Welcome to Episode 58!
Our guest for STIMY Episode 58 is Nigel Stanislaus.
Nigel Stanislausis a highly celebrated makeup artist who’s been a part of international television shows like Project Runway, X-Factor, Make Me A Supermodel and also a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model and Asia’s Next Top Model.
His editorial works span the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan L’Officiel, Elle, Marie Claire, GQ, and Esquire and he has worked with celebrities like John Legend, Suki Waterhouse, Kelly Osborne, Gigi & Bella Hadid, Scary Spice – Melanie Brown, and most recently, Jenna Dewan and Tina Arena.
But what is it really like being such a celebrated makeup artist who was known for almost a decade as “Mr Maybelline”? What did it take to get to where he is today?
We explore all that, and more, in this week’s STIMY episode.
Want to learn about new guests & more fun and inspirational figures/initiatives happening around the world?
Then use the form below to sign up for STIMY’s weekly newsletter!
You don’t want to miss out!!
Who is Nigel Stanislaus?
Nigel grew up in Singapore until the age of 22 where he was deeply influenced by the female figures in his life. He shares how he first discovered makeup, made kuih with his family and also uncovered a surprising talent for being a sniper!
- 1:59 The story behind the name “Stanislaus”
- 2:44 Being influenced by the feminine energy around him
- 4:59 Discovering his “front of house”
- 7:22 Being different from other guys
- 8:27 Studying apparel design & merchandising at Temasek Polytechnic
- 11:19 Obtaining an internship in New York & attending his first catwalk (which included meeting Kate Moss!)
- 17:45 Completing national service in Singapore & discovering a talent for being a sniper
Entering the Beauty Industry
After completing his national service, Nigel eventually went to Monash University where he continued to dabble in makeup on the side. Nigel shares how his freelance gig eventually turned into a full-time career!
- 20:20 Excelling at Monash University
- 22:41 Doing freelance makeup on the side
- 23:40 Being told he would never make it as he “didn’t fit the profile”
- 25:39 Getting over his rejections
- 27:20 Getting his first agent
- 28:53 The importance of social media
Becoming Mr Maybelline
Nigel shares how his career progressed and how he hit the pinnacle of the beauty industry, which included being a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model & Asia’s Next Top Model! As well as the reality behind the glamorous life we see on screens.
- 30:52 Nigel’s wildest briefs
- 32:51 How Nigel constantly upskills
- 34:32 Admiring “stalker-ish” persistence in his assistants
- 37:39 The reality of living a jet-setting life
- 44:14 Appearing on television
- 47:21 How Nigel decided to stop being the Makeup Director of Maybelline aka Mr Maybelline
- 54:33 How Nigel overcomes loneliness
If you’re looking for more inspirational stories from creatives, check out:
- Nick Bernstein (Part 1, Part 2): Senior Vice President of Late Night Programming, West Coast & executive in charge of the Late Late Show with James Corden
- Tang Cheng Hua: Hollywood actress who’s featured in Crazy Rich Asians, Phua Chu Kang & CW’s Kungfu series
- Oz Pearlman: Emmy-award winning mentalist, magician & America’s Got Talent finalist
If you enjoyed this episode with Nigel, you can:
Leave a Review
If you enjoy listening to the podcast, we’d love for you to leave a review on iTunes / Apple Podcasts. The link works even if you aren’t on an iPhone. 😉
Send an Audio Message
I’d love to include more listener comments & thoughts into future STIMY episodes! If you have any thoughts to share, a person you’d like me to invite, or a question you’d like answered, send an audio file / voice note to [email protected]
Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:
- Nigel Stanislaus: Website, Instagram
- Subscribe to the STIMY Podcast for alerts on future episodes at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher & RadioPublic
- Leave a review on what you thought of this episode HERE or the comment section of this post below
- Want to be a part of our exclusive private Facebook group & chat with our previous STIMY episode guests? CLICK HERE.
STIMY Ep 58: Nigel Stanislaus - Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist
Nigel Stanislaus: I always pay attention.
And even when the hairdressing side of things as well, like directors and all that, when they do, is it, oh, you can put up in a moose here. This is how you blow it in this direction, or you part it. I pay attention. I pay attention.
Most of the time with the tasks, you all in my head thinking about but I pay attention.
If you're smart and if you're lucky enough to any new makeup artists out there, when you go backstage, don't talk because the less you talk, the more you observe and the more you know, and sometimes there're so many techniques that they don't say that if you're quick enough, you get to catch it.
Ling Yah: Hey everyone!
Welcome to episode 58 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and producer, Ling Yah. And today's guest is Nigel Stanislaus. Now, if you've ever loved fashion or makeup, chances are you'll have heard of him or at least recognize him. One of Australia's leading and most influential makeup artist, he was the makeup director for Maybelline New York and Australia for over a decade.
And a judge on Australia's next top model and Asia's next top model. Nigel has worked with designers like Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Jason Wu, worked with clients like John Legend, Scary Spice, Jenna Dewan, Gigi and Bella Hadid. And more recently Tina Arena, and also had his work appear in editorials like Harper's Bazaar, GQ, Marie-Claire and the Esquire.
But how did it all begin?
Why was his childhood filled with making kuih tak? And what's the story behind him almost becoming a sniper?
To learn all that, as well as the reality of working in the fashion beauty circuit, listen on.
Are you ready?
You have such an interesting last name and I thought we'd start with that. Stanislaus. Where does that come from? What does it mean?
Nigel Stanislaus: Okay. So I am born into a Catholic family ed when I was supposed to be baptized, the priest said there was no Saint Nigel, and if he needs to go to heaven to register his name, he needs to have Saint's name. And at that point I probably was a few months old and my dad told the priest and said, why don't you give him a name?
And the Polish priest said, Stanislaus. So there, you that's Stanislaus. And when I grew up, and I came to Australia my agent at that time couldn't pronounce, and this was years ago, they didn't know how to pronounce my last name. I wouldn't disclose it anymore, but they said, Hey, if you got a middle name brand means, so it's like Andrew, Marcus, whatever.
And I said, Stanislaus. And they go, okay. So Nigel Stanislaus it is,
It sort of became I guess now like a stage name, but people say Mister Stanislaus. I was like, yes, , that kind of thing. It's been a while.
Ling Yah: And I read that your whole life is about women and your mom had seven sisters.
So how does all of that kind of feminine energy influenced you growing up?
Nigel Stanislaus: My mom was one of 7 sisters and when I was really, really young, I stayed with my paternal grandmother. So there's a feminine energy that daddy was always internationally working. So I see him like a few times a year but I would stay with grandma and my auntie and they would teach me the ways of life.
And there was the only way I knew it was just of course the more feminine and energy way of how to attack things and how to approach things and all that. And of course on my mother's side, when I went out on outings and things like that it was always my mom and all my Ah Ee that would come to teach me like, they taught me how to swim.
They taught me how to ride a bike. They taught me how to cook. They taught me how to sing have fun even makeup as well. Well, to me, that was the way of life growing up. I didn't understand what was wrong with a boy doing flower arrangement. I couldn't be more excited because that was the only way I knew how to do it.
That's my environment, which I feel very lucky.
Ling Yah: Didn't you used to watch your grandma put on her makeup and you thought it was the most glamorous thing as well?
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh, absolutely.
She used to take care of me and she would take me to church and I realized that there's this ritual that she would get her hair done at the salon and I would follow her to the salads.
So my earliest memories of scent, other than the kitchen would be the hairspray and then Hazel in snow.
So I would patiently wait for her to get ready. then I start to notice, after this transformation she'll get dressed and then she'd go out and drink a lot. That was fantastic. And then I realized from a very early age what front of house is, and then back of house.
