A Conversation With Top Makeup Artist Albert Kurniawan
In the beauty industry, it takes guts to speak up and makeup. Top makeup artist Albert Kurniawan shares his experiences and wise words of advice in this feature.
Believe it or not, I used to be ashamed of the fact that I love makeup. It took me quite some time before I became unapologetic about it. In retrospect, a big part of it was having no one to identify with.
Thankfully today, I couldn’t say the same anymore. Through social media, we get to follow people and see who they are and what they do as sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, there are so many men to look up to in the makeup industry. One of them is Albert Kurniawan.
Wanting to learn more firsthand, I reached out to Albert for an interview, to which he excitedly said yes. Little did I know, what was supposed to be an interview turned into a conversation—one that demands to be shared.
On How the Women in His Family Inspired His Beauty Philosophy
Growing up in Indonesia, where women carry and present themselves in a conservative manner, Albert acquired an appreciation for beauty through the women in his family. His mom and grandmother showed him how beauty has to be practiced in a certain way. And with that came the art of applying makeup.
With the basic foundations of beauty, it became easy for him to deviate and explore different takes. This ultimately led him to his philosophy: makeup has to power to transform and make people look and feel beautiful.
On Why He Became a Makeup Artist
Did you know that Albert took fashion and interior design? Being a makeup artist wasn’t part of his plan. In fact, it was his sister who studied makeup. When asked why makeup artistry, he says that it’s destiny. He took on a friend’s request to do makeup here in the Philippines, and he fell in love with it.
On Challenges He Faced When He Started
“Whatever excuse you say or give, people will never listen because they cannot see the result right away,” shared Albert. He knew that he had to be successful to prove his father and the people in the industry wrong. On top of dealing with the negativity—which he sees as a motivational force—he also had to be a one-man team.
“If I want to be successful here [in the Philippines], I couldn’t limit myself. I need to do everything,” Albert added.
On Why He Launched His Own Brand Teviant
The launch of his brand Teviant happened last 2018 when Albert celebrated his 10th year anniversary as a makeup artist. In addition to celebrating this milestone and paying homage to his mother Tevianty, Teviant was established to uplift—not just local makeup artistry—but also fellow makeup artists.
Paying it forward, Albert currently leads and trains a growing team of makeup artists. “I am where I am now because of the people I’ve met along the way,” he said. “I share my clients [and] the blessings [I have]. I give people opportunities. I give them the golden chance [that] I once received.”
On How Social Media Changes People’s Perspective of Beauty
Albert also shared that he teaches his team to be humble, appreciative, and not to take opportunities for granted. Because of social media, where things can happen in an instant, the younger generation often overlooks the time it takes and the physical hard work that goes into being a makeup artist.
Looking at social media from a different perspective, Albert is thankful for it because it is a medium where he can express his support for fellow local beauty brands. Case in point—his YouTube channel features makeup reviews and recommendations from other brands.
On Being a Male Figure in a Female-Dominated Industry
Albert expressed how grateful he is for the welcoming nature of the Philippines towards the LGBTQIA+ community. The challenge he faces, however, is the fact that he is not a consumer of his products. Thankfully, he has a lot of women on his team. Together with Albert’s clients, they provide him with feedback through product testing.
On What’s Next For Him and Teviant
Albert has partnered with a local government unit to conduct makeup classes for the LGBTQIA+ community. Also, Teviant is in collaboration with Miss World Philippines as their official makeup partner. Furthermore, the brand is supporting charities and causes that are championed by the organization and candidates.
Talking about what lies ahead, Albert proudly shared that Teviant is going global! Soon, we will be seeing Teviant in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. I, for one, am excited to see Teviant establish itself and thrive on a global scale.
On Young Boys Who Are Afraid to Express Their Love for Makeup
As the conversation came to a close, I wanted to ask Albert something personal. I asked what my younger self would have wanted an answer to: “What would you say to young boys out there who are afraid of expressing their love for makeup?”
“I believe in doing what you want in life. Don’t be afraid of what people might say,” he answered. “People will come and go. Enjoy it. Be in the moment. That’s when you know if it’s really for you or not. Whether you make a career out of it or not, enjoy it.”
I may not have gotten the answer when I needed it the most, but at least I know I did the right thing. Thank you, Albert.