November 15, 2022
PHNOM PENH – Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous reality stars on the planet. She is also known as the queen of unique makeup. For Halloween, she caused a stir when she “dressed” up as Mystique, a character from the X-Men movies.
To create the blue body paint and gold hair ensemble, a team of four makeup artists worked on her for four hours. One of the team was a Cambodian girl from Stung Treng province.
Almost halfway through the world, the young Cambodian woman posted pictures of the costume to her Instagram account, with a simple caption.
“From Stung Treng province, Cambodia to here, Hollywood, this dream,” she wrote.
Dou Poth Molita, better known as Apple Love, has followed her dream to the top of the Hollywood ladder.
“Because Kim Kardashian is a busy person with a lot work to do, we only had limited time,” Apple told The Post.
“To speed up the application of the makeup, we formed a team of four artists,” she added.
Thanks to a non-disclosure agreement – standard protocol when dealing with A-list celebrities – she cannot reveal too much, but explained that her team works on many similar projects, although no one with the profile of a Kardashian.
Apple Love, whose mother is an accounting clerk at the provincial education department and whose father is a construction worker, said there were not many experts in the area she specialises in, even in Hollywood.
Therefore, she was directly responsible for focusing on Kardashian’s bald head and making sure the gold hair was applied just so.
“I did make up for her and her children. I had to be very careful preparing her daughter North West’s hair,” she said.
She discovered her love for makeup artistry when her friend asked her to join the makeup team on a movie. Since then she has worked on many films and music videos. Lately, she collaborated with Cambodian director Cayleeso, on a feature film called &The Harvest&, which will screen in Cambodia next year.
In the late 2000s, Apple left her hometown in Stung Treng province to study in Phnom Penh, alone.
In 2011, she was honoured to work on Angelina Jolie’s &First they Killed my Father&.
With six or seven years experience as a makeup artist in Cambodia, in 2017 she received a scholarship to study special effects at the Cinema Makeup School, a well-known makeup school in the US. After graduating in 2018, she decided to stay in Hollywood and pursue her dream.
“The demand for special effects in the US is much higher than it is in Cambodia. I would struggle to earn a living in the Kingdom because our film producers do not have as much experience utilising advanced make up and special effects,” she said.
Apple told The Post that she promised to return to Cambodia soon to run special classes for those Khmer who want to acquire her skills, just as she did earlier this year.
“I taught eight students in Cambodia during February and March. However, I am not sure that the demand is there for full time classes. In addition, I provided most of the materials, which were expensive, out of my own pocket,” she said.
“I am not discouraged. I know that this kind of makeup is not yet popular in the film industry there – and US productions have much larger budgets,” she added.
“If production budgets remain limited in the Kingdom, then it may be many years before the demand for my skills is there,” she continued.
As one of Apple’s eight students, Sin Thuokna has been interested in special effects makeup ever since he was young, thanks to a love of movies.
The 27 year old from Pralay Sdao village, Talos commune, Moung Russey district, Battambang province, said he had always wanted to learn from a professional.
“I started learning to paint on paper, before practicing on peoples’ skin. When I heard Apple was visiting the Kingdom and offering a course, I contacted her and asked for the details. Unfortunately, the four day course cost $800, and I could not afford to participate,” he explained.
Just a few days before the course began, Apple messaged Thuokna personally, offering him free admission, with all study materials included.
Although the course was short, he said his solid foundation in painting meant he was able to take a lot from the classes.
He said he was very happy to learn more about his passion, and to have a chance to use expensive professional dyes and colours.
“I think special effects makeup is an important skill in any film industry. Cambodia needs to let the world know that we have the skills to match the world, but we need the capital to support us,” he told The Post.
“If an opportunity for sponsorship to study abroad became available, I would pursue it. Unfortunately, I lack the funds to do it on my own,” said the painter, who is becoming well known in his own right for his comedic paintings.
Although at first glance, applying makeup does not appear to require a lot of physical effort, Apple said the job often involved standing for long periods and lifting heavy cases.
She said the job required a lot of creativity high energy levels. Many of the most difficult aspects involve working with glue and chemicals, and using one’s own judgement to produce practical, but realistic, results.
“For example, after being made up, Kim Kardashian went to functions with three or four Hollywood stars in one night. It required a high degree of skill on my part to make sure the dyes lasted up to five or six hours, even if she was sweating. Most of my work involves transporting a lot of materials. I have to carry large things, as well as work long hours,” she explained.
“I need to make sure get enough rest and eat a lot, because sometimes I have to work 12 hours on location, or stand for four or five hours without being able to sit,” she at the shooting places or stand for 4-5 hours at a time without being able to sit,” she added.
She hoped that the local film industry would embrace modern effects, as she believed they led to more creative, unique productions.
“Combining western techniques with the quality of the producers and writers working in Cambodia would create incredible spectacles which would elevate the growth of the Kingdom’s industry,” she said.
“Thank you for your continued support. After my success with Kim Kardashian, I was pleased to see so many Cambodian fans sharing my excitement on social media,” she added.