So I knew the importance of presentation. And how it could change a person and the power of fashion, hair and makeup could really elevate a person into society. And I never not knew that. Like in my mind, everybody has like a back of house and then a frontal house. I didn't know any other ways.
Sometimes I'm shocked with some of my friends from school that the back of house, it's the front of house and it's like, huh? Like you wouldn't want to put something in your hair or something to make it a nicer?
So it's just my upbringing. Everything is about aesthetics and grace all in the spiritual. Respect the opposite person that you're spending time with respect, .
Ling Yah: Did you feel that you were starting to try and experiment to find out what your preferred front of house was to see who you were, what you liked?
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh, if there was anything that could be put on my head, on my face, on my body, I've done it. Whether it was making costumes like, my dad's older sister, my koko, I remember this one time we bought this big roll of raffia string, and then we made it into like a Hawaiian grass skirt because we watched erm, Elvis Presley in the Hawaiian wedding.
And she goes, do you want to make a grass skirt? And I was like, okay, we made this like one dress cross-cut that just went everywhere. And then it tied around the waist and it just moved. And everything was going everywhere at once. I thought it was so magnificent, , all I'll take that and I'll put it across it.
I could be a tribal chief or, drawing my face into a certain way, like transformation. was fantastic. It was like breathing. It was a form of self-expression. I'm quite amazed how I don't own a cost play kind of company.
But I guess at the end of the day, I just want to like wipe everything off, and just going to bed, , because I have my back of house, my original self without packaging, still in the factory.
Ling Yah: I love to hear that story that, , you and your family were so free with finding yourself, expressing yourself, which is quite unusual, I suppose, for someone growing up in Singapore where it's a little bit rigid, you must be a doctor, lawyer, engineer.
How did that gel?
Nigel Stanislaus: I don't know, like I guess I was lucky a way because of my upbringing. My aunties were very kind. Sometimes they're very worried that I would rather stay at home and make we thought with them then to go and play soccer with my friends. I mean, why? You know, you're so sweaty and so smelly and like, , snot goes everywhere.
There's like dirt that she was like, I don't understand. It's all hot. , it's like, ah, I'm like, I don't understand what i s the joy of that with a bunch of guys screaming at each other, chasing a ball across the field with mud everywhere. Like what's the point? I'd rather stay at home and drink some tea and play with some pastry.
And then at the end of five hours, at least you get jars or pineapple tops, for example, like it just makes so much more sense. And then you can take that and show love, share in the community to give them to people that you care about. In my mind, that was just so much more practical, I guess, I didn't ask for skateboard or like skates or anything like that.
It was really weird. And I think all my aunties and he said all my uncles. He's very interesting. Isn't he?
Ling Yah: you feel worried for yourself that oh, you feel so differently compared to these other guys? For some reason.
Nigel Stanislaus: I was always worried in a sense that I was a bit taller. Very flamboyant, very chubby.
Where all my other friends scale walls and climb the gates and run away from school. I never did do that because I couldn't scale the walls. And I was so afraid to get my white uniform dirty. So I just like ah, so much trouble. I'll just stay and just do my Chinese lessons or something like that.
It wasn't that I was any less naughty. I just don't think I had the physical capabilities to do any of that. But my friends in school were still in touch. They're all daddies now. They've always been very kind to me and I'm very lucky. I've never been bullied for being myself.
Maybe because I'm a bit bigger. And I can sit on them. Look at me like, who wants to believe me? No point, just let him go.
So I've been very lucky. I've been very lucky to not have to go through that.
Once in a while, yeah. People do make a comment, but whatever. I've rather have my chicken wings to eat, then to have a fight with you, .
Ling Yah: So how did you end up studying apparel design and merchandising at Temasek Politechnic?
Nigel Stanislaus: So I graduated from my O Levels and everybody wanted to do something. And at that time I really wanted visual merchandising and I couldn't get in. there was apparel design and merchandising, and I was like salt, awful. and I realized it was fashion design.
So I got there and I did it and I had the best time.
Like the teachers are so different, the teach us new things like Dior and Misayaki and Chanel. And we talk about, all these kind of brands from Paris to, , it was so glamorous. And my job was to I remember one time we had homework was to watch Barbarella the film.
Compared to my friends in business school, I think they're still watching pie charts and all that.
And I'm like, oh, I need to go to the museum today because that's my homework, ? As a kid that was like the best thing, in the world, to sit around and discuss about colors and how to match colors together and all that. It was the best thing.
It it's like so much better than holding a calculator I've been doing pie charts. I would never have done that.
But when I told that to my parents, it was very interesting because they kind of would go like, Okay. We don't know how to advise you, but you do you, as long as you know what you're doing, , I remember my mother said like, if you think it's good, just go for it because there's no one in my family that I feel that I could ask. , if I want to be an accountant, I could ask you, can you teach me how to do this job, is it good or not? Like, I didn't know.
My sister had that. I think she did business side of stuff and accounting and all that. So I think it's some aunties that were, CFOs and all that they can give her advice, with HR and all that. But , here, I want to do fashion.
People were like, huh? Shopping ah.
But I don't regret it. I cannot imagine anything else. I really cannot imagine anything else. Of my past, which is very juicy. Sometimes I look back at how did I do that? Or if, I had a child that was like me, I'll be so worried because like, wow, that was a big jump because there's nobody left in.
Right. And go, who wants to do this? Like, nobody knows, what's happened. It's kind of like very unnerving. Like, we're like the vaccine now. It was like, I don't even know what's going to dope and that kind of thing. So I took that leap of faith and I just don't know, , that gut feeling that you have, like that same feeling has been with me my whole life.
and I'm also quite, like I realized that at a much likely to age that people like me a bit frantic sometimes, and I could be smiling. And then the elevator door opens, I woke up and totally different person because the weather, the change, the atmospheric pressure change and I think they called me like an intuitive empath.
So like, I could read the room, like if I look at someone you know, sometimes like, oh, you and I touched them. I go like, what's wrong? what'd you have to tell me something? Or like, I could feel nervous energy or happiness or sometimes I feel like rays of sunshine.
And sometimes I feel like very musky, not like I can smell it, but it's like, I just have this kind of like gut feeling, I guess, the sixth sense that people have and the older I get the stronger, especially in young children, it's very bizarre. Like young children who cannot express themselves.
Sometimes I feel like I totally get what you're saying.
Ling Yah: must have been so interesting when you got that internship in New York, as well, and you suddenly exposed to all these different people, doing these things that they love so passionately.
Nigel Stanislaus: Yeah, it was such a jackpot for me because, I wanted to go to New York because I'd been okay.
I watched this TV show called fame, , that deaths and it's like, , I really want to be a dancer, but I can't even climb a wall. So I got to dance, ? So I want to go to New York CAUS opened up and said, we would love to have you as an intern. It would be, have to be self-funded.
Now, this is where I'm also very lucky. It's like, I've got a father that could afford it. was a lot of the money to get me there, to house me for the time and all that kind of thing. And this was in the nineties as well. Also without iPhones, without maps, without personal phones, I had a bunch of Traveler's checks and that was it.
And when I got there, it wasn't even winter, but it was like October and it was so cold that I had to go to the payphone and actually dial collect or something like that. And like in public talking to my mom.
Ling Yah: Oh my goodness. What was it like just landing in New York and having to figure things out yourself.
Nigel Stanislaus: I dunno, like, you know, my whole life, I live in movies. My whole life is movies.
So in my mind it would be like, oh my gosh, it's going to be coming to America like Eddie Murphy or like everything. I can turn around the corner, it could be Everything is a reference to a movie or TV show.
