Give me the devil, I’d turn him into an angel — Amaka
Amaka Ononibaku is a student of creative arts at the University of Lagos yet she's already utilising her talent effectively. Rather than join the fray of artistes who wait endlessly for Nollywood roles that are not immediately forth coming, Amaka chose a very unlikely area for herself, to beautify celebrities, brides and other elegant women. And she is doing well as more elegant women are depending on her for their beauty enhancement. She tells her story, Enjoy it
“I'm a make up artist. A lot of people don't believe that beauty could be magnified and enhanced. Some women leave themselves to nature but I believe that the work of nature could and should be enhanced. To do this, we employ several materials like lip glosses, lip sticks, foundation, pencils, concealers, glitters and all you can ever imagine.
There is a very big difference between a make up for films and movies and the kind of make up I do. So much of the aesthetics is involved in the make up for beauty enhancement but very different from that of movies where people are made up depending on the character in the movies.
One could be very old or injured or bloodied as the case may be. But in my kind of make up, beauty is the edge and I may not spend several days on any location like in the movies. So much talent is employed. You must believe that there are different facial structures. My first job is to study and really understand the person's facial structure and the major goal is to make the person really look good. You cannot make up a square faced person the same way you deal with an oval shaped face.
I see the make up as a way of life for me. Right from my youth days, I always love to touch up my face any time I'm going out. I also recall that most people who see this usually want me to help them out any time they have events. I also knew how to tie the gele for people. At a particular period in my life, my elder sister and indeed the entire family started urging me to take it seriously so I started giving it some time.
It was then that I made up my mind to get into it full time. My progress has been very tremendous. Since I started, I have handled several celebrities. I don't end up only making them up, I also help them source for what fits them. I'm talking about accessories like sunglasses, perfumes, and all. Since I started a few years ago, I have been able to develop a client base and I'm encouraged. They have built some level of trust that I only have to send out some text messages about new products and we reach out to each other.
This would mean mentioning names. But there are some people I can mention because they are really very close to me. Since they say Charity begins at home, I started with the Nollywood people because that is my primary constituency. I have worked on the likes of Mike Ezuruonye, Tonto Dike, Mercy Johnson, Okey Bakassi, Chinedu Ikedieze of Aki and Paw- Paw fame.
There is also one big celebrity woman who has engaged me to make her look good any time she is attending an event. I would not want to mention her name because she loves her privacy. I was the official make up artiste for Emeka Enyiocha's wedding. I made up and tied his wife's gele at their traditional wedding in Umuahia.
I'm not relenting, we are growing and we are hopeful it could only get better. However, I would wish that I take charge of the way Rita Dominic looks. She is a great babe with poise and elegance. She is one of the best dressed people in the country and I admire her so much.
Going into Business
Anyone who wants to get involved in the make up business like I do, must be very articulate. I look out for your zeal to work, your determination to excel and of course the passion for the business. You cannot experiment on the job because of the glamour that follows the trade.
Indeed there is no glamour but work and more work. Some people are naturally slow about work and this profession is not for them. If the job entails traveling, I'm off and that is what anyone who does this kind of job must be ready to travel.
For instance, I spent about two days in Umuahia for Emeka Enyiocha's bride.
Between the Movie industry and Make up professions
I spent some years trying to do movies. I did Deliverance in 2000, Cry for help, De don and d Capo, Stubborn flies and I need a husband. Recently, I did Corporate Housemaid and Heavy Battle.
And as you know, its slow rise to the top and the fast lane for others. I still do movies but only when I get called because I'm an artiste and still studying arts. At some point I felt that what I should move onto the next level and that's why I moved to do make up because of my talents in arts.
I don't stress myself to make someone look good or better than he or she was looking before the touch. I must say this, it never occurred to me that I'd be a make up artiste until my sisters made me realise that I could do it. My eldest sister did it for so long and wished I'd joined her on a full time basis.
It was only when she relocated to the United States that I started wishing I'd paid more attention when she was begging me to join her.
Now when people wonder where I got my ideas from, they do not know that I got ideas from several places including my sister. I didn't go to any school to study it.
I only combined my talents with the rudiments of what I grabbed from her. When I was in the secondary school, I was a science student but because of my love for the arts, I dropped science classes for arts. I have since excelled taking that decision.
Now I run courses for those who wish to learn about the make up. I run two months and three months courses for my students. Two students have successfully undergone training and there are others in training right now. That is why I know that God loves me and wishes that I continue in the business and nothing else
Success and The Family
I'm the last child in a family of six and we hail from Mgbidi in Imo state. I have the blessing and support of my family and they understand that this is a way of life for me. I can proudly say they are all happy for me.
Job Search Upon Graduation.
I've never loved office work at all. I have a job now and by the time I graduate, I will be able to organise the business better. I prefer what I'm doing now and will continue to build upon the successes I have made of the job especially in Nollywood. My personality is my advert as I'm always made up. I feel glad that when people see me, they want to look like me.
Each job comes with its own challenges just as each face comes with its own shape. It's always very hard to convince some people that they could look more beautiful with the make up. There was this Calabar lady who never believed in making up. It took me so much time to convince her that she'd look better if she allows me to handle her. Today, she has not stopped thanking me for changing the face and her confidence. I feel proud for what I did on her face
I would not say we are there yet, we are only beginning. There are set goals which we have not really achieved. And I don't consider myself successful yet. Our prayer is that God will see us through. You know this is his vision for me. Riches will come some day and I'm hopeful, very hopeful.
I'll be sincere with you, I have a man who believes in all I do and encourages me to be the best in it. We are working at marriage but it's only God that will decide whatever follows. The important thing is that we have the support of our families. God's time is the best.
I was first attracted by his height. We actually met on the set of a movie some two years back. I discovered him to be a no nonsense guy who is very serious with his work. He is also very firm and strict. The next attraction is his sense of discipline.