Get to know Crystal Pi, a full time student and Visual Merchandising major at LIM College. Aside from her studies, Crystal keeps a busy schedule, taking on the roles of beauty director and freelance makeup artist. In the following interview, Crystal will give us her insight on her ambitions as a student, artist, and leader.
Maureen: Why did you choose to attend LIM College?
Crystal: I’m living in the city and going to classes in buildings that are surrounded by corporate offices and business professionals. It makes me feel motivated and career focused. I like the fact that I’m able to study business and apply it to the fashion industry because it’s so much more than the pretty clothes and the designer brands. It’s important to learn how to manage people and market products in order to make these things successful.
M: What compelled you to declare a visual merchandising major?
C: It was the only major at LIM where I was able to experience art hands-on. Being a visual person who enjoys painting, drawing, and photography, I was exposed to a new form of art and design at LIM, where I learned about window displays, presentation, placements, and store design. I was able to take my art skills and apply it to fashion. In the city, I'm surrounded by all sorts of inspiration to fuel my projects. This major showed me new possibilities the industry offers for creative souls.
M: Can you describe the most difficult aspect of visual merchandising?
C: The most difficult thing about this major is being committed to your work. It’s important to manage your time and put the effort into your projects. Anyone can come up with a great idea, but it’s important to consider the realistic aspects of making it a possibility.
M: What is your ultimate career goal?
C: I am still exploring the different job opportunities in this field, but I am very interested in traveling to Asia and parts of Europe to experience working internationally. I plan to take what I learn at LIM and apply it in the beauty industry. I’m looking forward to traveling the world while working. I also want to collaborate with some philanthropic YouTubers that I watch who create short films to bring awareness to some good causes.
M: Can you tell me about your experience as the beauty director of the 2016 GenUrban fashion show?
C: It was one of my best experiences of my life so far. It was a lot of responsibility to take on such an important leadership role. I had to manage and lead a great beauty team made of LIM students who have a passion for beauty and fashion like myself. We came up with all of the hair and makeup looks for the models in every scene. It was very exciting and fulfilling to see our ideas being executed by the Carsten Institute of Cosmetology. It’s a lot of back and fourth communicating with the advisors, directors, teams, and professionals in the industry. It was a great learning experience and an accomplishment for everyone who participated.
M: What advice would you give to students who struggle with leadership positions?
C: I would suggest taking all your tasks one step at a time. It’s important to plan for the future, but don’t jump too quick. Make sure you stop and think about what’s going to happen next. Think in the moment and complete the tasks in front of you. Also, don’t try to be superman and think that you have to do everything yourself. Trust your team members in helping you and delegate responsibilities to them as well. When working in a team it’s important to get everyone involved and keep them engaged.
M: How is the annual LIM fashion show unique from other student-run fashion shows?
C: It’s different than other school fashion shows because at LIM we are inspired by what New York City has to offer us. Being in the heart of the city, we are exposed to fashion, art, and people every day. Through student internships, we are able to make so many vital connections; which is actually how we had Kelly Cutrone as the host for GenUrban this year. One of our Styling Directors is interning in Ms. Cutrone's office and she got her to agree to be our host. We put a lot of effort and work into preparing our student models, pulling clothes from showrooms, and the actual production. A lot goes into producing our fashion show and it is amazing that student directors are the ones coming up with ideas and setting everything in motion with guidance from advisors. This year, we were even able to live stream the show so viewers could watch from anywhere.
M: I understand you work as a freelance makeup artist, how did you begin your personal career?
C: I started getting into beauty and makeup my sophomore year of high school by watching beauty gurus on YouTube. I was so inspired by the power of makeup transforming the way people look, in most cases for the better, allowing people to feel more confident. Makeup is a form of art, which allows people to further embrace their beauty. From watching YouTube videos, I started performing techniques on myself and eventually I did prom makeup for my school friends. I plan on pursuing more education in cosmetology involving skin care and makeup application.
M: Any suggestions for other young freelance artists?
C: I would say to just get out there and experience it. Not all freelancers have a full education from beauty schools or a professional license, but they are just as successful, if not more than those who have proper training. As long as you have faith, believe in yourself, and keep creating then good things will come your way. Never give up on something that you truly love.
M: Can you give us any beauty tips for the spring season?
C: With the weather getting warmer and people getting tanner, I suggest using lighter face products like a tinted moisturizer rather than heavy foundation. Always remember to wear sunscreen before leaving the house. If you want a fuller coverage with a tinted moisturizer, use concealer underneath to hide any blemishes. On top of that, you can use a coral or pink blush to warm up the face and keep the eyes simple with eyeliner and waterproof mascara. Spring is a fun time to explore different shades of pink and coral on the lips. To finish off the look with a dewy glow, the highlighter is a must on the high points of the face like the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and Cupid’s bow.
"I am very proud of everyone’s hard work and commitment towards making this sold out show a success. Thank you to everyone who watched at the venue and from home via the live stream." - Crystal Pi