Belleboss Series: Thanuska Subramaniam

THE THIRTY-FIRST INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES

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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.

Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.

 

 

Could you give an introduction to yourself? 

Thanuska Subramaniam

My name is Thanuska Subramaniam and I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Currently, I am a full-time make-up artist (primarily non-bridal). Doing make-up full time wasn’t actually my original plan. I quit my full-time job as an Administrative Assistant back in December 2017 just to take a break from the 9-5 life. I was a part-time makeup artist at the time as well, and to my surprise, I was getting quite a few inquiries and bookings for 2018. I decided to continue doing makeup as a full-time job just to see where it takes me and here I am, 7 months later, happier than ever.

Not only am I doing something I believe I am good at, but something I enjoy and love doing.

Who is your inspiration? 

Thanuska Subramaniam

The only person that comes to mind when I read this question is my mom. She lived a life of sacrifice. She sacrificed her entire life and dream of being a teacher to provide for her family and to raise my siblings and I. Growing up I would always listen to her talk about how much she had to give up in her life and how she wished she had pursued the further education here in Canada. Unfortunately, she was unable to live a life where she was able to make her dreams come true. Although now I have her to look at as an example of what not to do. Sometimes you need to put yourself first and do what makes you happy. I really believe that self-fulfilment is extremely important in life.

I will continue to strive for greatness and continue to chase my dreams especially because my mom was unable to.

She gave up a lot in her life so that my siblings and I can live ours happily. I truly adore her hard work, love and commitment to my family. Her strength and life of sacrifice inspires me to wake up every day and push myself to do better and be better every day

How did your passion for makeup evolve?

Thanuska Subramaniam

Growing up I did Bharathanatyam and that was when I had my first encounter with makeup. I had to get myself dolled up for all of my annual shows and that’s when the interest first sparked. My mom also worked for a make-up company and brought home samples and free products. I was always eager to try them out and during my spare time, I would sit in front of a mirror and practice putting on eyeliner almost every day. I began wearing makeup to school at the age of 9 and this continued into my teen years.

Thanuska Subramaniam

I eventually started doing makeup for friends and family and they recognized that I had talent in this field. Although I had so much support to start a career with make-up, I didn’t think it was for me. It took me a few years and a few jobs to realize that I was missing something in my life. I wasn’t pursuing something that made me truly happy and fulfilled. It wasn’t until Spring 2017 when an opportunity came knocking on my door. A friend of mine was starting a makeup line (now known as Bella Cosmetics) and had asked me to do make-up for her promotional shoot.

As fearful as I was to say yes, I went for it. And that’s how it all started.

 Why did you decide to start being a professional makeup artist and what has been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome since starting?

Thanuska Subramaniam

To be quite honest, becoming a make-up artist just happened. It wasn’t something I had put so much thought into.

As I mentioned earlier, an opportunity presented itself and I went for it. I had such a great experience and although I was fearful at first, I loved the fact that I was given full control and was able to use my imagination and knowledge to create the look my client had envisioned.

Thanuska Subramaniam

 

 

Ever since then I have been pursuing make-up as a career and I have been loving it! In terms of challenges, something that I initially struggled with was accepting the uniqueness of my work. I caught myself always comparing and trying to make my client work as good as the work of make-up artists who I considered amazing. I eventually came to realize that my clients are coming to me because they love my work for what it is. What makes my work appealing to my clients is the fact that it is different from others, and that’s something I have learned to embrace.

 What motivated you to start your youtube channel? Any tips for others wishing to start a channel?
Thanuska Subramaniam
I never planned on starting a YouTube channel ever. I just didn’t think it was for me because I was too shy to talk in front of a camera. Shortly after I started posting makeup videos on Instagram, a lot of my followers started requesting that I make YouTube tutorials as it would be easier for them to follow when trying to learn how to apply make-up. Seeing that people were actually interested in watching me on YouTube, I thought why not. As I’m very new to YouTube, I can’t give many tips on how to grow a channel because I’m just starting to learn myself. All I can really say is if you are wishing to start a channel and are hesitant, just go for it. You have absolutely nothing to lose. Consistency is also really important if you want to be successful on YouTube because that’s something that viewers look for. I find myself drawn to YouTubers who are consistently active rather than those who post just once a month. Consistency will always get you noticed.
How was the journey like for you from your 9 to 5 to being your own boss? How did you build your client base?
Thanuska Subramaniam

At first, I was just so relieved to finally get away from the 9 to 5 life because I was burnt out from working a job I hated. To be honest, I didn’t plan on it being that way, I just wanted to take a break for about a month.

But to my surprise, my business started picking up quickly and I saw how busy I was going to be throughout the year.

During the initial months of my self-employed life,  in terms of income, I definitely took a big hit as I wasn’t earning even half of what I was during my last job. It was really hard as I had to be cautious of what I was spending my money on.

