UK-based Malayali Nivya Vineesh’s makeup transformation posts are thumb-stoppers on social media. Is that Nayanthara or her doppelganger? Is that Kamal Haasan or one of his deepfake videos? Nivya's astonishing makeovers will leave you in awe, and it's all accomplished with 'just' makeup.
The Thrissur native was inspired to delve into the power of makeup after stumbling upon a video by makeup artist Kannan Rajamanickam on YouTube. Today, her Instagram handle, niv_vin_arts, boasts a massive fan following.
“I used to be very camera-shy. However, during the Covid lockdown, I came across Kannan Rajamanickam’s work and was astonished. This new trend piqued my interest. I was in India at that time for my pregnancy, and since I had a fascination for makeup, I brought a lot of cosmetics from the UK with me. I started experimenting with different personalities,” says Nivya.
Her transformation into Kamal Haasan remains one of her best works to date. “The response to that video was massive, generating nearly two million views on YouTube. I started receiving a lot of calls and direct messages, mostly from Tamil Nadu,” says Nivya, whose Mammootty recreation was also a huge hit on social media.
From Sreedevi to Michael Jackson
Nivya's makeup sketches feature celebrities such as Sreedevi, Sachin Tendulkar, Suhasini, Shane Nigam, Surya, K S Chithra, Tamannaah Bhatia, Michael Jackson, and others. The list goes on. She began with various Bigg Boss contestants and then progressed to celebrities.
“I soon realized that people could relate to my art better if it involved celebrities,” she says. Nivya discovered that her art not only impressed the general public but also caught the attention of celebrities.
“(Actor-producer) Suhasini ma’am sent me a personal message and shared my work on her social media page. Almost all the Bigg Boss contestants and other artists responded to my creations,” says Nivya, who completed her B.Sc in Zoology from Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur.
Nivya explains that she uses different layers of makeup to recreate images on her face and it's a tedious job. “There is a lot of work and layering involved. Sometimes, I spend five hours creating these faces. We need to focus on every minute detail, whether it's the eyes, the curve of the mouth, or the tilt of the nose. These aspects are crucial and contribute to achieving the desired result. I often shortlist the celebrities after doing a lot of research,” she adds.
Is she concerned about the excessive use of cosmetics on her face? Yes! “It sometimes worries me, but for me, this is a work of art. I am aware of the side effects of using too much makeup, but I want to continue this celebrity art for as long as possible,” she says. Has she ever considered a career in films as a makeup or prosthetics artist? “(Laughs) That seems too far-fetched. I have never thought along those lines,” says the digital content creator.