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Journey With Us Through Hong Kong For Mary Kay’s Dream Beautiful™ Grand Finale

For the past four years, American beauty label Mary Kay has hosted its Dream Beautiful™ contest in search for outstanding females to be the Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific, alongside their Independent Beauty Consultants with unbeatable finesse. This year was no different, except the grand affair had evolved tremendously, becoming way bigger and better.

To sum it all up, the seven month-long search across Asia Pacific, including China, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines and New Zealand, began with submission entries before the top finalists from each nation were handpicked to compete at the Grand Finale held in Hong Kong.

That’s when the real fun began. Over a three-day period, 23 pairs of Dream Beautiful™ finalists had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be mentored by leading industry experts who passed on their secrets through a series of gruelling workshops, alongside having a rare insight into the life of a model who is groomed, fitted and styled for a professional photoshoot.

All this came on top of the Dream Beautiful™ Grand Finale experience – an all-expense paid visit to Hong Kong, the fellowship and conviviality amongst the diverse contestants, the ultimate transformation, and highly coveted shot at being named the Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific that encompasses an exclusive brand campaign photoshoot in Seoul, South Korea.

For 2017 though, what made the annual affair extra special is the participation of renowned industry experts such as celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool who coached the contestants with her infinite beauty expertise, and iconic supermodel Coco Rocha who taught the girls ways to expand their posing and walking know-how.

Naturally, having detailed what went down only signifies that I was fortunate enough to have been flown to Hong Kong to witness the Dream Beautiful™ Grand Finale thanks to the gracious Mary Kay and be a part of the exclusive Malaysian media entourage (there were only three of us!). Here’s a recap of the proceedings:

March 19

Despite a slight disappointing hiccup at the airport with the driver responsible for our pickup, we were ferried swiftly to InterContinental Hong Kong – the prime venue for the entire event and what was also our humble abode for the next three days of our junket. A swanky hotel, though slightly remote from dining options and fun attractions.

The Dream Beautiful™ Grand Finale was to take place the next day, but that’s not to say we were left with a bare agenda. Being able to observe the photoshoot helmed by photographer Jason Capobianco that was taking place meant that we had a real good taste of the general chaos that ensues similarly behind high profile runway shows.

Where we possibly could, we wedged ourselves amongst busy nail technicians, hairstylists, makeup artists and slanky contestants who were left scrambling from station to station, all in an effort to look their absolute best before being cued to take their place in front of the bright lights and take that hopeful leap for their best smize.

Only during an intimate dinner we were finally able to get to know the inspiring females representing our region comprising Malaysia and Singapore – Mahirah Shah Khan and her Beauty Consultant Lorraine Ramadas, Ooi Wei Hsing and Beauty Consultant Lim B’Shen, as well as Lim Jia Min together with Beauty Consultant Florinda Tay.

March 20

The day of the much anticipated grand affair began very early for us as we got one-on-one opportunities to speak with the respective judges to understand further the Mary Kay Dream Beautiful™ contest and everything it entails. Admittedly, we first discounted the significance of the contest prior to us being there, but dang, we couldn’t be more wrong.

Needless to say, one of our greater highlights throughout the junket that still leaves us in awe till this day was being able to chat with Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha on juggling her career and being a wife as well as a passionate mother to 24-month-old Ioni James and her overall experience with the contest as it was her second time on board.

When asked about her thoughts on the contestants and what makes a Mary Kay woman, she responded, “This time, I had the opportunity to meet the girls and conduct a workshop with them, which was very exciting. They are kind and generous to one another. Though they are different, they uplift and empower one another, and that’s what I’m all about.”

“It rarely is about attitude. It’s about being in it together, and that is exactly what Mary Kay stands for – helping women to be the best version of themselves. It’s going to be hard for me to make a decision as many of the girls have a wonderful personality. They are refreshing to be around and it’s just as important as the way they look.”

No one does beauty quite like South Korea, and who better to turn to than celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool to share her expertise? With her own namesake brand under her belt and many prominent faces in her portfolio like Song Hye Kyo and Kim Tae Hee, trust Jung and her unique techniques – some of which she pioneered – to slay in the beauty department.

On the makeup look interpreted for the photoshoot, Jung mentioned that she wanted to translate the key beauty trend for 2017 on the faces of the con – makeup that emulates the look of a blooming flower. Think a lot of nectarines and peachy warm tones that still give off a natural, soft blurred look that ins’t overly loud.

Being the expert she is, it was an effortless feat for her to create a harmonised look expressing this trend, in accordance with essence and grandeur of the occasion by highlighting the best features, like gorgeous high pigmentation, of the eyeshadow and face palettes available from Mary Kay. PS: She recommends the True Dimensions® Lipstick.

The Dream Beautiful™ Grand Finale was set against a nautical themed setup that mirrors the journey of transformation undergone by the contestants throughout the course of the enlivening contest. Being seated front row, our nerves were no where as near to that of the contestants, yet the unreal suspense still permeated the air.

Donning clothes and accessories presented by Nine West, the contestants, together with their Beauty Consultants, strutted their stuff and introduced themselves during the preliminary round whereby only eight pairs were left standing. Things then took an increasingly crucial turn as contestants were put through a tough round of questions by answering with conviction.

Waves of cheer filled the atmosphere and jitters felt were nearly through the roof before three aspiring models were named the Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific, alongside one Independent Beauty Consultant who showcased exceptional makeup artistry to be selected as the Beauty Artist of Mary Kay Asia Pacific.

Besides Tongtong Wang from China and Bellatrix Tan from the Philippines, Malaysia’s Mahirah Khan was crowned one of the three winners, much to our delight. Judged based on three qualities – confidence, passion and elegance, together with the result from the photoshoot and performance on the runway, the winners were narrowed down for their remarkable progress.

Their accompanying Independent Beauty Consultants of each winning model, including Yuandi Chen from China, Malaysian Lorraine Ramadas and Chrismel Santos from the Philippines, who was also named the Beauty Artist of Mary Kay Asia Pacific, of course did not walk away empty handed as they were recognised for their win.

Congratulations all of you, and thanks again Mary Kay for the whirlwind of an adventure!

Access www.mkdreambeautiful.com to learn more about the Mary Kay Dream Beautiful™ contest and find out how you can participate for the 2018 induction.

Carmen Chong
YouTube-obsessed and a beauty junkie at heart. Find her on Instagram: @carthemen