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The Face Behind the Makeup: An Exclusive Interview With Fyza Ali of SoniaxFyza

Who is Fyza Ali? I knew that she was a talented makeup artist with a Middle Eastern background (not to mention a contributor), but that was the extent of my knowledge. Unlike her younger sister, Sonia, whose face is plastered all over their joint Instagram account @SoniaxFyza, the girl behind the transformations was a mystery.

“People always assume that I’m really insecure or ugly, because I never post my pictures,” Fyza began, in a British accent that leans more towards Irish. “But really, it’s for safety reasons. I’ve had to get restraining orders against people before.” Most people might not be able to relate to getting such attention on a daily basis; for the 23-year-old makeup artist, however, this is her reality, so she makes sure to keep a low profile (yet still stands out among the thousands of beauty gurus on Instagram).

Prior to seeing her in person, I wasn’t expecting an outspoken, confident girl with enviable curves. Factor in her younger sister Sonia’s striking resemblance to Kim Kardashian West and one would assume that the Ali sisters are long-lost relatives of the Kardashian clan.

Photo: Instagram/@soniaxfyza

Photo: Instagram/@soniaxfyza

“My makeup style is Middle East meets Hollywood. And if I could give women in the Middle East one makeup tip, it would be that less is always more,” she commented, nodding towards a group of women decked out in designer brands who looked like they had just come from a casting call for the Real Housewives of Dubai.

“I’m into the no-makeup makeup look,” she added, listing Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream (US $108; AED/SAR 397), Benefit Cosmetics’s The Porefessional Face Primer (US $31; AED/SAR 114), and L’Oréal’s Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara (US $11; AED/SAR 40) as her beauty must-haves.

Fyza has done makeup for a number of celebrities, including Naomie Harris, Karrueche Tran, and Lilly Ghalichi, and dedicates more than half her day to strobing (her current beauty trend of choice), contouring (clown contouring is her least favorite), and smoking out the eyes of brides and other clients. But when it comes to her own makeup, she likes to keep it minimal, spending no more than 20 minutes to get ready each morning.

Photo: Instagram/@soniaxfyza

Photo: Instagram/@soniaxfyza

Sonia and Fyza are an ethnic hybrid—their mother is Turkish and their father is Iraqi—who were born and raised in the UK. Throughout her academic career, Fyza was always the top student in her art classes. After graduating, however, she knew that she couldn’t pursue art seriously as a career. So she decided to take a different approach to painting through makeup.

Photo: Instagram/@soniaxfyza

Photo: Instagram/@soniaxfyza

She first started doing Sonia’s makeup when she was only 13. “I was such a tomboy then,” she joked. “My sister didn’t understand my sudden interest in makeup. I loved to draw beautiful women with big eyes, small noses, and big lips—which is a typical Middle Eastern look…with surgery, of course. My sister had the smallest, most beautiful nose, and one day, while she was using her laptop, I asked her if I could try doing her makeup. And that’s how it started.” Sonia went on to become Fyza’s muse and the face of the brand.

Fyza then started doing makeup for her mother and her aunts. “I even contoured my dad’s face once,” she said, laughing. Today, she sees about four clients a day and boasts over 400K followers on Instagram.

Read these other posts from SoniaxFyza:

Long-Lasting Makeup Tips
How to Make Your Eyes Appear Bigger
How to Effectively Conceal Your Dark Circles
How to Keep Your Skin Hydrated (Especially During Ramadan)

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