If I cook something, it's like, oh my gosh, this little Nyonya, everything is a TV show. So to me at that time, I was like, oh my gosh, just like Eddy Murphy coming to America. All the graffiti or the one that was in graffiti in my life, like trash cans, people swearing on the streets.
And so many kinds of people, African-American people, Jamaican people, all these accents, you are walking down the street. And you're listening to all these accents that it was really such a big melting pot.
And I met friends as well they were brought up in America I had such a good and loving upbringing.
Some of them are not as lucky, so they don't understand why I don't seek to do drugs or drink myself blind because I don't think I was ever that unhappy, Cause every time I was, did a little frown, my grandma, I type up your mind.
Okay. So, it would be nice to go back, just to say hi to everyone that has now passed on what they were wearing at that time and what they ate at the time. I used to be quite embarrassed coming from Singapore because it's Asian and, we speak like LA, all that kind of thing. And, I really put in a lot of effort to and how to pronounce things, right.
I'm not perfect, but I made an effort to sound a little bit more international, a bit more global I guess that really helped me in the long run, because then I could step on the stage on a global stage and present. But at a young age, I was like, I cannot look like child Ah Beng from the corner of there speaking like that.
It was my front of house branding that I had to keep up. Back of house, I'm like grunting and ngarh. But front of house, you have to be quite like in a modern day, Michelle Obama, like you have to. Like Anna Jeez, like, you may look at him like, okay, what do you want to say to me?
I give you time. And I really want to have that kind of energy that is entertaining. Caring as well as empathetic and, modern, I hope. But in saying that I'm also quite old fashioned.
Ling Yah: It wasn't New York,\ the place where you were exposed to fashion shows and models for the first time, I think someone invites you to go and see Kate Moss.
That was your first exposure.
Nigel Stanislaus: They invited me to go watch a show. And I said, no. And then, he said, Kate Moss will also be backstage and go like, okay. And then at the time it was CK. One that was all the rage of every kid was saving money to buy CQ because why it was the first of a unisex fragrance, other than CK one, I had done hill and I don't want to wear Dunhill.
So I obviously with CK one and anyway, so she said, so this guy from federated that owns Macy's and all that, and he sort of came in as a speaker to my company that I worked at color association. And he said, if you want to come. , you know, backstage and, there's Kate Moss. And I was like, yes.
So I went backstage, I met her, you know, like she was lovely, she was Kate Moss, but then I turned around and sort of looked around like this, you know, in my eyes. And I saw this like bright light. It was like bright lights, you know, all these balls everywhere that reminded me of like a Hawker center, like, oh my gosh, hawker center, you know, like all the bright lights everywhere I turned around and it was the makeup station.
So I was just like, what is this?
And then my mentor at that time, he said, do you want to be a makeup artist? And I said, oh no, boys don't do makeup boys only do fashion design. remember the time I'm only here for fashion design. I want to be like Bill Blase, or Oscar de La Renta or Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren they kind of all the American kind of designers and yeah, it was quite weird that they went to school and, and I realized I couldn't sew.
So, because you think you would meet sew at fashion school and my teacher goes, oh my goodness. We have a fashion show, but the. Mac makeup artist is not turned up. Can you do some makeup? And I was like, yeah, I sure can, because I can draw. And I did it. And everybody was like, oh my goodness. You look amazing.
So obviously at that time, I would draw everybody like Madonna and Blonde ambition tour, because it was such a thing. It was so long ago. I think that really started it. And of course, this was after I went to New York, but in New York I remember I met this guy called Seth.
And he was booking origins counter. he was so beautiful. I remember like when he dressed up as a girl and he went out, like he really looked like Linda evangelist and he spoke really softly. And I guess that was my first experience of having a transgender friend at 18 years old.
And I was like, huh, in the day time you're tapao, in the night time you're cha bo, it's like really bizarre, but so beautiful. And the way he did it was not like a drag queen, but was more like a woman in the energy. Again, you know, very kepo. I would just look at him while he gets ready for the, clubs and all that. He would just line on his lips.
And he goes like, do you know what I'm doing? And I was like, what? And he goes like, I'm lining my lips. And I was like, okay.
I'm using Origins' lip pencil in iced tea. And I was like, Ugh. And there was the first product I ever known for my adult origins, lip pencil, an ice tea. It's the best new pencil ever. I was like, okay.
I remembered that. And then when I first set my makeup kit, that was the first thing I bought origins. I don't think they sell it anymore. It was so long ago. You're talking about 1996. But I have a memory like that. Things that I collected.
Ling Yah: That's amazing. And so you had an experience, you came back. But before you did fashion, you were in national service, right?
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh yes. I did fashion. I went to New York I was like 18, 19 or something like that. And then I think 19, I did national service.
Ling Yah: And before you went there, you shaved your head.
Nigel Stanislaus: Yes. Out of defiance, because people like, oh my gosh, you're gonna be botak. You're gonna be botak. Everybody says you're gonna be botak.
And I go to church. People say you're gonna be botak. Like everywhere, everywhere. Oh my God, are you prepared? You're going to be botak. You're gonna be botak and at a time, we had so much hair, not anymore, but at that time I had so much hair, like, I really wanted the Aaron Kwok kind of hair, like that T sun, you know that.
And I thought it was just like so fantastic. And I was just so angry that people are just like, oh, you going into the army, you going into the army and I just didn't want to talk about it anymore. So I just wanted to shave it off and it'd be like, oh, you went in. I said, no, I've got three more months but I just don't want to talk about it.
So I just shaved it off so that people don't remind me anymore. So I quite like just getting more done with.
Ling Yah: What was the experience like? Because it's so contrary to, who you are as a person as well, but then you almost became a sniper, I hear.
Nigel Stanislaus: I was really bad at everything really bad, really, really, really bad.
I was really smelly and really dirty and really bad. Like people would just run, just run and they're so happy. They go into the mud and they come on, they're all smiling. The thing it's like survivor. And I look like a, disaster survivor, like.
I was really, really tragically bad. My favorite time of the day was showering because then it could be clean and I could call my mom after shower. That's all I wanted, you know? But amongst everything, I realized that we were all given guns, to train and, M16s at a time.
It's surprisingly in my Fox hole I could shoot. I could shoot nighttime, daytime, moving, target, cross, target, everything. I could shoot everything. Like whether I'm proning with them kneeling, I can't do any more.
I think my stomach is too big. Could do these, I could do everything, and I thought, oh, not bad. I'll be one of those that could like strip the rifle and put it back together and it'd be perfect much faster than anyone else I'm telling you is because I'd been doing kuih tak since I was six years old, so my fingers are very fast, but it was fantastic.
And the only thing that I let three rounds and the three rounds, this means I have to run a hundred meters and they'd go and shoot the opponent about five meters from you. And because I was breathing like this, because it was so unfair that my bullets went everywhere but no, a hundred meters like a snipe, but not, not a problem.
I can't shoot. yeah, so, almost had it. if I didn't miss that one, I probably would have been a sniper.
Very funny, very, very funny.
Ling Yah: So ignoring the almost sniper part, you then came out, you went to Monash university. How did that happen?
Nigel Stanislaus: I really wanted to apply for the fashion. I want to go back to New York at that time I felt very robbed that I had to stop everything and all the other interns went on to universities or were in universities, but my life had to be cut short into like exactly about three years.
So when I came out and I wanted to apply for it, then nine 11 hit. obviously, being the only son and the first grandson of my clan, my parents were not going to send me there. And they were polished me and abandoned me into the far end of the earth, which is Australia. So, grudgingly, I came and I've got families in Perth and Canberra and all that.
And they wanted me to go to Perth to study. But when I went there, I was like, cannot. It's too quiet and I had some money. So I applied for all the design schools in Australia and I going into Monash because it was a brand new building. You had a lot of computer sets to use and, like in the platform, that was really good as well.
