We had the good fortune of connecting with H A N A K O and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi H A N A K O, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
To tell you the truth, as a parent and even as a person, I am still learning and growing every day, and because my son is only 14 years old who is just getting into adolescent years, I can’t tell you that just yet! However, what I know is, though, that I have always tried my best to show him to be kind to everyone, humble, selfless, honest and always try and give his best. So far he’s been all that and I am so proud of him.
When my son was in first grade, there was a torn book in the classroom and the teacher was very angry at all the students and asked to raise a hand who did it. My son raised his hand with tears in his eyes. The teacher told me he must have been so scared but he was honest and brave and it touched her as usually no one comes forward in that kind of situation she said. (The book was already ripped and when he picked it up it fell apart by the way). Though being too honest could turn into disadvantages in many circumstances, honesty is extremely important to me. When I heard this, I was really touched and it made me teared up knowing how scared he must have been and how much courage it must have taken him but I also was proud because I felt like I was able to teach him one of the significant values in life.
I believe that, even when your child becomes an adult, that doesn’t mean your job as a parent is completed but it’s a life-long responsibility and constant learning. I would like to ask myself this question again 15 years later and my answers might be different and more definitive. It might be fun to ask the same question to my son 15 years later, too to see from his perspective and to see if I’ve done my job right!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a freelance makeup artist based in Los Angeles. I have been doing makeup for 19 years, since 2002. I was born and raised in Japan and came to the US as an International student in 1996 when I was 20 years old. Almost right after I graduated from college, I jumped right into a makeup school. I was always in love with what makeup can do and wanted to explore more of arts of makeup.
After makeup school, I wasn’t ready to start freelancing yet. I was still not fully confident in my skill as well as my communication level. One day walking around the mall, I found a portrait studio and I asked if they were hiring. I ended up working there for 2 years as a makeup artist. It was such a great place to work for someone like myself who needed experiences in every aspects that come with being a makeup artist. I was able to perform tons of makeup and hair, learn to do my work very fast and communicate well with clients. By the time I was ready to focus on freelancing, I was confident in working with different skin tones, textures and complexion. Some chuckle at the fact I worked at the portrait studio, but for me, looking back it really boosted my skills in every way. Because I became more confident in my skills in my profession, I became more comfortable with communicating and working with clients and people I work with even though my English level hasn’t changed much (haha).
I really enjoy meeting new people, hear their stories and being personal with them. Sometimes I jokingly say I feel like a therapist (with my Japanese accent) but it’s perfect because I originally wanted to work in the field and studied.
For the type of work I do lately, I have been doing makeup for headshots a lot more, and I feel like that I am a cheerleader of working actors and actresses and help bringing them one step closer to their success and goals. I really love it when I see actors I worked with on commercials or shows. I also love seeing my work in any forms; TV, prints, films or photography- it still excites me so much.
Also, things like, where one of the clients whom I first worked with when she was 15 years old, she wanted me to do her makeup for her wedding- her special day! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when stuff like that happens. It brings me so much joy!
For my makeup style, I love enhancing natural beauty. I love breathable skin rather than skin being suffocating with heavy contouring and thick foundation, I try to achieve natural glow from within.
After 19 years later, I really still love doing makeup and it is such a reward when clients’ faces brighten up and love what they see and feel beautiful. That’s what make me enjoy my career even more and that’s the reason I have been able to continue doing this for so long. Also, I have been very lucky to have met wonderful people throughout my career, and I am so appreciative of them. With some people, I’ve been working with them for a very long time; one photographer with 17 years, and the amount of gratitude I have towards them is more than the words can describe. Without them, I haven’t been able to continue what I love.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First day, since I live so close to the Grove, I would take them there or Century City. We will do some shopping done and eat at Farmer’s Market and have some ice cream at Carmela.
Next day we will go to the beach for bike riding, maybe start from Manhattan Beach to Redondo, stop by for gelato at Paciugo Gelato in Hermosa Beach, bike all the way to Redondo Pier to get some seafood for dinner. If we just want to relax at the beach then, I’d take them and my dog to Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach. Sunset at the beach is one of my favorite things, so I would definitely stay till then.
Third day, I am such a Disney girl, so of course it will be a Disneyland/California Adventure day. No further explanations needed!
Forth day, I’d take them for hiking around either Runyon Canyon with my dog, or Griffith Park and Observatory to see sunset and night view. After that we can go to Alcove, which has been my favorite café since I moved to LA. We can enjoy the smell of waffle cone and get some ice cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice cream.
Fifth day, maybe we can hit Melrose for thrifting, though I don’t do much thrifting, I found that it’s so much fun and I always find something cute every time. Then I’d take them to Murakami on Melrose for dinner.
Sixth day, To Malibu and Topanga Canyon, maybe lunch or dinner at Inn of Seventh Ray.
Seventh day, we can go to museums like the Broad if they are into art. Even if they’re not, I’m sure they’d have fun there.
I have been into plants lately, so I would like to take them to plant shops, like Plant Chica. For lunch or dinner, I’ll take them to Sawtelle and eat Japanese BBQ at Manpuku.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, my family! Especially my husband, Luis! He’s been my rock since the since the day I met him. I could say millions thing about this amazing human being but here I just want to say I love him so much and appreciate his existence.
…And my mom! -who let her only child go to the US from Japan to have her adventure and allowing her to selfishly stay here. It was supposed to be just 4 years for college!
…And my son, Alistar! My everyday is so fulfilled because of him! He is my everything.
Heather Gildroy Zack Gold Ken Weingart Yoko Morimoto Shandon Youngclaus