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by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Meet Jiawa Liu of Beige Renegade, the Lawyer Turned Fashion Creative

Lawyer-turned-fashion-creator Jiawa Liu has tried her hand at some of the most intriguing industries. Born in China, she moved to Australia when she was 9, where she studied and worked as a lawyer, before eventually moving to the fashion scene.

Now based in Paris, Jiawa is the founder and creative director of production studio ‘Beige Pill Productions’. She is also editor-at-large at a number of publications (including Harper’s Bazaar Singapore) and a digital content creator with a whopping 186,000 followers.

Here, Jiawa takes us through her career journey, how she stays creative and inspired and the products she knows and loves.

Your background is in law, and now your work revolves around photography, styling, and creative work. What inspired you to make this transition?

I was clearly not a great fit for working in a traditional office environment, and I always lived a bit of a double life. I was an old-school blogger on the side, and then one thing led to another, and I eventually quit my day job to pursue a creative career full time. 

What skills do you feel are most valuable, no matter what industry you are in?

This is maybe not a ‘skill’, but I think a hunger to learn is the most important thing you can have in any industry. It means a good balance of two things: confidence—to persevere against the learning curve that comes with learning anything new—and also humility—to not be fooled into thinking that you have nothing more to learn. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to excel in more than one career or would like to make a career transition?

“I believe that the secret to happiness is to dedicate yourself fully to what you love to do.”

And this doesn’t have to be just one thing. I’ve come to accept that I’m a jack-of-all-trades kind of person, rather than someone who specialises in something their whole life. If you’re like me, you need a healthy touch of entrepreneurialism—in other words, find out how you can turn your interest into income. Right now we are living through a freelance boom.

Whether you’re between jobs, studying or working full-time, it’s never been easier to start a freelance gig. Make a social media profile to showcase your skills. Start up an account on a freelancer marketplace. Just get started and see where it takes you. 

How do you stay creative and inspired?

Inspiration comes when you’re feeding your mind with new experiences. I love to draw inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. It could be travel, movies, architecture, or even computer games. 

Describe your style in 5 words or less! 

Oversized, tailoring, comfort, sneakers, unexpected.

You’re constantly exposed to the newest collections and trends. Does that influence your way of dressing in any way?

The runway always introduces new ways to conceptualise existing archetypes that spark new possibilities to dress. For example, reusable water bottles worn as accessories at Givenchy, or hotel slippers turned street shoes at Balenciaga. I get the best of both worlds because I can pick and choose to incorporate new ideas for myself that fit with how I like to dress, and I also get to try out the more outlandish trends in my creative work. 

Let’s talk about your beauty routine. What does it look like?

I am very minimalist when it comes to my beauty routine. For skincare, I have a personalised regime from Biologique Recherche which I am loving. It basically involves cleansing with micellar water and cleansing milk, then the cult P50 lotion and Crème Iso-Placenta. 

What are the holy-grail beauty products that you can’t live without?

It’s all about brows, brows, brows, and my holy-grail product is Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze.

We Asian girls have the most stubborn brows that are either sparse and almost non-existent and/or grow in crazy directions. Brow Freeze is the only product I’ve tried that really allows me to sculpt my brows and also holds them in place all day. 

How has your perception of beauty changed through the years?

I’ve come full circle in my beauty journey. In my early 20’s, I used to be a complete beauty noob and didn’t even own a pot of foundation. Then after living in Japan, I went all-in with skin whitening products, false eyelashes and circle lenses, spending hours to make myself up like an anime character.

It was more out of laziness that I gradually reduced the amount of makeup I’d wear, but in the process, I also became comfortable again with my natural looks, even if I don’t have the pearly white skin and huge doll eyes that I once thought I wanted. Now in my 30’s, I’ve gone the French girl way and I’m back to not owning a pot of foundation again. It makes my morning prep very efficient!

What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?

It’s better to keep your skin healthy with good nutrition and effective treatments than to just cover it up. 

What is most important to you: comfort, beauty, or innovation?

In my personal life, comfort is number one. As a creative, I value innovation. As for beauty, I think it’s just irrelevant: it’s always based on other people’s opinions which are changing all the time, so you’ll never be satisfied. 

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I’m always doing something I never expected, so I’ve stopped making predictions. Five years ago I thought I would simply be a full-time influencer, and since then I’ve created a TV show, built my own production studio, and creatively directed fashion films and magazine covers. Who knows, in 5 years maybe I’ll open a bed and breakfast in the South of France or become a cat rescuer in Japan!

Jiawa’s Beauty Picks

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze, SGD31
Biologique Recherche Eau Micellaire BioSensible, SGD175
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W, SGD195
Biologique Recherche Lait U, SGD85
Biologique Recherche Creme Iso-Placenta, SGD145

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