Zac from Singapore, HND in Make-Up Artistry
Kwek (Zac) Weilong
Studying: HND (Year 2) Make-Up Artistry at Edinburgh College
Why did you choose to study in the UK?
‘After I finished my national service in Singapore I decided to visit Scotland, and I loved the country. I researched Scottish colleges and decided to continue my education in Edinburgh. My family lives in Scotland – they run a restaurant in the Scottish Borders – so it was even more convenient for me to come here.’
What is an HND?
What do you find most inspiring about your degree and institution?
‘Make-up is something new for me, and I think for men in general, but hairdressing, make-up and fashion are my passion. I had to start my make-up artistry experience from scratch, finding new ways of expressing myself. The inspiring thing about this course is that my thinking is challenged in new ways.
‘Studying in such a big college gives me a chance to share my creative ideas with others and cooperate with, for example, photography and fashion students and exchange our time, ideas and work.
‘It’s a good foundation course that also focuses on the theory side of the subject. I know I am being prepared to continue my education at university
in the future, if I choose to do so.’
What did you think of make-up artistry before – and what do you think now?
‘I wasn’t sure what to expect at the beginning of the course, especially as I had no previous experience in the subject. Since I was introduced to make-up techniques, I’ve become more confident with it.
'Thanks to the Special Effects make-up training I participated in, I‘ve also learnt that make-up is not only about beauty.
'Prosthetic make-up means sculpting and painting a person's normal face into something extraordinary, like a zombie for example (see below!).’
What do you like most about the teaching methods you've experienced in the UK?
‘In Singapore we always need to follow the teachers. Here, teachers don’t tell you whether you have to go right or left – they guide you, but let you make your own choices. They give you a brief description of a task and want you to put your own idea into the project.’
What does being ‘creative’ mean to you?
‘“Creative” is about being outside the box. In Singapore you notice that the majority of people will follow trends in fashion. They are in the same box. “Creative”, for me, means to stand out – to be outside a trend and set your own fashion standards. I want to choose my own clothing, my own hairstyle and express my creativity through fashion. I don’t want to do things people expect me to do; I want to walk my own path.’
What advice would you give to future international students?
‘To do research on courses you're interested in, and reflect whether this is really something you want to give your time to studying. A few people left my course in the middle of it, because they decided make-up artistry was not really for them. Studying requires commitment and you need to like what you do. Doing make-up may mean working long and late hours in the studio, sometimes even until 1am. I think this is an important issue to consider, especially for international students – you should be sure you’re on the right course for you.’
Examples of Zac's work (Photos ©Andrew Dybowski Photography and Zac Weilong)
Was there a trip, a workshop, a course or a speech that you attended that really stands out in your memory? Why?
‘I will definitely remember the Special Effects make-up workshop I attended in Edinburgh. It helped me to understand how the industry works and showed me a different side of make-up artistry.’
What are your ambitions for the future?
‘I am planning either to study Prosthetics in London, at the University of the Arts London, or go back to Singapore and find work at one of the film studios. I would like to work freelance as a prosthetic artist.’
What’s your number one memory of your time as a student?
‘I will always remember my life in Edinburgh; it gives me so much inspiration. In Singapore, where I come from, life is so much faster and busier. The buildings in my city are tall, people are constantly in a rush, and you usually need to queue in the shops. Here you can take your time to walk around the city and enjoy the atmosphere, architecture and the beautiful surroundings.’