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How Nam Vo Went From Strip Club Makeup Artist to Viral Instagram Beauty Sensation

How Nam Vo Went From Strip Club Makeup Artist to Viral Instagram Beauty Sensation

Nam Vo. Photo: Courtesy

Nam Vo. Photo: Courtesy

In our long-running series, “How I’m Making It,” we talk to people making a living in the fashion and beauty industries about how they broke in and found success.

There are plenty of well-known celebrity makeup artists nowadays. But how many of them can say they spawned a social media phenomenon? Through her hypnotizing #dewydumplings posts, Nam Vo has single-handedly turned strobing streaks of highlighter across your face into an art form with an obsessive Instagram following. But her ability to make viral, oddly satisfying videos swiping luminizers along cheekbones — whether on herself, or her celebrity clients like Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen — is just one of her talents.

Her work has been featured across magazines like Elle and British Vogue, and she’s worked with clients like Marc Jacobs Beauty, Ole Henriksen, Oribe and Bobbi Brown. But before becoming the self-proclaimed “queen of glow jobs,” Vo paid her dues as a makeup artist: She sold cosmetics at the mall, done bridal makeup in her hometown of San Francisco and worked as a strip club makeup artist before making it big as a celebrity artist with a massive social following.

Vo took some time to chat with Fashionista about her path to success (including the most surprising moment of her career), the inspiration behind her viral makeup trend and her latest crossover into the fashion world with designer and friend, Yumi Kim. Read on for the highlights.

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So, why makeup?

I guess because I’m not that good at other things. When I was a child, I didn’t really pay attention at school, and I think that beauty is really powerful. Ever since I was a child I was fascinated by how makeup can affect one woman. I just always loved glamour, and I was so into fashion magazines, models, actresses… it was something that I just naturally gravitated toward. I’ve been doing makeup since I was a baby. It’s all I’ve ever done. I worked in retail for, like, two seconds, and did a service job once as my first-ever job, but other than that I’ve been doing makeup my entire life.

How did you get your professional start in makeup?

When I lived in the [San Francisco] Bay area, all I did was bridal makeup. Then, I remember moving to New York City with barely a dime. I used to come with my friends every June, because that’s when all the good sales were going on in the city, and every time I visited I fell more and more in love with it. I was so fascinated by the energy of the city. I knew if I stayed in the Bay my career was going to plateau, so I said, ‘fuck this, I’m gonna go pursue my dreams.’

Everybody warned me about how tough New York was, how different the people were, and how different it would be for a little California girl. But I didn’t expect it to be as tough as it got — every agency I went to rejected me. I was really depressed by how hard everything was getting, and I have such bad A.D.D. so I was a terrible assistant, which didn’t help the situation. So, I ended up working at Penthouse — a strip club — as a makeup artist. I was still doing bridal makeup, but I’d also do strip club makeup. 

Finally, one thing led to another, and I was working at Elle Vietnam for a while. They had zero budget, but I was doing everything from model casting, to casting stylists and photographers and assisting in photo retouching. It gave me a chance to act as a Creative Director. Makeup was, of course, the main part of it, but I was doing everything. That really helped me prepare to play as Creative Director for the campaigns and other projects I work on now. That helped me build a strong editorial book, and then it led me to glossier jobs.

Instagram was another tool that helped skyrocket your career. Could you tell me more about your experience with it?

I was never really good at Instagram, but I think I just learned how to work it, I figured out my audience, and I gave them what they wanted, which was everything glow-y. I’ve understood Instagram a lot better within the past two years because before then I didn’t really know how to make a video go viral. But once I figured it out, it all kind of took off from there. Instagram is such an interesting place, because before it if I wanted to book something for Allure I would have to submit my book along with 50 other makeup artists and I’d just have to cross my fingers and hope for the best. But now, all they have to see is my Instagram.

How do you juggle your career as a makeup artist while maintaining your social accounts?

It’s seriously a full-time job, girl. I travel non-stop, and then I’m working on campaigns and building content, and it’s actually really hard. But, I just feel extremely lucky to be able to do all of this. There’s a lot of talent out there, there are extremely talented makeup artists that are working at the mall counters, but they don’t have the opportunities that I’m lucky enough to have. But, I also think it’s a rat race — especially living in New York City. It’s never enough: You hit 100K followers, but then when are you going to hit 1 million? Sadly in this business, we’re always about the uphill climb. We never want to stop achieving. I feel so lucky to have gotten as far as I have, but sometimes I have to step back. I don’t want to get too caught up in the race, or else I’ll never be happy. It’s been a tough, grueling road, but I’m truly grateful to be in the position I am now.

