“Even as a child, I was allured by the faces with beautiful makeup on them on the television and in magazines. This fascination would one day turn into my passion and career. After high school, at just 17, I went to study cosmetology at a training centre in Changangkha. After completing this training, I worked in the centre for the next few years. For the past two years now, I have been running a salon on lease.

I had realised from an early age that I wasn’t very academically inclined. My passion always led me towards working as a beautician and this very passion drives me to work hard and pay all my bills today. Running a salon all by myself is not easy because I have to single-handedly tend to customers all day. I also try to make sure that I do not take even one day off. Furthermore, the pandemic has affected my business. Products and equipment are hard to get and the number of customers has also dropped. But I am hopeful. I am turning 22 soon and feel quite financially stable. I have been working for the past 4 years and am saving to buy my own salon in Thimphu.

When I first started trying to normalise the idea of makeup with my family, I knew that it would be hard for them to accept it. It would not have been fair on my part to give them the shock of their life by suddenly wearing full makeup. So I decided to cushion the blow by adding something every now and then. I started with a little lip gloss first, then wore lipsticks, foundation and the mascara came later on. By then, they were used to seeing me in makeup.

Contrary to popular belief, wearing makeup in public as a man does not hamper my confidence. It actually does the exact opposite. A lot of people tend to confuse my gender identity due to my profession and my love for makeup. People often ask me if I identify as a trans-woman. However, I identify as a cisgender, gay man. In Bhutan it is still a new concept for men to wear makeup but there are many men who are beauty influencers and celebrities who wear makeup all around the world. Makeup is not only for cisgender and transgender women. I truly believe that makeup is for everyone because it can really help boost a person’s confidence.”

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