Meet Eman, the Egyptian beauty guru making waves in the US

Rachel McArthur
Rachel McArthur - Special to Al Arabiya English
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If you follow beauty bloggers, vloggers and Insta-bloggers online, chances are you’re already familiar with some of the region’s most popular trendsetters, including UAE-based Huda Kattan (AKA Huda Beauty) and Kuwait’s Fouz Al Fahad (@therealfouz).

For 2017, we’re predicting big things for a certain Egyptian makeup artist. Despite having never visited the GCC, it won’t be long before Eman Raouf – better known by her YouTube monikers Eman or MakeUpByEman – will start to make a name for herself this side of the world. The LA-based, Egyptian-Canadian stunner, who has been active on YouTube since 2009, has grown an organic fan base of over half a million subscribers, racking up an impressive 46,877,182 views at the time of publishing this article.

The key here is minimalism. Okay, we’ll be the first to admit that she’s great looking to begin with, but what sets her apart from other vloggers is her approach to makeup. What’s ‘in’ is fresh ‘no makeup’ looks and subtle colours; out is the over-the-top, fake ‘caked on’ looks that seem to be encouraged by so many beauty bloggers these days.

Originally from Cairo, Eman – who studied business – left behind a career in finance to pursue her passion as a makeup artist. After quickly making a name for herself in Toronto, she moved to Los Angeles where she has been involved in campaigns for a number of brands, including Gucci and Ford Motor Co.

We caught up with the beauty guru online for her first Gulf interview.

For those who haven’t heard about you yet, how would you introduce yourself? And how did your YouTube journey begin?
I'm a beauty and lifestyle content creator, originally from Egypt, grew up in Canada and now live in Los Angeles. I started my YouTube channel, because I was a new makeup artist and I wanted to practice doing makeup, so I would practice on camera. When I uploaded my videos, I didn't think anyone would watch, but they did. Then my channel grew naturally on its own. Now I do videos on everything from makeup to health, fitness and fashion.

You've mentioned in your videos you had somewhat of a strict upbringing, and so were not allowed to wear makeup when younger. When did that change?

My parents were strict and really limited me expressing myself through the way I look – whether it was through makeup or clothes. It was something they never encouraged – instead, they wanted me to focus on school or work or finding a husband! Haha. It changed really when I moved out on my own and started to think for myself and explore who I was.

What do your parents think of it now?
I don't think they appreciate that I use beauty as a form of self-expression or a way to show girls how to be confident. They see it as trivial, or meaningless. But it's what I live, so I've come to accept our differences.

How much are you in touch with your Egyptian roots?
Before I moved to the US I would say I was very in touch with my roots. My family and I always spoke Arabic, ate Egyptian food, and went to Egyptian gatherings. But after I left home, that became less and less. I used to go visit easy every few years, but after the revolution I haven't been back once.

And have you been anywhere else in this region yet?
I haven't but would love to! [Especially] Turkey and Dubai.

Which other Arab beauty bloggers do you follow?
I follow Maya Ahmad. I love her. She's super cute and beautiful.

If you could do makeup on any Arab celebrity, who would you love to work with and why?
Haifa Wehbe! I've always loved her. She loves a good smokey eye and that's my specialty

Looking at beauty buys; you tell your viewers that you have oily skin. So what are your must-haves for oil control?
The Oil Control Lotion by Dermalogica; the Photo Finish Light Primer from Smashbox, and the Makeup Forever’s Duo Mat powder.

And what are your makeup must-haves for this season?
Anything that’s red lip, I love. Plus golden, highlighted skin. [For winter 2017] look out for dark plummy lips, full bushy brows, and soft pale highlights.

Finally, what's coming up for you this year that fans can expect?
A lot more videos! Not just beauty, but a lot more fashion and wellness as well. Anything to do with feeling good and looking good. I also plan on filming more at events. [If I could wish for one thing career-wise, it would be] to grow my audience, and build a really strong foundation of strong confident females that encourage and support each other.

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