Published on Wednesday, 1 July 2020 | Jeff Make Up by theSystem *
Hi Jeff , this has been a long time coming , how are you doing today?
Am very much okay. I thank God.
Great , Tell us a bit about your background and how you became a Make up artist?
I was born and raised in a village in Eastern Kenya. I developed a interest in make up 4 years ago, and i decided to go to a beauty school to get skills on how to do make up.
How have your own experiences affected your work as an Artist?
I can say every day am learning a new thing and i concentrate on the work i have been given to do, i can say am not affected in anyway.
You are in this industry that is typically reserved for women , how does being a man in such a industry affect your relationship with clients ?
Nowadays men have taken over the beauty industry, because women love to be attended by men, they normally say men make them look amazing and also men are not jealous on women when they are making them unlike their fellow women. I connect very well with my clients and i can’t regret being in beauty industry because am doing what i love most.
Sure , you do look happy and i can tell you quite enjoy your work , sure men have taken over the beauty industry , you can tell just by looking up the most successful make up Artist most are men , talking about beauty, how do you define beauty?
For me beauty is confidence.
Very precise ! How long have you been a make up artist and what was you first big break in the industry?
I have been a make up artist for 3years now, my big break in the industry i did a collaborated shoot with a certain photographer and a model. When we released the pictures within one week the we’re trending all over the world and within one month one of the pictures was related as one of the most famous photographs in the world by oneeyeland, and within 3months it was shortlisted by Sony Worlds Awards in 2019 which happen in United Kingdom. During the same time i created a special effects look of monster nails scratch which looked so real which made many film makers to approach me including some Hollywood film Makers.
How did it feel for your creation to be recognized at those levels ?
It was my dream come true, I learned nothing is limiting me, i also felt like a superstar being recognized by the whole universe, being called for so many tv interviews, but one day i got home i slept facing the ceiling of my bedroom and i asked myself “who am I” and the answer was am only a mare human being, with blood and flesh so the only special thing i have is talent. I decided to be humble and down to earth to everyone around me, either a kid or a grown up.
Sure thing , you do come off as a down to earth plain talent person , how was breaking into the film industry besides the viral photo ? had you worked in film before, could you give us a short brief of the process on the set of a movie?
In film i started by a local production where i was approached to do a make up for a local tv show called “BABA YAO” which is aired on ktn home every Thursday where i learned many skills on set, like creating make up to every character on set. I have now been in film for 2 years.
Shooting a movie is not a joke coz the budget has to be very high, you have to list every thing you need in every set, some items are even hired. Let me talk about the make up side, when i am approached to be a make up artist on a movie,first thing is to have a meeting with the people involved to know what exactly is expected of me during the set so that i can park my kits with the appropriate products to be used on set during the shoot. Before i sleep i have to inquire with the director and producer of what am expected to do the following morning so when i wake up i put everything ready for the day.
Do you have the luxury to choose who you work with? or do you just hope on the moving train , within that could you tell us who your ideal client is and why?
Haha! I don’t hope for the moving train, i have to choose whom to work with, I have to look on their previous jobs the have done to see the quality of their work and the budget also. Right now i have left local production shoots, now am more into fashion shows, advert shoots and Film makers.
Oh wow lets talk about fashion shows , how is that? what does it entail to be a runway make up artist and could you give us a list of designers or projects you’ve worked on and how was that?
Fashion shows are like my home, i just feel complete glamming models coz they are easy to work with.
I have worked with JW show, BTR show, efashion show, Kenya fashions show etc
Designers i have worked with Sasha Horner of house of treasure from German, Teija from Finland, Tasha Ahere, Vivo active wear, Accesorize with Style, Kulola etc
Do you feel like you’ve established your brand as a household name and have you achieved some of your wildest dreams?
I think i have established my brand, but i feel there is still a room to improve and reach there, there is some energy needed to reach where i want to be, but soon i will be there.
What challenges come with that?
Challenges are so many, like getting jobs from big companies coz of many cartels involved. And also the high prices of original products.
How is your brand evolving?
My brand is growing everyday coz am being approached by so many people in fashion and film industry every day. Some want a collaboration shoot and others are inquiring about my charges.
How would you describe your aesthetic & approach to make up?
Very unique, with a lot of creativity, i can create create any character look needed anytime.
How has social media impacted your career especially working with celebrities and big brands?
Social media has been a big help to me because, that’s where i advertise my work, big brands and celebrities have seen my work on social media even though sometimes i gets job from referrals.
Do you make personal portfolios and how do you do it , what inspires the process?
Yes I do a lot of portfolio shoots, i do collaborate with designers, photographers, models etc What inspires me is the concept and theme. If the concept is okay then i automatically join the collaboration. You know am a creative spirit everything inspires me.
True indeed, what impact do you want to make in this industry?
I want to train more more young people, i also want to give back to society, touch more lives coz that’s the legacy i want to leave behind.
What advice can you give to prospective kids thinking about an education and career as make up artists?
Let them follow their dreams because that’s all what matters, let no one convince them otherwise.
This interview has been edited and condensed for purpose of clarity and precision, we value your time.