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Welcome to Big Break, where some of the most influential figures in the beauty industry reflect on the moments that made them — from the good to the bad and everything in between. Here, celebrity makeup artist Nam Vo shares how she moved to NYC with a dream and worked her way up to gaining celebrity clientele like Paris Hilton, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Kylie Jenner and building an army of "dewy dumplings."
You know the dewy-skin look that practically everyone on Instagram is trying to emulate? You have Nam Vo to thank for that. But long before she had her own little army of "dewy dumplings" and she was swiping highlighter onto famous faces, Vo was just a girl in California who was obsessed with models, actresses, pageants, and all things beauty.
"I didn't grow up around glamorous people at all," Vo told POPSUGAR. "I just was always attracted to glamour and powerful women." That manifested in giving her friends makeovers and doing makeshift photo shoots, but it was all self-taught. The little beauty knowledge she had at the time came from the nail salon, which she frequented with her aunts.
"Growing up in a Vietnamese culture, women prioritize their skin," she said. She knew from a young age to be "scared of the sun" and to invest in good products. "They would spend, like, a hundred dollars on face cream, and it was always Shiseido." She still remembers her first beauty splurge as a teenager: Shiseido Bio-Performance.