"When I was first starting out as an actress, I was always cast as girlfriend characters to white guys. Always the same thing. It was definitely hard to find any good paid roles—a lot of student films were the ones where I actually had proper characters. Other than that, pretty much every single role I saw for an Asian actress was for a girlfriend, or for like a stewardess or a service attendant. After I started dipping my toes into [the industry], I realized that as an Asian actor, if I really want to build this as a career, I couldn’t keep doing these girlfriend roles and commercials. So I went back to Singapore and the first audition my agency sent me to was Crazy Rich Asians.
The last film with an all-Asian cast in a contemporary setting was The Joy Luck Club in 1993. So [Crazy Rich Asians] is important, because I remember the first time I saw an Asian person in a lead role in a film—Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels. I feel that with a movie like this, it’s going to have an impact for a lot of young children and teenagers who have not had the privilege of seeing that represented before. If this movie does well, I really hope that studio executives—people who hold the power in terms of green-lighting movies—will understand that there’s a thirst for this kind of representation. Hopefully they’ll start putting out more representations of different parts of the Asian community. This is just a very small niche—crazy rich asians. [Laughs]
Growing up I was the kind of person who didn’t really need to do much except for moisturize. I had good skin. When I came to New York, whether it was the pollution or hormonal changes, I started getting acne. That’s when I really put together a good skincare routine. Now I have like a 12-step nightly routine, and I always moisturize. Even if I’ve had a long day or a long night out, I come home and I do my entire routine. I cannot not do it. A lot of ingredients trigger reactions in my skin. At one point I even created a spreadsheet of the different products that I use, and I wrote down every single ingredient and I cross-referenced and I figured out what it was—propylene glycol. And I looked it up, and in people with eczema, it can cause irritation. So I can handle maybe one or two products in my routine with propylene glycol, anything more would cause irritation.
In the morning I use this DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. After wet cleansing, I’ll do Bioderma all over my face, just to clean it one more time. At night I use three toners! I layer toners. So this Suki Concentrated Clarifying Toner helps remove the last bit of residue. Then this Red Toner from Medicube, is a calming toner. And this—this is like a cult product—Hada Labo Moisturizing Toner. I feel like every Asian girl has this in her beauty kit, because it’s so good. It has hyaluronic acid in it which retains moisture. And it has a kind of thicker texture to it, which is why it’s the last toner I use. When you put it on your face it’s not really absorbed, it leaves a layer on top, which is what I prefer, because I like to feel like I have a layer to protect my face from the world. So then I’ll use a serum—Missha Night Repair Ampoule, and it’s actually a dupe for the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, but its ingredient list is less irritating and has more herbal properties, so I like it better. After the Missha serum, I use this from Odacité. It’s a French brand and it’s a concentrated facial serum with an oil texture. It’s papaya and geranium oil. It's good for getting rid of [post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation] marks, and generally getting rid of any kind of pigmentation I think—it helps even out your skin tone. I use it because I have a lot of PIH from when I used to have hormonal acne when I was in New York. So then I use this, it’s a Japanese soybean emulsion. Sana is the brand—it’s the Namerakahonpo Emulsion. So, an emulsion is like a lighter form of moisturizer, right? I was in Tokyo during the winter, and I realized my moisturizer wasn’t doing enough work for me, and I remembered that in Japan and Korea, a lot of women layer moisturizers. An emulsion is great because it’s like a lighter moisturizer, and because the texture is thinner it delivers more moisture to your face. And then finally, I have the Medicube Cream—that’s my night cream—on top of the emulsion. I end with this one because I read somewhere that your moisturizer at night is like putting a coat on before you leave the house. And then I use Caudalie Resveratrol Eye Lifting Balm. It’s been really helping me with my fine lines and my undereye bags.
And then for blemish control I like the Botani Rescue Acne Cream as a spot treatment. All the ingredients are natural and I really love that. It’s like a lifesaver and I don’t go anywhere without it. I bring it in my carry-on because I’m so afraid to lose it. It really works. Then for blemishes that have already surfaced I use the Osea Red Algae Mask, which is meant to be an overall face mask, but I use it like a spot treatment.
Oh, this is my favorite lip balm—DHC Lip Cream. After you use this lip balm, you’re not going to be able to use any other one. You know how some lip balms are really thin, and they get watery and it’s hard to put lipstick on top of it? This is great—I love putting it on under matte lip products, because it helps you not have that like, dry, crumbly matte lip feel. It’s really good.
This is my favorite fragrance right now—it’s Tom Ford Noir de Noir. I love Tom Ford fragrances. I have a huge fragrance collection. This is from Tauer—Une Rose De Kandahar. It’s from a parfumerie, so you’re actually paying for the oils they use in it—it’s like, proper ingredients, and the notes are more complex. I like bringing these two to travel, because they're great for night and for day.
So, I carry this everywhere with me, it’s the lipstick I’m using right now. It’s 3CE Warm And Sweet #908. I actually use this for the red carpet when I’m in LA—I love this color. I saw it online at first, and I was like, ‘I have to have this color.’ I layer the Dior Addict Lip Plumping Gloss on top of it. I just started using the KKW Concealer, and I really like it. I like that when it dries down and you pat it, the color doesn’t move, and it stays pretty high coverage. My favorite powder is the Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Powder. This is my favorite powder so far that I’ve used, it’s like a pressed powder. The foundation I’m using right now is Missha The Style Fitting Foundation. It’s worked really well so far. I conceal first, and then I put foundation on top of that. Because I feel like when you put foundation on first, you tend to overexaggerate the parts that need covering and then you get a very thick layer. So if I want an even, more kind of translucent look to my foundation, I take a piece of Kleenex and I just pat it on my face lightly to remove the extra product on my face, and it’s a more breathable look.
I love cream blush, so I’m using this cream blush from Canmake. They have a huge line of cream blushes. And I use the Fenty Killawatt Girl Next Door/Chic Phreak. I’m using this right now—the Kiss Me Heroine Make mascara. It’s a Japanese drugstore brand. I like that it’s not clumpy and it’s really dark, like the black is really proper black, so it delivers that impact. I use the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream. My favorite liquid eyeliner is also by Kiss Me Heroine Make. And I just use the MAC eyeshadow in Carbon to create a very light cat eye effect, and I’ll cover my lids with 3CE in Honeymoon. And I love MAC Russian Red. You know how sometimes with red lips, when you eat it disappears, it looks really gross. But with the MAC Russian Red, it stains your lip a bit, so when you eat you don’t get that gross line, and I love the way the color looks on me as well. It’s my favorite red lip."
—as told to ITG
Victoria Loke photographed by Tom Newton on August 10, 2018.