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27 Questions: Alexa Bui, makeup artist extraordinaire

Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In 27 Questions, we get up close and personal with notable local personalities, learning their whims & aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes & dreams — all in roughly the same amount of time that it takes to power through a round of speed dating.

This week we had the pleasure of briefly chatting with Alexa Bui — one of Hong Kong’s most eminent, versatile and stylish makeup artists. Despite juggling projects with clients and parenting two young children, Bui never misses the opportunity to put her creative impulses out into the world. A doyenne of Hong Kong’s fashion and beauty set, she’s frequently spotted with her equally stylish partner-in-crime, Mr. Alan See (co-founder of The Armoury) on the arm. Possessed of the belief that makeup is most effective as an enhancer of each individual’s best features (rather than a concealer for their flaws), Bui gleans her creative inspirations from various Anglo-American artists, including Pat McGrath (MBE) and the late Kevyn Aucoin.

Alexa Bui
Despite a packed schedule involving umpteenth studio sessions and collaborations with some of Hong Kong’s biggest brands, Bui always finds time for family — documenting her and hubby Alan’s escapades under the #famiSee hashtag.

The Canadian-born Hongkonger began work as a professional markup artist in earnest some 12 years ago. Initially a graduate of the University of Toronto, in the seemingly unrelated fields of history and sociology, Bui’s affinity for beauty products (and innovative methods by which to apply them) are initially what drew her to the business. It’s a narrative of passion over reason, one which has become increasingly familiar to creatives of her generation, younger Hongkongers who are responsible for putting the city on the map as a serious fashion, art and design destination.

Now a fixture of the city’s cosmetic cognoscenti, when Bui isn’t glamouring models on-location, she spends her time dispensing much-needed wisdom to a who’s who of fashion, beauty and wellness brands running the gamut from Miss Bish to Lane Crawford. In this edition of 27 Questions, we open things up for a hilarious discussion about the artist’s guilty pleasures, musings on motherhood and, as always, what makes a person a “real” Hongkonger.


Name: Alexa Bui

Age: Not as young as you think

Neighbourhood: Wanchai/Sheung Wan

Occupation: Makeup artist & mama to two


1. What is the best meal you've ever eaten in Hong Kong?

My mom’s pho!

2. What was your first job?

Telemarketing. No, seriously.

3. What is your drink of choice?

Tequila, tequila, tequila.

Alexa Bui

4. When was the last time you drove a car?

I drive every Sunday — literally a “Sunday driver”.

5. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?

My bed.

6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I can be both — I’m a mom.

7. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ice cream or sushi.

Alexa Bui

8. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?

The pollution, because it makes my kids sick.

9. What is the top destination on your bucket list?

No bucket list for me — I just want to travel!

10. What is your greatest fear?

Missing out on a good party. Kidding! All jokes aside, anything that might hurt my kids or make them sick.

11. When did you last ride the Star Ferry?

A couple of weeks ago, to TST.

Alexa Bui

12. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Ice cream.

13. What is one movie everyone should see?

Mean Girls. Too many good quotes.

14. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?

The first time I held my kids.

15. What makes someone a real Hongkonger?

Texting and carrying a coffee whilst walking without bumping into others.

Pictured: selected commercial work from the artist’s portfolio. (Image source: ALEXA BUI)
16. What is one song you know all the lyrics to?

“Let It Go”

17. Where do you go when you want to be alone?

The bathroom, LOL.

18. If you had to describe Hong Kong in one word, what would it be?


19. What is your favourite scent in the whole world?

Babies. Clean ones.

Alexa Bui

20. What's the best dish you can cook?

Roast chicken!

21. What is your unique party trick?

To quote a friend of mine, “high quantity of tequila shots”.

22. Do you have a catchphrase?

That depends. Is laughing considered a catchphrase?

23. Have you ever experienced love at first sight?

I fall in love every time I open my MATCHESFASHION app.

Alexa Bui

24. Do you have any favourite tattoos or special birthmarks?

Too many to say.

25. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?

Also too many to say. I love shoes.

26. How many countries have you been to?

Not enough. Never enough.

27. Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life?

I’d rather never be alone — I’m good at blocking people out anyway.

Randy Lai
Having worked in the Australian digital media landscape for over 5 years, Randy has extensive experience in men's specialist categories such as classic clothing, watches and spirits. He is partial to mid-century chronographs and a nice chianti.