kai conversations with celebrity makeup artist: jeong hwa fonkalsrud

we are beyond excited to bring you this week's kai conversation with a dear friend & kai devotee, who is one of the most talented, hard working, humble, and loveliest celebrity makeup artists we know - jeong-hwa fonkalsrud. jeong is the woman behind the gorgeous faces of actresses including jean smart, salma hayek, chloe sevigny, sandra oh, jordana brewster, and ming-na wen - among so many others. jeong has recently been working tirelessly behind the scenes of a highly anticipated film called babylon starring brad pitt, jean smart, and margot robbie, which is set to come out in 2022. additionally, she served as the makeup department head for "the chair" on netflix starring sandra oh, where jeong had to artfully master the look of sandra oh's character "ji-yoon" - the first woman of color to become a department chair, while wearing double masks and a face shield in the thick of the covid-19 pandemic. jeong is extremely skilled and passionate about her work, and so modest and kind. she is also a devoted wife and loving mother of two boys. how does she do it all so well and keep such a cheery, upbeat spirit? jeong shares some wonderful insights and inspirational tips in her kai conversation below. we hope you enjoy her interview, and we encourage you to follow jeong's impressive work and beautiful life on instagram. sending very best wishes to jeong on her 20th wedding anniversary; she and her husband just flew this week to berlin, germany (where they met as university students) to celebrate! 

happy fall, and happy reading! 


how are you taking care of yourself and your business during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/ inspiration? if so, please feel free to share.

my motivation & inspiration are helping others and sharing love. during this pandemic, i was more motivated to help others like homeless, elder neighbors, lonely friends and family. i love the feeling of giving, helping and sharing. loving and kindness are my life inspiration and goal. 

how do you embody kai's "breath*life*flow" lifestyle? 

i admire nature! nature makes me relieve all my stress, breathe better, and make my life flow so much easier. luckily i live near the mountains and ocean. i enjoy hiking with my dog every morning (when i'm not working) and walking the beach amused by the ocean waves & breeze. and while walking, i often like to hum and sing.

what's the best advice you've ever received? 

enjoy and be grateful every day & every moment. 

do you have a mantra you live by? 

love & peace.

what's your beauty secret? or must have beauty product? 

my beauty secret is all about healthy skin. i do every night cleansing with a Kohgendo cleansing water cloth and wash my face with Lancer Skincare Method polish & cleanse

go-to lipstick color? 

what color nail polish are you wearing right now? 

usually i don't wear nail polish because i do hands-on makeup and special effects makeup to actors during filming days. for SFX makeup, i need to use lots of different makeup products, chemical products, and 99% alcohol which makes it challenging to wear nail polish. but i went to an art show last saturday night and i manicured my nails as a treat with Essie Wicked.

who is your role model? 

my father-in-law Dr. Eric Fonkalsrud. he was a pediatric surgeon at UCLA and has saved so many children's lives. he has operated on over 15,000 patients during his career, and i've met a few of his former patients through my children's schools and within my community. they are all healthy grown ups and parents now, and they make me feel so proud of him. also, he was a loving dad and a wonderful husband.

what do you love most about where you live? any secret spots you love to go to? 

i love nature! we have mountains and ocean nearby where we live. i can be on the hiking trails in 5 minutes, and i can be on the beach in 20 minutes. i also love to go to malibu beach to watch the sunset. 

describe your perfect day. 

my perfect day is going to work and having done my job successfully, then coming home and cooking dinner for my family.

favorite date spot?

i love going to Geoffrey's Malibu and also separately - i love being anywhere in Rome, Italy. 

ultimate getaway? 

i love europe, and that is my ultimate getaway. there is so much culture, which i really enjoy when visiting europe. 

favorite food? 

korean, japanese and french. 

guilty pleasure? 

wine & cheese. 

kai obsession? 

morning person or night owl? 

as an artist, i used to be a night owl definitely, but i became a morning person since i had my babies. 

currently craving? 

vacation! my husband and i are going to celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary soon in Berlin, Germany, where we met 25 years ago as university students. 

ideal way to relax/ unwind? 

after a long day, i take a warm shower and use kai shampoo, conditioner and body wash, which are a dream combination and really help me unwind! afterwards, i listen to classical music and light a kai skylight candle, which is so soothing and puts me into the ultimate relaxation mode. 

what books are you reading currently? 

i am currently reading Top Conditions Healed with Asian Medicine. 

what's the most adventurous thing you've done? 

scuba diving. 3 years ago, i went swimming through a deep under water forest with my husband and two young sons. it was the most terrifying experience of my life, but it was also the most amazing and beautiful nature that i've ever seen. i can't wait to do it again, lol! 

thank you...Jeong!


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