Well as it states, I’m a makeup artist based in Abuja but more importantly.. I’m the reigning champion of the Sacred Artistry Competition *big grin* – I was asked if I’d like to write an article for the site about what it’s like being a make-up artist in Nigeria. How could I say no?
So, just this week I was moaning about relocating. I was thinking maybe Lagos, and then I thought Benin City because I lived there for the most part of my life. What to do? I know if I have to stay in Lagos just the traffic alone would leave my head spinning but yet the hustle and bustle is so infectious. What to do? I decide to think of the things I love about Abuja and why I always felt connected to this town.
I remembered an instance where I had to help a fellow makeup artist do a bridal job because she was held up somewhere at the last minute. The wedding was to take place at 3.00pm and I got the call from my friend by 1.45pm. Everyone was sounding frantic especially the bride. I got her number and called to let her know I was on my way. If you have ever been to Abuja, you know we have the largest roads ever. I was there in 15 minutes and the day was saved. Lol. I did the job and left. Hmmm, now thinking can I try this in Lagos??? No way!!!! Unless, I took an okada (motorbike) *giggling to myself*.
So that’s one point to Abuja and none to Lagos (sorry folks). I love the fact that I can leave my house 20 minutes to an agreed time and still arrive early. Traffic makes me tired. After thinking of just traffic I decide I am staying in Abuja. No more relocation for now.
The social media plays such a huge part in my life as a make-up artist. I’ve opened a Facebook page, I’m on Twitter, own a blog and finally I own a Blackberry just so that I can get updates when I am on the move. If you live in Nigeria you can imagine my frustration then when it comes to the internet service providers. They always promise you heaven and then you find yourself in the sand. I just changed service providers and for some reason the network is best in a particular spot in my house. I know you might not believe me but I have to sit in my daughter’s little chair to be able to browse and update all that needs to be done when on the internet. Woe betide me if my daughter happens to be home; her royal majesty will quietly but firmly tell you to stand up, takes her chair and I am left with the option of either squatting or kneeling (LOL). Thinking now…. Can the internet issues sway me to move from Abuja? Nah!! I award no points to any of the location. Abuja still leads…
I just wish I did not have to squeeze myself in that tiny chair to watch YouTube videos/tutorials. (Sigh!!)
This year has been a learning process for me when advertising or talking about my business (nope it is not a hobby). Apart from maintaining an online presence, I do what I can to appeal to my offline audience. I recall this funny incident on a Sunday morning I went out to the newspaper stands to give the vendors my flyers. So I go round giving my flyers to the vendors and after that, I decide to step into Park n’ Shop supermarket to buy some stuff. Suddenly I scratch this itch on my head and find out I am still wearing my hair net. Oh my! Being dark skinned is a blessing or else you would have seen the blood rushing to my face. I snatch it quickly off my head and stuff it in my pocket, straight to the till to pay and out of the store. Now I know why everyone had been looking at me strangely.
I remember when Abuja was just a place people worked; no one was really living here, no weddings, no parties, and no night life to speak of. If I had been a professional Make-up Artist then I wonder how I would have coped. I know it appears to be like things are not happening but trust me when I say a lot more happens in Abuja now than just grilled fish or chicken suya. We have more weddings, birthday parties, fashion shows, fairs than I could ever remember which translates into jobs for people like me.
I started attending fairs to showcase myself. For my first fair I had a table to myself where I put down cosmetics I was selling, tons of business cards and my tools of the trade. It was all hustle and bustle and I had come there alone. I was having a fun day until I had to go to the loo. Oops, I could not leave my stand empty. 15 minutes later a friend comes up to buy stuff and before you can say Jack, I have positioned her by the table and I am racing to relieve myself. I had a good laugh at myself. Never go alone to a fair. Abuja may not have as much fairs as Lagos but I still won’t move to Lagos because of the fairs.
When I became a make-up artist there were certain things I became addicted to. Okay let me rephrase, there are certain things I grew accustomed to. One thing is anytime I am in a supermarket or a store I have this magnetic pull to always look through the makeup counter. I may not buy anything but I always browse through. Yes, I know all the major distributors are in Lagos but why move when they are just a phone call away and I can have it shipped to my doorstep.
Another addiction (oops the word again) is to constantly be on the internet surfing over different looks and makeup products. I also like finding out where every single make-up event or sale is happening. Sometimes I dream I have access to all this products and can afford them all (sigh).
Another interest of mine is the Sacred Artistry contest. Even when I don’t participate in a particular month, I am monitoring the results and with fingers biting wonder what the final results will be. I have to admit that the themes in the competition have really allowed me to view makeup with a different approach. On a lighter note I have thought I was going to develop high blood pressure from just watching the polls. Every time it is voting time I tell myself I will go watch a movie or something but I always end up on my daughter’s little chair checking on the results. It does not help that my friends are also chatting wildly about the scores and everyone wants feedback.
One thing I wish was that Abuja had numerous shows and training opportunities. There are so many activities in Lagos that can keep a Make-up artist busy. There are so many times I wish I could just drop into Lagos because of the endless activities going on there. Anyway I have thought long and hard and I have realized that Lagos made itself the way it is today and it is left to us in Abuja to carve our niche and become strong competitors; after all Lagos may be centre of excellence but we are the centre of unity!!!
At the end of the day Abuja may not have all the top magazine shoots or the fashion shows, pageants or the music videos or even the big cosmetic brands opening shop here YET. And while it may not have the hustle and bustle of Lagos, it definitely bubbles and we raise our glass of bubbles to a city which has so much potential in the make-up industry as well as the entertainment world.
Yes the future of Abuja is so bright for the make-up industry that I have to wear shades right now. Erhmmm, in case you were wondering………….Abuja won (big smile)!
Oh and incase you missed it.. all my entries into the Sacred Artistry Competition are below.
(Duh where have you been?!)
Birds of Paradise