What does it takes for a makeup artist to find success on Instagram?

You have to know your brand: Do you want to work in movies, bridal, celebrity? I do a little bit of everything, which is kind of rare, but knowing what you want to pinpoint yourself as is tough. And it’s also hard to start a page and grow an Instagram following, especially in 2019 vs 2015. There are a billion makeup artists to follow now, and many of them are extremely talented. So, you have to set yourself apart to gain exposure.

When it comes to social media, you can’t pretend to be someone else. Talk about your life: If you’re getting married, talk about your preparation for the wedding. If you have acne, you should talk about it and give reviews of what’s working and not working for your skin. You just have to be authentic. If a brand wants me to do some heavy, over-the-top, pancake-y makeup, I wouldn’t be the right person to do that for them and I’d probably turn it down. You just have to understand your brand voice; figure out why someone should follow you.

A lot of my ultra-highlight videos are filmed right in my living room, and my followers love them. You just have to understand what your content is. I don’t know where things will be 10, five, even two years from now. But, for an artist — whether you’re a makeup artist or even an interior designer — you just need to create a brand of your own and make it stand out.

What inspired you to create #dewydumplings?

When people ask where this came from, I always say ‘weird, quirky shit.’ There’s something so cute and cheeky when you say the word ‘dumpling;’ it gives you a certain happy feeling. I literally just blurted it out one day, and I didn’t even think that it would get to where it is today. Now, I’m coming out with Dumpling Clothing, a collaboration with Yumi Kim. We’re doing these really funky tops, and they have a dumpling on each nipple.

Why do you think dewy makeup is having such a moment right now?

Trends come and go, but beautiful skin is forever. There’s something so interesting about Instagram makeup because although it’s very over-the-top, it takes true talent and skill to execute it right. I think there’s a lot that we all can learn from those trends. But at the end of the day, who doesn’t want beautiful, fresh, glowing skin? It’s really refreshing to see more of these natural looks. I’m a very skin-focused person, and even if you don’t have the most perfect skin or your complexion is textured, I think that I’d rather look a little flawed than look like I have a pancake on my face. I think the glowy, natural trend is here to stay. I don’t see people saying ‘Oh God, remember when we all wanted to glow?’ in 10 years. I don’t think the natural look is just a trend, I feel like it’s here to stay.

Skin care and makeup have gone hand-in-hand at this point. Skin care has become a huge trend of its own — everyone wants to have natural #dewydumpling skin. No one wants to wake up at the crack of dawn to put on a hefty layer of makeup anymore.

There’s still a place for some of the heavier stuff, like contour. When I’m shooting an editorial or creating a celebrity look, I’ll still use contour but I’ll just make it look natural. When I do makeup, I think in terms of how the camera will read the face, so sometimes I’ll use three different foundations. Your face isn’t one color, it’s three-dimensional, so I always have to think about that in order to avoid flattening the model’s face. There’s a place for the heavier items, but it doesn’t mean that you have to overdo it.

Did you have a “big break” moment in your career?

I could tell you that it was the first time I was in Vogue or some other thing, but I really felt like I made it when I stopped being thirsty. The first time that I turned down a well-paying gig was really eye-opening, there isn’t any other point in my life that made me stop and think ‘Oh, wow.’ Being an artist in this industry, you’re so used to saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes by. Earlier in my career, I would take gigs even if I didn’t agree with the rate or the concept. But, I really felt like I made it when I started getting deals that I would turn down. I just didn’t want to spread myself too thin, so I definitely think that I made it when I started turning away money. It was a new feeling for me, and it felt so good to be financially stable enough to start doing projects that I believed in, not just gigs that had a great paycheck. I was doing that in the beginning, and I feel like I made some mistakes.

Traditionally as a makeup artist, you get paid to do someone’s makeup for a photoshoot and that’s about it, but then all of this stuff on Instagram started taking off and I got more offers and for a short period that recognition made me very happy. It still does, but I think I got blinded and started doing projects that didn’t really align with who I was or my brand. They weren’t tragic mistakes, but looking back I feel like there were definitely some jobs that I should’ve passed on. But, about three and a half years ago, I started feeling like I was in a position to say no — and it felt good.

You’re a big inspiration to many makeup artists, but who inspires you?

