Mimi Choi used to be a teacher by trade. She taught her students until one day… she knew she neeeded to do something more.She became bored of teaching.
And so she did. She quit her job as a teacher and her students of the last year were surprised to hear that she wouldn’t be coming back. Instead she decided to become a makeup artist.
Needless to say, all of her students who got wind of their former teacher’s new online “career” were amazed at her skill.
A teacher who was so uninspired by her profession she quit the classroom – now works as a face-painter with designs so amazing people think she has photo-shopped her images.
Mimi Choi does not need selfies or fancy Snapchat filters – instead she creates fantastic faces using a pallet of make-up and a brush.
The 31-year-old, from Vancouver, Canada, spends hours perfecting everything from a face smashed into pieces to freaky fancy dress.
“My face is a blank canvas, where I can practice my art,” she said.
“People have said ‘that’s not real’ or ‘it can’t be make-up’ but it is real. I spend hours doing this.”
Mimi trained as a teacher and worked in a pre-school for three years before leaving aged 28.
“I felt like my creativity was suppressed. I enjoyed teaching but I wasn’t completely happy,” she said. “I needed a new challenge.”
So, she started experimenting with her make-up brushes in the bathroom, at home, where she lives with her retired parents Don Lei, 57, and dad Jacob Choi, 60.
“It felt like it was too late to change my career, but my mum was so supportive that I realised it was ok,” she said.
“I’ve always been arty and had done bridal makeup before, which people really liked. I’d not done anything as crazy as the work I do now, though.”
Enrolling at a local beauty college, Mimi learnt about innovative ways of doing make-up, from prosthetics to themed events.
But it was when Halloween came around that things really took off.
“I wanted to do something different for October 31, so I had a look on Instagram and found a photo of a woman, who looked like her face had cracked,” Mimi explained.
Using that design as inspiration, Mimi had a go herself before uploading it on social media.
“I’d never tried any kind of crazy make-up on myself, but I just got out my black and white eyeliner and gave it a go.
“When I showed my mum she was really freaked out, so I posted it online and got a lot of likes.”
From optical illusions to intricate designs, over the last three years, Mimi’s work has become more and more creative.
“Every day I try and challenge myself to do things a bit different, just to keep doing it and see what I come up with,” she said.
“I take my inspiration from everywhere. If a woman is wearing a coat with a funky pattern on, I think I’ll do that on my face. I try to find beauty in everything.”
Because of the detail in Mimi’s work, some people have even questioned if it’s authentic.
But Mimi is meticulous, and only shares her designs when they are good enough to photograph.
“I like to create things that are original,” she said. “I’m proudest when I have created something that no one else has done before, and it makes people go ‘wow’.
“I really like to try things out, see what I can do.”
One of Mimi’s most recent creations was Pinocchio, on a friend, for Halloween, which has added to her 91,0000 likes on her Instagram page.
And her accountant fiancé Andrew Yang, 31, has even let her experiment on him.
“I turned Andrew bald and gave him a beard once. It was a real transformation for him,” she said.
“He really loves the work I do, but was very surprised when I first started doing it, but now he is used to it!”
Now Mimi is teaching other people make-up skills at the college where she learnt her craft.