Fashion

Leona Yamada: Defying Japan’s beauty standards

1 Mins read

How would Leona Yamada describe her make-up artistry in three words? “Gothic, transitional, and (a) statement,” the 19 year-old artist says.

Scroll through her portfolio and you’ll see just that. It’s a mirage of the make-up artist’s idealised Japanese utopia: alien-like eyebrows, dark eyeshadow, coloured contact lenses, and graphic eyeliner art resembling a shuriken, also known as a Japanese hidden dagger.

It’s Yamada’s deliberate defiance to Japan’s traditional beauty standards which champion a woman’s purity and fragility. 

Leona Yamada
Leona Yamada

Born and raised in Tokyo, Yamada has always been fascinated by the power in which make-up had to transform herself into anyone she wanted to be.

“I love the transition of me, to my alter ego. I love feeling powerful through having different makeup looks and truly presenting myself as someone strong -and maybe even a little bit scary,” she chuckles. “I’ve been doing this since I was 16!” 

Now based in London, Yamada invited me to her south-east London flat to come behind the scenes of her next portfolio look.

This time, she’s envisioned a vampy seductress. Take a look at a series of photos of the look, shot by Clarabelle Tan, modelled by Yuriya Okano.

You can also view her work on Instagram @justt.leona

Leona Yamada makeup
Leona Yamada at work
Makeup by Leona Yamda
The Vampy Seductress | Makeup by Leona Yamada | Shot by Clarabelle Tan | Model: Yuriya Okano
Vampy Seductress
Makeup by Leona Yamada | Shot by Clarabelle Tan | Model: Yuriya Okano
Vampy Seductress Makeup by Leona Yamada
Makeup by Leona Yamada | Shot by Clarabelle Tan | Model: Yuriya Okano
Vampy Seductress makeup look
Makeup by Leona Yamada | Shot by Clarabelle Tan | Model: Yuriya Okano

Featured image by Clarabelle Tan

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