Joy Maringa, a makeup and lip artist recently had a chance to work on Deputy President William Ruto during a TV Interview. She shares her experiences.
What was your first reaction when you met Ruto?
Of course, I had the jitters. I was contacted by a media company to do his makeup. We went to his residence in Karen with the crew and when we arrived, he offered us dinner. He was nice, warm, quiet and welcoming. However, he was very categorical that we should not apply lip balm.
Were you intimidated?
No. We had already interacted with him during dinner, so I was a bit calm. And anyway, I had to do a good job.
Do you think men should wear makeup?
Yes. Men should embrace makeup. I don’t know why cosmetics is often considered as something for women thing. Men should wear mascara, foundation and lipsticks. It does not reduce their masculinity. Ancient Egyptian men used to wear makeup, kept long hair and applied lip balm.
You are a lip artist. Describe your work.
Most people do not get it when I tell them I am a lip artist. I use human lips to make my art. I believe human lips are the best media to express my work because they come in different shapes and sizes.
Why the lips?
Before I branched to lip art, I was a full-time professional makeup artist. In the line of my work, I realised most of the clients I worked on did not really like their lips. Most of them would tell me not to use a particular lipstick because of their lips.
Then I joined Instagram two years ago and saw contemporary lip artists. I decided to teach myself and by accident, I realised I make good abstract lip art which most people are not doing. I decided to use that to show people the beauty of lips.
What materials do you use for your art?
I use lipsticks, food colour, water paint and foodstuff like rice, green grams and egg shells.
What in your opinion are perfect lips for your art?
Every lip type qualifies, depending on what I am working on, but they should be smooth and not chipped, healthy lips without any scars or sores.
Have you ever exhibited your pieces?
I have done two shows – East African Art Bennial and dusitD2 Nairobi Art Gallery exhibition. Now people understand and appreciate it.
Did you always want to be a makeup artists?
I thought I was going to do what I pursued in school. I have a degree in marketing and masters degree in sustainable entrepreneurship. But after two years of job-hunting, I decided to venture into makeup since it was my passion. I was trained by Suzie Beauty for a few months, then I decided to branch off on my own and teach myself.
How much do you charge for your work?
My lip art pieces go for Sh9, 000 and above. My fee for normal makeup range from Sh4, 000, depending on what the client wants.
Did your parents ever support you?
They never understood why I wanted to be a makeup artist. But after they realised I could make money from it, they are now my biggest cheerleaders. My dad, who is a reverend, also gives me ideas about my art pieces.