The Gambia and Gambians are known for a lot of things. Among them is the love for social events; the christening ceremonies, weddings etc. These events come with the search for beauty, especially among young women as they get addicted to having flawless skin. As a result, the demand for cosmetics is growing, alongside the beauty industry. More young women are joining the industry to drive Gambia’s cosmetic boom.
We meet four young makeup artists who have become experts in bridal, party or just casual makeup. They always rise to the occasion to give their clients those winning looks.
It’s all about comfort and happiness
23-year-old Binta Jarju of Wellingara started makeup business three years ago after being motivated by her loved ones who saw the talent in her. Today, she sees it as “a beautiful career that allows you to connect with people on deep levels.”
Each individual, Binta says, is beautiful in his or her own way. “You do not have to put on makeup to be beautiful,” she tells The Chronicle. However, she stresses that makeup can be a form of enhancement, a process that enhances natural beauty.
“If it makes you feel secure and happy, then go for it. It’s basically all about what makes you happy and comfortable”.
Binta does not only sculpt faces to give women those beautiful looks, but she also empowers them to become economically independent. She offers makeup classes for up-and-coming makeup artists or wannabes on how to start makeup business and the tips and tricks of a good makeup artist.
“Nothing gives me more pleasure and joy than being able to empower other young people,” she says.
Her advice to aspiring makeup artists: “Be yourself. Do not compare yourself and your work with others. Always remember that you are not in competition with anyone. Work hard in improving your makeup skills and the rest will take care of itself.”
The joy of seeing clients smile
For Ndey Ida Faye alias Allure by Slim, beauty means different things to different people. A resident of Fajara, she started makeup as a career five years ago to “enhance and extract the hidden beauty of every young lady.”
In her career, she finds no joy than that of seeing her clients “smile from edge to edge after looking in the mirror and knowing how their face has been #BEAT”.
Though Ndey Ida faces some annoying situations; clients being late for the appointments, others requesting exact looks from random pictures on social media, or just being arrogant, she continues to live her passion in the beauty and fashion industry.
She uses her studio as a mentorship center for young women and girls who want to be like her.
Her advice to the youngsters: “Don’t look at other makeup artist as a competitor. Look at them as your source of inspiration and knowledge. Makeup skills require a lot of practice, because that’s what makes you perfect.”
Making money for doing what I enjoy
Sally Secka, 29, started career as a makeup artist three years ago to follow her childhood passion for fashion and beauty. As a kid, she’d often read fashion magazines to look at images of and read about celebrities in particular, a hobby that broadened her curiosity and passion for makeup.
Today, she feels accomplished for “making money for doing what I love doing.”
Sally rarely wears makeup, but according to her, nothing beats the excitement of using makeup on others to “enhance the beauty that is already there.”
“Being a makeup artist gives you an eye for beauty, and an opportunity to put smile on people’s faces.”
Her advice to aspiring makeup artists: “There are lots of bumps on the road to success. You must cross each one at a time and never give up.”
Sparking my creativity
Aminata Seedy Jawara, simply known as Mina, is a final year university student studying biology. But her passion lies not just in the science lab, but also (and mainly) in the makeup salon.
She found a career in the fashion industry as a makeup artist five years ago. Over the years, she’s been sculpting the faces of influential people, many of them Gambia’s crème-de-la-crème, as well as ordinary people in her studio and elsewhere.
Thanks to her artistic stardom and growing popularity, Aminata has been training interns sent to her by some of the country’s top beauty centers such as SASS, Gaye Njorro Skill Academy and Fajara Skills Center. She gives them hands-on training on makeup and hair dressing skills, customer service, marketing and book keeping.
According to her, there’s always something new to learn from the different faces she works on. “Makeup sparked my creativity,” Aminata says.
Her advice to the younger crop of makeup artists: Be patient, be organized, explore your creativity, keep up with trends, be willing to learn and always practice.