But as I started promoting my work more on Instagram, and with the help of my clients and friends who used word of mouth to promote my business, I was getting a lot more bookings and inquiries.

Thanuska Subramaniam

 

Soon enough as summer approached, I saw a huge jump in my income. I was either earning double my last job’s monthly income or matching it. Other than income being a challenge, all other aspects are great so far. I love the fact that I now have the time to focus and put effort into things that I love doing and make my soul happy.

With regards to building my client base, it all started with being knowledgeable about what the new trends are and also knowing what style of makeup I enjoy. I truly believe if you understand what’s in trend and what the general audience enjoys specifically when it comes to make-up, you can be really successful. Any time I learn something new I will apply it during my own makeup application. The way I do my makeup is how I try to do my client’s make-up because that’s something that I have always been complimented for. Of course, it never looks exactly the same because every face is unique, but the techniques and products I use are mostly the same. Majority of my clients find me through Instagram where I post make-up videos and looks I create on myself.

Thanuska Subramaniam

A lot of clients come to me with pictures of looks I created that they loved and want the same thing for an event. This started happening quite often so that encouraged me to continue making videos and posting pictures of myself because I saw how that was inspiring clients to get the same thing done by me for their own events. Initially, I was only doing a make-up application, but I noticed how clients look for an artist that can do both hair and make-up. So that’s something that I have also started learning to do which has actually helped increase the number of clients I get.

 

Thanuska Subramaniam

Something else that I think is very important for individuals in this industry to know is that building a client base is not just about gaining new clients.

It’s also about knowing how to keep your previous clients and for that, customer service is key. Fortunately, I’ve had previous jobs that were customer service based so that helped me with knowing how to treat and deal with clients. From responding to emails on time to being enthusiastic to fixing little things that clients ask you to fix during their appointment, clients look for and care about everything.

Giving them a good experience will always leave a lasting impression. A good impression will almost always get them to come back, if not a good review about your service that will lead to a referral.

What are the holy grail products or brands you would recommend for WOC which you would use on yourself?
Thanuska Subramaniam
My absolute favourite makeup brands that I use on myself that I would also recommend to WOC would be Make Up For Ever, NARS, MAC and Too Faced. I spent years trying to find a foundation that matches my skin complexion. I finally came across the Makeup For Ever Ultra HD Foundation which is medium coverage (shade Y455) and the NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation (shade Cadiz) which is full coverage. They both match my deep tan skin complexion perfectly fine and feels great on my skin. I also love the Pro Fusion 02 Highlighter by Makeup For Ever which is perfect for tan to deep skin tones.
Thanuska Subramaniam
I find that some look too ashy or light but this one is perfect! MAC has also always been one of my favourite brands and it was actually the first brand that I ever purchased a product from. They carry a wide variety of products and I use their foundations on the majority of my clients. But my absolute favourite products from MAC are their lip liners (specifically Chestnut which is a dark brown that is perfect to mix with a nude lip for WOC) and their Studio Fix Powders, which comes in many different shades for all undertones. Recently I purchased the Born This Way Multi Sculpting Concealer (shade Butterscotch) by Too Faced and I am in love. They offer a wide range of shades for WOC in their concealers that are perfect for a full coverage make-up look.
what has been the best advice or philosophy you by either professionally or personally?
Thanuska Subramaniam

As simple as this sounds, being open-minded is probably one of the most important and life-changing lessons that I have learned.

Being open and accepting everything that the universe has to offer you can bring great things into your life so long as you remain to have a positive attitude.

The law of attraction is one of the realist things that I have experienced and have learned to understand. If you put your mind, effort and positive energy into something, there is nothing in this world that you cannot achieve. 

As a person and as an artist I have committed myself to lifelong learning and that’s something I think every single individual would benefit from doing. You will never know everything in this world. There are always new lessons to learn that will better your personal life and career. Professionally speaking, in the make-up industry, there’s always new tips and techniques being created and used to achieve different looks.

You can’t have the mindset that you will always do what you’ve been doing and be successful that way. Complacency kills potential.

Not only is it important to keep learning and researching new things, but as an artist, you should always strive to do better after each and every client and apply new knowledge that is learned. Being open to learning new things, putting in hard work into anything you do and using creativity along the way can do great things for you in your career as well as your personal life.

What are your dreams and hopes for the future? 

Thanuska Subramaniam

With regards to my career, I would love to have my own studio one day. Hopefully, I can also expand my brand and create my own makeup line.

 

Working or collaborating with one of my favourite makeup brands would also be pretty cool. In general, my hope for the future is that the younger generation learns to stay away from what the norm is and chase after their wildest dream.

 

Our world needs more unique and creative minds. Individuals, especially within our community, get caught up doing what their parents love or what their parents think they will succeed in.

We need to encourage the young girls and boys to do what makes their soul happy.

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