Yesterday I met the CEO of Apple at a Secret Chinese Government Event.. Here’s how I did my Makeup

Okay obviously, makeup is not the important part of this piece. Let me get that out of the way first.

I rarely do personal posts anymore, but yesterday I was invited to attend a truly spectacular event and since you all have been here throughout my entire journey, I thought I’d share.

For those of you who have been on this journey with me for the past 3.5 years, you know that I spend a lot of my year in Shenzhen, China. It is difficult–if not impossible–to integrate in China (or at least Shenzhen, given that it’s a fairly new city), so I was very excited and honored to be invited to the Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Forum. For me, it was validation that I am indeed carving out my own place in the Chinese entrepreneurial ecosystem.

You also probably know by now, that makeup is my life. So yes, I documented not only my experience at the forum, but I also documented my makeup throughout the day. This is, after all, a beauty blog.

So I’ll go through how to do your makeup for an extremely stressful event (like meeting Tim Cook), so that it will stay all day and you will look and feel your best–and look good in photos, too!

Just be patient; I’ll cover everything.

Here we go:


About the Event: Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Forum

About a week before the event, I received an invitation. I was told to send all of my information for a background check, first, before they could formally extend the invitation.

A few days later, I received a text message from a representative, saying that the “Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and the General Office of the State Council..invite you to attend the 12th Global Leaders Forum, held in Shenzhen”.

That’s all I got, along with a note to come get my smart entry pass the day before the event.

I was a little sketched out, but this is China after all. Nothing goes the same way that it does in the US.

I really knew nothing about the event except that I was invited, but a friend of a friend told me 2 days before that Tim Cook was confirmed to attend, as well as the CEO of Foxconn (the factory that makes Apple’s Iphones). She said there were only ~30 foreigners on the guest list. Whoa.

Whatever this was, I knew that I needed to take it seriously.


Beauty Prep: How I Prepared my Makeup to Meet Tim Cook

Given the small nature of the event, I knew that I would meet Tim Cook, Jack Ma or some very high-level official of the Chinese Government; I wanted to make a professional impression.

Here’s my bare face, for those wondering what I had to work with, then about 10 minutes later:



Something I’ve learned over the years is that when you have a big event:

  1. Don’t try new makeup. Use what you’re familiar with.
  2. Prime, prime, prime – you will sweat
  3. Set, set, set! – you will sweat
  4. Don’t neglect your hair – you will sweat – and it will get flat
  5. Underdone is always better than overdone

Even though every picture you see of celebrities at events has then with a full face+, you are not a celebrity. If you walk in with a full face during a day-time event you will look silly.

Even though you will be taking photos, and generally a full face looks better in photos than light makeup, you will primarily be talking to other people. Other people notice when you have way too much make-up on and they will judge you for it, whether you like it or not. For me, that meant a true full face was a no-go.

I tend to find comfort in having my makeup done perfectly and often get carried away. I really had to stop myself today.

If you keep up with the blog, you’re probably tired of my “5 products to die for” and “5 min + go face”-type blog posts, because they’re usually filled with the same products. That’s for good reason: those products never let me down. They are my rock. So today, they were coming with me: figuratively and literally. I also packed them in my purse when I left.

Here’s what products I used and why, in order:

  1. Hair: Primed hair with Vidal Sassoon dry shampoo (I’m out of Drybar and they don’t sell it here); used fingers to comb the product through my hair. This dry shampoo is actually very light and leaves hair glossy–instead of powdery–so it’s different. Not sure if I would’ve chosen it over Drybar, given the choice.
  2. Prime: Primed my face with Stila’s Stay All Day Primer, followed by Murad’s Blurring Primer on my cheeks and jawline (to make sure the areas that were likely for me to touch/be exposed to the elements were really heavily primed). Primed my eyes and brows with Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance Primer (the best).
  3. Conceal: Fully covered any blemishes with Glossier’s Stretch Concealer in Light 10 and a concealer brush.
  4. Cover: Lightly dabbed on Dior’s Diorskin Forever Skin Compact (in 022) over my entire face; Rubbing the sponge across my face might cause streaking, so dabbing is preferred. Dab down through the jaw and 1/2 way down the neck, to prevent a line.
  5. Brows: Outlined brows with ABH Brow Wiz in Medium Brown. Combed Glossier’s Boy Brow (in Brown) through my brows, starting from the inner sprouts and working outward, to give brows a more natural, tousled look.
  6. Eyes: Curled lashes using Bobbi Brown’s gentle lash curler. Curled them again. Drew a 1/2 cat eye with the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liner (in Black). Followed with Better Than Sex Mascara – 2 coats.
  7. Seal: I set my makeup with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (it’s THE best, I just rarely use it because I try to avoid using too many products/chemicals on my face at once).
  8. Lips: I brought Josie Maran’s Argan Lip Sting Pluming Butter with me and used it throughout the day. It’s clear-colored, hydrating and deliciously flavored. It helps naturally plump your lips as you go, so you feel 110% confident throughout the day.