I love Sir John. He’s sweet, he’s supportive of other makeup artists, he has great energy, and he’s an incredible makeup artist. He’s the whole package. I also love Hung Vanngo, he’s super talented. I love Patrick Ta, he’s also a friend of mine. On YouTube, I love ponysmakeup. She’s so fascinating to watch, she looks like an Asian doll. Overall, there’s a lot of really talented people, even ones we don’t know about because they don’t know how to showcase their work.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

It really depends on the day. If I’m working on a fun highlight video, everything is about natural lighting. So, I might own a client a highlighting video, but sometimes I’ll have to delay it for two weeks because I have to wait for the magic hour. There’s this one video I have of using a Supergoop product that made my skin super glow-y, and there was a meme created of it that went viral on Twitter. It’s probably my best-performing video of all time, and I’m literally just sitting in the corner of my bathroom with a towel on my head. It came out so well because the lighting was great and it was the perfect moment to film. People think that it’s easy just because it’s an eight-second clip of me putting a glow stick on my face, but you really have to know your power moment to be able to get that perfect clip.

What are some goals you’d still like to achieve?

I’d really like to do Beyoncé’s makeup. I’d love to make her into a dumpling. A lot of people would think that my next step would be a makeup line because everyone keeps asking me when I’m going to that, but I don’t see that in my future for now. It’s a very American thing to create a formulaic task list for yourself: You completed X, now you must move to Y. But I just don’t know if a makeup line is the right move for me right now in my career. I just love creating beautiful imagery, and that’s my main focus for now. Whether it’s a video or on a model or even on myself, I want to continue creating beauty — I don’t know exactly what that means at this point in my career, but for now, my motto is ‘long live the glow.’

Lately, it seems like everyone is hopping on the beauty brand bandwagon. What are your thoughts on that?

I started to think about this a lot. I kept wondering, does the world need another highlighter? But, I guess it does, because people keep creating makeup lines and we keep buying them. So, I guess there is a demand, and I’m part of that demand. Maybe I don’t count because I’m not a regular consumer, but I can never have enough. I think that the market is a bit oversaturated, but if you notice a need for it, understand what you’re creating, and create a high-quality product, then there will always be people like me who need a different highlighter every day of their lives and will purchase it. 

What advice do you have for any aspiring makeup artists?

Lower your ego, work hard, show up on time, do what you love, and that’s it. If you follow that, everything will be fine — trust me, and trust yourself.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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Writer, 27, has a ‘goodbye boobs’ party as she discovers she is a carrier of the deadly BRCA1 gene

Writer, 27, has a ‘goodbye boobs’ party as she discovers she is a carrier of the deadly BRCA1 gene

A writer has revealed how her mother threw her a ‘goodbye party’ for her breasts ahead of undergoing a double mastectomy.

Hayley Minn, 27, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, decided to have the surgery after finding out she was a carrier of the deadly BRCA1 gene four years ago.  

Making the decision to undergo the operation before turning 28, Hayley enjoyed a £350 ‘boob-themed’ afternoon tea after her mum Helen, 55, decided to see off her daughter’s breasts in style.

Hayley made the decision to undergo a double mastectomy before turning 28 despite being told to wait until she had children so she could breastfeed. She is having the operation today. 

Scroll down for video 

Hayley Minn, 27,  (pictured with two friends at her ‘goodbye boobs’ party), from Hertfordshire, discovered she was a carrier of the deadly BRCA1 gene four years ago

Hayley’s grandmother Hannah Minn passed away from breast cancer aged 49 in 1970 and Hayley discovered her father Eliot is also a carrier in 2015. She tested positive for the gene four years ago.  

Hollywood actress Angeline Jolie revealed in 2013 that she’d undergone a double mastectomy after revealing she carried the BRCA1 gene. 

Ahead of the operation, Hayley’s mum Helen threw the £350 surprise bash on Sunday for 20 of her friends and family so they could celebrate the ‘boob job that will save her life’.

Activities at the party mammary gland farewell, held at the writer’s family home, included ‘pin the boobs on a poster’, ‘bra-pong’ and ‘boob casting’, in which a cast of her breasts were made as a memory. 

Hayley’s grandmother Hannah Minn passed away from breast cancer aged 49 in 1970 – and her Dad is also a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, meaning she is 85 per cent more likely to get breast cancer

What is the BRCA gene and how does it affect people’s risk of cancer?

Having a mutated BRCA gene – as famously carried by Angelina Jolie – dramatically increases the chance a woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, from 12 per cent to 90 per cent. 

Between one in 800 and one in 1,000 women carry a BRCA gene mutation, which increases the chances of breast and ovarian cancer. 

Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce proteins to suppress tumours. When these are mutated, DNA damage can be caused and cells are more likely to become cancerous.  

The mutations are usually inherited and increase the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer significantly.    

When a child has a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes they have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutations.  

About 1.3 per cent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer, this increase to 44 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation. 

