The Brow King of NYC
The NYC Brow King talks Fashion, Beauty & his very important Charitable Mission…
Q: Thank you for being part of our zine Michael! Tell us about your beginnings in the beauty world!
A: My entrance into the beauty world took place around 15 years ago. I was a Retail Development Director for a Korean Global Cosmetic company called Missha. They were considered to be the “Sephora” of Asia — over 360 retail stores throughout the country. Missha made their first foray into the North American/US market when I joined. My role was to strategize, develop, and structure their first US store, a flagship location on 5th Avenue in New York.
My background was and is in business development, as was my role with Missha. During my two years with the company, I was never involved in the actual application of makeup/cosmetics.
After my departure from Missha, I joined Anastasia Beverly Hills (known as the “queen of eyebrows”) as the Business Manager for the NY Metro/Northeast area, which included the entirety of Canada. I handled all retail partners, a list that included notable companies such as Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta Beauty.
Eventually, my role morphed into one that was much more versatile. This evolution saw me wearing a lot of different hats, which though challenging, was really exciting for me. Initially upon joining Anastasia Beverly Hills, I never imagined myself actually doing makeup application due to my role being strictly “behind the scenes” in a business capacity.
However, after my first or second year with ABH, I was compelled to learn how to do eyebrows. Since a majority of our business dealt with brow service and brow retail education, it made sense for me to learn the process. How could I train our estheticians if I had no clue what I was doing? So, I took the initiative and became a licensed and legitimate trainer shortly thereafter. Of course, throughout the process, I had the best coach and mentor, my boss Anastasia.
Q: Where are you from originally and do you love NYC?
A: I am Korean-American, having arrived in the United States at the age of 10. My arrival to the US allowed me to enjoy some of the biggest cities from a young age. My family first settled in Washington, D.C. From there, we moved to Los Angeles. And, finally, we relocated to NYC in 1981. Flushing, NY baby!
I love New York City. I truly couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else. Though it’s obviously part of the US, New York City often feels like an entirely different country, offering such a broad variety of things to enjoy. I’ve traveled all throughout the US. To me, nothing compares to New York City!
Q: Favorite places to cut loose in NYC?
A: When I want to unwind, my favorite spot is “K Town” or Korea Town on 32nd. It’s such a unique, fascinating, and exciting area. Within two square blocks, there’s no shortage of entertainment. You name it, it’s here. There are so many restaurants, bars, karaoke spots, clubs, etc.
What I love the most about this area is that it has a very “underground” vibe. And don’t let looks deceive you. Some of these buildings may look fairly common or unassuming on the outside, but step inside and go up a few floors and it’s an experience like nothing else. From the architecture/design to the overall feeling of some of these places – it’s indescribable in the best way possible. You truly have to experience to understand it as it’s difficult to put into words. What can I say? I’m an underground kind of guy lol.
Q: Favorite places for FASHION in NYC?
A: My favorite places for fashion in NYC is NYC itself. The city is so interesting as it pertains to fashion. For instance, if you walk around the East Village, WestVillage, Soho, Tribeca, the Upper East, or the Upper West, you’ll notice how fashion/style varies from one part of the city to the next, all within such a short distance!
You may see a well-dressed, professional appearance in the midtown, but after work, if they live in East Village, their style is completely different. It really is fascinating, and it goes to show you that New Yorkers really are unique. They express their style by simple being themselves. Everybody has their own unique taste. And it’s so easy to become inspired by the fashion of everyone who calls this city home.
Q: Please explain the atmosphere of Brow King NYC !
A: Brow King NYC was created strictly as a brand to develop across social media. It’s not an actual physical location I work out of.
To this point, I have used the Brow King NYC brand to produce blogs, travel vlogs, and reach a few new clients for my brow services. My intention was to utilize the brand in an effort to train those who want to learn to do their brows (or the brows of others for that matter).
As of now, I have no plans to open a physical location under the brand name. My current goal is to focus more on charitable work, such as the “feel-good programs” I’ve volunteered for throughout the years. One such example of this is the time I’ve spent with chemo patients at the Greenwich, Connecticut hospital.
As many of you know, one of the many negative side effects of chemotherapy is the loss of your hair. In addition to the loss of hair, many also lose their eyebrows. Fortunately, wigs are available for patients who lose their hair. “But what about eyebrows?” I thought. Using my knowledge and my skills, I knew I could help out.
So I began volunteering at the hospital teaching patients how to fill in their eyebrows while they waited for their original brows to grow back (or in the event they didn’t grow back).
Often, these patients feel that they’ve been robbed of their beauty. It’s heartbreaking to see. But, the happiness they showed when I was done working with them is the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever experienced. The smiles, the tears of joy, and the incredibly evident uplifting of their spirits is second to none. It has really motivated and fulfilled me, and it’s something I’ve become greatly passionate about. It’s something I hope to do much more of moving forward.
Q: Why do you think Brows have become such an important imagery in beauty?
A: Style is constantly changing and evolving. We don’t always know what the next big trend will be or what will return to style. But brows, I believe, have long been an important part of the beauty regimen. I’ve written several blogs about the importance of brows that I encourage you to read on my website at browkingnyc.com.
To sum it up though, the shape of your eyebrow plays a huge role in softening your features, highlighting them, and generally bringing more balance to your facial features. At the end of the day, it might look insignificant, but your brows play an important part in your aesthetic.
Brows do all of the following:
Complement the shape of your eyes
Open up your face
Soften your sharp features
Bring more definition to your face
Q: Please share any other news you would like our readers to know about Michael Hong and about Brow King!
A: I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to interview! I hope readers will take a moment to take a look at browkingnyc.com for more tips, tricks, and everything in between. You can find additional content by following me on Facebook and Instagram @browkingnyc.
What else would I like readers to know about me?
Well, I’m not an “expert” in travel vlogging by any means, and though I have limited knowledge in regard to video shooting and editing, I’ve done some really fun amateur travel vlogging. My wife and I absolutely love to travel, and making these vlogs is all I want to do in the future. What could be more enjoyable than traveling the world and sharing my experiences everywhere I visit?! Search for my videos on YouTube @browkingnyc.
And, as I mentioned previously, my background was and is in business development. Becoming the Brow King of NYC just came with the profession and was a natural progression over time.
Throughout my life, I’ve been afforded so many wonderful and diverse opportunities both personally and professionally. Recently, I was afforded another one of these great opportunities that will allow me to pursue a more business-oriented role for a great company in a new (for me) industry. I’m so excited to dive into my new role and journey working on the business side of an established building maintenance company, overseeing their restructuring and working with a wonderful and talented staff of over 150 employees.
However, my new venture doesn’t mean I’m closing the door on the Brow King NYC brand. The Brow King NYC brand will remain intact, but in a bit more limited capacity. I’m looking forward to practicing that profession at my discretion as time allows, with the focus more on my volunteering at area hospitals with chemo patients, which I believe to be the most rewarding and fulfilling aspect of sharing my talents with others.
I’m so grateful for the support of my followers in every aspect of my life. They have all made my life a dream come true and allowed me to achieve such amazing dreams. For that, I am forever indebted and endlessly thankful.