Buzz with Danu: Viran José Peter

Feb 10 2021. views 772

Today on the Buzz I’m celebrating Viran, better known as VJP and the amazing achievements in the past 10 years. Leaving a banking career and finding the strength in himself to find a new dream and passion is definitely commendable. It’s been10 amazing years for Viran in Makeup. Today I speak to him about his 10-year journey and how it’s been.

How do you feel celebrating 10 years in makeup?
Absolutely amazing! I can’t believe I’ve gotten to do something that I love so much for so long. I feel quite accomplished and yet quite humble because, even though it’s been ten years, I remember all the hard work and hustling that went into those first few years. I'm definitely looking back with gratitude in my heart but also more excited for the future. I don’t feel like I’m reaching the end of my talents, I do believe there’s much more for me to learn and do and see.  

What made you choose this as your career path, leaving your banking career?
Well truth be told, I was just unhappy at my banking job. Sitting at a desk, working 9-5, all day every day took a toll on me. I first went into my banking job to please my father. Of course, he wants the best for me and to him having that kind of secular job meant I was socially accepted and financially stable. But while it’s for some people it’s not for me. I felt unhappy being stuck in this mundane routine. So after months of careful thought, I decided to leave my job and finally give my dreams centre stage. I’ve always been creative and art in any form inspired me. I used to sketch and go through magazines whenever I could just to be more inspired. I knew the makeup industry is where I wanted to be.  And don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and happy endings. It took me one and a half years of never giving up and letting myself get discouraged to even start breaking into the industry. 

What would you say is the unique factor that differentiates you from the other makeup artists in the industry?
So from what my nearest and dearest say, I would like to think it’s my passion. When I know what I want I go and I get it. And I don’t mean that in an obnoxious way. I truly believe we can achieve what we set our minds to and I set my mind on being the best version of myself in this industry. I’m very open to learning new and useful techniques and theory. This industry is ever-changing and I think I’m flexible enough to grow with it. I’m extremely consistent and even though it's easy to start something it’s difficult to keep at it with the same fire but I like to believe that every day my fire keeps burning if anything brighter than the previous day. I’m very accepting of constructive criticism and I believe some good healthy competition is also what pushes me. But what I mainly think sets me apart is my personality. I am very true to who I am. And don’t enjoy putting up a facade to please the masses. I like connecting with people and especially when it comes to my work, I truly give it my all to each and every single client no matter how exhausted I am.  

How tough is the business that you are in?
Well, personally I think every business has its pros and cons. And any industry is going to be tough to excel in if you’re not willing to work hard at it. Another speed bump to being a makeup artist in Sri Lanka is the lack of good products. It’s unfortunate that Sri Lankans are conditioned to believe that the products we have here are enough. We deserve accessibility to better quality cosmetic products for our clients. Especially now since travel is quite restricted, products have to be bought online and if you want good quality products you’re going to have to be ready to bear a massive tax. 
Another challenge is the mentality to be a makeup artist in Sri Lanka, is to be looked down upon or to be considered lower class. This field is not highly regarded. And the respect is basically nonexistent. I believe a lot more people are creative and longing to be in a more artistic field but the stereotype is keeping them silent. I’m extremely grateful that Sri Lanka has progressed since I first started but the change has been sluggish and the need for improvement in this country for this field I would say has been the most laborious. 

Over the past 10 years, you would have handled all types of clients, the fussy one and not so fussy one and the one to give you all the freedom. How do you tackle all of this?
Thankfully I’ve been blessed with patience. People are different and I can’t expect everyone to be the same. Just remember to take it one at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself.  A few tips are to be confident in who you are and what you know. Clients can sense and feel when you are unsure about your work and will automatically feel uncomfortable or turn “fussy”. But the trick here is to not let that confidence come out as arrogance. I do a lot of bridal makeup mostly and you have to keep in mind that you are the professional here. Your bride is already stressed, so don’t add to her stress by being hesitant. It’s another reason why I do trials, so I can get to know the bride and she can feel more comfortable around me. When it comes to being a professional, you already know what would look good on your client but you have to listen to them first. Don’t talk over your client just to get your point across. If your client is unhappy, no matter how beautiful the makeup looks, it’ll always shine through. So I always ask my client what they are comfortable with and if they like the end result.  I think how you handle clients and brides comes with experience but also how you carry yourself plays an important part. 

