Bibian Leong, hairdresser, 25.
You’ve been a hairstylist since you were a teenager. How did you know this is what you want to do?
I’ve always loved experimenting with my hair so I took up a hairstyling course to learn more and it just progressed into a career from there. I’m now the protégé of David Shaw who’s been a professional hairstylist for over 20 years. He’s been a great mentor to me.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Besides having to meet so many different types of people, I get to travel to exotic places and get paid for it.
Well, most of the places I’ve been to are not common holiday destinations and that’s why I love it. The most recent one was to Niseko, Japan. I was hired by a datin to be her personal hairstylist for a week. The scenery was stunning and I was just enjoying myself getting lost in that town.
Sounds like this is a career you’ll stick with for a while?
YES! My job is like my hobby now because I have so much fun doing what I do and I love meeting new people. I know you may think that I’m too young not to explore further but one of my good friends, fashion stylist Victor Goh always say, “Don’t look too far, some of the best things are right in front of you and you might miss it.”
You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, no pun intended, but what’s the most juvenile thing you’ve done?
I shaved my hair on both sides and left the top middle long. Kind of like what Rihanna did a few years ago. And everyone thought I was a lesbian. But hairstyle is a form of expression to me. That was my “Don’t give a damn moment. Be daring, be bold.”
So who do you admire for bold hairstyles?
I always observe those of the Japanese and American-Africans. Japanese loves to engage in cosplay so they style with wigs a lot. So they always look outstanding. American-Africans are just amazing at transforming their naturally curly hair into all sorts of styles. Like have you seen Beyonce? One minute their hair is braided and the next they’ve got on weaves.
Based on your clientele’s requests, what’s the most desired hairstyle in Malaysia?
Big effortless hair.
What about your most desired hairstyles?
Same, I like hair like Blake Lively’s. Stylish yet doesn’t look too styled.
If people have to describe you in a sentence, what would it be?
Loud, bubbly, adventurous and fun.
Your favourite quote to live by?
If you don’t live for something, you’ll die for nothing. I’ve got it tattooed on my waist.
What do you do when you need a break?
I go on week-long vacations. Switch off my phone and just get lost in my surroundings. Or I’ll just switch off the data and use the phone to take pictures instead. Oh, and talk to strangers!
What keeps you motivated in life?
My mom! She is the first face I want to see in the morning. I think of her in everything that I do. You can say she keeps me grounded.
Bibian’s Favourite products!
Strong enough to hold the style in place but flexible enough to be easily combed out for a natural look.
Argan and cottonseed oils make the hair manageable, shiny and oh, so fragrant.
The vitamin-rich fruit mix (litchi, goji berries and pomegranates) boosts radiance to fight off last night’s effect.
Deeply hydrating with its hyaluronic acid but very low in irritants so it keeps those unwanted allergies at bay.
Rich formula to quickly relieve dryness and provide long lasting moisture throughout the day. Doesn’t leave skin feeling sticky too.
FB: Bibian Leong