Yes, popular UFC fighter babe Michelle Waterson loves her smokey eye make-up palette as much as her deadly upper cut. Known as @karatehottiemama to her 347K Instagram followers, the professional mixed martial artist, in town recently to promote UFC Fight Night on June 17 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium (she's not fighting in the event, though), is a strawweight athlete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The 31-year-old American of Thai descent is also a make-up maestro brimming with beauty tips (smokey eye tutorial, anyone?). “Less is more, especially in a humid country like Singapore,” says Michelle, who has a six-year-old daughter. “Just add a bit of shimmer on the top of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and the top of your lips. Then, glide on some lipgloss and you’re good to go.”
8 DAYS: Make-up is not something people usually associate with professional female fighters.
MICHELLE WATERSON: (Laughs) Yes, I like make-up, and I apply makeup to stay motivated. I think it’s fun. It’s an added accessory to your face and you can use it to accentuate the features that are already beautiful. I grew up liking art and putting on make-up is an extension of art. It’s also something you can use to show your personality.
What’s your favourite make-up look?
I always choose smokey eyes. When I was younger, I always did the grey and black smokey eye, but now, I’m more subtle. I’d do a peachy smokey eye, which is a light-coloured peach base with brown at the corners. I’ve also been doing a lot of plums and purples, and applying light pink and plum on the inside corners of the eyes.
Do you wear a lot of make-up when you're fighting or training?
I don’t wear make-up all the time, especially when I’m training, and I train three to five times a day. I don’t have time to sit and put on concealer and foundation. I like the Tarte cheek stain because it adds a little colour to my face. That, along with mascara, takes me from not wanting people to see my face sans make-up, to feeling okay and presentable. (Laughs)
Where did you learn your make-up techniques?
I grew up doing traditional Thai dancing. When we had to perform, we’d do our own make-up. My mum would do my make-up when I was a little girl and when I got older, I started doing it myself. It was something I enjoyed. I’d go to YouTube and watch tutorials to see how I can contour my face, or how to draw the perfect eyeliner. I play around with different techniques and see what works best for me.
You seem like a big fan of Tarte make-up.
Tarte products are made with clay and are natural, and I love that. Funny story: I was in Brooklyn for a UFC fight a while back, and I started talking to the people sitting behind me. It turns out that the sister of the man I was talking to owns Tarte. We got in touch, and they wanted to send me some stuff. I thought they would send me a palette or something but they delivered a really huge box! (Laughs) It came with everything you can imagine — lotion, self-tanner, blushers, lipgloss, palettes, and more. It was like Christmas came early ! I was in heaven (Chuckles).
Any tips on staying and looking fresh after a sweaty workout?
The most important thing is to keep your face clean and drink a lot of water. When you eat and drink bad stuff, they come out through your pores. If your face isn’t clean, you get breakouts. Just go with a little glow on your face. It works especially in humid countries as your skin is already dewy, and not dry.
Do you let Araya, your six-year-old daughter, watch you fight?
Yes, she’s been to every single one of my fights, and she’s cried watching them. She’s experienced all the different emotions. She’s been scared, happy and sad. The first time she saw me lose was probably the hardest. I had a huge black eye and it was so bruised that I couldn’t open it. My daughter has never seen me like that, and she kept crying and asking if I was okay. I don’t like seeing her cry, and I don’t like her seeing me in pain. But I think it’s important to show her that you can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. Life isn’t just about winning, and she needs to know that.
Some people think of female fighters as tough and intimidating. How do you feel about such stereotypes?
All fighters are different whether they are men or women. There are some really aggressive and unapproachable female fighters, and then there are really nice, down-to-earth female fighters. We are all just individuals with our own personalities. As for me, I just be as genuine as I can with myself and my fans!
Photos: Chee Yan