What would you tell an upcoming makeup artiste as a tip to keep in mind when they’re going further with their dreams?
• Firstly, I would say to only get into this industry if you’re absolutely sure this is what you want to do. I knew from the start that this is for me and there was never a plan B. Start this journey if you’re passionate about it because if not you will find yourself burning out from lack of a dream. 
• Once you get in. Give it your 100% and nothing less. Be focused and driven and willing to learn more. No matter how talented you are, be willing to work hard because if not laziness never got anyone anywhere. And remember there are always new techniques to master. 
• Be on time! I think being punctual is the most important mannerism you can learn. There is a saying that goes “Early is on time and on time is late and late is unacceptable”
• Be presentable. Be aware of your personal hygiene and how you carry yourself. And also be kind and respectful not only to your clients but even with your fellow artistes. 
• Always work on yourself. Read informative books whether it’s on makeup artistry or self-help. If you are working towards the best version of yourself, your talents and your work will automatically shine. 

When you pick the products and choose products what you keep in mind and how often do you work towards educating yourself further in this skill?
Pt. 1 - When choosing makeup products the very first thing I look for is quality. And quality doesn’t always mean expensive. There are some very good low-cost brands out there and I research on my brands before making a purchase.  I read reviews and launches about the product so I know what I’m buying. I personally make sure that what I use on my clients is the very best I can offer. In more technical detail, I look at versatility. We live in an island where the completion scale is very diverse and I have to be able to include those shades. The products I buy have to have longevity. I work a lot and can’t be using something that lasts only a month. The product also has to be practical and easy to move around for a quick grab and go moment. 
Pt.2 - Mainly I feel like I’ve learnt the most on the job. Every face is unique and different and textured and those things you can’t really learn online. Peoples eye shapes and bone structures are different and personally, I’ve learnt to adapt to those differences. Second to learning on the job I would say the Internet is a great academy for theory and product knowledge. I’m a self-taught makeup artist. And YouTube used to be my class teacher. I also think it’s good to have theory knowledge. I believe that the more theory you know the more creative you can be and push the boundaries of your imagination. 

Who has been your biggest support system in making your dream a reality?
My father and sister play a major role. Family is the best support system one can ask for and I’ve always felt their encouragement and love towards me and that really keeps me going.  If I need to single out one particular person and that would be Stephan Joachim, who was just a pillar of strength to me going into this field. He definitely gave me the confidence and the advice I needed to further myself as an artist and as a person.  I’ve surrounded myself with very supportive friends who wish nothing but the best for me. I’ve never feared failure because of the safety net my friends are to me. 
But last but never the least my beautiful clients. Each one has trusted me and pushed me beyond my comfort zone to better myself and bring me that much more closer to my dream. 

What made you never consider getting into hair as well?
I actually did learn hairdressing when I first started. I did hair for about 8 months and learnt the basics of it. But doing hair felt like being back at my 9-5 job which I worked so hard to leave and didn’t want to be burdened. I believe hairdressing is a completely different art form and it has its own theory to it. Just like learning face shapes and skin conditions, you’d have to learn hair texture and patterns. I was just not interested and my passion for makeup was more prominent. I believe that I wouldn’t be as good of a makeup artist if I had also taken on hair.


What’s next for the VJP brand?
I’ve surprised myself by achieving more than I thought I would when I first started. Being where I am now was definitely a goalpost for me and I’m so grateful to have reached this point. But the dream never ends and that’s the best part. I believe what is for me will be for me. And I know that being strictly a bridal makeup artist is not what is for me.  I would love to now grow on a more international level. And connect with other makeup artists from different countries. I most definitely know that I have more to offer and more to push myself. Creativity and imagination can be stretched to as far as you want it and I plan on pushing it to the extreme.  I would love to be involved in more editorial work and international fashion shows. 
I definitely see myself working with a global makeup brand and developing new formulas for new products. 
Ten years ago, I would only dream about one day being where I am today, so I know all things are possible if you set your heart on it. And I plan on absorbing every single thing this amazing field has to offer and I can’t wait to start.


Danu Innasithamby

Danu is a Jaffna Boy with a Marketing qualification (only because he needed to study, and not because he wanted it). He has been a part of the team for seven years and is the face behind Buzz with Danu, and WTF.


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