If you believe in pseudo-theories and the supernatural, then you already know about the doppelgänger: a personal lookalike who roves the earth and is the harbinger of death and bad luck. Perhaps, then, you may also know the term for the person who—with a name so similar to your own—is the bane of your Google existence. Such a term doesn’t exist yet, you say? Damn.
My name is Alexis Cheung.
If you misread that as Alexa Chung, you wouldn’t be the first. As you can easily see, our names—give or take a few vowels and consonants—are practically the same. Only a Google search in her name will yield 5,810,000 results. And mine? Up until very recently: “Showing results for Alexa Chung,” instead.
The story behind my moniker is rather boring: my dad’s name is Alan, my mom’s is Alyson and their children, they figured, should also have “Al” names. (Though basic, I should note that it is far better than my Mom’s initial desire to name me Paris for a reason too mortifying to mention on the internet and just, NO.)
For most of my life, my name elicited very little from people, perhaps only a mispronunciation of my last name. Correctly, it goes something like CHEE-ung.
That brings us to 2008, and the emergence of super cool model/TV presenter/it-girl Alexa Chung. Suddenly, my name becomes the best ice-breaker in my arsenal: “Omg, do you know your name is almost like Alexa Chung’s?” I could only praise them for stating the obvious. People would mistakenly call me Alexa so often that I wondered if:
1) My mumbling had worsened
2) Creating a twitter handle, @dontcallmealexa would remedy the problem
3) I was making a continual Freudian slip of the tongue confirming that I truly do want to be Alexa Ch(e)ung
The answer to question 1) is yes; 2) no; and 3) well, read below.
When the Alexa Chung Eyeko collaboration came out a couple of weeks ago, I asked myself: can Alexis Cheung finally become Alexa Chung? Or, at least look like her a little bit...slightly? Which brings me to the Alexa Chung Beauty Review, a trial of her Eyeko products and Top Shelf tips by yours truly. Because similar names and shared ethnicity aside, who doesn’t want to look like Alexa Chung?
“My skin is drier than the Sahara desert,” Chung proclaims. “It’s like sandpaper and the outside of a cactus had sex and made my skin. So, whereas some people are like, ‘I hate oily things because I get breakouts!’ I’m like, ‘No, give me a vat of oil that I can dunk my head into, please.”
Strike one: my skin produces enough oil to fill the vat Alexa wants to dunk her head into. So while Chung and Cheung’s God-given skin will never be the same, I use her favorites—YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Illuminating Foundation + Chanel Sublimage Cream—in hopes of recreating her heart-wrenchingly flawless skin.
"I choose between doing my eyes or mouth because I don’t want to look like a beauty pageant child, I’ve got quite a strong face—if it’s got too much on, I just look like a man in drag,” Chung says when it comes to makeup. Also, "I am an avid wearer of eyeliner—I would say I’m wearing it 90 percent of the time."
Because I want to look like Alexa Chung 90 percent of the time, not 10, and a beauty pageant child/man in drag never, I begin with the eyes and eyes only.
I use the Alexa technique and “flick” some Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner at the corners of my eyes. Initially, this proves painful. So, vigorously run the pen along your hand or paper towel to draw the pigment out before use. (Rookie mistake, I know.) As a long time Nars Eyeliner Stylo user, the Skinny Liquid Eyeliner stiff tip is great since it makes accidentally screwing up hard. And, with some layering/applied pressure, you can fluidly create a thicker line. It also dries in a matte, I’m-not-wearing-liquid-eyeliner way, which I like.
After, I apply the Me & My Shadow Waterproof Liners. TOTAL GAME CHANGERS. Why? 1) They’re unfussy. Layer as sparsely or heavily as you want and then use the brush to blend. 2) They’re perfect for people whose eyes don’t hold product. Instead of mutating into a greasy, creasy end-of-night lid, they naturally fade. Chocolate is a perfect brown color for every day (and is the only one I’m wearing in the photos). Taupe is too metallic for my liking BUT looks great on people with light eyes. And Charcoal is excellent for a smoky effect.
The Eye Do Mascara comes with a guitar pick, but I’m more interested in that the mascara wand is as voluminous as a spinning scrubber in a car wash. Knowing the results a scrubber has on a car makes me very excited for what this mascara can potentially do for my lashes. Which is indeed waxed and shiny: my lashes were both feathery and full.
“I’m mixed race—I’ve got half Chinese hair, half Caucasian hair—so it's very fine and naturally bends as it dries.”
Yes—don’t even need to try on this one. Still, I spray some of Chung’s beloved Wella Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Hairspray. Smells good, doesn’t dry out my hair, but, if I’m paying for salty water, the packaging better be pretty and this one is not. Since only an intensely sweaty workout gives my hair volume, L’Oréal Professionnel True Grip works for those who want ‘I-am-from-the-'60s-and-just-had-sex-or-something’ hair, but also want to shower on a daily basis.
Still, that’s not enough. “You need bangs,” Tom, ITG’s resident photographer proclaims. I pin my hair behind my ears for some faux-fringe and bat my Birkin-esque eyes at him.
All in all, trying to look like looking like Alexa Chung takes less than 20 minutes. Which is the perk of the mindless conformity of following a celebrity’s beauty routine. The downside? Could be seriously expensive. For the most part, Alexa seems low maintenance. The Chanel Sublimage, though, is $390!!! In Alexis think: that’s hundreds of Two-Buck Chucks or dollar pizzas or Benny’s burritos. The Chanel does totally make your skin glow while the other three…don’t.
BUT the real question: do I look like Alexa Chung? That, dear readers, is for you to decide.
For now, I leave you with this: My name is Alexis Cheung, not Alexa Chung—don’t get it twisted. (Feel free to tell me you see the resemblance, though).*
*my twitter bio written freshman year of college
Photos by Tom Newton.