Born to a Chinese Pakistani Family based in Islamabad, Saira SK Liang AKA Janie Liang is a name in her own right to be reckoned with in the Fashion Fraternity Today. Janie started in the artful field of make-up and styling when she was around sixteen.
The girl grew into a charming, impeccable and highly professional woman and continued the legacy handed over by her mother, Daniella Liang to her dedicatedly. Janie then started to expand her family business after her marriage.
Now, a mother of two lovely daughters herself, Janie is one of the Pakistani stylists who have covered the A-List celebs, dignitaries and Bollywood stars like only a few stylists have. Already a celeb-stylist herself in Dubai, Janie is now on her way to being the next big thing in other continents and she is still driven and focused towards the same.
We got Janie Liang to talk about her work, successes, life as she knows it and a dash of her personal lifestyle that is simple and yet dazzling in its presentation.
How did the legacy begin?
My early influence is my mother ‘Daniella’ who was, and still is running, a successful beauty salon in Islamabad.
Where do you hail from?
I am born to a second generation Chinese migrant family in Islamabad.
What was your childhood like and what part of it left impressions on your mind?
My childhood was the most comfortable and pampered one as far as I can remember. Alhumdulillah I am blessed. My parents worked very hard to give my brother and me the best education and life.
I have learned to work hard to achieve my goals, never give up my dream and always have hope for a brighter future.
What is your zodiac sign?
In the Chinese Zodiac I am ‘Dragon’ and in the English version, I am a ‘Taurean’.
Do you believe in the supernatural?
I do believe in miracles
Are you a spiritual person?
Yes, I am a spiritual person. Not in the orthodox definition of the word. I believe in God, I pray daily, but not five times I am afraid to say and firmly believe in God.
Everyone from Islamabad, Dubai to USA knows your family business and today we see you as a international name.
How did this evolve?
I would certainly give this credit to my mother, my mentor, as she is the one behind the entire legacy. She has passed on her tricks of the trade to me and I would say through sheer hard work and perseverance, I have achieved the love and appreciation from people all over the world.
You could have opted for modelling too. Why did you choose styling?
I always did have an interest in modelling, which I also did while growing up and still do very selectively but more for fun.
I chose to be a Make-up Artist/Stylist because it’s my passion and I love it! It runs in my blood! And it’s an added asset now during shoots.
When did you start out in the styling business?
I started observing as young as nine years of age, and by the age of sixteen I was professionally making brides and mixing creative colours! So this is 20 years of experience and professionalism.
Have you had any formal training and studied styling as a subject?
I had the best teacher, my mother, a certified Hairdresser from Vidal Sasson, Tony&Guy and Wella.
I did my Diploma from Vidal Sassoon London L’oreal then at Wella, M.A.C and Paris Gallery.
What is the nature of your work and how have you diversified in the field?
Janie Liang Beauty Salon opened its doors in September of 2008 to an overwhelming reception as Dubai’s premier Lifestyle Salon where transcendent style and beauty beyond the tradition are forged for all. Offering complete beauty services under one roof, we excel in Colour, Cuts, Bridal and Party Makeup. At Janie’s we strive to create a relaxing environment for our guests to feel welcomed and comfortable. All of our hair services are enhanced with complimentary value-added services provided by our stylists. Our Bridal Make up, colour & haircuts include an in-depth guest consultation, an aroma sensory journey, stress relieving treatment, relaxing shampoo and blow dry finish.
Our Bridal make up is the Signature line! Where I personally do this service for our brides but also have senior make-up artists when I am an other business agendas. My bridals need to be booked in advance for the convenience of both parties. I have clients from London, UAE, Canada, India, Pakistan, Lebanon and the list goes on.
Have you taken up any other ventures?
I have my own Apparel line catering mostly in Dubai. I promote different events for and with friends, as well as designers whether it is for jewellery apparel, or an exhibition.
Tell us about the major mile-stones till now in your work?
I would say the major milestone was opening a new salon in a very competitive market like Dubai. It was a challenge to establish my name independently separate from my mother. It has been a rewarding experience and thank God for all the success I have achieved.
You now have a strong presence in the world of fashion and showbiz on the whole. How did this come about and how does it feel?