Hayley said: ‘When I found out I had the gene, I immediately knew I wanted the mastectomy.

‘I was told to wait until I was 30 and had started a family, but you don’t necessarily have to breastfeed – I’d rather my future children saw me grow old.

‘I never thought of it as a brave move – it’s just a boob job that will save my life.’

Hayley added that her mum went to the trouble of ‘sorting everything’ for her ‘boob hen do’. 

‘I had asked her to arrange a tea for my friends as I wanted to see them all and have a good time with them, knowing I’d be in bed for at least six weeks after, and in pain for quite a while after.

‘I was so surprised by how much effort she had gone to, and it made me quite emotional being surrounded by her and my closest friends’ Hayley continued.

‘The party was meant to be a celebration of life, to make sure an operation like this doesn’t have to be a sad occasion’.

Describing the party, Hayley said: ‘We had afternoon tea with boob cakes and prosecco, huge inflatable boobs and played bra pong and pin the boobs.

‘There was also a book for people to write messages in, which I’ll be given it after the procedure.

Hayley first discovered her mum’s party efforts – a £350 ‘goodbye boobs’ afternoon tea – when she returned from a two-week trip to Sydney earlier in the year

Breast themed: Hayley had a cast of her boobs made during the party. She said: ‘It was all hands on deck with my friends rubbing Vaseline and plaster on to my breasts’

‘I even made a cast of my boobs using a plaster kit from the internet – it was all hands on deck with my friends rubbing Vaseline and plaster on my boobs. I wasn’t able to move for a good 40 minutes.

‘At the moment, the bust is in the kitchen, but one of my friends has offered to paint it and I’ll be putting it in my bedroom pride of place.

 My dad feels guilty because he passed on the gene – he’d rather I didn’t have to go through this but he’s okay now…

She adds: ‘Being surrounded by my friends and having such a laugh made me feel very loved.

‘My family are really proud of me – my mum actually tried to do a speech at the party but was too emotional to speak.

‘Knowing how much people care and what a strong support system I have is really going to help me get through it.’

Shocked Hayley first discovered her mum’s party efforts when she returned from a two-week trip to Sydney, Australia earlier this year. 

Hayley’s mum made boob cupcakes for the party as she served guests afternoon tea

Hayley couldn’t move for 40 minutes while she was wearing the cast – and was fed cake by her friends

After undergoing the four-hour operation to remove both breasts she will have a reconstruction to give her a replica of her own breasts.

She had initially planned to have the reconstruction in 2018 aged 26 but put it on hold after brother David died, aged 24,  due to a fall while trekking in Argentina the same year.

The presence of the BRCA1 gene in her genetic makeup means Hayley is 85 per cent more likely to get breast cancer. 

She said: ‘When my brother died, I couldn’t go through both of those things at the same time.

‘Despite making the decision two years ago, I feel as though it’s flown by. I realised how quickly time goes when my brother died.

‘I’m not scared about the surgery, I’ve planned well ahead for it but I’m not prepared for the pain afterwards.

Memory: The cast is currently sitting in Hayley’s kitchen – but once it is painted it will take pride of place in her room

Hayley sought comfort through a WhatsApp group with other women who are carriers of the same gene – she now hopes to inspire others to check their breasts regularly

The food at the mastectomy party was breast-themed – and Hayley and her pals played with giant inflatable boobs during the tea

‘I’m definitely getting a reconstruction – while I admire women who don’t get reconstruction, aesthetically I’m going to look similar but the only difference is I won’t be able to breastfeed.’ 

Hayley added she sought comfort through a WhatsApp group with other women who are carriers of the same gene.

And she is now a ‘Boob-ette’ for charity, Coppafeel! which involves carrying a lifesaving message to women, visit schools and colleges to represent Coppafeel! And to discuss their experiences with breast cancer as well as the importance of regular checking.

Hayley (pictured ice-skating) says she feels like an intruder in her Whatsapp group as she hasn’t had cancer herself

Hayley said she would advise women with the BRCA1 gene that it is ‘entirely up to them’ if they want to have a mastectomy (pictured the food served at the party)  

But despite making friends through her diagnosis, she said she feels like ‘an intruder’ as she hasn’t been through cancer herself.

Hayley adds: ‘A lot of the girls have had cancer so they’re a huge inspiration to me. Most of them have now had a mastectomy.

‘My dad feels guilty because he passed on the gene – he’d rather I didn’t have to go through this but he’s okay now. At the time, I didn’t feel as though I could speak to him about it.

She says: ‘Now, I actually feel sorry for him because there’s a cast of my boobs in the middle of the kitchen.

