Saturday, 18 October 2014

This post was written by Abj Loving, Abuja Living about my sister here. First published on Monday, October 6th. I just had to share :-)

Young and In Charge: Odachi Abah

Over the course of the last four weeks, we have met young people with an interest in acting; this has shown that Nollywood is an industry that has come to stay one that is providing jobs for the younger generation, one that keeps them away from crime and one that should be encouraged. Our young person of the week today followed her love for theatre, but eventually her love for making people look beautiful took centre stage. What our young persons of these last four weeks have taught us is that, parents are becoming more and more supportive of dreams that were hitherto seen as unconventional, today we see our person of the week’s dad come up with the name for her company and even helps with the registration. The time to start working on your dream is now, it is never too late, today I am proud to present our young person of the week, she is young, she is beautiful, she is brilliant, she is creative, she is the whole package, she is young and she is definitely in charge, she is Odachi Abah.
Tell us a little about yourself.

Ok… I’m Odachi Abah (#widegrin# at full name), a freelance makeup artist, I was born on the 25th of March in Zaria, I am from Benue state, Idoma by tribe. I’m the fifth of six kids to Steve and Alache Abah. My family is my everything and I am thankful for them every moment that I live. I love what I do and I’ll definitely want to get to the peak of my career. I love food (but have to work hard to keep my weight stable :-)
), music, makeup, fashion. I smile a lot, laugh hard and say very little.




What was growing up like?

The greater part of it was fun. Lots of ‘riding bicycles’, ‘climbing trees’, ‘racing’, ‘playing hop scotch (what we call ‘suwe’ in Nigeria), hide and seek, police and thief, British bulldog, etc. I have always been on the chubby side but it never hindered me from playing. Mum was the no-nonsense type when we were growing up and she instilled moral rightness in us all, which I’m grateful for every day. I remember so much laughter growing up as my siblings and I were best friends and there was never a dull moment with us. With my dad's job, he travelled a lot but he always made out time for family. Dad and Mum supported us in every possible way they could. I used to watch my Dad work, I went to watch theatrical performances with him (he is a Professor of Theatre and Performing Arts) and I loved them so much that I decided I was going to study Theatre Arts when I grow up. And yes, I did it!
Tell us a little about your educational background?

 I grew up in the environment of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. I attended the University Staff Primary School (A.B.U Staff School), the University Secondary School (Demonstration Secondary School) from JSS 1-3 and Federal Government Girls’ Secondary School (FGGC) Zaria from SSS 1-3 and then decided to leave Zaria to study Theatre Arts in University of Abuja.


So what is Visage Body and Face Studio all about?

Visage Body and Face Studio is a makeup outfit based in Abuja and Lagos, we specialise in bridal makeup, photo-shoot makeup, gele tying, lash extensions, brow grooming and skincare consultations. The word ‘Visage’ has to do with a person's face, with reference to the form or proportions of the features, the shape, countenance, appearance and expression. The face has got to have a body to go with it, right? So, Visage Face and Body Studio! When a woman is beautiful on the inside and outside, she is confident. Beauty and confidence go hand in hand, therefore, we aim at that. All we want to do is make women look and feel beautiful. 
What inspired the move into the makeup industry artistry?
I have always loved make up, right from childhood. I started wearing makeup ‘officially’ when I was 16 years old and that was when I was done with Secondary school. (doesn’t mean I didn’t hide to wear makeup before then. Who didn’t? lol). My older cousin who was staying with us did not like to wear makeup and she was a student of Ahmadu Bello University. Each time she got dressed for her lectures, I always used to force her to sit down so I could put make up on her face. My major in the University was Costume and Make up. I just couldn’t imagine myself in any other department. My sister’s friend came to Nigeria to get married and she didn’t have a makeup artist so my sister suggested that I do her bridal make up, I did it and she loved it so I decided to take professional training classes and start making money out of it and I am loving every bit of it. #smiles

One can say that makeup artistry and acting are within the same industry, they go hand in hand, do you intend to pursue an acting career, if you already do, how has the experience been like combining the two?
Oh yes! They do but I’m not really into acting. I took minor roles in the University but I’m not sure I want to build a career in that area, I would rather concentrate on Make-Up. But if acting opportunities come by once in a while, I will give it a shot. I won’t limit myself. They say a professional Theatre Artist should be versatile #widegrin.  
 
