On a recent trip to Tokyo, Beautylish met one of the most unique talents on the net, Asahi—YouTube's manwomanfilm. She's built a huge underground following in the online beauty community through her cool editing techniques, bubbling personality, and innovative approach to beauty tutorials. Read all about the development of her beauty channel and how she created her signature style.
B: How did you get started creating makeup tutorials on YouTube?
The manwomanfilm channel was originally a group of us shooting experimental short films. Members progressively left the group as they found different jobs in the "real world," but I stayed on. No one was really watching our films so I decided to on focus cosmetics and beauty—something I already had an interest in.
B: What made you so interested in makeup and beauty?
I'm a dancer and a performer, so makeup has always been a part of my life. I always made my costumes and got very experimental with my makeup. I thought it was a waste to make the makeup and costumes for just one performance, so YouTube turned into an artistic outlet for me to archive my designs.
B: Your videos and makeup designs are so avant-garde and innovative, where do you get your inspiration/ideas from?
My head is always brimming with ideas. I'm constantly looking at other films, magazines, and taking in the scenery around me.
B: How do you decide on a tutorial's overall look and feel?
Overall, I have an eclectic and personal filming/editing style, but I mostly just go on the inspiration at the moment.
B: Our readers would love to know how you create your signature high quality filming style--do you have a background in video production?
I do, in fact! My background in video production definitely helps with tutorials. I use a Sony VG-10 camera with a lens that soft focuses the background. It takes me 2 hours to style and record one video, and I can edit two movies in one day with Adobe Premiere software.
B: Are you a makeup artist full time? How did you first get into beauty products?
I absolutely love makeup but I don't do it full-time. I actually work at an electronics shop selling printers there. I love digital gadgets and working with them, that's probably why I'm so quick at learning software and editing videos. I also dance part time and recently performed in ViVi×GLAMOROUS Spring Festa. Conceptualizing and editing tutorials definitely mixes both of my hobbies.
B: What kind of makeup looks do you enjoy creating most?
Every tutorial I do is a unique experience, but when the theme or character is well-defined, I enjoy it the most—I get to transform! I especially loved filming my makeup zebra tutorial for this reason.
B: Do you wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, or just for videos?
I tend to wear a full face of makeup everyday, but it's definitely toned down. Foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush, lip gloss. It's all there, but I like to focus on really clean and beautiful skin. I put on much more makeup for dance and performances, but it's always well-applied and clean. I like to experiment with my nails a lot too, it's all really fun.
B: What's your daily skin care and makeup routine?
I am very lucky to have strong skin so I don't get pimples often. Honestly, I don't really have a routine or set products that I stick to. I mostly use skin care samples. I do, however, always cleanse my face thoroughly and moisturize, no matter which products I use.
B: You're lucky to have such gorgeous skin, is your makeup routine also random?
My makeup routine is different than my skincare routine because I do have some products that always stay in my beauty routine. I love RMK concealer for minor imperfections, Bobbi Brown Gel Liner for liner that doesn't budge, and my Beauties Factors/Coastal Scents huge 88 eye shadow palettes—it lets me play with the rainbow on my eyes!
B: The makeup products you use in your tutorials take a backseat to the artistic expression. How do you feel about other YouTube tutorialists who focus more on the monetary aspect of creating tutorials versus the artistic?
That's an interesting question. I get a lot of e-mail from fans wanting to know which products I use in videos. My philosophy is the products take a backseat to the beauty concept. Everyone is on YouTube for different reasons and I can't judge anyone on their motives for creating tutorials. I've found, however, that many YouTube gurus start to lose authenticity once they get "sponsored." That's just not my driving motivation. I love and appreciate the feedback from fans SO much. It means so much to me that people recognize my style of expression. I want to create videos that people want, but that also are interesting to me. It's a balancing act in the YouTube world.
B: What kind of videos do people request the most?
I get a lot of requests for Hime (princess) makeup.
B: Since the online beauty scene is changing, what advice do you have for people filming tutorials?
Express yourself! I see so many beautiful, beautiful girls that don't have any facial expression when they speak to the camera. Get creative, go outside your comfort zone and use your imagination to make something beautiful! No one said that you have to focus on the products if you don't want to. YouTube is a creative outlet--you shouldn't lose your style.
B: What's the future of manwomanfilm? How are you dealing with everything that's happening in Japan right now?
I'm so heartbroken over everything that's going on here, it's a mess. I made a video directing people where to donate, I hope it can help generate more funds for this crisis.
As for me, I still love beauty, but I'm not sure if I'll stick to it forever. I still want to create videos and explore video production more. I have a few videos coming up—one with my mom, and outdoor makeup styles.
Special thanks to Hiro @djtokyo for helping conduct and translate this interview with Asahi!