Top makeup artist Abisola Akintunde sees beyond the facebeat of every one of the women that sit in her chair, she knows that behind the faces are compelling stories to be told. She said; “There are a diverse array of women with different stories and backgrounds, I want every viewer to be able to relate with at least a story and be encouraged to be better”. And this passion fueled her #MakeupByAshabeePotraitChallenge.

Running for its second year, Abisola has shown that to be excellent, thinking beyond the box is expected. BellaNaija Style had a chat with Abisola and she talked about her journey so far and why the challenge is important.

You can also follow the portrait challenge on Instagram #MakeupByAshabeePotraitChallenge.

BNS: How long has the MakeupbyAshabee brand been in existence?
Abisola: The Makeupbyashabee as a brand has been in existence since 2015, but I have been a makeup artist working with other brands before then

BNS: What inspired you to go into the beauty (makeup) industry?
bisola: My desire to see women always present the best versions of themselves made me go into makeup. It started as a natural gift, dressing my friends up in university days and seeing how happy they were made me happy. When I got out from school and saw the earning potential, I jumped right at it. It was also an avenue for me to channel my supportive side. When a woman sits on my chair I want to do more than enhance her features, I want her to leave my seat feeling encouraged and cheered on for the work she is doing and let her know that it is okay to look good while conquering the world. This made me connect with many of my clients. It also made me become a part of major moments in a woman’s life including her wedding day which is one of the most important days of her life. All these make me happy and apart from all other gains, these are the priceless moments. Seeing pictures of my work on the walls of homes of my previous brides or clients makes me smile inside.

BNSHow has the journey been so far?
Abisola: the journey has been everything but smooth but it is worth it. It has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I am certainly not where I want to be but I believe I have come a long way and I am not relenting on working my hardest to push the brand forward

There are a diverse array of women with different stories and backgrounds, I want every viewer to be able to relate with at least a story and be encouraged to be better.

BNS: What is the #MakeupbyAshabeePortraitchallenge and what does it mean to you
Abisola: The Portrait challenge is my own way of celebrating excellence. I do this by taking beautiful Portraits of inspiring women, beating their faces and telling their stories. There are so many women doing great stuff; some people know, some people don’t. There are so many sectors of life, it’s easy to know the trending entertainers but the less popular fields of business and career may not be so easy. I recognized the gift of my platform and decided to use it to encourage both participants and viewers. Participants get to know that we are seeing them and they are encouraged to keep up the good work.

BNS: What is the inspiration behind the challenge?
Abisola: There are a diverse array of women with different stories and backgrounds, I want every viewer to be able to relate with at least a story and be encouraged to be better. This is my way of giving back and appreciating these women who have inspired me in one way or the other. It has also been a great form of networking and marketing, being able to chat and hear some deep things about them is an experience that is personally priceless and exciting for me.

BNS: Would you say people have responded positively to the messages shared by women who have been featured thus far?
Abisola: The response to the challenge has been super positive. I get messages daily telling me how encouraged they get from the stories. There was even a day I was a bit late posting, two ladies were already in my DMs demanding the woman of the day, it made me smile knowing it was all worth it. Sincerely it was not easy at all to pull this challenge together. I was almost not going to do it this year but when I remembered the testimonies from last year, that gave me strength.

I remember one from a lady who said her dad is diabetic and then he had an injury that required the doctors amputating one of his legs and said he would rather die than have his leg amputated but then she showed him the story of one of the ladies from last year Adenike Oyetunde who has made a beautiful life for herself even as an amputee and has gone global. That was a huge turning point in the man’s life and he realized life could still have meaning even as an amputee, it probably wouldn’t have been that easy if the daughter didn’t see the story on the challenge and refer to it to encourage her family. So yes I believe it has had positive impacts on the people watching and those in their sphere of influence.

Connect with Abisola on Instagram: @abisolaakintunde and @makeupbyashabee