By Kamila Daurenova; Photography by Trevor Smith

Mai Qunyh

Makeup Artist

| Century City

OK, so you know how your mom has told you a million times that, “There is no such thing as a “small” job?” That, “everything leads to something?” Well, Mai Qunyh might just be the real-life case in point: as a makeup assistant on a Britney Spears shoot, Qunyh left a mark bigger than simply clean brushes; as it turns out, she would receive a call from someone on Spears’ team mere days after. Why? The pop star was personally requesting Qunyh for her upcoming Harper’s cover. And that’s how you do that old-school hustle, kids. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Qunyh earned her stripes working at a MAC cosmetics counter while simultaneously assisting mega-make-up artists like Paul Starr (a member of Angelina Jolie’s glam team) and Frank B. (the genius behind many a Kate Moss editorial). She worked photo shoots, music videos and commercials, but it was the freelancing gig where Qunyh met Stila creator, Jeanine Lobell, that really kickstarted her solo career in the editorial and celebrity realm. Now known for her knack at making skin look flawless and natural, Qunyh’s rolodex includes superstars like Chloe Grace Moretz, Scarlett Johansson and Saoirse Ronan. In fact, with 16+ years of Vogue, ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar stories under her belt, chances are you’ve seen/admired/even hung onto beauty inspo snaps of her work whether you knew it or not… Here, the accomplished artist sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: The food on Pico Boulevard. They have everything– deli salads, eggs, soups, snacks, sandwiches, really strong coffee and amazing bread and desserts.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee from Balconi Coffee (MAP IT, x). Their latte is spectacular and smooth, plus you’re always greeted with a warm smile.

ALL TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Si Laa (MAP IT, x). My favorite thing to order is the whole branzino– it’s fried, then topped with this amazing sweet chili garlic sauce. I order it every time I go. I also recommend the hot basil chicken (with ground chicken), pad see ew with short rib, spicy crab noodles and short rib green curry. Save room for their homemade, vegan coconut ice cream!

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A margarita. I love the margaritas at Mercado (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) because they’re made with agave so they’re not super sweet.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: Belcampo Meat Co in Santa Monica (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– they have the best burger, hands-down– and for happy hour, their tasty cocktails are discounted. I also love karaoke at Breakroom 86 (MAP IT, x); they play cool ’80s music and the bar is super fun (you enter through a vending machine; everyone should check it out).

LADIES LUNCH/NIGHT OUT: Ink for dinner (*Location now closed) and Cafe Midi for lunch (MAP IT, x). I love that Cafe Midi has a huge menu with French, American and Mexican plates; they have salads, soup, omelets, tacos, pastries and quiche. Ink has amazing food that is meant to be shared so I recommend ordering a bunch of plates to try. I also love their cocktail menu– it’s a mix of cool concoctions and combinations. Their food is just like their drinks: unique and flavorful. It’s definitely one-of-a-kind.

MUSIC PICK: I love going to the Hollywood Bowl (MAP IT, x). I feel like I’m away from LA even though it’s right in the middle of Hollywood. I can watch any kind of show there– jazz, classical, Drake, Florence, the XX, reggae, etc.

BEST BRUNCH: MB Post in Manhattan Beach (MAP IT, x)– really awesome drinks and the food is super tasty. They definitely take comfort food to the next level. You must order the skillet cake and the Benedict– it comes on a biscuit!

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Craig’s (MAP IT, x), Madeo (MAP IT, x) or Mr. Chow (MAP IT, x). There’s always someone famous.

HEALTHY STAPLE: M Cafe (MAP IT, x) for a chopped salad with grilled salmon.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Chocolate chip cookies from Proof Bakery in Atwater Village (MAP IT, x) are “da bomb.” It’s the B.E.S.T. cookie for sure (and I’ve tried a lot).

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Kippy’s (MAP IT, x) vegan, organic coconut ice cream– it’s all-natural and raw. It only has a few ingredients, but it is so yummy. Get the double dark chocolate with the magic shell!

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: My car. I like being independent and having my car with all my stuff in it; it’s like a second home. I always keep extra gym clothes, snacks, extra eyelashes, a hat, a hoodie, floss and my makeup kit in there.

REGULAR AT: Sushi by H near the Beverly Center (MAP IT, x)– a lovely husband-and-wife duo run this awesome sushi spot. When I crave unconventional sushi, this is where I go. I swear they have the best spicy tuna on crispy rice (lava stone). Also, try the shishito peppers, San Vicente roll, ono and the albacore onion roll. I’ve sent many of my clients there and they love it!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Friday night is always sushi night for me and my boyfriend. We either go to Sugarfish (MAP IT, x) or Sushi Sushi (MAP IT, x). They both serve traditional Japanese sushi. You won’t find spicy tuna or chicken teriyaki there. I always order a nice mug of Sapporo, too.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Postmates is my jam. I can get anything anywhere, and I usually do, ha! They make it so convenient.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: EP/LP Rooftop (MAP IT, x). Asian food + great music= good times.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Mammoth or Palm Springs. Mammoth is great for skiing (my boyfriend and I love to ski) so it’s the perfect getaway, plus it has great restaurants– Skadi (MAP IT, x) and Petra’s (MAP IT, x) are my favorite. Palm Springs is super relaxing. I love renting a house with a pool or staying at The Parker (MAP IT, x). I’d definitely squeeze in a shopping trip at Desert Hills Premium Outlets (MAP IT, x)– they have high-end designers such as Saint Laurent, Valentino, Dolce and Moncler.

CLOSET CHECK: My personal style can be described as, “all-black everything.” It ranges from jeans to girly skirts and dresses to tee shirts or lace-y tops. I wear a lot of black; I might break up the black with white or grey… maybe some navy or burgundy, but definitely no pastels. I get makeup all over my clothes so black is just easier!

BEAUTY GO-TO: I like to peruse Naimie’s (MAP IT, x)– they have all the bags, puffs and mascara wands that I use daily.

INSIDE TIP: Match your face to your body, especially if any skin is showing. You want your skin to look fluid and healthy. My biggest pet peeve is when I see a tan body with a pale face.

MAKEUP LOOK OF F/W ’16: A dewy eye with soft highlights and a bright, bold, fresh lip.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I love all the vases and textiles at Heath Ceramics (MAP IT, x) and Pac 8 Orchids (MAP IT, x) creates beautiful orchid arrangements that last.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Anh Co Tran (x) at Ramirez Tran Salon (MAP IT, x) cuts my hair; I’ve known him forever and he understands my hair. I love him.

FIT PICK: I go to Equinox in Beverly Hills (MAP IT, x) and take two classes (bootcamp and kickboxing) with Paul Brian McReynolds (x)– he’s the toughest. If you’re looking for something hardcore, you have to go to him. Most of my friends who take his class for the first time end up leaving early (or vomiting)… When I miss his class, I’ll train privately with him at Fitness Factory in West Hollywood (MAP IT, x). I like to sweat a lot because if I don’t, I feel like I didn’t get a good workout in. Paul always delivers a crazy burn.

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: I always take my out-of-town friends who want to experience LA to Hotel Erwin in Venice (MAP IT, x). We grab drinks and tacos at the rooftop bar, then watch the sun set on the beach before bar hopping along Abbot Kinney. CP

Mai’s LA

Mai Qunyh

From L to R: First Row: A latte from Balconi Coffee; Breakfast at Cafe Midi; Dessert at Manhattan Beach Post; Sushi from Sugarfish. Second Row: Ice cream from Kippy’s; Inside the Fitness Factory; EP & LP Rooftop; Heath Ceramics.


Street Talkerinstagram

Instagram did not return a 200.