‘I’d tell women who also have the gene that it’s entirely up to them but I think it’s the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer. I’m personally 85 per cent more likely to suffer from breast cancer because I have the gene, so I’d rather get a mastectomy than go through chemotherapy.’

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5 Couples Put Long-Wear Lipstick To The Ultimate Test

5 Couples Put Long-Wear Lipstick To The Ultimate Test

Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

Lipstick can be incredibly sexy — until you get to the actual


part. Unless you’re planting a cautious peck — which is about as exciting and passionate as it sounds — the stuff gets everywhere. But an array of extreme

long-wear lipsticks

claim to withstand your raunchiest

makeout sessions

— with one even promising to last through 90 kisses (which might be a


excessive, but maybe that’s just us).

We enlisted five real couples to swipe ’em on, make out, and report back on the results. What started as a test of cosmetic longevity turned into an adorable love fest, proving something we knew all along: Lipstick isn’t just a makeup product — it’s a symbol of passion, a vehicle for self-confidence, and a hell of a lot of fun. Check them out in action in the slides ahead.

This story was originally published July 6, 2017.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Couple: Coco & Mars

Mars (left) and Coco (right) share an apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn with their adorable but admittedly “super clingy” Dachshund puppy. Coco is an assistant editor at the art magazine Glitterati Incorporated and Mars is a tattoo artist — and their art collection is what makes their house a home.

“We actually met on Tinder two or three weeks after I moved to New York,” says Coco. “The first thing that attracted me to Mars was his bowl cut [at the time].” Now, the pair have been together for a year and a half. “I remember being really excited when Coco talked about how they could read palms on our first date,” says Mars.

The Lipstick: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Dark Forest (on Coco) and Cherry Blossom (on Mars)

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

Their First Kiss:

Mars: “I think it was on our first date. I remember a feeling of terror. I was really nervous! I thought Coco was super cool.”

Coco: “We were at Happy Fun Hideaway in Bushwick. I had just moved here, so I had asked my roommate for a cute place to go on a date. We met there and just talked for a really long time and went to another bar and I might have made Mars play scrabble with me.”

Mars: “I won!”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Verdict:

Mars: “Before we started kissing, this lipstick was super comfortable. It now appears to have traveled a little bit…” [laughs]

Coco: “I thought it was really comfortable…I’d wear it again!”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Couple: Emani & Tangina

Emani (right) owns a skin-care line called Stripped Ego and Tangina (left) is a singer, so their home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn is always bustling and bursting with song. The two were set up by Emani’s cousin. “I saw pictures of Tangina and I was like, ‘Okay, she’s cute! Give me her my number,'” says Emani. Four years later, they’re happily engaged.

“Tangina beat me to the punch and asked me to be her girlfriend, so I was not going to be outdone twice in a row,” says Emani. “I got her a custom ring. Her father [who passed away] is really important to Tangina and me, so when I made the ring, I had the birthstones of her father, myself, and Tangina put in so that way he’s still part of the engagement even though he isn’t here.”

The Lipstick: Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in Mad (on Tangina) & Tryst (on Emani)

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

Their First Kiss:

Tangina: “Emani gave me such a hard time about kissing her. She knew she was fine. She said, ‘I know you want to kiss me, but I’m not going to kiss anybody! And don’t think when you do finally kiss me you can put your tongue down my mouth because that’s not happening!’ Every time I thought I was ready, I would back down! But I did kiss her eventually.”

Emani: “I was wearing hot pink lipstick when we first kissed. Nowadays we have lipstick that you can wear and it won’t come off, but at the time it wasn’t around yet.”

Tangina: “That’s how she played me!”

Emani: “I was like, ‘You’re not going to kiss me and mess up my lipstick!’ Lipstick is important!'”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Verdict:

Tangina: “I am very feminine but I’m also very androgynous… I’m not saying it’s okay to determine someone’s gender based on what they’re wearing, but people often think I’m a guy, so when I’m wearing lipstick it’s the only thing that makes [them think] it’s me embracing all parts of myself. And this lipstick is pretty good. Some of mine smeared on Emani’s lip, though.”

Emani: “I think the color is still there, but it’s a little smudged. But I think it’s great — I like it a lot.”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Couple: Amanda & Lucas

Amanda (right) and Lucas (left) share an apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn filled to the brim with vintage clothing. Lucas is a guitar player in the rock band The Britanys and Amanda is an up-and-coming model. The two met in college.

“We had a class together and I was trying to muster up the courage, so I came up with an excuse to Facebook message her,” says Lucas. “He asked me to be in a music video and I said ‘yes!” explains Amanda. “Now, it’s been almost three years.”

