By Catherine Michelle
Photo by Lasonic Sivongxay
From sightseeing in NYC when she was four and seeing Rockefeller Center which spurred into her dream of becoming an Olympic ice skater to now being an international beauty maven and YouTube sensation with over 1.2m subscribers, billboards in Times Square, and makeup collaborations with Milani, Roxette Arisa is a force of beauty.
26-year-old, Roxette Arisa, traveled to New York City with her parents when she was four years old and while sightseeing saw Rockefeller Center and the world-famous Rockettes. “When I saw them, I stood up and was like ‘that’s what I want to do. I want to be a figure skater and I’m going to the Olympics.’” Upon her family’s return to Los Angeles, she begged her parents to take her ice skating and even going so far as to search in the local phone book for rinks and thus a 20-year ice skating career ensued. “I was so determined to ice skate and I was not taking ‘no’ for an answer. I was like I’m doing this.”
Unfortunately, her dreams of becoming an Olympic ice skater were cut short when her partner came to her and announced that he would be leaving the sport.
“I was really heartbroken and devastated because it’s something that I had put pretty much my whole life into. I didn’t have another job. I didn’t go to a traditional school. Figure skating was my life so hearing my partner say that and knowing that it most likely meant the end of my career was so sad.”
At 23, Roxette and her coaches knew that it would be difficult for them to find her a new partner and rise through the ranks in time for the next Olympic cycle, or possibly even the one after that.
“I was told ‘it’s just not in the cards for you. You need to find something else,’ and that was harsh to hear… luckily I was already starting to make YouTube videos and had a huge passion for makeup. It was what I would do in my spare time if I wasn’t training, but looking back, it was a huge heartbreak (to leave figure skating) especially when it’s just so out of your hands.”
The life lessons she acquired during her skating career was not lost on her. It taught and instilled perseverance and the importance of being self-driven and self-motivated into Roxette, which has bode well for her next career, a beauty entrepreneur. “Nobody’s telling you to upload this many times, you have to do it all yourself. It comes down to self-drive and desire.”
Roxette cut her teeth in terms of makeup when preparing to perform. “Makeup gave me confidence before stepping onto the rink. A little concealer and a little mascara make me feel like I can conquer the world. For my figure skating competitions, I really felt the transformative facet of makeup. As soon as I was dolled up, I was like, ‘okay I’m ready to compete. I feel my best.’”
Roxette was already creating on YouTube for a few years when she made her final departure from figure skating, but she recalls that those first videos she posted were “So bad. They were terrible!” Roxette also saw that YouTube helped to instill confidence in herself. “I was so shy, like beyond shy. Now I’m just a lot more comfortable on camera and can be myself.”
So, what would she say to 20-year-old Roxette if she could? “I would say to not be afraid and to put yourself out there. One of the things that I have learned throughout this process over the last couple of years is, don’t be afraid to be yourself. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s so true. That’s how people connect with you because you are real and relatable.”
Photos by Lasonic Sivongxay
As an Asian-American, Roxette is a role model to women globally, but she did not grow up seeing many people that looked like her in positions of power or the beauty industry. “I didn’t have an Asian American role model to look up to and I would think to myself, ‘Why don’t I look like them? I could never be an actress or a singer or whatever because I don’t look like that.’ As I got older, I learned to love myself and be proud of who I am. Now that I am in the position that I am in, I hope that I can be a role model kind of figure for people who are looking for someone of the same skin color or same facial features as me.”
The beauty of YouTube is that you are in the audience’s house, in their room, in their life, and during COVID it has become a way for consumers to feel less lonely and more connected to others. “One of the most special things about my job and career is being able to connect with people and I feel like my audience are my friends. I do feel like I’m connecting with them on a friendship level and I hope they feel the same way about me. Connecting with them is such a blessing and is so special.”
So, what does this beauty maven think are the big Fall trends that we all need to be rocking? Matte, matte, matte! “I love matte skin, matte lips, dark lips, and baking during the Fall.” But, when it comes to designer makeup, Roxette is a huge fan of drugstore products (check out our Instagram for her exclusive drugstore makeup tutorial), but she does swear by Tom Ford’s lipstick shade ‘Sable Smoke’ and Makeup Forever’s, ‘Rouge Artist’ lipstick.
Roxette has also had makeup collaborations and partnerships with major brands such as Milani, but don’t think that this beauty maven isn’t hands-on. “It is always surreal to do a collection with brands that I have been using since before I was even doing YouTube! I would never want to put my name on something that I don’t actually love or don’t use, so I am very hands-on during the process.”
She is hands-on with her career but full hands-off when it comes to beauty YouTube drama! You won’t see her inserting herself into chaos or being a clout chaser. “I just want to focus on myself, focus on my art and my audience. I try to steer clear of dramatic situations and I also surround myself with good people. So many of my friends I’ve known since I was a kid and they keep me occupied and grounded in reality.”
Words of wisdom to someone that wants to start a YouTube channel, “Just do it. Your first couple of videos won’t matter in the long run. It is more about figuring out if this is something that you really want to do but I think a lot of people don’t realize the time it takes to shoot, edit, etc. It is a full-time job.”
The music she is listening to: “I’m obsessed with Miley Cyrus. Her new song Midnight Sky is everything, I can’t stop playing it.”
If on a deserted island, what three products would she take: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. Elf Ultra-precise brow pencil & Tata Harper cream blush.
Career highlight: “There have been so many! I was on a billboard in Times Square with one of my best friends Hipolito for a hair brand and I was literally on the big screen in Times Square next to like Kendall and Kylie Jenner and all these humongous celebrities.”
Catherine Michelle is the Contributing Editor at Large and Lead Writer for New Face Fashion Magazine and Dreamlette Magazine who focuses on exclusive interviews, reviews, makeup, fashion and more! Follow her on Instagram @chats.with.cat