No matter where your future aspirations lie, what’s important is your happiness. Joanna Abejar shares her passion for makeup and where she intends to go with it. 

Mengting Chang 

Staff Writer

      A mother buys her child a Maybelline palette from Walmart. It wasn’t until a hot day in May 2017 when Joanna Abejar (11) opened the palette for the first time and did her make up. Now, she is a rising artist in the cosmetic industry, happily experimenting with new looks. She started her hobby in 8th grade and has since developed a passion for it. Though competition for STEM-focused careers is on the rise, Abejar strays from the crowd, and continues to enjoy this less prevalent career focus. It is remarkable that Abejar maintains this passion, and one special holiday keeps Joanna’s spirits up if her interest ever dwindles.

     “One of the reasons why I truly got into makeup is because of my love for horror films. I love seeing the FX makeup and I was so interested in how they did it. Every time Halloween comes, even if there was a dip in watching makeup videos, I always watched Halloween makeup videos and I wanted to learn more about how people could create effects on a person’s face and literally make them horrifying,” Abejar states.

One of Joanna Abejar’s Halloween looks from 2019, a split Pennywise and human concept, inspired by Jake Ceballos, a makeup artist. “The concept of the skin lift was a good idea, but if it was executed better, the idea would’ve [come] to life more.” Joanna critiques.

     Among some of Abejar’s Halloween looks include Pennywise from It, The Joker from the DC Universe, and a skeleton pirate. Abejar’s good friend, Vaneet Pani (11), expresses her amazement towards her FX makeup.

     “When I saw her Halloween looks, I was amazed because personally, I’m not somebody that’s too great at makeup. Because Halloween makeup is something that’s much more difficult to do and requires a lot more efficiency. You have to be very meticulous about and I feel like that’s one thing that she’s gotten down.” Pani says.

     Abejar’s best friend, Bella Lin (12) from Saratoga High School, shares a similar admiration for Abejar’s cosmetic craft.

      “She had a Joker one that I really liked. [It]’s probably my favorite. It looks really real, like she got it professionally done, and it was actually scary which is great for Halloween. It just really fit the Halloween vibes and it was really good makeup skills, too,” she says.

Joanna Abejar’s Joker Halloween costume and makeup for 2019. “If I had fake blood, I would’ve definitely made myself a more terrifying joker.” Joanna says

     This passion propels Joanna to pursue a career in cosmetics, particularly as a plastic surgeon. Joanna describes her future plans and goals down this career path which takes at least 14 years of education.

     “After the 14 years of learning, I have to be a plastic surgeon for 10 years, until you can say I’m certified, or a licensed plastic surgeon. After those 10 years, I want to have my own clinic.” Abejar explains, “And then I’ll be 40-something and I’ll also minor in business, so I can establish my own beauty salons all over the world because that is my main goal. And in those beauty salons I will have makeup, hair, nails, and facials, and I will offer Botox services.”

     Though this is a strenuous journey, Abejar explains why she is opting for this path rather than an easier career in cosmetics.

     “It’s the passion I have in wanting to help others because plastic surgery is not merely just to enhance someone’s beauty, but it can also help with burn patients and those who need reconstruction after a horrible accident.” she states.

     This interest however, was not fully accepted by Abejar’s family. Abejar explains her views on her family and their opinions about her choice.

     “They’re just kind of confused on how I will actually go about pursuing a career in makeup. It’s my dad in general, because obviously, he’s a guy and he doesn’t really know anything about makeup and he’s also a traditional conservative dad. Every time I do my makeup, he looks at me weirdly. What’s going through his head is probably, ‘Why did she do her makeup in the middle of the night?’” she says.

     Joanna’s older sister, Jowie, gives some insight as to Joanna’s reaction to her father’s disapproval.

     “She didn’t think of it [in] a negative way. She just thought as if like, ‘Okay, I’m just gonna prove them wrong.’ And so she showed them what her makeup was, which is her eyeshadows mostly. And so they actually got [the] concept like makeup. It’s not based [off] of appearance. It’s also an art.” Jowie says.

On the other hand, her mother is much more focused on her daughter’s happiness rather than her job.

     “Whatever it is Joanna wants to do in her life, as long as it’s gonna be good for her future, then I support her. I think this because in your career, you can say that you are successful if you are happy with what you are doing.” her mother states.

     In the modern world, it is easy to overlook one’s own happiness in order to gain approval from those around us, but Abejar shows the courage to build her own path. Though there’s a lot of pressure to enter a popular career industry like STEM, Abejar put this pressure behind her in search for her own path. 

     As her older sister says, “I think that’s a very hard, hard career. But out of everybody I know, I think my sister can do it because she has all the perseverance and the motivation.”

A decaying pirate concept for Halloween 2020, during the pandemic. “I always do my makeup every year and don’t want to skip it even if there’s a pandemic,” Joanna says.

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