It was very good because everything was new. A lot of design schools don't have computers at that time. we're talking about 2000 years, so they don't have any of that at that time. And now everybody has one, but at that time it was really precious, because you need time to spend in the computer labs, remember to finish your projects and you really need it to, to do it.
And then, at 11 o'clock they closed and you can't do it for example, so we had a lot of the facilities are fantastic, so, and the teachers are really good. That's why I went to.
Ling Yah: You flew through it, didn't you? You got six high distinctions.
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh my gosh. It was fantastic. I was so bad at everything in life.
And then suddenly I was so good at everything in life. And then, so that was walking around. I was Brad Pitt or something like that, like history of fashion, illustration. Everything. Everything was fantastic. I was like, oh my gosh, like I'm such a late bloomer. I get older. And then all of those types of, so worried about my old levels and, I'm like, oh my God, I would think that it should have guns and then making kuih tak and dancing.
And then now, you know, and then suddenly like, I mean, we work very, very hard, like it was a life we literally bled through the whole thing, and I was very proud of the scholarship and graduated and was head hunted by an illustrating firm. And I worked there for about two years illustrating books.
Ling Yah: You have 8 books out there.
Nigel Stanislaus: Yeah. By five press. Yeah, but eight. Yeah, no, maybe about 12 actually.
Ling Yah: But that whole time you were also doing freelance makeup as well on the side.
Nigel Stanislaus: Yeah. I thought I didn't have to do it anymore because I thought now I am a graphic designer, like I'm not doing make up any more and than I learned how to drive because then in Australia cheap to buy a car.
So I learned how to drive and my driving instructor said, can you do my makeup? And she said, how much do you want? I said, I don't know. She goes, I'll give you 50 bucks. And after I did it just so happy she threw another 50 bucks. There was a hundred bucks and then that's how it all started. Like, it went DING! And I was like, since I've got the makeup, if people wanted to hire me, then why not?
You know? Yeah.
So how did you start to make
Ling Yah: your way up, because eventually you were working with Australian brands as well like Lovisa, CottonOn, Bardo. How did you get to that stage?
Nigel Stanislaus: With an agent. And that agent was the one that wanted me to be called Nigel Stanislaus forever.
Ling Yah: Right.
Nigel Stanislaus: So for the first 10 years of my life, every time I walked onto set to people like, oh, we expected a six foot, five Polish men to walk in, but no. A Singaporean Singapore and kid walks in, you know, that.
Ling Yah: Before your agent, you had this period where this one person said, you're not going to make it because you don't fit the profile.
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh yeah. When Mac came, it really broke my heart. When Mac came to Australia, I really wanted to get a part-time job. I thought the world of Mac at that time, because it was all inclusive, all races, all ages. And I went there and she basically said to me that I'm not pretty enough. I'm maybe overweight, probably a boy.
I don't know if it's anything to do with Asians or not, because I looked over there and they're all beautiful girls, beautiful actresses, you know? there was no one that looked like me and I was really upset because I thought Mac was all inclusive, but she didn't even want to give a Bauer of me.
But the funny thing is five years on after I signed on as a makeup director for another brand, she came to one of my master classes and literally paid hundreds of dollars to sit in the crowd and watch me talk, which was like really bizarre.
Ling Yah: Did she come up and speak to you later saying that I remember?
Nigel Stanislaus: Yeah.
Oh, yes, yes. I said, oh, I said, thank you so much for coming today. And I reckon it was in a crowd of maybe maybe five or 600 in the seminar room and yeah, I said any questions at all, about any techniques or anything about my career or anything like that. And she said, oh, hi, my name is so-and-so.
And I remember when you came to me for a job and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, oh my gosh, it's My nightmare. That full, that phobia you have. And I was like, oh, oh my gosh. You're so, and then I saw, what am I going to do? So I just smiled. And she even had the audacity to tell the whole room that she talent scouted me.
Which was like, I don't know which version of the truth you came from, girl. Because that didn't happen, girl. Like you told me to walk out, you know? And I was like, okay, and now that I'm in a fancy suit with a big spot light in a big international brand behind me, then you want to come and watch me do my techniques that no, I forgive, but I realized that I never forget.
I one person that I can forgive. Oh, you know, it is what it is. But if you want me to trust you again, it's very hard, very, very hard. Yeah, that's what I learned about myself.
Ling Yah: When you first got that rejection, I think a lot of people who are doing something unconventional, will get people saying, there's no way you can ever make it.
I wonder you have a feel, so, oh, I want to give up. If this person in such a big brand thinks this way, they're probably right. And what kept you going?
Nigel Stanislaus: Well, yeah, I always think they're right for about two hours and 15 minutes. So then I cry and I feel sorry for myself. And then, I write to my best friends.
Like I want to jump off the building, but I'd never jumped off the building. I always end up sitting and call it ice cream or something. And I'm so dramatic. So dramatic.
And I hate this. I hate myself. I hate hate, hate, hate, hate, Are you willing to go hot pot that, okay. And then suddenly it was like sunshine again.
as you can see, food really drives my life, my mental psyche. And I cried and I go, like, I would never want to be able to make it about us again. Like I can't believe the world is so cruel and this. And then there's always this fire inside of me thing. I don't know my gut feeling, the guardian angels, the spirit of the world's God, Allah, Buddha, sort of like light a fire in me.
And then I go take a deep breath.
Give it one more go and don't apologize. Don't apologize. Do not stop like it's not an option. And then I go, all right, because I've really been rejected, so I've got nothing. So what else can I lose? Because you can't lose anything when you've got nothing.
I was like, it's still zero. So, but I was just asked if you cannot, then cannot lah. Then we go watch us sit in mind by some popcorn and bubble tea. That's it, that kind of thing. And, it's funny. Even my best friend, Luke Elijah, he always says to me, he said, you always do your best when people tell you, you can't do it.
And I'm like, yes, because I'm quite ever getting that sense. I'm like, don't you tell me what I can or cannot do. How dare you.
Ling Yah: And how did you get your first agent, which I believe was the catalyst for the incredible career that you've had since?
Nigel Stanislaus: So I was back in Singapore, I was working for the women's weekly. I was on set with this model called Rachel Skantilan. Just beautiful. And I did this makeup for her and she goes, oh, I don't think it's really biased. You should call my friend. And I was like, okay, why? Oh he's an agent. And I was like, okay.
I, I emailed him actually. That time emailing was a very big deal. And I said, sure, all right, we'll get you into the agency. I'm like, that's really fast, I attached some pictures and images of what I've done there because yeah. We get you to the agency and it just went from there.
And when I got to Melbourne and I went to the agency, all the agents, like, yes, I think like, hi, I'm Nigel Stanislaus. I'm here just to say, hello, I'm new to the agency. And they go, no, we don't have an appointment. Like, oh, this is so embarrassing. It turns out that this boss was waiting in Sydney.
There two branches, they thought I'd moved to Sydney and not Melbourne.
Ling Yah: Do you feel like once you had the agent that everything changed and all these opportunities started coming?
Nigel Stanislaus: That's a very interesting topic about whether the agency gets you work or not. I think it's a partnership. when I first started until today, obviously the power has shifted a lot I've obviously become more established and also this social media, but back in the day, the agent holds a lot of weight in getting your work, because they're like the directory to help you find work.
And yeah, I got a lot of work from them. And then through the agency, I met a lot of people as well and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, definitely. They got me. Yeah. The, and, all the other jobs.
Ling Yah: important do you think that social media is for your work and just raising your profile?
Nigel Stanislaus: When it first started, it was a bit of fun. And then after that I realized there was such a thing as Instagram makeup artists, because somebody came to me going, can you do a cut crease for me? I'm like, I'm not the tailor.
