[Photo courtesy of Reginald Morris]

When Mr Reginald “Reggie” Morris was 5, he started paying attention to his mother’s beauty routine. When he’s older, he started applying makeup for his younger sister, Regine Monica.

By now, the 22-year-old is so adept at glamming up his face with bold colors and statement pieces that his Instagram posts (@glamorrisness) have courted the attention of makeup brands including NYX Cosmetics, Kat Von D and Velvet Vanity. Last year, he gamely took part in the NYX Fine Artistry of Cosmetic Elites (FACE) Awards. He’s the first and only male contestant in Singapore to join the female-oriented contest.

Growing up, Reggie knew that his affinity for makeup would raise a few eyebrows in school and at home. But he’s bent on improving his skills, never mind if some might label him a “vainpot”. So he’s grateful that his sister Monica was always ready to be his “human-sized Barbie doll”. Even when he’s unhappy with the look that he’s created for her, she’d proudly show it off to her friends. And when he’s completed his own makeup, she’s always there to cheer him on.

The brother and sister bonded over their numerous private “makeover” sessions until September 2015. “The next session never happened,” Reggie said.

He recalled receiving a phone call from a police officer, informing him that Monica and her boyfriend had taken their own lives.

Reggie spent the next 4 days in his bedroom – speechless and sleepless. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It took weeks before Reggie decided to pick up a brush again. Then, he realized whenever he applied makeup, he could relive the “happy memories” with his sister. He would use her favorite Urban Decay Naked II palette, but would leave her favorite eyeshadow colour (‘Half Baked’) untouched.

That gave Reggie an even stronger drive to continue experimenting with makeup. He also grew more comfortable in his own skin. Now, he’s often seen wearing a turban, rocking the stubble, with brightly painted lips and gorgeously dolled-up eyes.

“I might as well give them (other people) something to look at,” he said.

The Nanyang Polytechnic graduate is now working towards being a makeup artist. He believes that his sister would encourage him to pursue his dream.

“She’d be so proud of me,” he said.