Monday 30 November, 2020

Cheek to Cheek: Tonisha Kong

Model Davianne Tucker meets our photog eye to eye. (Photos: Shawn Barnes)

Model Davianne Tucker meets our photog eye to eye. (Photos: Shawn Barnes)

This week, make-up artist (MUA) Tonisha Kong aka ‘Ton Ton’ explores her bacchanalian sensibilities with a wicked fusion of Jamaican glitz and Carnival pizzazz.

Kong, who is inspired by ‘anything carnival related’, uses her artistry to revisit intergalactic impressions of fetes through make-up.

When necessary, she switches things up and opts for au naturel looks too – showcasing her multi-faceted style.

Cheek to Cheek: Tonisha Kong

In an interview with Loop Lifestyle, Kong admitted to being ‘very much into glitter, colours, and anything carnival related’. Adding that ‘it gives so much energy and life to things... [carnival] is such a vibe and that is what Jamaican avant-garde means to me'.

Oftentimes, it’s her clients that provide total inspiration. Her clientele includes Lila Ike, Amita Persaud-Webb, Ishawna, and Naomi Cowan, to name a few.

I want my work to always speak for itself and [anyone] just know that's me.


For the Cheek to Cheek Avant-Garde Make-up shoot, Kong was fully inspired by the model Davianne Tucker.

She recalls Tucker being ‘so full of life and up for anything’.

‘I wanted to transfer Davianne’s colourful energy into my ideas of Jamaican avant-garde... just go all-out with colours and glitter,’ she added.

The look would not be complete without her top 4 must-have tools:

1 Beauty blender

2 Lashes

3 Blending brush

4 Mini eyeliner brush


And her idols... 'favourite make-up artists of all time are' Priscilla Ono (Fenty Beauty’s Global MUA and Rihanna's personal MUA) and, ‘Jamaica's very own’ Ashleigh Porter from Ash Beauty Studio.

Ton Ton’s go-to shades for eyeshadow and lips are always nude or neutral tones.

She believes these shades ‘work best with every skin tone, and are easy to blend’. Blush is usually a shade of orange that also works great for most skin tones, too.

And, on the lips: the Uncensored - ‘perfect universal red’ Fenty Stunna lip paint, that blends well with most skin tones.

The products Kong swears by are: Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation; Fenty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored; LA Girl eyebrow pencils; INGLOT Cosmetics AMC Eyeliner Gel; and Milani Amore Liquid Matte lipstick – all must-haves in my kit, they’re long-lasting and from experience, works best on most skin tones.

'My biggest pet peeve is sometimes working with others, especially in situations where I have to share my kit with other make-up artists'.

By using examples, she explains her pet peeve, 'whenever an MUA uses one of my lippies on her client's lips, or when products go missing by accidentally packing'.

I’m somewhat of a germaphobe and very particular, but, I understand that it comes with the territory.

Kong remains inspired by her clients, family, and overall, well-wishers, who laud and appreciate her work.

‘They've all had so many great things to say about how proud they are of me that it [fuels] me to be better and do better’.

And when asked of her legacy, Kong confessed: ‘I just want my work to be remembered, like, for people to look on a 'beat' and say ‘this looks like something Tonisha did’.

Next week, meet make-up artist Davene Jonas!

Cheek-to-Cheek Avant-Garde Make-up series is a celebration of Jamaican art through various forms of beauty. The series was conceptualised and produced by Kadeem Rodgers and Shawn Barnes. The purpose of the series is to showcase six up-and-coming Jamaican make-up artistes, who have presented their interpretations of avant-garde artistry each week. These alluring images were intended to provoke thought and spark conversations on the myriad interpretations of Jamaican beauty. What comes to mind when you think of Jamaican Avant-Garde?

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