Like, I don't understand what you're talking about. And then I was like, oh my God, all these kids social media tubs that were setting out one a few years ago. And now there's like crossbreed hybrid between it's really rude to say real real makeup artist, non real makeup artists. There are different kinds of makeup artists now that, you know, so it was your social media make about, is basically how you know is you have a lot of fun with your makeup.
You put on a lot of makeup, but usually the faces on their own. And they can do like clouds and rainbows and things that he can stick as many lash strips as they want because the art director or the client for them is themselves for people like me, our client, our director, our brands. So I don't get to do what I want to always, I can suggest, but there's a lot more money involved, and a lot more investment involved.
When you look at my account, it's not as exciting as this because it's actually all the latest works that I have done. It's quite opposite, like 99.9, nine, 9% of the makeup, other people that are not my face and models faces, but for Instagram, social media are probably their faces, if you know what I mean? There's no time limit.
If you're at home doing your own makeup. On set, sometimes you do it in a dark. Sometimes you do it in a rocking car, in a boat or something like that. You have 15 minutes to get it done. the pressures are very, very different.
Sometimes you have to do it and then should it underwater it, you know, things like that when it's raining. So you need to know a lot, like the gamut of knowledge to be a working makeup artist is huge. It's not just like, hi, because I just want to show you this lip color.
I'm not saying that they're less than us, but it shouldn't even be together. It's just a totally different breed. You know, like a pastry chef should not be a hawker chef. The cook. Totally two different worlds, but they're all food, but totally different. So it shouldn't even be compared like that.
Ling Yah: What is the wildest brief that you've got some before and how do you break it down and think, oh, this is how I'm going to execute it.
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh my God. They're all pretty wild, like.
I remember once we had to shoot on a, sheep farm acres and acres of land from Mimico and the wind was like close to a typhoon. My friend Catherine Wells went to the the models had to be a big, like a lie like this, like this, and I couldn't like you walk out and then it's just going to like, fly, like, you know, like, the flag, it's so crazy and we had to do it and I remember I was using something like wires at the back of the head, just to like, pin everything down.
So you could only shoot her from the front and not the side, because it will look like an Egyptian sweetness. Like it's not around yet if they all stuck, but from the front it's convincingly really raw. There's a lot of side effects, a lot of strange things.
What else did I have to use? Didn't bring nail Polish one time and had to use lip gloss just to paint over it.
Don't touch the fingers, you know?
One time we didn't have eyeliners like liquid eyeliner. And then I thought, oh, I just use a bit of a mascara with a brush. I painted over it. And it still worked in all things. So you really need to improvise and need to be smart about it and be gracious about it as well, because you're dealing with someone and you don't want it to be half that energy with, because he wants to understand it's an exchange of energy between you and the model or the celebrity and your job is to make sure they're ready mentally in their heart, on their facial features.
Everything's all done as they walk up and do the job. So it's, a supporting role. When you are a makeup artist, you have to make sure that here they could hear and they could hear, but if they go like this and they're getting like, well, what's wrong, what's wrong. Am I spoiling your day?
Like they're going to walk out questioning themselves and that's the worst. So a good makeup artist would know how to once you finished your line, no matter what, keep your cool.
I guess, the front of house has always smiling,
How do you grow your
Ling Yah: skills if you will, because a lot of is on the job, right. Learning how to adapt and all that. What were your ways of just ensuring that you are constantly leveling up?
Nigel Stanislaus: Do lots of fashion week is one thing. Cause I go there and then my eyes to go this way and that way, and I'm looking at what people are using, but Hey.
You changed your foundation? Oh, lipstick is that, that kind of thing and being very like busy bodies, the best to get fashioned way, because like, oh, crushes that, oh, when did you get back? I have it, like kind of thing. And that's how I see it. I used to assist other people as well.
I see how they do lots of basic things like a red lip, eyeliner eyebrows foundation. Like I never get sick of it. I always say, how did you do that? how do you do Asian eyes? How do you do Indian eyes? How do you do African-Americans?
I always pay attention.
And even when the hairdressing side of things as well, like directors and all that, when they do, is it, oh, you can put up in a moose here. This is how you blow it in this direction, or you part it. I pay attention. I pay attention.
Most of the time with the tasks, you all in my head thinking about but I pay attention.
If you're smart and if you're lucky enough to any new makeup artists out there, when you go backstage, don't talk because the less you talk, the more you observe and the more you know, and sometimes there're so many techniques that they don't say that if you're quick enough, you get to catch it.
And I read books. I watch movies as well. I never, never stopped learning. And the thing about my assistance, if they don't assist me for a few months, then they come back. You're doing everything different. So I change it up, I've got about three or four makeup kits in my house and they're all different and I just bring them up and they go like, oh, you know, it's kinda like pick up the governor.
And he's like, oh, today's this? And it's like, ah, you know, it's kinda like a ready, steady cook that he's just like, okay, this is what we're going to have. But then we just have to do the phase out of this. they kinda, it's very Boston show, but I love it.
Speaking of your assistants, I think I
Ling Yah: read once before you said that you admire persistence that you have to be a bit stalker-ish as well.
You have to ask enough and ask to be able to join it.
Could you expand a bit more about the nature of breaking into that industry?
Nigel Stanislaus: Because there are making about us that has this idea. There are people out there that have this idea that , if I want to be a makeup artist, I just wear high heel shoes and, do French perfume.
And they have this whole concept that it's like working in Takashimaya or somewhere, I'll die in my room and you just walked in. Hello. Would you like to try a new fragrance? And oh, would you like to try it? And then the hands like dancing like this, I'm like, no, you know, like it's so filthy with like creams and, we lugged bags up the stairs is actually quite, tough.
we were sneakers. We don't wear. beautiful shoes because we're working, but really our working like one of the job has its I have is like, 99% of my clothes are all dark, like black, really dark blue. And, a lot of the thing is just like, oh, you know, it's like, oh, it's like gossip girl, glad.
Cause it's not. So in the asked me. Yeah, yeah. But I want them to ask a few times and I said, oh, I'll call me back in June or July or whatever. And if they call me back, that's one thing. And then the first time they got on set with me, I usually let them do a lot of laborious work that has nothing to do with makeup.
And if they still want to come back, then I know that it gets better from there. It's really IP man, you know? W who really wants it and it's a business.
The ones that talk too much or the ones that call me. Oh, thanks babe, babe. It's in the P I'm not your babe.
Or like when I do make up and i say, Hey, come here, look at this. I want you to see how you do this and this and this. And every time I do something for them, because like, oh, beautiful. Oh, amazing. Oh yeah. Ask, oh, fetch. Oh, snatch. And I was just looking at them. I was like, because I've got 13 seconds to teach you how to do this.
so that I could get my words out. Okay? especially in Australia, they like to talk a lot. It's not a bad thing, but it's a nature too. Like it's a way of communication. Like Asian students are very yes, yes, yes. Okay. Yes. But over here it's like amazing.
It's fantastic. Oh, I love it. I was like, thank you for your validation, but I need to teach how to do the blush. Okay. Because you are distracting my train of thoughts about eye contact lenses. It's going to pop out because my eyes are like, so just. Focus. I'm very Asian, a very militant, like when I come to teach, because I think I'll teach you properly, but you have to be the student and not reading your rights, what you want to protest, so I need to know who are the ones that are willing. And some of them not mean, but I'm very harsh on them. I tell you like this and this and this and this. And then the next morning they turn up again. Okay. This is what I can teach, because I need them to be a bit hard. I can't have snowflakes.
