Risk Taker: Houa Vang + Photographer/Makeup Guru


1. Please introduce yourself.

Hello everyone! Well in my opinion I'm just the average girl. I don't do drugs or any of that stuff which is why I'm usually always home. It's very boring but I try finding productive things to do with my spare time. I love watching anime, making Youtube videos on free days, photography whenever I feel like it, art when I feel like I'm going to explode (because I'm so full of inspiration), and a lot of other beauty related things. Despite the fact that I'm into all these art related things, my goal in life is to become a nurse because I love helping people. I will also do photography on the side.

2. What is your personal style?

I'm very casual and I like to blend into a crowd. In my photos I try bringing something interesting to the camera because it's boring to see the same image over and over again, in my opinion. Therefore I love outrageous makeup, hair and clothing. A lot of people know me for doing gory and scary pictures, but what they don't know is that I have a reason behind that. Growing up I felt a lot of neglect and had a lot of family problems. I would usually always be alone. Times were hard and I would find myself crying for hours sometimes. I did have some suicidal thoughts at times. So in order for me to express some of my sadness or even hatred I took a lot of scary or gory photos. Even though I take these pictures the funny thing is, I'm scared of the dark, and I hate horror movies (lol). All in all I have a very versatile face, I tend to look different in every picture.

3. Where did your love for photography or make-up emerge from?

Art helped made it easier when transitioning into my makeup and photography because a lot of skills are from having a natural artistic ability. I used to sketch Anime when I was little. Then I went into realistic portraits with charcoal. This helped me with editing images because it allowed me to see the shape and shadows of an object. With this experience it made editing easier because I would be able to manipulate or recreate shadows in the right areas. Art also helped me with makeup because you have to know what colors will best complement each other. You also have to be able to have a set idea in your mind of what you want to create. Having a background in art also helps with blending your makeup.

4. What consists of your photography equipment? And what's the latest gadget you are trying to get your hands on?

My main obsession right now is having the perfect lighting, so speedlights are what I’m exploring. They're very versatile and compact. Also quality is also a must, and the lenses you use matter the most, so I'm trying to get my camera on an L series Canon lens with a low aperture so you'll get a beautiful blurred background.

5. I've noticed your excellent photoshop skills. What makes a photographer, photoshop or capturing the image? What are your views?

My photoshop skills come from having art as a background because it helps you see the shadows and contours of a photo better. When I'm taking a photo I'm everywhere because I want to get the right photo. I'll get down and dirty or climb high places just to take capture the right image. This is also because I have telephoto lenses which makes it harder on me so I'm now trying to invest in prime lenses.

6. Who are you inspired by?

I'm inspired by a lot of Hmong photographers. Naturalblush is one of my favorite photographers. Also Cece Vang, Toua Lee, and Mao Chang (whom was my mentor for my senior project), and multiple photographers on Flickr.

7. I know you do your best by incorporating the Hmong culture in your ideas and videos from Youtube. What message do you want people to know about the Hmong people?

I really think people should embrace their culture because the last thing we want to lose is our cultural roots. People need to know that we are beautiful the way we are and to not be ashamed to say that, "Yes I'm fully Hmong." There's nothing wrong with embracing other cultures but when you know more about others than your own kind it's kind of sad. I really do want the Hmong community to succeed but we'll just have to see in the future how we fit in society.

8. Quick tips for amateur photographers or make-up artist?

For outdoor photography I think you should always have a light source such as a reflector to help bring out the model. You can just use a windshield protector. For makeup if you're doing a dramatic look apply your foundation last because of fallout. Also grooming your eyebrows always looks best.

9. Every person takes a risk in life, what was the riskiest thing you have done?

I tried to invest in the stock market (lol) it was a big fail. Well it wasn't that bad but when it comes to people they'll want to rip you off or be friends with you to get things free. I was too nice to a lot of people so I did lose some money but not a lot. I invested almost $500 into it and lost $90. My advice is if you're going to invest in the stock market and buy things in large quantities be strict and do not let people take advantage of you. Also be aware that you will have to spend a lot of money to make more money. Also when investing in something like a camera do your research. As far as cosmetics don't splurge things you don’t need because you can end up spending hundreds even thousands for your obsessions.

10. Where can people contact or find out more about you or your photography?

Facebook or Youtube, I do try to answer every serious question people have for me.

Visit my blog also!