A few months back, we posted a story from MUD graduate and New York store employee, Christie Lee, about her work with The Blind Project. The Blind Project is a non-profit organization that helps victims of sex trafficking in Southeast Asia. Christie regularly volunteers her time and talents as a make-up artist, traveling through Southeast Asia and giving the women and girls makeovers to boost their self-esteem. MUD has also donated products to assist her in these efforts.
Christie wrote to us again with a new account of her most recent trip to Thailand with The Blind Project:
I’ve always known that healing and restoration can come through make-up and hair, but something new I discovered on this trip is the common language of make-up and hair that crosses cultures, time and space. Imagine entering a roomful of women of all ages and backgrounds who do not speak the same language as you. You open up a box of make-up and hair tools and all of a sudden everyone is speaking the same language.
Our first week in Thailand we worked with a local organization called Nightlight. Nightlight had about 80 women who were once a part of the sex slave industry and were now trained and given work in the jewelry making business. Our restorative team wanted to love and serve these women through a makeover and portrait day but there was no way one make-up artist and one hairstylist would be able to do makeovers on 80 women. Instead, we came up with the idea of training a group of women in basic make-up application and hairstyling and then have them do the makeovers on all the other women. There were 20 women interested in learning, and over the course of two days we taught hair curling, braiding, foundation matching, beauty make-up and what the women called “sexy eyes” (known to us as smoky eyes).
In Southeast Asia, only a few can afford luxury make-up. The rest use drugstore make-up with limited foundation choices—light, medium and dark—so when I taught foundation matching using MUD’s Foundation Palettes, the women were a bit overwhelmed with the range of shades to work with. They had difficulty understanding the differences between warm and cool palettes. After trying my best to explain color theory, I had the women play with the colors on themselves and each other until it made better sense to them. I was surprised at how quickly they learned and how good they were at base matching, although of course, some were better at it than others. Afterwards, I showed them how to do a basic eye, but everyone was mainly interested in one thing – “sexy eyes.” They kept saying, “Teacher, teacher, we want to know how to do sexy eyes.” And I taught them what everyone needs to know – how to create a smoky eye.
After two days of training, we had our big makeover event. We set up a make-up station, hair station, nail painting station and a backdrop where each woman had their portraits professionally taken and printed. The 20 women we trained happily did the makeovers on the other 60 women as well as each other. It was such a great day where everyone put their work aside for a day to celebrate their beauty as well as encourage and build each other up.