opinions. Any copyright remains with the author, and Cambodian Alliance for the Arts accepts no liability for any inaccuracies present nor any breaches of intellectual property rights.

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