Makeup artists

Make-up artists’ work involves creating images and characters through the medium of make-up, hairstyles, and prosthetics. They have however grown into brands and an organ the entertainment industry can’t do without as a lot wouldn’t appear as it is without makeup.  GEORGE D. MWENDWA looks into it.

Its 8:59pm EAT and every local TV station is doing the seconds countdown till the clock chimes 9pm and its time for the days trending news with your favorite news anchor. As she smiles with the “Hello viewers” salutation, you can’t help but notice her enchanting smile within her well done lipstick, her glowing eyebrows not to mention a radiant face complimented by an expensive hair do and perfectly done nails upon which the tab rests. Its clear resources of both time and money were put into this glamour that adorns our television sets and blows us away already even before we can have a look at the day’s highlights.

Behind the scenes, is always a make-up artist trying to pack their accessories or waiting for a retouch. They go unnoticed most of the times but the modern day celebrities and media personalities would rather cancel engagements than go before a camera without a magic touch from them. “Their art plays such a tremendous role than we notice. Make up occurs in different forms which includes prosthetics, character makeup, glamour and leisure just to name but a few. Each facet of it is very instrumental in any film,” holds Martin Ndichu, a Kenyan film maker and CEO Zinduka International.

Make-up artistes are responsible for applying makeup and prosthetics to aesthetically enhance celebrities, performers, individuals, entertainers or for special events such as weddings or dates. They either work independently or with a team. They may also style hair if directed. They apply makeup to clients using a colour palette and different tools such as mascara, sponges, eyebrow shapers, lip liners, brushes, and applicators. Behind the scenes of all productions say movies, music videos, photo shoots, adverts and so on you lately can’t help but notice them. They therefore determine the final outlook of a celebrity contributing a whole lot into the entire industry.

According to Sammy Dee, a renowned video director, make-up is paramount. He can’t execute any shoot of whatever magnitude without a makeup artiste and these ranges from music videos to movie films. He adds that the field has grown compared to his protégé days when he had to coax his wife to take up the task casually, who later turned into a professional. Being the director behind some of Eric Omondi’s parodies lots of TV commercials, make up has noticeably been very contributory in achieving the final outcome we later adore.

Kylie Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner family, may only be in her early 20s, but she could be the most successful of all the sisters, including older half-sister Kim Kardashian West just because of a simple lipstick move.

What began as an online business selling lipstick for $29 each has earned Jenner’s makeup company Kylie Cosmetics $420 million in sales in only 18 months. It is projected to rake in $1 billion in lifetime sales by 2022. Isn’t it striking that the world now values make up this much and who even imagined this would be an industry by itself? And one that according to a number of directors, film can’t do without.

Kenyan Socialite and Business Lady Huddah Monroe has also caught up with the building thrill by launching her own cosmetics line aptly called Huddah Cosmetics and the line was launched with 4 lipstick brands; Royalty, King Jazmine, Vamp and Angel then later on added other products including creams and makeup. The lipstick is available in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda and many other countries. This could just be a buzzer that this industry is demanding its space really fast.

“The reason makeup is gaining popularity in the music scene is because every artiste wants to appear well off and better than they do in actual life. The way the face of a character or artiste in a music video appears tells a lot about them and presents the first imprint. Make up could however be derailing if done incompetently like the face not synced with the neck for instance. Make up is good but is better not done at all than done messily,” Jaqy Jay, a professional makeup artiste at Urembo Creations shares.

Robin Akutekha a film maker and a music video director weighed in on the trend. He mentions how people underestimate the impact that right hair and makeup can lend to films or even photos. Casual viewers tend to overlook it. And the irony in giving it importance is it should work effortlessly into what is created, that it adorns what is seen and does not deviate from the immersion.

“If your aim is to paint a picture of the 1940s or 50s, it is not enough to have the costumes and set well-researched. If you don’t put in the same thought to hair and makeup, the entire thing falls apart. It is important to consider if hair was curled using rollers, curling irons, hot tongs or strips of tissue. If they were set with hairspray, gel, beer, egg whites or crushed candy mixed with water—the preference and availability of which could tell the audience in one glance what social status a character had,” he exposes.

Damaris Kamanu, a stylist and a makeup artiste however reveals that it’s a delicate art and a slight injury she had on her fingers send her to more training than the art itself. She insists that for new comers consistency is paramount as you need to keep learning with the ever changing trends.

On enquiring for its cons on the other hand if any, Clinical Medicine student at Kabarak University, Atanas Sagao Weda shared a handful. “Unfortunately, there is a variety of health issues that can be caused by excessive usage of makeup. Lipsticks and eye shadow for instance are known to contain lead, a carcinogen and neurotoxin that can affect the nervous system adversely, leading to high blood pressure, allergies, behavioural abnormalities and even decreased rates of fertility,” he reveals. Mr. Weda additionally advises on hygiene while performing make up due to skin and eye sensitivity to avoid complications in the long run.

This could be the beginning of a gigantic industry within the film and music industries, and like some of the leading companies in the world, it should arguably be labelled “enjoy responsibly” as its effects cannot outweigh its ecstasy when responsibly managed.


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