This industry does not allow snowflakes. I have been everywhere myself. I've lugged luggages up Parisian flats and I'm not going to get bigger. Like, oh, where's the you know, like where's the concierge, you know? Like, no, you do everything yourself. I mean, on Instagram.
Yes. It's very like mice, but in real life, back of house, Preparation. Nobody knows, and I need them to know that from a very young age so that when they come out to work as a legitimate makeup artist it really helps them. It's so much easier.
Ling Yah: You talked a bit about the hard life and of course, you look at fashion when you think that looks so glamorous, you have a jet setting life.
What is the reality? What is it really like for you?
Nigel Stanislaus: For a good five years, I was permanently jet lagged.
I had to write myself notes on the side of my bed to tell me if I had to wake up a lot that day, because I would just wake up by the way. Sometimes it's a weekend. I just say, go back to sleep in Sunday or something.
I used to live not out of different hotels. So every time I wake up, it's like a different ceiling. Or like sometimes I can't find a toilet because the layout of the hotel was different. I mean, that is how crazy it was.
It's very fun.
I eat at all kinds of amazing restaurants, lunch is always been paid for, flights are usually paid for it at one time, we work at the most amazing locations.
If not, why gonna shoot in New York or Paris or London, if you want to shoot in a studio, you can just shoot anywhere in, Johor Bahru if you want to, like, why do you have to go all the way there? Obviously you want to show the best the city has. So I get access to all of that, whether it's the clifftop or, ancient temple or something like that, and I'm very lucky, you know what I mean?
But also very lonely. Because, I can buy as many souvenirs as I want sometimes, when you're walking and you can see the toy, like, the Eiffel tower, and he could turn around, it's just you and some person trying to send me a key chain. I just thought, like, it'd be nice to have my mom there. My friends there, my sister there, or someone that you go, oh my God, looking back, do you want to go get ice cream? Yeah.
Or like, I'll be at Broadway watching Les Miserables by myself, amazing experience. But it would be nice if someone that is I'm close, To share the experience with other than that, the good thing is you get to meet a lot of wonderful people that you see on TV.
And I'd always wonder whether like, you know, where there's Gigi Hadid or Bella Hadid or Kendall Jenner, Marc, Jacobs, L ady Gaga, I've worked with John Legend. And to be in that personal space is wonderful. And you realize that the end of the day, It's just really fricking hard work. my conspiracy theory about back of house and front of house is true because I then go to that space.
And they're on the couch in their robes like this with bunny slippers on, resting and then somehow you can come out and I've got to get them ready and then you get on stage and that's front of the house. So I knew that instinct definitely from a very young age. And to me it was just like, yeah.
Okay. And then when you're not ready, you're not ready. I don't know if this is a destiny for me or something, but it just happened.
get a bit sad sometimes because I wish people that I'm close to understand, when I'm talking about the energy and you're standing on the side of the stage and watching them and all that kind of thing.
To be in a personal space of this really cool kid re cooker, so that I've worked with musician uh, Troy Sivan you know, shooting the cover of Elle magazine with Kim was amazing.
we're in COVID. I managed to do a 12 with Tina Arena. Can you imagine there was the only tour in the whole world that finished the tour and didn't get stopped by any lockdowns and I've only met Tina arena this year, and she's having amazing, like, it was so lucky that I sort of fangirled her after meeting her. Like her voice and everything and what she gives to the crowd. And I can see from the side station, but the audience of how hungry they are for this kind of affection for music and the arts. That's why I was thinking that the music and the arts is so important instead of sports, because everyone's smelly the music and the arts is the one that feels alive.
when we're sad, what do we listen to? When we want to cry with a breakup, we watch Netflix and, Jennifer Aniston when we're happy, who listened to? Aaron Kwok no, maybe not. When you're sad you listen to Sandy Lam. These are creative people that, pour their heart and soul into their work as a medium, to give, to sell stele to you. And then, it's so interesting how some governments, don't invest that much in it when it's these creators that bring, the heart and the hope of nations, of people out of lock down because they could relate, like Adele, how many records that she sold about crying about a breakup, oh my gosh, just complaining and complaining and complaining. And she's brought so many women in so many boys and all these people that are, heartbroken out of this. That's art, and that's what I do as well.
Like not that I can see or anything, but, I paint a picture for that. People to say that one day when I grew up, we're going to be this person or help the artists to get on stage, to talk. So I'm one of the skills to do that. And I'm very proud of it, you know? And then recently I just finished a filming for a CBS TV show.
That's meant to be filmed only in the U S to Scott, come dance with me. and one of my clients, I was the head of department for the hair and makeup and also the judges. My main judge that I had to do makeup for was Jenna Dewan, who was from step-up. And she was also until recently the ex-wife of Channing Tatum.
And I know who she is and for the show the cult 90s dance movie and all that, but I watched that movie, I thought I wanted to be a dancer, you know?
And then I met her and she's so amazing. And she was so lovely and, pretty as well, getting to work on her with her during a major lockdown in Australia was like, who's going to complain. It's like played Bobby though every day. sometimes I'm like, I'm so lucky to be able to, work with people to be in that circle like that nobody in my family has done it.
I wish I could share like, with across the table, but it's only me. Like, I don't know if I'm the chosen one or
I'm a sniper, but then I'm a makeup artist and a tattoo Bali by hand looking at lady Gaga show like it is so, as a young boy, I was, I'm just going to grow up and then I'm to wear like really nice clothes and I'm going to speak with really good elocution and I'm going to travel the world and well, be careful because everything I manifested came true.
Except losing weight because I've never really manifested who was at the weight, but one of my best friends said, do you realize that, when we're 16, this is what you said that you just fly to New York and do your stuff and they come back. I'm like, yes. I was like, yeah, you did that.
It was like, everything was true, you know? and so, be very careful, but I thought I'll be such a different person at 60. I didn't think I would be like at 40, but let me tell you. Okay, like I'm carrying a really nice bag. I'm really wearing nice clothes. I walking down the street in Chinatown or the lower east side, and I see this, I saw Sally Baton.
So I buy two bakzhang for $12. She said it's $5. I gave her $12 because she's so old, she's just selling out for her basket. And I put the two bakzhang into my bag. And I go to Baltazar said, eat a $200 dinner. And then the next one, I wake up, I'm looking for my keys in my bag. I'm on set with Marc Jacobs, you know, it's so bizarre, you know what I mean?
Ling Yah: When you were 16, you wanted to do all these things, then you did. Didn't you also say at one point you once appear in a TV show and then you ended up appearing on TV show. Tell us about that.
Nigel Stanislaus: I always tease like one day, I'm going to be at a TV show. I'm going to scold everyone and boss everyone what to do with it.
Be careful what you wish for, because karma is interesting because suddenly I became a judge three times, like, I don't know, like three seasons two seasons Asia's next top model at one season, I was Australia's Next top model.
was obviously the head of Maybelline at that time, was traveling around a lot through the countries. And obviously they thought that I guess the Western countries thought that I had the face that Asian countries would like.
so I was sent to Indonesia. And I was, dancing around all the, editors and all that. I've been to Malaysia and Hong Kong and all that. But anyway, in Singapore I said, hello to the locals APEC people for Maybelline and L'Oreal in Singapore.
And then they said, oh, do you want to head up this new project that we want to do it, to join forces with Foxtel. And I said, sure. Then next thing you know, I'm sitting on throne, screaming at people. It was really fun. I met Patricia field was the head designer for sex in the city devil wears Prada girls.
So, the one with the bird, she does all of that. So Jessica Parker, Carrie Bradshaw, she invented Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones, what they wear that year resets Patricia field. Then all of a sudden sort of the far left we have USI, who is a Taiwanese photographer that shot every celebrity in LA, like we became really good friends as well.
