Vivid & Vibrant: RektRohan
RektRohan is the up-and-coming makeup artist that you need in your life. A funny, genuine teenager, he explores makeup, not just in its cosmetics form, but as an art.
Rohan uses makeup, which is generally thought of as very feminine, to make parallels with today’s problems regarding gender roles. As a person of color, he is very interested in subjects such as white washing, colourism and cultural appropriation—and the way they pertain to makeup and fashion.
Unafraid and bold, he utilizes beautiful blends of bright, vivid colors, to create very glamorous looks (including this beauty assignment). He walks you through the steps in his videos and everything is so easy to follow (unless you mess up because you’re laughing at his little jokes that he scatters here and there)!
Rohan is a proponent of self-love and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Through his makeup and videos, he doesn’t just teach you about colors, application, products...he opens up about the world.
How long have you been interested in makeup?
I've honestly been interested in makeup since I was really little! My mom would never wear makeup and she still never does because she has very sensitive skin and a lot of things break her out, but I always used to drag her to makeup counters to make her try stuff. I didn't realize boys could do makeup too until I started getting a little older and really paying attention to music videos
Do you have any makeup inspirations? Which YouTubers or MUAs do you look up to?
My first makeup inspirations were actually not YouTubers or makeup artists. Initially it was Boy George, Prince and David Bowie.I still really look up to them musically and makeup wise.
My big YouTube inspirations are NikkiTutorials and Kim Thai. I really look up to Makeup by Mario because I think he's just such a amazing makeup artist. I'm usually into very avant-garde or high glam looks but he tends to do a lot of soft glam and really makes it look GREAT!
Why did you first decide to start experimenting with makeup?
I first decided to start experimentation with makeup in September of 2016 after attending Playlist Live. Prior to which I had no intention of ever venturing into makeup...ever..honestly. I initially went to that conference to meet vloggers (since I considered myself solely a vlogger) and to figure out how to grow my channel but I ended up going to a beauty and lifestyle panel where I met Natalies Outlet and Miles Jai and a few other YouTubers, which really changed how I felt about myself. They talked to me for a few minutes after the panel and they were so sweet and kind I'll never forget them and the impact they had on me.
Are there any concepts or messages that you try to convey through your cosmetic explorations?
Something that I'd love to convey in my videos is there's no perfect way to look and that beauty is subjective. I mean most makeup is mineral-based..so is dirt..so it's basically colored dirt..it's not that deep. Let's just have fun and enjoy ourselves.
Do you have any thoughts on the social stigma surrounding male makeup artists?
Before I answer this I just want to say that I don't consider myself an artist because I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to makeup but, to answer the question...
I think it's so stupid that there's a stigma and it all stems from this hyper masculinity nonsense. It's so funny I mean through HISTORY men and women have both been wearing makeup.
In Egypt men and women both wore eyeliner. In India the same thing. Men and women also used coal as eye shadow and vermillion as blush in India. In ancient China the dyeing of nails was a popular way for both men and women to show high social status (nail polish anyone?)...
The Romans would wear lipstick to show their high social status. Granted it had lead in it..R.I.P. They would also wear foundation...which also had lead in it for some reason? Alexander the Great wore makeup and he battled his way all the way from Greece to India. I don't see what's not manly about makeup again your just rubbing yourself down in fancy dirt.
What societal pressures have you faced regarding makeup?
The main thing I faced is having to really hide it in a way? I can't wear any makeup out and I can't discuss it with a lot of people. I can't show too many people. My Instagram and Twitter hardly has people from school because I'm scared someone might try to harm me because my school isn't very open-minded. Neither is the area I live in.
I've started wearing light eyeliner out and it's been fine but I wouldn't wear anything more than that out. Along with that my eyebrows have been a huge issue for people for a while.
Ever since the DAWN OF TIME I've been bullied for my eyebrows and I've had to get them threaded, waxed, plucked, etc. since I was around 9 or 10 . I learned how to tame them myself when I was around 12 and even to this day with the whole "big and thick brow trend", I still receive some hate for my brows. It's funny because they aren't even full size now.
Tell us about your current favorite, holy-grail, can’t-live-without-it product.
Well..I have a lot of products I tend to use over and over in my routine mostly because I don't have THAT much makeup yet. But I would say my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is definitely something I wouldn't be able to live without.
It's really hard to find a foundation that matches your skin type and then being a person of color as well it gets even more difficult! This foundation matches me so perfectly and it feels so light. It has a buildable coverage so it works for light days and for days when I want to go full glam.
Has having red-green deficiency impacted or influenced your ability to play around with makeup?
Yes it has honestly because sometimes I can't tell how sloppy a look is until after I do it because of my red-green deficiency, which is pretty horrible. I try to really make sure the colors I'm using are actually coordinated before I do a look at least a few days in advance and I test them over and over to make sure my eyes are adjusted and can tell the real color .
Sometimes I'll ask my mom for her opinion too just to make sure!
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