Besides Maiko-san, I have also tried the Tang dynasty Chinese make over 🙂 I must say, although I could breath better in these outfits, my neck got all the pressure. See my crazy vein sticking out? Yup, it’s the weight.

Head piece: 2 kg

Wig: 1 to 2 kg

My hair was quite short (& curly) and they managed to make straight smooth buns and rolls… plus a sea cucumber hair do. This was a true make over haha.

Empress make over, China Empress make over, China Empress make over, China

Acting the ancient lady was quite serious. Not allowed to show ANY teeth in any pose. So, no smiling, no sultry and no cuteness preferred. Camera man said, ‘Pose elegantly and timidly is the best.’ What am I supposed to do exactly?
‘Long neck please,’ said the camera man… I thought the total weight on my head was close to 4kg at some stage. How to do elongated neck pose with this thing? I also managed to embarrass myself by getting my hair piece entangled in the beaded curtain. 3 girls came to my rescue.

After a long day of sore neck and no smile, I had it. Screw you photographer! I paid for this shoot. When I smile, you shoot, understood? So I smiled with my teeth and all. In his opinion, I butchered his work.

Empress make over, China

Crazy thing was that their make-up artists continuously try to sell me this sticker that would alter the shape of my eye lids. Why would I want to put double sided sticky tape on my eyes? Ouch, no thanks. They also had a bad habit of over photoshop – e.g. face shape change + 5 shades lighter + boob enhancement. None of my photos had PS by the way. I took the raw pictures. The PS set was so crazy that I didn’t even recognised me.

Let’s be fair now. I look better with my smile on, right? 😉

Empress make over, China

How to get here & do this?

Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou – major cities of China

The big cities have a large variety of these studios. The locals do this as a ‘pamper’ / girls’ trip. So this isn’t considered a once off tourist thing for them. The studios are also very proactive. As soon as a new TV series come out, the studios will copy the identical looks and offer to their customers.

Example of a larger studio:

NEGOTIATE!! They quote the most random, and sometimes outrageous, prices. From person to person from the same firm can quote 50% more than their colleague.  This tends to be the normal practice for these type of services in China. So be savvy and negotiate.


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Salut, I am Joyce. 40 something living in Paris. Appreciate little things and share giggles. Prudent, no nonsense reviews. #ExploreLaughRepeat


  1. Hahah..this is so cool. It’s on my travel dress up list now. I also did the maiko thing in Japan, the palace guard in korea, and now i have to do this one in china.

  2. You look amazing! Especially love the headdress picture.

    And I laughed so hard at the PS part; some of the Korean studios are also guilty of that. When my friend and I visited a dress cafe for fun, the photographer “shopped” us too much. Resulted in overly blurry, instagram style pics.

  3. I do not think I could had your patience. 🙂 But your patience worth it. You look fabulous. <3

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