What has the experience been like starting up a business, how did your parents react to your decision to take up this line of business?
It hasn’t been all rosy, setting myself up is a huge task and I still thank God because my parents have been by me all the way. I attended two make up schools, my Dad paid the fees for first one and when I was done, I got a job at Sleek Makeup Studio in Gwarinpa, Abuja so I could use the money to buy make up products to fill up my make-up box. After two months I left and enrolled in another make up school to improve my skills and I handled the bigger part of the fees. It wasn’t easy at all, at some point, my older sister had to give me some money to pay up. Now I’m dealing with getting clients and referrals. I know it will stabilize and get better with time. My parents are excited about my line of business and how enthusiastic I am about it. My Dad was the person who suggested the name Visage Body and Face Studio and got his lawyer to register the company for me. They believe in me and will assist in any way they can to get me to the peak of my career.


The make-up industry is booming now, it has provided an avenue for young girls to become financially independent, what is your take on that?
I love that girls and women can be financially independent in today’s world, not just through the make-up industry but in so many other ways. Women no longer have to wait on someone else to provide for them. We do not only work but we own businesses. It is refreshing to see and be a part of. Who says women cannot do it all – work, run businesses and still hold it down on the home front? That some of us work corporate jobs and some others have taken what used to be known as domestic chores and made them commercial (cooking, sewing, care-giving, etc.) is amazing. It is also nice to see that men support women in these business ventures.

What do you love most about you what you do?

Me having to enhance the features of someone’s face to make one look even more beautiful and confident, the smiles, the hugs I get from clients are priceless and deeply satisfying. It doesn’t even feel like I’m working when I’m making clients up I love what I do so much that I feel like I’m playing and I still get monetary gain. It’s just a blessing. #smiles
Which would you say has been you best work ever has been your best work ever?
I sincerely can’t think of any. Every job I do is the best of my work at that point. I believe I improve every day, new skills and all.



What are the difficulties do you encounter in your business?
The makeup industry in Nigeria has been growing, so there are so many makeup artists around who are willing to get underpaid by those clients who do not truly value our services, so with that you have to work extensively to prove you are worth the pay. Also, meeting different clients, with different temperaments and trying to satisfy each of their needs. Believe me it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you even have to take insults to get paid.
Have you ever felt like giving up on your dreams?
Yes I have o! When I do, I know I’m just bluffing (lol). I have always had the right kind of encouragement and energy around me. Most of which comes from family and friends.  The world is big enough for everyone to excel and I believe I will shine and be successful at what I am doing because I’m up for whatever!

Who or what motivates you?
My everyday life… thirst for perfection. #smiles.
For ‘who’, my family, friends and Nigerian make-up artists like Jide, Dave Sucre, Bookie la Vida, Rhonekefella, Glamour56… The list long sha oo! Anyone who has influenced me positively.



What do you do for fun?
Painting my face! #widegrin# ok... listening to music, hanging out with friends, having a healthy dose of laughter, cooking, eating, sleeping, browsing the internet and uhmmm doing a little social networking.
How do you intend to bring about change with what you do?
I hope to leave every woman I work on/with feeling better about themselves. Many people know that most women have insecurities. This comes from what we hear over time and how some of us tend to compare ourselves to others. In this day and age when technology is advanced and we can get botox or take out the extra chin or do a face-lift, people tend to use these as solutions. Makeup is the revolution! You can get your makeup done in a way that it makes you look like you just got a face-lift without putting yourself in the way of harm or your health at risk. Your lips can be made to look smaller or bigger depending on what the client wants. To cut the story short, I want to make women believe that they are beautiful no matter how they look. I want to empower women through make-up. When you feel beautiful, you feel like you can take on the world no matter what people think.


With the level of success you have achieved, everyone is itching to know how old you are? 
I will only say that I was born in the 90’s. I have constantly heard how cool the 80’s was. Haha!
Advice for young Nigerians with dreams they are yet to pursue or discover.
Everyone has a gift, take time out to find yours and follow it. Maximise every opportunity you have to showcase that gift. Life is too short to live in peoples’ shadows.
Where do you see yourself and Visage body and Face studio in five years from now?

I should have a family of my own by then. Visage will definitely not be where it is today. We would be bigger and better. I see us having a whole block as our headquarters and outlets around the country, transforming ladies, enhancing their outward appearance and making them fashion conscious, holding free seminars for all kinds of women around the country – and the globe hopefully – and many more wonderful things. Watch out for me!


2 comments:

  1. Wow you go girl. More power to ya brushes and pencils.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful work of art.

    ReplyDelete