by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Vickii Ma on Chasing Dreams & Her Signature Beauty Look

Previously a management consultant at a Fortune 500 firm, Vickii Ma left to chase her dreams. She set up her own businesses—homeware brand Olive Home and her very own branding studio—before eventually moving to New York City. The Singaporean creative is now based in Los Angeles, working with a slew of exciting clients like ELLE Magazine, Disneyland and American Express.

Ahead, we chat with Vickii as she shares more about her move from Singapore to the US, what pursuing your dream job looks like, and her beauty faves.

What inspired your move from Singapore to New York City?

I’ve always loved New York City since I was little, so it’s always been my dream to live there. In 2020, I decided to push myself and my career even further by applying for a US visa to work and live there. So glad I got to experience it as there really is no place like New York City!

People say it’s a hard city, but I love the hard parts of it. It’s a place that makes me like anything is possible, and it inspires so much creativity when I’m there. It’s also great for meeting diverse people from every background. I knew that it was a place that would make me grow as a person. 

Any career highlights to share with us? 

I had the opportunity to meet Daniel Humm, a Michelin-starred chef-owner from one of the world’s best and New York’s best restaurants, in person! t was a huge deal for me, especially as a fine-dining aficionado and major fan of the restaurant. Then I scored a dining reservation at the restaurant when they just reopened and turned vegan. It was a 10 pm dinner that ended at 1 am, but Eleven Madison Park is definitely worth staying up for!

And recently, I got an amazing opportunity to photograph for Kevin Hart in a beautiful Los Angeles home. So thankful for my clients’ trust!

What is the best career advice you can offer to someone who wants to pursue their dream job or start their own businesses during these tough times?

Sometimes, you just have to do it before you are ready. Prepare your finances, make plans and speak to your network, but the best lessons come from the actual doing. To me, it’s always better to try and fail than not to try at all! I see opportunities during tough times. The world has changed in the past two years, and so does the way people shop—this could be a great breeding ground for fresh ideas! 

So, what does your daily skincare ritual look like?

I usually double cleanse starting with a cleansing balm, then I wash my face with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. After, I would apply a toner, followed by a hyaluronic acid serum, a light creamy moisturiser, and a layer of sunscreen of at least SPF50 (covering both UVA and UVB spectrum). Sunscreen is a must even if I’m working from home. Some of my favourite skincare ingredients are vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and retinol.

What is your signature beauty look?

I like to emphasize my eyes with a brow pencil, eyeshadow and eyeliner since they are my favourite facial feature. I usually have an undereye concealer, neutral lip colour, and some blush on. I’ve been loving Nars for their lip makeup and Charlotte Tilbury for their eyeshadow palettes and blush. I usually skip foundation unless I have a photoshoot!

How does self-care come into play in your beauty routine? Do you have any practices that help you cope with stress?

Drinking plenty of water and making sure I get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep (laughs). These are things I know I have to do but sometimes I slip when work gets too overwhelming. 

Personally, I like to text or call a good friend as a way to relax. Also, I’m obsessed with candles to help soothe my nerves. I also love playing my favourite music to calm me down—I’m really into house or electronic music these days!  

You’ve lived in a number of cities, each with its different approach to beauty. Where do you relate to most?

I think it would be Hong Kong, for their emphasis on beauty or skin food. Because I love to eat and bonus if it’s good for my skin! I’ve had Cantonese double-boiled soup and steamed food growing up and my family thinks it’s a reason for my good skin (or so they always say!). One of my parents is from Hong Kong, although I grew up in Singapore. Lately, I’ve been feeling nostalgic and cooking food from my childhood. Thankfully, the herbs and other ingredients are accessible in Chinatown here. 

I feel like Asians generally put a lot of effort into taking care of their skin—talk about the 10-step Korean skincare regime! I can’t do the 10 steps, instead, I have many products that I use on rotation.

What do you miss most about Singapore while you’re abroad? How are you celebrating the festivities this year?

I miss having local food—my favourite being popiah! That is almost impossible to find here. And I miss my friends whom I haven’t seen in so long. Holiday times are always the hardest when away from friends and family, but I’m trying to live in the present and create new memories here. For Christmas this year, I’m decorating the house and having a cosy meal with family and friends. Excited to be doing a road trip and checking out some winter light festivals too!

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I want to learn to let myself change, not rush important things and stay aligned with my goals. Professionally, I plan to expand Olive Home in the USA. It will also be the fourth year since the brand’s conception and it’s undergoing a rebranding in early 2022. I would like to go with the flow and see where life takes me!

Vickii’s Beauty Picks

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, SGD83
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette, SGD90
Clarins Double Serum, SGD125
Byredo Suede Hand Wash, SGD60
Nécessaire The Body Wash, SGD36

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