You might have seen her in Netflix shows Never Have I Ever and Santa Clarita Diet or Hulu's Man Seeking Woman: up-and-coming actress Ramona Young recently had us at Sophie.Vision shoot an editorial for her appearance on the digital cover of Timid magazine. Inspired by Ramona’s Hong Kong heritage, our creative director Sophie suggested a modernized oriental theme for the editorial.
Upon entering the studio, Ramona was greeted with racks of bright yellow tulle dresses, beige silk gowns, and aquamarine chiffon. On another rack hangs the more traditional cheongsams in varying lengths and colors, flirting the line between retro and contemporary while maintaining a distinctly feminine touch. Stylist Sky Naval, noting the mood board’s summery feel, suggests “more of a fall look” for Ramona, gesturing toward earthy toned maxi dresses over electric red two-pieces. Still, there’s a clear edge to Sky’s taste; at one point, Sky holds up a stiff, textured blue scarf that somewhat resembles an accordion’s bellows. “Origami vibes,” he remarks impressively, to everyone else’s awe.
In keeping with edgy femininity, hairstylist Alex Thao opts for some sweet finger waves reminiscent of women of the Roaring Twenties, and tops it off with the delicate curling of Ramona’s baby bangs. Meanwhile, makeup artist Jessica Chu seeks to push the boundaries of Asian American beauty through a progression of Ramona’s makeup looks. “The first look is going to be of dewy skin, very youthful and young. As we keep going, I’m going to add more,” Jessica says as she lays out palettes of pinks and reds. “It’s going to get bolder and bolder to show different aspects of beauty for Asian women because I feel like it’s always very clean and fresh. It could be very strong as well-- it doesn’t only have to be glowy.”
Ramona dons a traditional peach-toned cheongsam for the first look. Sky specifically chose this one to glisten in the sunlight, and jazzes it up with muted green leather gloves for a modern juxtaposition. Sophie has Ramona sit in front of a tea table, and tops off the arrangement with an egg tart-- a Cantonese and Hong Kong classic.
For her second look, Ramona wears a sheer pink slip adorned with large flowers over a white bodysuit. A statement jade necklace and bird hair clip recall the oriental tone of the previous look, but their boldness firmly hinges the look in modern territory. Ramona is a feminine dream against the hazy beige backdrop, with the leaves of houseplants grounding her look in earthiness.
“Let’s try a blue light,” Sophie calls out as Ramona sits regally upon her throne-like seat, “‘cause she’s looking kind of evil right now.” Ramona laughs amusedly, but it’s not far from the truth; for her third look, she’s bundled up in a regal black gown embellished with a high-neck made of peacock feathers not unlike the dignified gowns of evil Disney queens. The green of the peacock feathers is carried over in Ramona’s gloves, with gold trim appearing on the backs of her hands, the edges of her half-rimmed sunglasses, and wrapped around her waist in a sash belt. The look is finished off with a leather bralette, somewhat suggestive of bold female sexuality, and a dark red lip.
Ramona’s fourth look departs from evil for a gorgeous sunflower gold dress. Colored flowers creep up the bottom of her dress, parting to reveal yellow snakeskin boots. “The silhouette is amazing,” Ramona tells us as she’s getting zipped up, clutching a bouquet of yellow tulips. She sits against a series of mirrors, echoing a tone of both dusty antiquity and polychromatic modernity. With each updated look, her makeup is updated too; to complement the bright yellow, Alex gives her dramatic purple eyeshadow.
Ramona’s final look is perhaps her most dynamic yet: she wears a pleated chiffon dress in a rich aquamarine that splits open to reveal glossy red pumps. The “origami” scarf makes a reappearance, regally draping over Ramona in a wave-like fashion. Around her neck she wears a statement necklace of large red tassels, evocative of Chinese New Year, and a matching red statement lip. There's an attitude in her defiant stance, as if she’s in command, and the lion statue behind her only reinforces it: there’s strength in her femininity, and she’s not afraid to express it.
For more behind the scenes content, check out our On Set with Sovi video below!