And then the Sydney Bishop, who is like diva of Thailand, so beautiful. and then we just, harass all the, not harass, but scare all the contestants. Well, I scanned the contents. it was really, really.
Ling Yah: What was the reality of shooting something like that? I mean, you mentioned Masterchef before, and I read for MasterChef, you would see like an hour's worth of TV, but it's actually a full days worth of shooting just to get that one hour, right.
Nigel Stanislaus: So let's say on an episode, we would probably be like 20 minutes, 23 minutes on screen on there, but that filming would have taken six hours. And I don't know what studies they've done because at one point when I first started, there was a bench top by Tyra banks. You would have a bench and she sits down there between the claws, but anybody you go like you are this and this and this.
And then suddenly decided that it was friendly to take away the table altogether. And I was like, what about my stomach? Like, where am I going to keep that, during the filming and meanwhile, you have seen Cindy Bishop on the left with lakes that like 10 metres long, and then there's me.
And I was like, how am I going to fashion myself to sit? Like I do like practice like hours in front of me. Like, this? How do I make angels in my body? And I decided at one point, like this will have to be the pose that I'm doing to the side so that it just doesn't look like this. So I had to do a little bit more fashion, a little bit more elevated and just wear black, you know?
And then I realized that the filming would have gone on for five or six hours and had to just post like this the whole time. Sometimes they would cramp, like my leg would go dead, you know? And because now by the whole body show showing had to wear what do you call it? The Bobby pin. Oh my God.
I, to take everything, I forget it. I'll just keep it in.
Ling Yah: You were the head of Maybelline for a decade. What was that point where you decided, okay. It's time for me to leave. What were your thoughts?
Nigel Stanislaus: It was very interesting. I think live changes, lifestyle changes, brands change from when I first started to. When I left, I found that it was a very different evolved kind of brand.
and I think I've always thought that, 10 years is a good time to leave while you're still at it. And just like leave while you're still. And a lot of people were a bit shocked. But it's good. It's a bit sad. Sometimes I still feel that I have the civic duty to stand at the pharmacy tell people what lipstick they should buy.
And they go like, who are you on the one? Sorry. it took a long time for me to mourn the death of Mr. Maybelline, because I would go like, oh no, that's not your shade. Or maybe. Use this color, come back next week, but launching a new color. Like I would know things like that. and to see women who are in the higher, I find that it was my civic duty to help busy city girls find the right shade or the best mascara for them.
even after I left Maybelline, I still did that for a while. Like not a lot, but I was like, it's really embarrassing. Like, don't do that. and then when I bought makeup, I never had to buy a mascara for a good 10 years. And then suddenly I had to buy mascara, and I was like oh my gosh. And I find it very hard to like, what next door to Loreal and buy L'Oreal or like Remmol, or it'd be like, I just had to go buy Maybelline, but I was like, oh, wait a minute.
You know? So yeah, like I'm very grateful. It sort of catapulted my career and status and all that kind of thing. And as a kid, I've always wanted to tell them what to wear, how to wear it all. But then I got my wish.
Ling Yah: What was the plan after that? I mean, everyone knew you as Mr. Maybelline and now you have left.
So who are you?
Nigel Stanislaus: I don't know. I'm just me actually. And I thought, oh, let's see. My life is over. I want to die. I sit by the other ones. So I can cry and jump off a building, whatever of course never happened, being so dramatic. And then I just woke up. I go, like, I just had to reset and see what I want to do. With my life. And immediately benefits stepped me up and I went on a tour with them and we launched products with them, for the rest of that year.
Then after that, I do a lot more other stuff. Like I just saw many other stuff that I did. Like I really thought for a moment that it was like a career suicide, but it really opened up a lot of collaboration like this year low. Even this year, like, was one of the guests judges with David Jones, in one of the prestigious beauty panel. Last year I was as well for Buro as well as one of the beauty judges.
So, as Maybelline, I couldn't do any of that because I couldn't talk about any other products, but now I could sit around a platform and start to give a very even and fair view and a lot of peoples to go like, oh, I thought you would Maybelline. And then it was quite interesting how people still associate me.
I must've been very successful in selling That image. of course with a very strong team behind me at that time. But I think it's always time to move on. It's time to evolve.
My spirit animal is a butterfly and a butterfly is forever evolving and I need to have the grace to myself to evolve and give someone else a chance to come in and take over and give the new, fresh perspective of Maybelline.
I'll always be an alumni. But you need to have the grace to put it down and step away and maybe take on something bigger and something better. nothing to be sad about. I think it's just the way of life. 10 years fronting a brand internationally it's not like a job at subway, but it's kind of like traveling, I'm talking to all these like Christy Turlington and Adrianna Lima and all that. It was fantastic. It is so fantastic. I cannot explain like words, you know? Yeah, it's wonderful.
Ling Yah: You got to meet so many very interesting, inspiring people.
I'm sure you must have learned, not just makeup tips and all that, but also life lessons. Were there any particular things that you learned from them that stood out for you that really impacted you?
Nigel Stanislaus: I mean, I probably didn't tell you someone before, but right now I couldn't, everyone I work with taught me something. Even though the younger, older.
What secrets I can tell you is every celebrity that I've worked with worked very hard. They sacrifice a lot of their personal time. They're always on the road. they don't get to see the children much. They don't get to see their partners or their family much because they're there for everybody else to, go watch them, see them perform and all that kind of thing.
So it's not a win-win situation, And then when they go for a holiday, they're a bit fragile because they've been stretched. In old wholeness and it's anything. Unlike what humans do, we can, go to work, go and tapau some food and go home and eat and watch the TVs.
They're not like that they sometimes have to work 16 hour days, and then jump on the plane. And then, people are like hah? Why you must have first class? Because they haven't slept in three days and they need to get off the plane in Monaco to go do it at the event. So they need to sleep on the plane, things like that.
Or they need to have very funny things like, oh, you know, they have a rider list and things like that, oh, you don't drink this and this because if they work in 16 different cities over, six months, they want some sort of a continuity.
So if that's what they're like, and that's a candle that they like, they to go and set it up so that it's continuous all they have to do is concentrate on performing.
So I don't think it's being a diva at all. I don't agree with that being a diva at all. I totally understand. And, every one of them have problems as well. they fight as well, their children problems as well. They have to be mommies and daddies and all that kind of thing.
It's no different, no different.
Ling Yah: Do you think that COVID has permanent impact or your industry because it's so go, go, go. Right. And suddenly everyone was stuck at home for a period. And you had to hit pause and think about where you are going with your life.
Nigel Stanislaus: In 2019, I think I must have had like 51 flights or something like that.
And then I told myself that 2020, again, be careful what you wish for, because I said, I'm not flying anyway. I've done. I've got such bad tummy aches. I've got so much gas in my stomach. You know my digestion is bad. I'm grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. I never have enough sleep. I need some personal space. I'm always on a plane sleeping next to someone I don't know. I don't even, probably never see them again.
And then COVID hit and that I was literally resting the whole time. and last year was great. think I only started to feel the strain at the end of November where I got fatigued from resting. And then we got back to work again.
I mean, my work was great. Like I got to work the choice of art, you know, really now, Jenna Dewan, and Curtis Smith from Philippines as well. She was here for a while and I worked with a lot of campaigns from Pantene to mineral water brands and everything tuners with her and all that.
That was fantastic. And then I worked very hard and then did a US TV shows. And then when we locked out, we can't go to what I actually rest.
And the most stressful thing, every morning when you wake up is to decide that will today be the day that I stand on my weighing scale or should we wait until tomorrow, you know?
