Emily Chu — @emilydoes_makeup on Instagram — is a junior at Tufts studying biology and English on the pre-med track. But she’s also a makeup influencer, ambassador and a representative for Glossier. Her latest YouTube collaboration with Estee Lauder’s global beauty director Violette (@violette_fr) has caused an uptick in her followers and her influence. The Tufts Daily caught up with her to hear about her start, her process and some makeup tips and tricks.
The Tufts Daily (TD): Your Instagram says that you’re self-taught. How did you get started in makeup?
Emily Chu (EC): A huge part of my makeup education comes from the internet and it started pretty early. When I was around 10, I started getting interested in Michelle Phan videos. She was sort of my inspiration at the time, I guess, and a huge role model. Especially because she’s Asian American, and I think that that was a huge part of why I watched her, because I felt as though I could do the looks and I could see myself doing the things that she was doing, so that made it seem more accessible. And then that trend continued until I was allowed to wear makeup. But mostly YouTube, and then as Instagram became a larger platform, that definitely became a way that I found other artists and learned and connected with them.
TD: When and where do you like to experiment with new makeup looks?
EC: I’m always thinking in my room about what I’m going to do [with my makeup]. With wearing them out, and what occasions I wear them too — literally any day. Like any time of the day. I wear these looks to class. Even if I’m not going out I’ll just sit in my room and play around. It’s sort of taught me to be a little bit bolder and not care so much about what other people think about me when I’m enjoying my look.
TD: Where do you get your inspiration for new looks?
EC: More recently, Instagram. Other professional artists will really inspire me. I’m really inspired by the drag community and the techniques that are employed in drag makeup. And also just from feeling, and what aesthetic I’m interested [in]. I’ll be outside and see colors that I like, or see somebody’s outfit and I like the colors they’re using. A lot of the time, I’m mostly inspired by color as opposed to shape, and when I’m on Instagram, that’s when I start to see inspiration for different shapes and ways to apply makeup.
TD: What have been some of your go-to products this season?
EC: I love the Glossier concealer. I feel like for me, on a daily basis, it’s the perfect amount of coverage. It’s not too dry, so I really like it. My makeup collection is super affordable since I am a student. Most of my makeup is ColourPop and some Glossier stuff. Recently, my favorite ColourPop [eyeshadow] palette for this season has been the Sweet Talk palette. It has these new glitter shades, and I’ve just been obsessed with glitter this season. Especially during the spring … It’s so fun, and the light reflects off of your makeup in a way that’s really cool and flattering and just doesn’t happen in the winter.
TD: How would you describe your own makeup style in a nutshell?
EC: I would say fresh. I have a lot of fun. And colorful right now, definitely. It’s a mixture. I try to be minimalistic but bold.
TD: Any underrated or lesser-known makeup tips to share with the Tufts community?
EC: In terms of underrated, cream products. Those are my favorite types of products, but I feel like they’re not as popular as powder. I love cream bronzers and blushes and eyeshadows … but mostly complexion products, because I think they blend so seamlessly into your skin and give your skin a really healthy radiance. But people are attached to powder and heavier foundations and stuff like that, and I think honestly the best way to make your skin look happy and healthy is not to put too much on it. Also, people always ask me how they can spice up their makeup looks. And especially if they don’t wear much makeup or aren’t super familiar with makeup, I think playing with different color eyeliner is the easiest and most fun way to play around and get a little bit more interesting [of a look]. And a red lip — always a red lip. I love red lips!