Y21 Woman #6 / Airin Lee

Y21 Woman #6 / Airin Lee

Y21: Why did you decide to strike out as a make-up artist?

Airin: I guess when I was younger, I didn’t know the consequences of making choices that will lead to certain results. All I knew then was to go with the flow and to pursue what happiness felt like. Happiness to me at 17 was perfecting a craft and seeing contentment on other’s face. 

Y21: What does your typical day look like?

Airin: My day is generally packed. Generally, I’m always working but I try to take short breaks in between. As a new entrepreneur figuring how to sustain a business I not only need to be a make up artist in the day but also brainstorming for new ways to excel the business at night. I also started to hang out with my family or friends for an hour everyday.

Y21: What challenges do you face in your day-to-day life?

Airin: The internal struggle of guilt that I’m never good enough. The guilt of not making effort with certain relationships in my life. I think as I hustle more, I have to make choices if I should do it for my company or should I give the time up for my personal life. 

Y21: Where do you look for creative inspiration?

Airin: Pre-covid, I find inspiration in the stillness during my holiday. I tend to sit at an area for long to people watch and to allow my mind flow. But these days, I seek inspiration in conversations. The rhythm and emotions one shares guide me to put perspective in my craft. 

Y21: What's your personal style?

Airin: My personal style is not getting stuck in the box. Though my aesthetic is mostly a look, I focus a lot on coloraturas theory and structure of the outfit. 

Y21: What does freedom mean to you?

Airin: Freedom means not letting your mental state of mind chain you down from self-doubts and worries. 

Y21: Any tips on maintaining a healthy work life balance?

Airin: Coming from a workaholic, it takes losing something dear to you for you to learn how to cherish what’s important. Learn to say no once in awhile, though friends and family can be tolerative and supportive, support is a two way street. 

Y21: You’re a make-up artist and co-founder of Arly. How do you balance your time between the two?

Airin: When I built ARLY, I build it in a way that it should be beyond me. ARLY is now a team effort and I’m thankful that I have a team that are striving to support my vision. As I believe in the style of servant leadership, when your team knows that you’ve put in your heart and sweat in the company, they will want to work hard with you. And at this point, they are been pushing me to take a break so nowadays I can take 1 or 2 off days at ease. 

Y21: What advice would you give new make-up artists?

Airin: Don’t be afraid to befriend other make up artist. The industry thrives as a community rather than a lone wolf. You’ll learn that you will need support from others along the way plus I always believe that there’s abundance in the market for everyone. So, try to celebrate others success.


About Airin Lee

Airin is a make-up artist currently based in Singapore. She is also the co-founder of ARLY, a curation platform for product discovery and testing, a haven for achieving beauty with a focus on skincare, and a support web where clients and makeup artists coalesce. Driven by her passion for beauty and wellness, Airin advocates looking good naturally.

Follow Airin on Instagram, @imairinn and ARLY @arly.co.

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