When talking about female inspiration, we have never ran out of names to be listed, especially when it comes to young women. And for this Freedom Issue, we’ve added another name on the list of our most inspiring girl: Valerie Thomas.

Besides acting, over the years, Valerie has been known as one of the main forces in fashion and and beauty industry, whose Instagram account has almost one million followers. By having a large number of following, it’s obvious that she is part of today’s youth influence. But this second daughter of Jeremy and Ina Thomas is so much more than an internet personality. At the age of 19, she has already run her own lipkit line, VAL by Valerie Thomas, which was launched in early 2017 and quickly sold out. Since then, her line has become one of everyone’s local favorite with good reviews on the internet. It’s amazing to see the future that a young woman like Valerie can create.

Text by Lulu Nisrina. Photographs by Ila Schaffer.

When did you start wearing makeup?
Honestly, I only started wearing makeup when I was 17. I didn’t really care about wearing makeup back in the days. Until one day my mom encouraged me to start wearing makeup whenever I’m going out. But really, I wasn’t into it. Then I noticed that my friends had also started wearing makeup, so I did too. Actually I still don’t really like wearing makeup. I only wear it whenever I had to go somewhere or had some events to visit.

What’s your daily beauty routine?
I wake up, wash my face with Organic Kefir Face Wash by Medina, and that’s it basically. My makeup routine would be wearing concealer, powder, blusher and lipstick. Then I’ll curl my lashes cause I don’t really wear mascara. For my night beauty routine, I mask with Kefir Mask by Medina, then I’ll wash my face and go to sleep.

You have your own lipkit line. Can you tell us a bit about the making of VAL by Valerie Thomas?
I got bullied for having big lips as a child. So, when having big lips became a trend in Indonesia, I took it as an advantage and I saw an opportunity in it. I had this idea to build a brand from zero, even though it took me like two years to do it. It wasn’t easy for me to get the foundation for the brand itself, think about the perfect formula and so on and so forth. It was a long process where everything can’t always happen as I expected because at the end of the day, everything depends on the manufacturer to give me what I want, which took me two years basically because I was very picky. As for the inspiration behind the names of VAL products came from all the women in my family, to appreciate my heritage.

What does the word ‘freedom’ mean to you?
The word ‘freedom’ to me means to be able to tell the truth to your parents. That’s freedom for me. I have a really close relationship with my parents and I’m able to tell them anything. And I think not many people have that kind of relationship with their parents where they’re able to share just anything that’s happening in their life right now. But I have the luxury to do that, to tell them anything whether it’s good, bad or anything in between. They will never judge me for it. And I feel like it’s not only a luxury but also a blessing for me. Maybe it’s not freedom, but more like freedom of mentality, I guess?

Do you think that wearing makeup is a form of your self-expression?
I do. I mean, living in London especially, where everybody wears makeup in different ways. People wear it to enhance their personality. But I also believe that makeup arises confidence. Like, for me, when I feel ugly sometimes but also not feel like wearing makeup, I would just put on lipstick.

Besides wearing lipstick, do you have a certain makeup look that makes you feel powerful?
I don’t think so. It’s totally on the lipstick. Because I feel like wearing different shades of lipstick can make you look like a different person. Or at least that’s for me! [Giggles]

Who is your beauty icon?
My mom! She is my first beauty icon because she’s a designer and also the person who first taught me how to wear makeup. I look up to my mom.

Tell us your idea of a perfect day.
A perfect day for me would be a busy day only to end it early with Netflix so I can sleep early. That’s a perfect day.

You have a large number of followers on Instagram. Have you ever felt that it holds you back from expressing your true self?
I think I would say that I’m the only person who doesn’t follow the Indonesian community guidelines. And that’s because I don’t wanna be one of those people who fake their image. I wanna be able to express myself to an extent in social media, cause I wanna keep my life private as well, and I wanna keep it that way. So, I post whatever I want to post and whatever I posted it’s either because I liked the picture or I feel like the picture defines me. I even posted explicit photos sometimes too, but I don’t really care about what people say, because it’s me. And the reason why you should follow me is because you’re following me, right?

How do you deal with online trolls?
I try not to think about it because nowadays, people don’t use social media wisely. So, I’m already kind of used to it. You just gotta keep on doing your thing and move on.

If you could do whatever you want, what would that be?
Everything in this world comes with a price. I would say that I really want to be, umm… I really want to help the community. I want to be an activist/ actress/ businesswoman/ entrepreneur. Actually, I really want to excel in many fields. If I can do it, why not?

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The most important piece of advice I’ve ever received would be to always know my self-worth, to always value myself, surround myself with people who make me grow and grow with them. Mom and dad, thank you. I hear that every single day.

Read more articles at 247 COTTONINK Magazine.

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