Emmy-winning makeup artist Jan Ping has worked on some of the most famous faces in Hollywood. A career spanning 30 years, working many different formats from talk shows, talent competitions, movies, episodics to photo shoots and live TV.
But Jan, a former actress and print model, says it took breast cancer to deeply understand the meaning of beauty. That experience, which she describes as “endlessly profound,” has changed her life forever.
“The emphasis on what we physically look like is so huge,” she reflects. “Beauty is what I did for a living. I had defined myself by what I did, and what I looked like. Having that all stripped away was a very empowering experience.”
“You realize at the end of it that it is not your lashes, not your hair, not your makeup, nor your breasts that make you beautiful – it is who you are inside. It is a wonderful place to get to and it is one of the blessings.”
Jan enjoys teaching the practicalities to cancer patients, both privately and in classes. Skills to keep their skin hydrated and how to draw in brows and lashes when theirs fall out. How to compensate with corrective makeup for the discoloration caused by chemotherapy and how to cover radiation tattoos and surgical scars.
But it’s the camaraderie and hope that are the real gift for Jan and for the women in her classes. “There is something that happens when I share my expertise and my life experience. It can be really emotional and impactful. For these women that are fighting for their lives, they find hope and comfort knowing that I have experienced a similar life challenge. My goal is to gently guide these women to reconnect with their inner beauty and this transformation is breathtaking.”
Jan now continues to work in television and also enjoys speaking at conferences discussing the emotional effects cancer treatment can have on ones self image, in addition to keynote speaking.