“I was not born as a woman, but I am so proud to be a woman now,” says make up artist Aishu.

In an exclusive interview with Varnam, Aishu talks about her journey as a transgender woman in Malaysia, and how she has broken barriers set by society, every step of the way.

Aishu has had to stand on her on feet without having anyone to back her up from the time she completed her schooling. She went on to work in the corporate sector, where she was denied a promotion and increment openly, because of her gender. She then decided to become an entrepreneur.

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“I pursued my passion, and I was sincere at it, until at one point, people stopped referring to me as a transgender woman, they just called me a makeup artist. I am thrilled to be recognised by my work and not by anything else,”

She would rather be defined by her work, rather than her gender. “To get here, i went through plenty of difficulties,” She tears up, but is still manages to smile through her tears. “It isn’t easy living as a transgender woman,”

Like many transgender people across the globe, Aishu has had slurs hurled at her, but she doesn’t take it to heart. Instead, she takes it as a challenge, “I need to work harder to show them what I am made of, so that they don’t just see me as a transgender woman,”

“They say transgender women are only capable of sexual harassment, just because of a few rotten apples. but there are many of us who are making an honest living, or at least trying to,” she says. “If you are a transgender person, live a respectful life, let people look at you for your work, or your talents, and not for your gender,”

“Every transgender person has his or her own talent buried inside them. Bring that talent out, work on it tirelessly. When you hone that talent, society will surely accept you,”

Aishu is now one of the leading Malaysian makeup artists. She routinely travels to other countries to conduct workshops for aspiring makeup artists.

Keep up with Aishu’s talents on Instagram here.

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