London, United Kingdom
Lan Nguyen-Grealis | Makeup Artist
Lan Nguyen-Grealis is a multi-award winning editorial, beauty, and celebrity makeup artist based in the United Kingdom. She’s also the author of her very own publications: Art & Makeup and ProMakeup Design Book. Lan is sought after for her creative flair in natural beauty, and her cutting edge branding and design techniques in all areas of the industry: music, tv, film, and advertising. Her collaboration with the beauty brand Revolution resulted in a custom designed makeup palette that surpassed expectations, going viral after its launch and eventually winning a People’s Award. But Lan’s track record doesn’t end there, as she’s also been a guest judge on the BBC Series Glow Up and regularly collaborates on shows at London Fashion Week as a key designer.
| EARLY CAREER
Before becoming a trailblazer in the beauty industry, Lan started out on her career path by earning a Bachelor's degree in Art & Design, and taking 3 years of Fashion Design and Marketing at Central Saint Martins. She exceeded her exams in Art, finishing with an A level grade — something she attributes to the artistic elements in her work. Shortly after graduating, Lan fell into makeup and began educating herself through the work experience she gained on the job. With over 18 years of creating show-stopping looks, Lan’s level of exposure has equipped her with the knowledge to effortlessly share her tips and tricks in the media. She travels worldwide as a speaker, with her mission being to empower women with tailored looks that cater to their individual beauty, not the standards of mainstream trends. Lan understands that these trends come and go, which is why she teaches her audience that “your own personal style will be your unique selling point. This will attract a certain type of clientele and allow you to have a longer career.” Her perspective is built on the idea that if you follow your own style, there is no comparison, no competition other than your own battle of the mind — it’s the ultimate opportunity to freely take risks. To assist fellow artists in striving for this mindset, Lan organized a space called Studio One in the heart of the Knightsbridge District in London, which is a salon curated for up and coming artists to offer top tier education and makeup services that aren't readily available or found elsewhere. Lan is proud to have stayed diligent and true to herself in order to manifest this abundance of resources she is now able to share with the community.
| EARLY LIFE
For as long as she can remember, Lan has been a creative artist. She found herself getting stuck in every activity, as she grew up in a large family of 6 and was left to her own devices the majority of the time. She shared with us a few memorable events from her childhood when she, “stood up to show the class how to draw a house in the easiest way”, or when she won a school art competition at the age of 7. She also fondly reminisced on the time she was “commissioned at the age of 12 for a watercolor art piece”. Whatever she was involved in, whether that be painting, styling clothes, or designing new hairstyles, she’s always had a creative outlook on life. All of her childhood experiences relate to her current career; and the seemingly “small” skills she’s amassed throughout the years were actually the necessary tools she needed to blossom into the professional she is today.
As an artist who started out with no particular qualifications in makeup, and gained her insight solely through self-discipline, Lan has always felt like an outsider. For her, being a self-taught artist has proven to be a challenge in itself. The biggest lesson she’s had to learn is to go with her gut instinct and not be afraid of what others think, which she believes is a fundamental reason why she has held herself back in the past. But according to Lan, the most rewarding and life saving part of her career has been the years of investment in teaching, having assistants working with her, and involving other makeup artists in her professional circle. She says the industry can be a “cruel and lonely place”, but that the support network she’s had with other artists is what has led her to have bigger opportunities that not only help her, but them as well.
| WORDS OF WISDOM
We posed the question to Lan of whether or not she would have done anything differently with her career choices, to which she responded, “I would have probably pushed harder to meet some of the best makeup artists and assist them, which could have saved me years of making mistakes!” But despite the trials Lan has faced, she has stayed strongly motivated by her ability to “be nice and be a risk taker”, two traits that she’s confident have gotten her to the position she’s now in. Lan left us with the most prominent piece of advice she’s ever received: “You can earn a good daily wage in what you do, but you will stay a needle in a haystack. However, if you take risks, reach for the top, and get an agent, you will be in a better position to choose what you do, and financially gain a lot more”!
Head to Lan Nquyen-Grealis’ Instagram @lanslondon to enjoy more of her latest ventures, or pick up one of her books and dive into the pages of her stunning creations and in-depth tutorials! If you’d like to learn insightful, industry level knowledge from Lan and her colleagues, listen to her podcast @powerofmakeup, available on the following platforms: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Katherine Berg | @kurleykath
Katherine is an artist, vegan activist, and the founder and curator of Creating Freely Magazine. She’s passionate about living on her own terms and maximizing her potential!