Everyone loves a makeover although we rarely get a chance to get ourselves one. Well, not anymore. All set to transform you with a new look that gives you oodles of confidence is make-up artist and hairstylist Jaseena Kadavil.
If you thought only celebrities and film stars were entitled to look stylish and go in for makeovers, you are mistaken, says Jaseena chatting away with Onmanorama Women.
Anybody can look beautiful. All it takes are a few deft touches and a bunch of new techniques, says Jaseena who’s all set to see her “Let’s do Makeup” campaign going places.
What’s the campaign all about?
“About a year ago, I had to get Aristo Suresh for a magazine photoshoot.”
To those unfamiliar with the now-dapper-looking Aristo Suresh, he was the bumbling, gap-toothed free showman who hit it big with his capital role in Action Hero Biju.
“Those who saw his makeover sat up. The image was startling and went viral on social media. It made a lot of people realize that if Aristo Suresh could, why couldn’t they? Not only celebrities, but others too came seeking my help. It dawned on me that all people, irrespective of age, would love to see themselves looking chic and polished.
“I had not ventured out on my own then. I was committed to cinema full time. But now I have a makeup studio in Kaloor, on Desabhimani Road. I know for sure that people would give anything to shed their old dowdy looks. And all they need is a bit of help. Folks are conscious of their skin tone, texture and feel. Acne and tan bother them no end.
“A lot of people like a change, but are clueless as to how. That’s how I came up with this campaign and advertised it in a big way. People were asked to mail me with the kind of changes they wanted. Out of the five applicants shortlisted, I picked three, worked on them and did a photoshoot. ‘Unbelievable!’ was what they said on seeing their transformation. I did the work for free.
What exactly is a makeover?
“Makeup does not have the ‘fairness’ element in it. It has nothing to do with the fairness quotient. It’s actually something that’s done to give a big push to your confidence, to bring out the real you. A light touch-up is all one needs, a bit of kajal, for example, to give depth to the eyes. A slight tweak of that all too familiar hairstyle will work wonders. A small change in one’s dress design or hairstyle will bring in that freshness, crucial to one’s work, outlook and confidence.
“I’ve been in the industry for five years now. I came in as assistant hairstylist for the movie Class Number B. I’ve done more than 20 films now. Punyalan Agarbathies, 1983, Varsham, Drishyam, Life of Josutty, Idukki Gold, Memories and Gangster gave me a lot of exposure. I’m a product of Maharaja’s College, where I did my masters in English Literature.
“I went into marketing for quite a few years, then got married and got out of it. I’m on my own now. Somewhere around the time my marriage bombed, I bumped into a relative who was planning to open a showroom in Lulu. She promised to take me in. That took me to Pattanam Rasheed’s institute where I had all my lessons in makeup. But by the time I completed my course, my relative had passed on. I was helpless, not knowing where to turn to for help. I then chanced upon a friend who got me a FEFKA membership which gave me an entry into the film industry.
How has the industry changed in five years?
“When I got in, a whole lot of importance was given to makeup. Wigs were widely used. Each character was given a wig to go with the situation. If the same actor played more than one generation, wigs to suit each, had to be used. There was a general concept about the contextual use of wigs.
“We had a lot more of work then. But there began a shift in trend from Idukki Gold onwards. The stress was on the ‘be natural look’. It ushered in the ‘no makeup’ feature. When Drishyam was rolling, I tied up the girls’ hair for that particular scene where they were all set for church. But then director Jithu Joseph Sir asked me to go for the normal and natural style. No makeup. The flip side of this change is that we are left with little work and less scope for creativity. But the change is good.
Do as you are bidden
“When hairstylists in other industries are given the script, there’s no such practice here. The only instructions given are to be ready for the day-to-day scenes. But since I loved to experiment and enjoyed being creative, I used to ask the assistants for permission to try out new ideas. It all depends on the storyline… the background of the heroine, whether she’s poor or rich or just plain. In a way, we have to do all the thinking for ourselves. Despite all efforts we are yet to get a dignified recognition.
It’s a man’s world
“So far, only men have been given FEFKA memberships denoting their makeup status. What baffles me is that if there are equally qualified and talented women, they get only hairstylist cards. But the Tamil industry gives women due recognition. There are women as makeup artists. Many of them got status cards on the strength of Rajnikanth’s recommendation. But in Kerala, heroes have makeup artists and heroines, hair stylists.
“The atmosphere here is loaded against women. Many attempts have been made to stifle them. With more women coming up with costume designs, the animosity towards women is quite perceptible. Women work well, perform better, are sincere, committed and creative. They are honest too. Weighing all these favorable factors, women are given more assignments.
“We can of course come up with our suggestions to the director. One need not fall into a rut. Quite often, the director goes with the makeup artist’s tips.
Jobs need to be protected
“At the moment, I’ve cut down on my cinematic commitments. Most actors have their personal hair stylists. We dish out money for FEFKA memberships, pay taxes and all that’s due to the parent body, only to be packed off when we go to the sets. We are often told that the actors are accompanied by their personal stylists who are paid fancy sums for their time and effort.
“FEFKA gives us Rs 1,087 as daily bata to slog it out from 7 am to 9.30 pm. That’s a pittance. I was recently asked to join a set for a month and start work immediately. But five days later, the heroine came in with her personal stylist and I was out. I waited patiently for about a fortnight in the hope that I’d be called back. I refused to commit to any other assignment either. I was called for another three days. That’s a huge drain on one’s purse. There are only a few qualified hair stylists at present. There are a lot of women who’d love to take up the work. But then, when the job lacks permanency, it ceases to be attractive.
“Another shift in Malayalam movies is the change in characterization. We have no mothers, elder sisters or grandmother figures now. This leaves us with very little work as well. What’s more in demand today are bridal makeups, advertisements, and portfolio setups. And there’s room for a lot of creativity in these domains.
More women coming in
“Five years ago, I used to be the only woman on the sets. Now there are at least half a dozen. There’s a camera assistant, an assistant director and a costumer. It’s a safe place, a safe domain. And the job is good. It’s very creative. Besides, you get to see a lot of people and places.
“All said and done, there’s a negative side to all this. Cinema is a very competitive playing field. People are selfish. It’s each man for himself. I once landed in a tricky situation from which I saved myself. No one came to my help. There’s a general mood of fear. The technicians are scared of the directors and production controllers. It’s senseless to be afraid. But then they are. Nobody would want to jeopardize his or her career.
How about a real challenge?
“I’ve never had to face one. But I do long for it. The one tough work I did was for Honey Rose in Ring Master. On the first day, I curled up her hair very stylishly. It took me hours to get the curls all right. The director liked what he saw. He thought it was a wig. That did me in. I was stuck with those curls for the next 16 days. I was happy when people said they liked it. Right now I’m looking forward to Kammarasambhavam.