From surreal 3D makeup looks to entire urban landscapes, Canadian professional makeup artist Mimi Choi can do it all. On her TikTok page, Choi often uses her own face as a canvas for makeup that almost pops out of your phone screen. “People often think I photoshop my looks, so I use TikTok to ‘break’ the illusion with gestures that show my work has not been edited.”
There’s a reason we call makeup artists, artists. When you scroll through TikTok, you quickly come across countless creatives who are inventive with eyeshadow and a few brushes. But Mimi Choi, @mimles on social media, is head and shoulders above the rest.
With makeup and a good portion of talent, she can, as it were, ‘split’ her face into six layers or blocks. Painting landscapes is no stranger to her either. And sometimes, it’s even impossible to tell whether the eyes on her face are drawn or real.
Mimi Choi describes her makeup style as surreal, shocking, unpredictable, and a tad otherworldly. It is clear that many TikTokkers are huge fans of this unique style because she has already collected almost 890,000 followers on the popular app since her first post in January.
And one of her most-watched videos, in which she divides her face into cubes and draws additional eyes and mouths, has already racked up 83.5 million views.
Not with words
“I’m drawn to this style because I have complete freedom to express myself in ways I simply can’t put into words,” says Mimi Choi. “I feel there is so much potential in this kind of art because my imagination is my only limit. My ideas come naturally, and I don’t pay too much attention to trends because I think this is the most authentic form of self-expression.”
One look can take anywhere from two to ten hours, depending on size and difficulty. “On average, I spend about five hours per look,” says Choi. “For some looks, I take a nap in between. If I had the patience, I would probably paint for days because I always see things that I can improve on and am never completely satisfied with the result.”
It’s no wonder, then, that Mimi has worked with celebrities on special projects for the red carpet. For example, at the 2019 Met Gala, the annual benefit gala at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, she painted seven eyes on American actor Ezra Miller.
“This was such a beautiful experience because he gave me creative freedom and trusted me completely,” says Choi.