Before the days of the Youtube beauty gurus and influencer culture, Shradha Maskey found her calling in makeup. This month, we talked to her about her journey into makeup and what she plans to do next.

“When I wear eyeliner I feel like I have superpower.”

Shraddha Maskey has been working as a makeup artist for more than 12 years. She was always interested in makeup. “My sister Shipla was a good dancer and even when we were young, whenever she had to perform, I would do her makeup.“  However, when she left Nepal to continue her further studies in the UK, her interest in makeup skyrocketed. She was heavily influenced by art and culture in the UK. “I would see the wall arts and I would think, if people can make art on the walls or on canvas, why not on the face?”

Back in those days, learning makeup was not as easy as it is today. “At that time, there were no Youtube tutorials or any influencer culture. I had no idea where to study makeup” However, her interest in makeup kept pushing her forward.  

While things were not always going great in her life, makeup became her refuge. “I would try making art on my face and I found it very therapeutic. Things were not working great in my personal life. But when I would do makeup I would forget all about it.” 

Slowly and steadily, makeup became not just a hobby but a career as well. When Facebook first came up in the late 2000s, her friends encouraged her to post her makeup looks. “I was very shy back then. But when I posted my looks I would get nice feedback and the comments I got encouraged me to keep going.” 

Soon she started getting requests to do bridal makeup through her network in the Nepali community. She started making enough money that she saw a potential career and decided to leave her studies.  
In the UK, there was a group of young talented people called Parcha Production who would take Nepali talent and organise all these festivals, art exhibitions, shows etc. Through her mutual friends on Facebook, Shradha came in contact with them and she was invited to do the makeup for an exhibition. 

Through the exhibitions she got connected with the photographer Sanjog Rai, who invited her to come to Milan to work together. She couldn’t do it then. But their paths crossed again when she came back to Nepal around 2013-14 after she had her son. She collaborated with him and did a lot of makeup looks for many magazines at the time.

“Even then, there was no recognition for makeup artists.” She says. It was one of the reasons why she went back to the UK. She learned more about makeup, learned different techniques. She worked for Charlotte Tilbury and was trained by them too. She took more than a dozen masterclasses from many different makeup artists including Kim Kardasian’s Masterclass as Val Garland’s masterclass. 

But eventually she returned to Nepal. “There was a lot of interest from people in Nepal. They would ask me if they could learn from me or if I could do their bridal makeup. I saw an opportunity here.” 

“I thought maybe I should do some classes and seminars in Nepal.” so she came back and hasn't looked back since. “I don’t know how quickly these four years passed by. When I do makeup it doesn’t feel like work” 

Although Sradha does all kinds of makeup, her favourite is a more artistic type of makeup. “I’m really into body painting and fact art. I like storytelling through pictures. It is more like art rather than makeup.” she says.”Back in the days, when I would do these makeup around 2013 and post it online, people would question it. But now they are finally starting to understand.” she adds. 
She is very happy to see the makeup industry grow in Nepal as rapidly. “So many people are now earning their living through makeup.” she says and she finds it very encouraging. However, she does state that we must be careful that the industry does not grow in the wrong direction.

“Beauty culture has now grown to such a degree, that the beauty standards  are so high” Makeup can mean anything from just mascara and lip gloss to a full face. But looking at the beauty scene, it doesn't feel like it. According to her, makeup is being portrayed in such a way that it feels inaccessible to many and the beauty standard have become so high that people are  starting to feel insecure. This is something she would like to see changing in the industry.

Nowadays Shradha is busy doing more commercial makeup for different brands. She has also started several ventures. “We have a studio and during the lockdown we started a program called Sukul Guff. We also have a new venture called the Model Factory. There, we fully train new models. Sabita Karli teaches them to walk the ramp. Sanjog Rai does photography. Shyam dai, a theater artist, teaches them acting. I teach them grooming. We fully train the models, do a portfolio shoot and sign them under us. So if anybody wants to work with the models, they deal with us and we’ll look after the financial and legal aspects for the model so that it's more professional.”

Quick Questions:

Five makeup products you can’t live without?

Eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, eyelash curler and lipstick

Favourite kind of Makeup
Editorial makeup and body art

Your bad habit? 
Not posting my makeup looks

What next?
Bringing new looks to the industry. Something people have not seen before