Make-up is an artistic and aesthetic practice that gives life to not only a bare face in reality but also acts as a vital medium in the film industry for carving out the visual dimensions of actors and scenes. In that sense, celebrity and film makeup artist Brriyan John is an irrevocably foundational part of the ever-growing film industry in Malaysia. The rising star who has been working in the beauty and film industry for the past seven years shares with us his exciting, emotional, and encouraging journey through his career so far. From being inspired by his mother’s artistry to working in the Malaysian cine industry to etching his name on the international pageant platform as the first ever Malaysian Indian make-up artist to work in such a prestigious space, Brriyan takes us down on a journey that not only expounds on his career but also on how he has managed to create genuine and humble relationships within those in this field.
Being Inspired by His Mother
Brriyan, a native of Johor, has spent a lot of his childhood in awe of his loving and talented mother, Cecily John Benedict, who had pursued make-up as a hobby and would offer free make-up for those around her. The aesthetic pleasure that arrives from make-up and the devotion his mother showed to this craft evoked within the young Brriyan an admiration to be profoundly attracted to this artistry. After arriving in KL to pursue his studies in physiotherapy, he began to also learn special effects make-up, and through that, he got his first ever opportunity to work professionally on a film.
Ennaval (2019) was an ambitious vision of director Saran Z, which had a star-studded cast of C. Kumaresan, Sangeeta Krishnasamy, and Vasanth Sarna. It was in this film that Brriyan, through the arduous recommendation of Vasanth Sarna, debuted as a film makeup artist. Brriyan has expressed his outmost gratitude to Vasanth for not only recommending his work to the director but also buying the equipment needed for Brriyan to perform his best on the set. Through this momentous film, Brriyan had not only established himself in the film industry as a budding talent but also began forming a professional and personal relationship with the highly acclaimed Sangeeta Krishnasamy, whom he views as a beloved sister and inspiration.
Even at its inception, Brriyan’s talents began receiving recognition from India, as he shares that during the dubbing of the film Ennaval, which took place in India, film technicians over there expressed their admiration and marveled at the special effects work that was done on the film, sending their praise to Brriyan. The talented artist shared that make-up for film is a particular form of craft; it requires the makeup artist to be aware and receptive to how makeup reacts to the lighting of the set. He explained that makeup in that sense is an intricate aspect of filmmaking, and makeup artists are vital to the cinema industry as technicians.
From that wonderful opportunity, Brriyan began soaring high, with more chances to work not only in the Malaysian Tamil film industry but also form close professional ties to the Malay film industry and celebrities. Brriyan has worked with renowned and celebrated Malay actresses such as Vanida Imran, Mimi Ernida, Raja Ilya, and Sofia Jane. He shares that his talent and craft are not only welcomed and nurtured by the Malaysian Tamil industry but also by the Malay film industry, which also appreciates and encourages his growth. Along with that acclaim, Brriyan has also worked with famous Indian stars such as Sonia Agarwal, Ineya, Mahima Nambiar, and Yashika Anand. It’s incredibly and resoundingly evident that Brriyan is an artist who doesn’t just root himself in one industry but is a visionary who constantly seeks to spread his wings and flourish across various diverse platforms. Brriyan had also expressed with gratitude that stars from India would personally contact him and demand that he be their makeup artist when they arrived in Malaysia, showing just how sought-after his work and talent are among the celebrity circle.
The First Malaysian Indian Make-up Artist in an International Pageant
Brriyan was chosen by Vanishaantini MM Pellayrameas to be her official makeup artist as she represented Malaysia at the Mrs. World Pageant 2023 in Las Vegas, which marked a historic moment in Brriyan’s professional career. It is not everyday that one can proudly proclaim oneself as the first ever Malaysian Indian make-up artist in an International Pageant but Brriyan managed to not only achieve that honour but also far more in the pageant. In the first week of his arrival at the international pageant, Brriyan had amazed and astounded the the prestigious panel committee and former pageant queens who had decided to give him the opportunity to be the official makeup artist of the Mrs. World Pageant 2023. Brriyan had exclaimed delightedly how great it felt to be appreciated and complimented by the esteemed former queens and committee members, who very humbly gave him the proper dues for his creativity and professionalism. Although immensely happy over the recognition he received in the international space, Brriyan nevertheless expressed a slight disappointment in how, compared to the international platform, makeup artists in Malaysia are not all that appreciated, for their work is often overlooked and undervalued by many both within and without the community. He shared that in Las Vegas he felt so welcomed, and the encouraging appreciation he experienced truly encouraged him to develop himself further.
Furthermore, Brriyan also shared just how grateful he felt to be chosen by Vanishaantini to work on such a prestigious and respected platform as the Mrs. World Pageantry, where he not only worked alongside Vanishaantini as a make-up artist but also as a passionate friend who was constantly giving her moral support and encouragement. He shares that Vanishaantini, too, is like a sister to him, whom he sees as his partner in crime and a source of motivation.
In a film industry that is often ripe with competition and shallow fraternity, Brriyan has managed to secure a genuine and heartfelt connection and deep bond with inspiring and visionary women such as Daisy Morgan, Sangeetha Krishnasamy, Subhasree Vairamuthu, Priyashini Gunasegaran, and Vanishaantini MM Pellayrameas. He shares that these women have been a great boon of support for him on both a personal and professional level, where they have stood as pillars of illumination and inspiration for him. Brriyan also shares that another professional idol of his is the Australian make-up artist Daniel Bauer, who has worked on the internationally revered Lakme Fashion Week and with glamourous Bollywood celebrities such as Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif.
In the future, Brriyan hopes to expand his work to the film industry in India and to have his own established academy where he can teach, inspire, and be a forceful catalyst in creating a new generation of acclaimed and eminent film makeup artists who will further help evolve and expand the Malaysian beauty and film industries.