The Lipstick: Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge Liquid Lipstick in 19 (Editors’ note: This shade is no longer available, but we recommend Make Up For Ever Artist Liquid Matte Liquid Lipstick in 401 as an alternative.)

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

Their First Kiss

Amanda: “I have to tell this story! Lucas had come over to my dorm and he had politely asked me if he could kiss me and I said ‘no.'”

Lucas: “But I kept at it!”

Amanda: “A couple days later, we kissed for the first time. On Lucas’ birthday we had taken a walk together and at the end of the walk he asked, ‘Am I going to get a birthday kiss?'”

Lucas: “Don’t say it like that!”

Amanda: “But you did say it like that… I thought it was cute!”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Verdict:

Amanda: “Well, this one got a little on Lucas. In comparison to other lipsticks, it’s pretty long-lasting and withstands some kissing!”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Couple: Yaminah & Sydney

Sydney (left) is a Bronx-based musician and Yaminah (right) makes a living as a model from Harlem. They met when Sydney spotted Yaminah in a clothing store, where she was working at the time.

“I made fun of his shoes when he walked in,” says Yaminah. “Our first date was trash. It was late, the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed… Luckily I knew a bar that stayed open past two in the morning. It was pretty lit though,” she says.

The Lipstick: Laura Geller 50 Kisses Lip Locking Lip Color in Pink Pucker

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

Their First Kiss:

Yaminah: “Our first kiss was at a bar in SoHo. It was pretty drunken… and right outside of a bathroom.”

Sydney: “I kissed you in front of a bathroom?”

Yaminah: “Yup, then I had to use the bathroom. [I had] five tequila pineapples!”

Sydney: “I think you had on a nude lipstick… Yaminah looks amazing with lipstick.”

Yaminah: “I could wear lipstick all day.”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Verdict:

Yaminah: “I like the way this feels on my lips. It feel like the lipstick is still on even though I know it’s on [Sydney’s face.] I do think it held up though!”

Sydney: “Look at my face!”

Yaminah: “But look at my face. For me it held up!”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Couple: Maia Zoe & Roman

When Maia (right) and Roman (left) aren’t chilling at “their spot” —the boat house in Central Park — they’re in the studio. The students at New York City’s The New School study media and urban sustainability, respectively, and spend their free time recording Maia’s R&B tracks while Roman acts as her manager and event coordinator. Power couple if you ask us.

“We met at a studio I was recording at… I knew he existed but I didn’t really know him. We kept seeing each other over time and eventually we started dating,” says Maia. Adds Roman, “[We’ve been together] 10 months, I counted.”

The Lipstick: Maybelline SuperStay 24hr 2-Step Lipcolor in Everlasting Wine

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The First Kiss:

Maia: “Our first kiss was at my show. He’s so cute and it was great because he’s a good kisser.”

Roman: “Maia was waiting to perform and we were both getting a little restless about her set, so we found a quiet corner at the venue and just disappeared for a couple minutes.”

Maia: “Then I started playing…”

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Photographed by Sharokh Mirzai.

The Verdict:

Roman: “I really like when she wears lipstick. I like having the kiss marks all over my face. It’s like little colors all over. Your lipstick now is perfect. No smudges or anything!”

Maia: “I’m so impressed with this lipstick. It did not come off! I still look cute and so does he.”

Roman: “I wish I had more smudges though.”

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Beauty blogger’s body positive message slammed by fans who say she doesn’t have cellulite

Beauty blogger’s body positive message slammed by fans who say she doesn’t have cellulite

‘Nobody walks around like that’: Beauty blogger’s body positive message slammed by fans who say she’s giving a poor representation of women with cellulite

  • Lauren Curtis is an Australian beauty blogger with three million YouTube fans
  • She posted an image of her pert derrière to Instagram on Tuesday night
  • On one side of the snap the 26-year-old was posing, and on the other, clenched
  • Some of her followers suggested by clenching she was misappropriating  


Matilda Rudd For Daily Mail Australia

00:00 EST, 23 January 2019

02:54 EST, 23 January 2019

Lauren Curtis is a celebrated beauty blogger with more than three million subscribers on YouTube.

She has long been in favour of posting ‘real’ photographs alongside her edited ones to give followers an intimate look beyond the lens at the everyday qualms of being a woman and influencer.

In her latest offering, the 26-year-old from Perth shared a side-by-side portrait of her pert derrière in a posed and ‘clenched’ state.

