All of us have something we are deeply passionate about. But not everyone has the guts to pursue what they love. For Romdoul Lich Tek – a rising make-up artist and fashion designer – his passion is his own to claim. And his style? It’s certainly loud and proud. Eileen McCormick and Say Tola recently sat down with Romdoul for a colourful and fun chat.
GoodTimes2: You are into so many art facets – fashion, party decoration, modeling, make-up. Which one of these is your most favourite?
Romdoul: I actually like these careers equally. But I think make-ups are the most fun to do. It also gives me better income compared to my other works. I usually give make-up services for weddings and parties. I usually earn $400 for an event.
GoodTimes2: What inspired you to become a make-up artist when you were younger?
Romdoul: Doing make-up is really my passion ever since I was young. I like looking at people while they’re putting on make-up. I also used to practice my skills on my family whenever there’s an event or wedding. My family said they like what I do, so that motivated me to strive harder. I knew that I have a talent so I wanted to take it to a professional level. As I grew older, I learned other make-up styles through YouTube videos and constant practices.
GoodTimes2: What make-up brands do you use for your customers?
Romdoul: I choose brands based on my client’s preference – Mac, Chanel, Make Up For Ever. For foundations and lipstick, I like using Mac. For eyeshadow, I prefer ColourPop eye palettes. I like to buy American products, and those from Sephora.
GoodTimes2: You did the make-up for Miss Global Cambodia 2017. Was that a proof that you are considered as one of the best make-up artists in the country?
Romdoul: It’s hard to say that. I don’t know what people think about my works, or if they consider me as the best make-up artist here. However, I have won awards on hairstyle, nail and haircut competitions before. I also have my own salon.
GoodTimes2: Who usually gets your services?
Romdoul: It depends. There are so many Cambodians who go to my salon. But I also have some foreigners who hire me for wedding ceremonies.
GoodTimes2: How did you build up your name and credibility to work with famous stars in Cambodia?
Romdoul: Make-up is my passion and love. I think people can see this and that’s why they come to get my services. I think people can see that I exert effort in making my clients standout. Every time I have customers, I make sure that I use the right cosmetics on them. A certain make-up brand and style can’t be applied to just anyone because we have different skin tones and bone structure. I normally take photos of my customers in advance so I can study their face shape. I look through the photos so then I’d know how to apply make-up well. Aside from that, I also have to observe carefully the products that I use. I believe that’s what made me successful.
GoodTimes2: Aside from doing make-up, you are also well-known for your designs made from recycled materials. Where do you get inspiration to create such things?
Romdoul: When I go to eat food in markets, visit natural tourist sites or rice fields, I always find something that attracts my attention. It is from those things that I draw inspiration from for my designs. It is about nature, flowers or any iconic thing that best represents Cambodia. It’s not hard to find these materials here.
GoodTimes2: Cambodia and nature – how do you make them fit into your art?
Romdoul: Personally, I think there are lots of natural resources in Cambodia. And there are many Cambodian designers, too. However, we seem to overlook these things. If no one does it, I think I should do it and let other countries know what this country has to offer.
GoodTimes2: How do people see your women’s fashion designs and you wearing them?
Romdoul: I am a guy, yet I think it is more attractive if I wear the clothes that I design. There’s a different kind of lure seeing a lady boy wearing traditional women’s clothes. My body shape is a gift that enables me to put on dresses I like to wear. So no doubt, I draw attention. Some may hate me for that, some may love me. At the beginning, I felt really shy using women’s fashion, but I keep telling myself that I can do it. Later, I realised that I should not be embarrassed about my arts even if some people think I’m mentally ill. I want them to understand the key message of my passion.
GoodTimes2: Where do you like to go shopping in Phnom Penh? And what are your favourite brands and outfits?
Rumdoul: I like shopping in big malls like Aeon. I found out that there are not so many brands in Cambodia compared to other countries, yet I also found my favourite one which is Geonado. I like to wear jeans and jackets when I go to places and hang out with friends. For fashion shows or gala, I use women’s outfits and high-heeled shoes from Mango.
GoodTimes2: What are you plans for your make-up and design skills?
Romdoul: I really want to share my talents and passion with those who are interested to learn my crafts. I want to run a space where I can train young ones who also have the same interests. However, before they come to study with me, I want them to fully understand what they really love to do. If they are already sure of this, they will have to chase for it. That’s what I have learned from my experiences. Go for what you love. I guess the awards I got for my works are rooted in the fact that I am in love with my passion.
Visit Romdoul’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RomdoulLichTek/