I actually did use a fall palette for my eyes, but decided to take off the eyeshadow. It was just too much for a day-time event. As is, I had a half cat-eye, so I was really pushing the boundaries on “day-time business event chic”.

Off I went into the muggy, 80 degree Shenzhen weather.

Shop the Products Used:

Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Forum: The Event

Again, I really didn’t know much until I arrived.

Upon arrival, they gave me a book which listed 87 “distinguished entrepreneurs”–33 from abroad, 50 from China–who were invited to this prestigious government event — and basically no one else was invited except the event coordinators.

6 of the entrepreneurs (including Tim Cook of Apple, Jack Ma of Alibaba, and Ma HuaTeng of Tencent) were invited to speak at the forum, lead by Chinese Prime Minister, Li KeQiang.

Holy. Moley.

This was a big deal.

(This forum, by the way, came 1 day after Apple announced it’s opening of a huge research and development center in Shenzhen (source), marking their confidence and investment in Chinese entrepreneurship.)

Here are some excerpts from the guide (3 of the 6 speakers):


And yours truly:

Megan Cox Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Forum

There were profiles of all 87 entrepreneurs–as China Daily said: 87 high-tech managers (a bit of a misnomer, since I met entrepreneurs from agtech, pharma, etc)–in attendance, including myself.

Given the small, closed  nature of the event, we were able to mingle and chat before it started–and it only started when Prime Minister Li arrived. That’s when opportunity struck for me, so I took my chance.  I wasn’t as brave as some of my colleagues, who chatted up several of the top entrepreneurs in the room.

Prime Minister Li KeQiang Speaking at the Global Entrepreneurial Forum

China’s Prime Minister Li KeQiang – Opening Remarks the Global Entrepreneurial Leader’s Forum

As for the event, it was very much an opportunity for Prime Minister Li to talk about how he plans to open up the Chinese market to additional innovation by reducing barriers. As for exact plans, he didn’t say too much. Internet freedom was not (directly) discussed, though Jack Ma was very direct in his own round-about way of saying that we need to be free and work together to make true strides toward the next industrial revolution.

None of the speakers voiced any opinions that they weren’t already vocal about elsewhere: Apples plans to expand in China, Jack Ma’s thoughts about the future of the internet, DJI’s CEO talking about the benefits of young, hungry talent, Prime Minister Li speaking about very CCP-centric ideology–so this was mainly a PR event with a networking bump.

Tim Cook and Ma HuaTeng at the Global Entrepreneurial Leader's Forum

Tim Cook (CEO, Apple) listening to Ma HuaTeng (CEO, Tencent) talk about the future of tech in China

In any case, I was grateful for the invitation and inclusion the Shenzhen entrepreneurial community, as an emerging business leader. This is a great start also, for China, and I am more than excited for Apple’s new hub in Shenzhen. Anything that keeps Shenzhen quirky, growing and successful is good news to me. I’m very happy to be part of the conversation.

So Megan.. What’s the Point?

The point is this was a very exciting achievement and next step for me as an entrepreneur…


I left home at 11am and didn’t get home until 11pm. My makeup still looked gorgeous 12 hours later. Yes, the waiting, stress, sweating.. it all did a number on me. I also touched my lashes WAY too much and almost rubbed off my liner.

This is how I looked, through all the wear and tear, 12 hours later:



A+  – Would choose this routine again for a high-stress situation.

Job interview, meeting the in-laws.. or the president.. whatever. This combo was perfect.

And… The Other Point?

If you think you have a purpose or a goal, never stop working toward that goal, even if everything doesn’t make perfect sense to you right now.

I love being in Indiana, making natural beauty products, being an entrepreneur and a beauty blogger.. but I also have a deep gut feeling that I have a future purpose in China. What that is? I’m not sure yet, but I’ve had that gut feeling for over a year now and I’m following it. It doesn’t have to make sense to me just yet, but it will.

We’re also never just one thing. I’m not just a blogger. I don’t just manufacture beauty products. Who even knows how long I’ll work in the beauty business. All of us are multi-dimensional people with very different experiences, vastly different interests, and a heck of a lot to offer; we should never sell ourselves short by pruning a path because it doesn’t make sense to us yet.

In the mean time, I’m making it work and loving every minute of making good-for-you beauty products for all of you to enjoy.

Thank you for all of your continued support.

Shop The Look:

*This post contains affiliate links. All products used were purchased and used by me. No other compensation was provided for this post*

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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