So that's the biggest stress I have. But I would love to have the capability to see my family in Singapore again. I think I haven't allowed myself to think that I can't do it because I just put it away and focus on other things, but we'll see how dramatic that I see them, but I don't want to, feel too sorry for myself because.
it is what it is and I'm comfortable. I've got everything I need around me.
Ling Yah: You're very used to living alone and being alone and that's something I think most people struggle with because Kevin had to have that enforced loneliness.
Do you have any tips for people going through that on how you have managed to cope?
Nigel Stanislaus: Find a new skill. Plan what you want to do the next day or plan what you want to do every day? Tomorrow I want to go clean out my makeup kit and then I'll just like little things that you can achieve every day.
And if you get to there like me half the time, like, oh, it's Tuesday, I'm supposed to clean up my Laundry. Nah, I'm just going to watch survivor, then it's fine. But then, find ways to improve things and stuff.
Like brings me a lot of joy to do online life drawing classes. And then I paid like $10 or something and there's a model or someone that would come on and there'll be like 40 other artists from all different backgrounds that they want to do.
This life story together in this room. And then it's two hours and you just draw, the person that house play some cool music, like a DJ event with, a cup of tea or a glass of wine. And they would just draw. And after that they go, oh, I really should practice more. there's so many online things that that is the, what I do for me. And I look around the world and I see who's posting what and where, and then you just go in and you pay 10 $50 and then you get two hours worth. I got an iPad and then I just draw it and then it keeps me sane and it gets it in.
I made some bakzhang and, I spent hours doing it, with my mother on the phone and, you think like, oh my God, nothing to do. I'd have to go for a walk. It's been two days, I haven't walked. I'm so busy. Like I'm supposed to go. I promise after this, I was going to go for a walk before my nine o'clock, and I thought maybe I'm deficient in vitamin D, but overall, it's been good for what it is. It's been good.
Ling Yah: So before we wrap up, since makeup is your thing, I thought it would be fun to ask you, if you were to stuck a make-up bet from scratch, what would you put into it from scratch.
Nigel Stanislaus: You know I have 25 kilos of makeup in all my bags.
Like I would-
so have a good skincare, like a multi-purpose skincare one that has very good sunscreen. Anything was skincare. I would just say good Korean. Because right now, I love Korean.
a night cream and then the sunscreen is very good as well for your face serum and all that. and then have A beautiful foundation. Anything like even a cushion for Asian women cushion, I think is very, very pretty.
Ling Yah: Are there particular products that you were really like?
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh my gosh. I love anything from Sulwhasoo to Innisfree. Everything is acceptable is Innisfree. Things like that. I think Korean really knows how to illuminate Asian skin tones very well. That is if you're from the light to medium, but if you go a bit darker than I wouldn't. For darker skin tones, I would go with things that Bobby Brown because you need to counter the ashiness in maybe like Malays, get an Indian skin.
They're quite gray and every time there's a bit of gray, you counteract it with a bit of red and a bit of peach. Not yellow because they'll make it more gray. Highlight the gray bits, like got gray blocks on your face. So every time that someone has like an ashy area around here or around here to try to use peach or red undertone that it's set in.
And then they'd go over with your regular foundation. That should be a bit more orangy to really bring up the luminosity, phase for very, very dark, like Indian skin, very, very dark skin. I do that for African skin as well. So that's really good. For blush. I love this NARS blush is really, really beautiful.
Stila cream blush is very beautiful, as well as Surat from New York. Very, very beautiful for Indian skin or Malay skin, like olive to really deep skin. There is this blush in NARS called exhibit a, it is bright red, like almost orange that goes very beautifully on really deep skin tone.
I love Dior mascara and Maybelline mascaras. They're all really, really good eyelash color, please buy a good one. Schumer is fantastic. Invest in one because they'll last at least 10 years. So don't buy something. That's $6. Like.
Invest in it. even if it's like 65 or get invested in it because you really want it to shine.
Ling Yah: Are there particular Korean products that really stand out for you that you.
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh, anything, that's a serum in it.
I mean, once you're over 40, if it says you can drink it, I would drink it. But I would slap my face felt like I got a lot of phase. So when one person buys one bottle, I think too, because for this slide, this slide as well. Just a lot of hyaluronic acid is very important. Hyaluronic acid is one gram of hyaluronic acid can absolve up to a thousand times its moisture in weight.
So that's one gram. So when you put it on your face, like when you're walking around this humid, it starts to absorb the moisture from the environment. there's this powder product that I like to use called by Terry and by Terry has this loose powder. it looks like whites, right?
Like tapioca flour.
And it's got hyaluronic acid in it. a lot of times when he does some of how the skins, after all, it looks very creepy and old and dusty. But with hyaluronic acid, it just stay supple and quite light juicy and bouncy so it's a lot of difference. it helps to keep the skin radiant and youthful throughout the whole day.
And also, I want to tell you, one of the foundation that I found was Sado synchro. It's a 24 self-renewal foundation, and I've used it on people like Tina Arena and everybody else that needs to go on stage and perform 10 hours later, you come back to the foundation looks as good as new. And I'm like, what is this?
Is this which witchcraft? Because I've never used any foundation like that before. So synchro skin Shiseido is very good.
Ling Yah: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for that advice, Nigel. I love to, and all my interviews with these questions. So the first one is this, do you feel like after all this time you have found your why?
Nigel Stanislaus: No, I haven't found my wife yet. I'm still finding my why. I would love to tell you that, but I don't know why I'm doing this or why I've landed on Australia or Singapore or like I've, I don't think I ever find my why. I don't think I ever will. Which probably, but I don't have, the answer to the why.
Ling Yah: And what kind of legacy, what you want to leave behind?
Nigel Stanislaus: That I want to make people laugh and make their day.
I would love people to remember me for acknowledging them as the value as a person. If they want to think about makeup, which I think is a bit frivolous. Yeah. All right. I don't think I've broken through anything with makeup, but what I found during my journey was the connection with people how to make them feel self-worth.
And I think, although sometimes I've got even myself, I've got low self-esteem. I have been managed to make other women feel much better about themselves by the time we finished with the hair and makeup. And I think that's what I want people to, remember me by. And, obviously I want to be remembered as the favorite.
I'm Lisa the only side, the only favorite side. And of course, how funny I am and the best uncle I adore my niece so much. You just say
Ling Yah: that you have low self-esteem because that doesn't come through.
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh, oh, you knew me surprised. I'm being very, very honest with you. Yeah. Low self esteem. Of course. I said back of house, front of house.
And a lot of people said, how do you do it? I don't know. Like, sometimes I just do it and a lot of people think, oh, you're confident you can do anything. I said, no, it takes a lot of preparation and a lot of preparation.
Ling Yah: And what do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?
Nigel Stanislaus: Humility, loyalty gratitude, hard work. And humor because you need all that to go through that. And you need to be loyal to people have help you, you need to be grateful for what you have received. You need to be humble to know that you, couldn't have done this alone, And humble enough to know that you have to still keep learning that everything can be taken away at a moment's notice. Like COVID,
Ling Yah: And where can people go to find out more about you and support your work?
Nigel Stanislaus: Oh, I thought you were never asked. Okay. You can definitely contact me or, follow me, or like, or comment or anything at, Nigel's status. That's it and say, hi, I'm always on them as active as I can be. And I also have like a food one as well. It's at @nigelstanislauslite as in L I T E.
Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 58.
The show notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/58 alongside a link to subscribe to the weekly newsletter for this podcast.
And stay tuned for next Sunday, because we'll be meeting the CEO of one of Singapore's two main commercial port terminal operators, who will share his story of how he went from having a military career spanning Dartmouth, Paris and Singapore, to how he found his faith when his daughter fell will. And what it's like running Singapore's port during the global pandemic.
See you next Sunday.