Scroll down for video 

In her latest offering, the 26-year-old from Perth shared a side-by-side portrait of her pert derrière in a posed and ‘clenched’ state

Lauren Curtis is a celebrated beauty blogger with more than three million subscribers on YouTube

The purpose? To showcase that Miss Curtis has cellulite in that region just like the vast majority of other women.

‘Both are real and both are great. I usually only post photos of my best angles with the best lighting because I look at those photos and they make me feel good about myself,’ she explained in the photo’s caption.

‘Like the training I do has paid off. But it doesn’t mean I’m also not proud of my body when it doesn’t look like that!’

‘Both are real and both are great. I usually only post photos of my best angles with the best lighting because I look at those photos and they make me feel good about myself,’ she explained in the photo’s caption

‘In the second photo I’m clenching my butt cheeks to demonstrate that I still have my fair share of cellulite, which is super noticeable in direct sunlight, as are my stretch marks and little spider veins!,’ she continued.

‘I used to be soooo worried people would notice all these “flaws” and its honestly crippling. 

‘You convince yourself that you need to lose weight and that other girls don’t have them so you’re not as attractive as they are, when in reality we ALL have them to some degree and THEY DOOOO NOOOOTTTT MATTTERRRR.’

While her body positive expression was well received by thousands of people – many of who were heavily complimenting her assets – a few commenters were at odds with her message and the image she was portraying

‘I love you but nobody walks around with their butt cheeks clenched like that. Poor representation in my opinion,’ one woman wrote

While her body positive expression was well received by thousands of people – many of whom were heavily complimenting her assets – a few commenters were at odds with her message and the image she was portraying.

‘I love you but nobody walks around with their butt cheeks clenched like that. Poor representation in my opinion,’ one woman wrote.

‘You are squeezing your a** cheeks that’s why. I have four times more cellulite,’ another explained.

They claimed that if she actually took on a ‘relaxed’ stance she wouldn’t have the small skin dimples

They claimed that if she actually took on a ‘relaxed’ stance she wouldn’t have the small skin dimples.

But Miss Curtis hasn’t addressed their grievances, instead finishing her caption with: ‘No one cares about your perceived flaws as much as you do! You’d spend less time worrying about what others thought of you if you knew how little they actually did’.  

The rising star began posting makeup videos to YouTube in 2012 when the platform was only just becoming popular for sharing clips. 


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Tomb of the Mask: Enemy Analysis – by Olin Olmstead

Tomb of the Mask: Enemy Analysis – by Olin Olmstead

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.

The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

This article was originally posted to the Lit A.F. Game Design blog


Tomb of the mask has been at the top of the app store for a while. It’s a game published by Playgendary, who have several chart topping apps.

The development team seems to be a single developer by the name of Shelzy, who worked with a small team of artists known as Happy Magenta. I like seeing developer-artist collaborations like this since it’s the same team makeup as my own.

It’s also encouraging to see a game made by a small team achieve success. Yes, they ‘sold out’ to a big publisher, but let’s face it, that’s required in today’s mobile gaming market.

And it’s well worth the attention because the game is fun, polished, and unique. It reminds me of pac-man as the player must collect dots and avoid enemies in maze like levels.

Of course the game is not limited to just one enemy type like pac-man and has many different powerups and levels layouts.


The controls are extremely well done and feel very native to mobile. No on-screen joystick or arrows. You swipe in the direction that you want to go. I am a fan of good native controls and this game nails that. 

My only complaint about the controls is that sometimes my swipe is not registered which leads to death. Most of the time, I blame myself for trying to go too fast.

Mobile Features

If you’re anything like me and play a variety of mobile games, then you are certainly aware of features that are consistent across the medium.

Usually a game implements a few of these, but this game seems to have every…single…one.

  • Level based gameplay AND infinite mode

  • Three star system for each level

  • Lives system to prevent binge gaming

  • Watch an ad to revive

  • 3 Missions rewarding certain behavior

  • Player level system

  • Spin the wheel luck mini-game

  • Watch an ad to double your reward

  • Video reward ads for in game currency and power-ups

  • Skins with stats

  • Constantly asking you to subscribe, rate, and pay to remove ads

  • Changing colors of the environment every few levels to mix things up 

I’m actually surprised and almost disappointed there isn’t a daily reward.

I’m not going to go into each of those systems in detail as that would be way too much to take on. If you have played mobile games then you know the basics of how they work.

And I’m also not saying that it’s good or bad that all of these are in the game. Plenty of people will be upset about some these mechanics while I could argue in favor of some of them.

But that’s besides the point. In this article I want to talk about a couple aspects that I really enjoy.