I guess, the line of work I am in, I have to keep myself up to date with trends and fashion. Also, I have to be like a trend setter. In order to keep this status I have to perform my role at its best. Word spreads like wild fire. My hard work speaks volume and has paid off. It is truly an awesome and blessed feeling.
Tell us how you manage schedules between Dubai, Islamabad, USA and what is the nature of work that mostly keeps you busy?
My work schedule is hazardous for health! Hahaha! But since I am so passionate about it, nothing can stop me! I take my bookings 6-12 months in advance for convenience of both parties. I commute for my Signature Bridal Make up and for different fashion shoots and shows.
Who does your family consist of? And how do you manage time between work and family-life?
My parents and my brother and his family live in Islamabad. Thank fully Dubai is not too far. Where as in my immediate family is concerned, it’s my husband, 3 beautiful daughters and his parents. I am blessed to have my in laws with me. It is very important for my children to understand the love and value of an elderly. Also they are understanding and very helpful. I always try to take my clients when my kids are in school, as most of the time I would want to assist in their homework and activities. It’s a bit difficult when the timings clash but this is where the understanding plays its role.
Are you happy with the success level you have achieved?
I would say Alhumdulillah for all God has laid in my path. I am certainly happy, but would continue to strive for better.
Three qualities in a man that you like…
Three is just loo less…
Strong with his foundations
Three attributes in a man you strongly dislike?
1) Who is not a self-make man and boasts of his parent’s wealth
3) Who have low self-esteem
Hate is a strong word. I would say I dislike Judgmental characters and racists.
How would you best describe yourself?
Very affectionate and dedicated, I am also extremely strong headed.
You are a people’s person, a person with an attitude, jolly or a good blend of some? If there are any other attributes you consider what are those?
I think I am a good blend of all! I just cannot become best friends with someone in the first meeting. It takes me time because of this some people judge me as being snooty, snobbish etc.! But once they get to know me better, they say I am quite the opposite.
What is the latest in styling and make-up trends world over?
No matter what the trend or favourite make-up look is as far as you find it appropriate for You.
The 1920’s – 1940’s look is very in. The use of red but mixed with a bit of berry colour is very in. Retro appeal is very powerful not only in clothes but additionally inside make-up plus hair-style. So is Gothic-glam look, where you can pair your eyes with a shade of black with silver or Blue with silver or black and gold. Braids are very much in fashion.
Some tips you would want to give girls for a better look to create at home?
Just enhance your natural beauty, don’t change it! Leave that for stylists and models to do.
Some major mistakes you notice girls make in creating their own looks?
I would say that they follow the trends a bit too seriously! They should consult a stylist if in doubt. At least they won’t be carrying a look that’s just not meant for them to carry.
You have worked on more celebrities internationally than almost any other stylist. Please tell us who the A-listers include and how does it feel?
I would start with the late Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Senator Hilary Clinton, Ashwariya Rai Bachan, Preeti Zinta, Bipasha Basu, Amish Patel and many more. Although the Bollywood Celebrities travel with their own stylists, but I’ve been privileged to be part of this jouney.
Today you are a celebrity yourself… who would you choose for your own styling?
For my make-up… I don’t let anyone. But for hair I turn to my mother of my trusted and loyal employees.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by my parents! Their hard work, their achievements – their love, dedication and loyalty.
What gets you in a truly bad mood?
If you ask my husband, he’ll say I am always in a bad mood! Hahaha! On a serious note, I think it’s ‘MESS’.
Your personal must haves in you clutch?
I always have my mini SONY camera, my phones, some cash, credit card, my little mirror, and my sachet of med for if my migraine triggers. YES! I don’t carry lipsticks, perfumes, powder etc.
What is the magic that you are always in the news and limelight?
No magic. It’s part of the fashion fraternity. Of course it is an added effort to be at events after work! But I love going to places and events that comprise the same nature.
Ever considered diversifying towards fashion designing?
I am and I have. But I need to be more focused and serious about it now.
How would you explain Life as it is?
I would explain life to be as Short, so live it up and don’t waste your time brooding over what you don’t have, instead look for reasons to accomplish what you can have. Love truly, be honest, nevery regret anything that make you ‘smile’.
What are your future plans?
I am planning to take my Signature makeup to Canada very soon.
A final worked for the stylist who are trying to make it in today’s cut-throat competitive world of styling?
Experience speaks volume and patience is virtue.