Meet the (other) most important man in Rebecca Lim’s life: Her BFF makeup artist
Behind every successful woman is her glam squad. For Rebecca Lim, her constant confidante is freelance makeup artist Shaun Lee, who has been there since her earliest days in showbiz – and played a part in how she met her future husband.
You know your BFF is for keeps when he or she is the one who introduces you to your happily-ever-after. Which is exactly how Mediacorp actress Rebecca Lim found her soul mate, husband-to-be Matthew Webster.
As it turns out, it was Shaun Lee, Lim’s long-time makeup artist, who made this connection happen by organising the fateful group dinner where Lim met Webster.
“The reason I agreed to the dinner was because Shaun did the ‘screening’ and I trust him,” said the award-winning actress, who is known to be fiercely protective of her personal life and inner circle.
This bond between Lim and Lee is one that has been more than 15 years in the making. The duo first met on the set of a prom-themed photoshoot for the now defunct Lime Magazine soon after Lim had participated in the Miss Singapore Universe pageant at the age of 19.
When I am planning dates with the wedding planner, I have to check in with Shaun first. He is more important or I can’t get married to my fiance.
Since then, Lee has been Lim’s go-to makeup artist for just about every major event in the award-winning actress’ life, from the Star Awards to red carpet appearances and photoshoots.
In a sea of extroverted, flamboyant personalities – because it’s showbiz, baby – their penchant for quietness was a welcome oasis of calm for each other.
“We take a long time to warm up so I remember the first shoot was quite quiet,” recalled Lim with a giggle. “My first impression of Shaun was that he is very nice and does great make-up – I wished I could look like that all the time.”
As for Lee, who has long been one of Singapore’s most in-demand make-up artists for his impeccable glow-up skills, it was the young Lim’s striking facial features that caught his attention.
“There is something about her face that is very interesting and I found her to be very beautiful,” said Lee. “Rebecca was also really nice so I immediately felt comfortable working with her.”
At subsequent shoots, the duo continued to cross paths, with the then-more experienced Lee offering Lim moral support so that she would have the confidence to work it in front of the camera.
“During a shoot, I remember Shaun being encouraging when I could not do a sultry, posh look as I was more familiar with smiley poses then. He would teach me to relax and I remember him being the comfort on set. Because of that, I was naturally drawn to his energy,” said Lim.
It was only in 2011, when they travelled to Seychelles to work on a photo spread for a wedding magazine that their harmonious working relationship blossomed. A deeper friendship developed when they got to spend quality time suntanning and enjoying the idyllic locale during their free time.
Since then, with Lim’s career trajectory consistently on the rise, she has also shared this success with her favourite behind-the-scenes pal. He is practically a permanent fixture in Lim’s globetrotting glam squad and has travelled to Switzerland, France, Indonesia and South Korea to keep the superstar looking her best during her trips.
“With makeup artists, you really have to find someone that you feel 100 per cent at ease and relaxed with because the makeup artist is in such close proximity to you for almost three hours,” said Lim.
One of their most memorable trips was travelling to Seoul in 2016, where Lim was awarded the Asian Star Award during the Seoul International Drama Awards for her role Wan Fei Fei in The Journey: Our Homeland.
“I felt proud to represent Singapore and the fact that I had my trusted glam team with me, including Shaun for makeup and Dexter (Ng) for hairstyling, I knew I looked my best. This gave me the confidence to relish in the moment and absorb this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.
One thing has remained constant through all these years – the duo does not feel the need to chatter consistently when they are in each other’s company. “With her, I can be quite relaxed and quiet and do not need to worry about making small talk,” said Lee.
With makeup artists, you really have to find someone that you feel 100 per cent at ease and relaxed with because the makeup artist is in such close proximity to you for almost three hours.
Lim chimed in: “It is a comfort in a volatile and unpredictable environment and to have this constant is a blessing.”
That’s not to say they do not talk at all. Fans have Lee to thank for introducing the actress to Instagram and TikTok, which offers her the opportunity to share carefully curated snippets of her life with the public. He is so familiar with her personal sense of style that he has been known to go shopping with her on occasion.
And like any regular pair of buddies, they WhatsApp each other almost daily about anything that catches their eyes, whether it is a funny TikTok video or inspiring images that could come in useful for future work engagements.
Lee is also quite possibly the only person in the world who can tell Lim things like, “Girl, your eyebags look obvious in a video, you need to get more rest,” he said with a laugh.
“We are very honest with each other and I do not take offence at such ‘feedback’ because I know that he is looking out for me,” Lim added. In fact, on rare occasions when Lee is not available for a shoot she is doing, she said she is often at a loss and does not know who else to engage as her makeup artist, she added.
It goes without saying that Lee will be her main glam man for her upcoming wedding. “When I am planning dates with the wedding planner, I have to check in with Shaun first. He is more important or I can’t get married to my fiance,” quipped Lim with a laugh.
But if you are hoping for more news on what The Dress is going to be or how many looks the actress will be sporting on the big day, you have to wait a little longer. While she hopes to tie the knot this year, the actual date will depend on COVID-19 regulations.
Nevertheless, whatever the glamorous star chooses for her wedding, there is no doubt she will be the loveliest she has ever been. Said Lee: “She has such a beautiful face, so there are many possibilities we can work out. Her looks will depend on the gown and the venue she chooses, then we will decide what her makeup will be.”