Hammada Bamadhaj: Breaking barriers and trusting the process


A chameleon and shape-shifter who conveys the tale of many through presentation and performance. Hammada Bamadhaj is a content creator, drag queen (Just Acne), and talented makeup enthusiast who won the 2019 NYX Cosmetics Malaysia’s FACE Award for “Artist of the Year”.

The 26-year-old artist battled many challenges and discrimination throughout his career, particularly in being a young male in the makeup industry, which is dominated by females.

Despite receiving backlash, Hammada continues to strive forward and prove himself through his work. Furthermore, the co-founder of Shagrilla and his fellow artists intend to create a safe space to share the beauty of drag. Fostering a growing community to appreciate the art of makeup, fashion, presentation, and performance. A gem who continues to contribute to the art industry.

We reached out to Hammada about his views on men and makeup, as well as insights to improve the makeup process. 

Describe yourself in 10 words or less. List from the most prominent to the least.
1. Adaptable.
2. Resourceful.
3. Creative.
4. Witty.
6. Comfortable.
7. Curious.
8. Nostalgic.
9. Brutally honest.
10. A Capricorn.

One color that defines who you are. Why?
I can’t pick one. I see colors in pairs. As of recently, I’m feeling turquoise and lavender. The pair makes me feel calm and comfortable, which is where I am with my life right now.

What does beauty mean to you?
To me, beauty means harmony. There’s harmony in everything, even in chaos. The way colors, shapes, and emotions interact with each other to create a separate new entity once it reaches equilibrium, is harmony. Beauty is from the inside, and it’s a personal process that everyone needs to go through, and once you are in harmony with yourself, you will not only see beauty in yourself but in everyone and everything.

Why do you think people are afraid to explore and experiment with art?
In terms of fellow creatives, it’s the fear of failing. The fear of wasting time and energy on something unknown. People are complacent because it's comfortable to keep doing things the way they know, or the way they’ve been told to do it. It saves them from the possibility of being rejected. If everyone thinks that way, there will be no progress, no growth.

Do you think men should explore their feminine side and express themselves via art? Why?
I do believe that men should explore their feminine side as it would eradicate any misogyny and toxic masculine energy that they may have within them. The negative energy comes from fear of the unknown, which turns into insecurity, which turns into defensive and offensive behavior, which ends up being read as fragile masculinity. The only way to be comfortable and confident in your masculinity is if you are well-acquainted with your femininity. How can you be confident with being on one end of a spectrum when you won’t even acknowledge the other parts of the spectrum? It all comes back down to being comfortable with yourself no matter how you present yourself to other people. Art is one way to do it. Art can either be a form of escapism or expression. Escape from social norms and express whatever sides of yourself you haven’t tapped into.

Do you think men should wear makeup?
Men (or anyone, for that matter) should do whatever the hell they want. Makeup is art, it’s an accessory. It adds a more personal touch to whatever you already have on.

“Art can either be a form of
escapism or expression.
Escape from social norms and
express whatever sides of yourself
you haven’t tapped into.”

If you made a mistake during the makeup process, how do you learn or adapt from the situation?
I would take a breather, distract myself with something else just to clear out any tunnel vision I might have, come back to it with a fresh set of eyes, and see where I can go with the mistake I made. Makeup is technical, but art is organic. If I made a technical mistake, I can easily just wipe it off and fix it. If I accidentally put on a different color or made a line extra-long, I must be adaptable enough to see where it wants to go and what story it could be telling. As Bob Ross said, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents.

Why should we create bigger and bolder makeup ideas? And how?
I personally feel that with makeup, just like with everything else, there needs to be a flow of highs and lows. There needs to be a range. And right now, in mass media, the majority of makeup looks being trendy are what I consider to be ‘safer’ looks, and it’s understandable considering the palate of the target audience. But instead of giving them what they want, I believe we should give them what they NEED. And what we need right now are fresh, different, and original ideas.

What is your favorite part of the “Cross The Line” liquid eyeliner pen? Why?
The ink, duh! I was particularly excited and pleasantly surprised with the white eyeliner. Do you know how hard it is to work with white liners? The CTL eyeliner is opaque and easy to apply since it’s in ink form, which is revolutionary.

Tips to spice up a daily makeup look for men.
A smoked-out eye: just use a contour powder or eyebrow powder, smoke out your eyes, and wing it out, merging it to the front part of your brows. That’s hot!

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