SEVEN ON SET is an interview series that takes a closer look at creative individuals. In this installation, we interviewed the fabulous bi-coastal Makeup Artist, Nam Vo

1. What made you want to become a Makeup Artist?

My parents were first generation immigrants, and knew very little english yet established a thriving salon. As a child I got to witness their talent transform women and empower them to become confident and joyful.  It was thrilling and impactful, to see them help define and tell the story of each woman and to learn that creating beauty broke through every language barrier. Even now, I think of my parents when I work on a face and I always ask,  “What do we want the world to think when they see you today? Let’s tell your story together” and I pick up my brushes and off we go….makeup is a creative outlet for me and a short therapy session for my clients, so it’s all joy!

2. What has been the most memorable moment of your career?

I would say it was when I first moved to NYC and I needed to make ends meet. I took a job at a strip club AS A MAKEUP ARTIST, not a stripper…my wrist is the only flexible point in my body! I like to tell people this is where I learned my “stage makeup techniques” and had my first experience with working with ‘celebrities’…because let’s face it, those entertainers were celebs in their own right.

3. If you did something different for a living, what would it be?

A Creative Director. I’ve been really lucky as I’m actually doing 2 careers in the world of beauty right now and they amplify and elevate each other! Aside from being a makeup artist, I’ve been fortunate enough to delve into the role of Creative Director and consulting for a few beauty brands where I get to share my point of view at inception, define customer needs and expand their product lines. In other words, I share my opinions in creating the next Holy Grail products that makeup artists are lusting for!

4. What is your personal mantra?

Never chase a man or a bus because if you miss one, another one will come around in 15 minutes…or let me give you the spiritual version, “what is meant for you will never pass you by”.

5. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

People find it shocking to know I am obsessed with more than glowy skin and Pomeranians. I do not own a TV,  I devour books about philosophy, metaphysics, religion, and spirituality. You know, the age old questions…where did we come from? Why are we here and what happens when we die? I can go on for hours, but preferably with a moisturizing mask on!

6. Ideal Dinner party? Dead or Alive.

Carl Sagan, Eben Alexander, Stephen Hawking, Joan Rivers, Jesus Christ (I really want to know his version of the story) and my brother Matt Vo, who was the funniest person I’ve been lucky enough to love.

7. If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“All Eyez on Me” by Tupac


Photography by Peggy Gertner