We talked Megan Lee about everything from her favorite Korean beauty brands and products to her exciting new music projects, read on to find out what she said!
If you don’t know Megan Lee, she’s a Korean-American singer/songwriter, actress, dancer, and YouTuber (who also debuted in Korea as a K-pop artist) with an exceptionally long and impressive resume. Megan began her career at the age of 10, and 12 years later has established herself as one of the most prominent Korean-Americans in entertainment.
She’s most well known for playing Sun Hi Song on Nickelodeon’s Make It Pop, a show about K-pop, and as a singer on YouTube. In 2013, Megan went out to Korea an participated in MBC Star Audition and debuted as a solo artist. Megan is now a contestant on Season 14 of NBC’s The Voice.
When did you first become interested in skin care and beauty, and who taught you?
I first started getting into beauty, skin care, and makeup when I was around 13 or 14. I had very little knowledge about it because I was at such a young age. And with YouTube being a very prominent thing in my life at that time, and starting to become very popular, I saw lots of really cool beauty vloggers like Michelle Phan, she was my favorite. I really love Jen Chae, AKA FrmHeadToToe. Those are the people that I watched growing up and it really introduced me to how to take care of my skin and how to put on makeup.
I had really terrible skin when I was a teenager. I broke out with pimples all over my forehead and a little bit around the top of the cheeks because I had bangs and when I was working on sets, a lot of the times, the hair stylists would put up my bangs with hair spray and I think I broke out from the hairspray. So it actually started spreading all over my face and it was really painful, physically and mentally. It shook me. It was really hard to deal with with my self esteem issues and things like that but, thankfully, because of YouTube I was able to endure and surpass that problem.
It’s so interesting that you say YouTube was your first introduction because as answers, we’re used to getting “Oh it was my mom or my sister,” but now that people are growing up in the age of YouTube it’s very much, “Oh yeah, I saw it on YouTube.”
With my mom, she doesn’t really put on makeup or know how to take care of her skin as well, which is why I didn’t know exactly what to do but I only had YouTube so we kind of learned together.
What does your current skin care routine look like?
My skin care routine is very Korean, actually. I don’t know if it’s as accurate as the ten step skin care routine. So, I first wash my face with a gentle cleanser from Fresh. It’s a soy cleanser. Then I use a toner. I love witch hazel, which is very natural and cleanses my skin very well afterwards. Then, I use IOPE. They discontinued the line, which I’m really sad about but they have a newer version, I use their essence and lotion and serum. And that’s pretty much it, skin care wise. I do put on sunscreen. I wear BB creams that have 50 SPF. I also use IOPE, the cushion. I like to keep things simple.
Do you have any favorite K-beauty products?
I love Etude House. I love how young and fun and girly their products are and they really match my skin well. I’ve been using their products for a long time. I use their baking powder foaming cleanser. Their stuff is really good. I have a few of their eye shadow palettes and lipsticks. I love IOPE because I use a lot of their skin care line, moreso. I also love a brand that’s actually not very well known yet, but they’re called Moira and they’re based in LA but they also have stores in Korea. They’re a Korean skin care and makeup brand.
I also love face masks. I have so many sheet masks. I pretty much use them every day, from all different brands. [Sheet masking] hydrates your skin really well. I have a tendency to get dry easily so sheet masks definitely help.
You lived in Korea for a period of time, did you pick up any skin care routines while you were there?
Definitely. I definitely learned the importance of sunscreen and protecting your skin. I also learned how to apply moisturizers and all these things on your face the correct way so that your skin can continue to look young and firm and fresh as you get older. When we’re younger, we take for granted how good and elastic our skin is, and then when we get older, that’s when we have to start wearing eye cream and things like that. I learned from a lot of makeup artists and some unnies (older sister in Korean) in Korea who taught me how to massage my face and apply moisturizers the correct way. Always massage upwards, never down.
Do you think that your Korean-American heritage influences the way you treat your skin? And the way that your style has developed?
I think it does, for sure. Every heritage has their own styles in makeup and hair and fashion and I think I’m very proud to say that Korean style and Korean people are very cool and have a lot of influence on me and how I dress myself. When I moved to Korea and lived there for a few years I definitely picked up a lot of tips on how I dress and do my makeup and knowing what looks good on me. Specifically on my face because every heritage has sort of a unique look.
You always seem very upbeat and positive on your social media. Do you have tips for staying optimistic?
The most important thing is to keep positive people around you. I’m a human being and I do have my moments where I do feel discouraged or down and I don’t feel optimistic at all. I can be negative at times, but in those moments I do have my family and friends who give me lots of positive energy and words and really just lift me up. And I think that’s the most important thing a person can have. And I really, really encourage people to seek out other people who can keep them in that positive vibe at all times.
For someone who’s so young, your career is impressively long. You talked about having to work at 13 and 14. Are there any takeaways that you’ve learned from your career that you think everyone should know?
I think the most important thing is to not compare yourself to other people. Everyone has their own correct timing and that all the good and bad things are meant to happen in your life, especially the down moments. Because those are the moments that create your character and help you grow and learn for future moments. I think those are things that people might sort of look over, especially in negative moments that everyone has in their life, I think if you find a way to deal with certain bumps in the road and convert it into something positive and into a learning experience, that’s the most important thing. And that’s something I learned while growing up in the [entertainment] industry.
You’ve said in previous interviews that your dream was to get to act, sing, and dance at the same time and you got to do it on Nickelodeon’s “Make It Pop”! What is your next dream project to work on?
I would love to be featured in a blockbuster film. That’s definitely my next goal. Whether it’s a huge Disney movie or as a supporting or lead with some actors that I look up to, that would be really, really great. And that is something that I’m currently striving to work on. I’m going out for lots of different auditions. It’s pilot season so I’m going out for things and working hard on myself.
You’ve worked since you were a kid and are still working today, so you’re one of the most visible Korean Americans in the entertainment industry. Did you ever feel any pressure or obligation because of that?
I don’t think I ever thought that I was under pressure. It was more of an honor. Growing up, I didn’t really have that many Asian-American women to look up to and that made me think that I wanted to be a part of a movement to change that, and to make that pathway for the future generation. It is a responsibility in a way that I know I have to keep this positive image and be a good role model to the younger ones, but at the same time, I feel so so honored and blessed to be put in this kind of situation where I can be a good role model and influence as an Asian-American in the entertainment industry.
We know that you love K-pop. You actually did K-pop while you were in Korea and you did a show in the US about K-pop, so who are your favorite K-pop artists right now?
Alright, I love BTS. Of course, who doesn’t? I love Block B. They’re one of my longtime faves. I’ve been really obsessed with Twice. They’re super adorable. Red Velvet, for sure. I love IU and Ailee. I think that’s my top right now.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be?
That’s so hard. I would really like to work with Shawn Mendes. Or Julia Michaels. They’re two artists I’m really obsessed with right now.
For 2018, what are you most looking forward to?
So many things! I’m working on some new music for myself, so I’m really excited for that. I’m continuing to go out for different auditions, so really looking forward to booking something really great and big. And I can’t wait to share some great news with my fans. I’m also going to be on The Voice on the new season. I don’t know when my episode will air and I can’t really speak more about my audition experience yet. But I’m really excited for that.
Is there a beauty trend that you really want to see happen this year?
I would like to see more American girls try out the ombre lip. They have an ombre lip but it’s not quite the way the Korean people do it. The ombre from the inside out. I would like to see people do that. I think it might happen because I feel like sheet masking already is a crazy trend so it’s not impossible.