The piece of design I do want to deconstruct is the obstacles/enemies. Again, you swipe to move through this maze-like-tomb and collect dots. There are obstacles like spikes, bats, and flying arrows that kill you if you touch them.

Each mechanic is introduced to the player slowly over the course of different stages. The first stage in which the player encounters an obstacle will be fairly simple as the game teaches the player how to handle the danger. Then the game will mix that obstacle with the existing ones to make things more difficult and interesting.

Each obstacle is also unique in how it functions within the game. If the enemies are different, then so should their behavior. For example, there are bats and snakes in the game but both are dangerous in different ways. 

This table shows the obstacle distribution of the first 50 levels.

[Insert table on obstacles and levels]



You will notice that the spikes triggered by motion detection are the most common obstacle. This is most likely due to their versatility and ease of implementation. They replace any wall and can easily kill the player if they are not paying attention.


I was actually surprised the regular spikes show up less often. The problem with regular spikes is that the player can never go on them. So they limit the movement of the player. They are used more as an occasional trap if you are trying to maneuver through the level a certain way. 

The next most common is the flying arrow trap, followed closely by the bats. These represent the basic mid air obstacles and can be used in plenty of applications. It’s important to note the distinction between the two. The bats are always there and move back and forth while the arrows move in one direction with a brief moment of non-existence. This non-existence enables them to be used in tunnels where a bat would be impassable.



There are some less common obstacles such as the puffer fish. I thought the puffer fish would be used a lot more once it was introduced. I can only guess that there is some aspect that makes these enemies less level design friendly, the designer just doesn’t personally prefer to use them, or simply that they will be used more in later levels.


One of the coolest (yes, I did just use the word ‘coolest’) enemies is the snake. It does not have a predictable pattern (unless you repeat the level) and can appear anywhere in the level. A wall will flash momentarily before the snake comes busting out of the wall and goes straight through any other obstacles until it disappears. The rest of the level is tense as the snake could return at any moment.

The snake really feels like a boss type enemy. It’s pattern is unpredictable and it is much larger than any of the other enemies.


For the rest of the enemies, I am going to give a more lightning round style explanation. 

Flying monkeys that drop…coconuts? Like the snake, also unpredictable. Causes a sense of panic until you realize to just chill in a safe spot until they pass.


Homing spike thingys that, well, follow the player and kill them. Move quickly! I didn’t make a gif of this one so boo to you.

Springs and teleporters that exist to alter movement. The teleporters enable crazy level layouts.



Moving blocks are likely paired with spikes. Slows the player down and forces them to make some timely jumps.


Game Modes

 The last topic I’d like to cover is the difference between the 2 game modes: Stage Based Mode and Arcade (infinite) mode.

The key difference in these modes is that in infinite mode the player is pushed forward by way of a rising pool of water. If the player touches the water, they die. 

This changes the design of these levels. In infinite mode, the end goal is always to go up. There is not much side winding around. The player will also not be able to get all the dots or coins. They can merely get as many as they can and then continue up.


In contrast, the stage based mode (while there are some levels with the rising water) has drastically differently designed levels. You can start in the bottom right of the level and wind your way around until you end in the middle. Sometimes the exit is right next to the entrance but you just can’t reach it until you go through the whole level.

This sort of design is much more puzzle based. The player has time to think about each move they make, and so making the levels catered in this way makes sense. I spend time trying to figure out how to get each dot, not simply survive and escape the water.


Infinite mode favors fast reflexes while stage based mode favors logical thinking. 

Infinite mode dots are points while stage based mode dots are currency for level bonuses.

I want to point out that I’m not saying one is better than the other. It’s just that this one mechanic changes the design of the game. The player must change their play style depending on the mode even though the underlying mechanics are the exact same.


The well thought out introduction to obstacles is something to really take note of here. Every good game that has a multitude of mechanics will introduce them one at a time to the player.

I also love how the different modes create drastically different styles of gameplay. The development team has really taken a core set of mechanics and stretched them out to get as much playability out of them as possible.

I will say that one thing that got out of hand in this game is ads and pop ups for their subscription. I have no idea if this is what it was like when it first launched or if this was insisted on by the publisher, but it’s pretty annoying.

Every time you open the app they ask if you want to subscribe for $8 per week for some in game bonuses. This really is only targeting the whales while just annoys the general player base. There’s also a video ad between every level that you can’t skip until about 10 seconds in. Which makes dying that much worse.

My theory is that once a game reaches a certain level of popularity, they can up the monetization efforts with less of a negative effect.

Ok that’s enough complaining about the monetization. Taking that aside, I really do enjoy this game!

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