Annie Lam: Fashion stylist, nail artist and brow microblading artist
How did you get into fashion and nail styling?
I was always into fashion from a young age. My mother was a seamstress so I was always around it and the creation of clothing. I was also completely amazed with all the stunning gowns, headpieces and makeup of the Chinese Opera singers my grandmother used to watch. It definitely made an impression on me as a child and because of these factors it made me want to go into fashion design. While attending Ryerson University, I discovered that ‘fashion stylist’ is an actual job while helping a good friend on a modeling shoot. She knew I was working as a makeup artist and asked me to be her artist on set. I also offered to bring some clothing from myself and a few other designer friends. The photographer was impressed and asked if I was a fashion stylist. I was like huh?! This was during the time when no one really knew this position even existed! He filled me in and I realized this was my dream job. It encompassed all the things I love about fashion; makeup, clothing, photography and just overall bringing an idea in mind to life. I then looked more into it, reaching out to other industry people and it just all began from there.
As for becoming a nail artist, it really was unexpected. I’ve always been big on nails. I remember working on set as a fashion stylist and in the early days, many makeup artists didn’t need to take care of the model’s nails or manicures. It used to drive me crazy when a model would have really bad chewed up nails and would be dressed in crazy expensive designer clothing. It just didn’t complete the overall look to me. So I would bring my own fake nails or polish and would ask the makeup artist on set if I can apply it to the models. They would always love and appreciate the idea! I never even thought any of it as a nail artist was hardly ever used on set and I was focusing on starting my career as a fashion stylist.
Then about 3 years ago, I was ‘discovered’ through social media. I would often just share pictures of my nails with all the fancy designs and my network of industry friends started reaching out to me asking if I would be interested in doing nails for their shoots. One of the people was in charge of looking for a team of nail artists working for Essie during World Master Card Fashion Week. That was pretty much the beginning of me doubling up as both nail artist and fashion stylist ever since!
Where do you look for inspiration for shoots?
Inspiration really is everywhere and everything around us. I think most artists are just able to look at something so normal and everyday and can see the beauty in it. Colors, people and travel especially are great sources to my creativity.
What has been one of your favorite shoots to work on? Who was it with and what was it for?
Thinking back, one of my most memorable shoots was doing a promo shoot for the Canadian band Blue Rodeo. I honestly can’t remember who was shooting it, as it was so long ago. But what I do remember was that at one of the public locations, fans of the band found out they were shooting and would ask for autographs. A few even went home, grabbed their cd and came back for them to sign.
Then the crew and band went to shoot at a small local bar and the band was on this tiny karaoke like stage just a few feet away from me. They had to pretend to be playing as the photographer shot them. But like most musicians, you put their instruments in their hands and they start playing with it. It was super low at first, and the next thing you know they are just having a casual jam session. I remember thinking, “Wow, I am pretty much getting a private concert right now. All those fans would have died to be in my shoes right now.”
What do you love most about your job?
I love that you are always meeting new people and are always doing something different. You honestly end up doing stuff or being in an environment you’d never expect. It can be quite amazing. Not to mention, the creativity of it all. I can think up an image in my mind, and how exhilarating it is to make it come to life?!
What kind of projects are you working on now?
Funny enough I’m going back to a field in where it started, beauty. I’m starting my microblading business next month! Microblading is the next big thing in beauty. It is a form of tattooing, but what’s amazing about it is it’s semi permanent and looks crazy realistic as it’s done with a hand tool and each ‘hair’ is etched onto the skin. It’s fascinating how it’s done. I decided to venture into this because when I was looking for an artist who does this procedure for myself and there was a sea of badly done microbladed brows by mediocre artists and only a handful of really good artists. I knew I could do this with my makeup background and my meticulous skills. I did training, microbladed a few friends, and once again, it kinda blew up from social media with my industry friends. Now I plan on starting my own company BrowStyling, www.browstyling.com. I’m not by any means giving up on fashion styling or working as a nail artist though! Being your own boss and freelancing is great as it gives me the option to make my own hours. I need the creative diversity!
Have you ever considered starting a line? Clothing or nail polish?
Right now I’m focusing on my microblading business. That’s gonna take a lot of energy and time. I eventually would like to add some microblading tools for sale on the website. And of course, it’ll be amazing to open up a cool nail salon (with my own polish line of course!) once the brow business is running well.