From glam to glory
By Sherie Holder-Olutayo | Sun, January 27, 2013 - 12:05 AM
rom the first glance you take of Anansa St Juste, one would automatically think she’s a fashionista or clearly has a love for and a knack for makeup. The 29-year-old mother of three girls is feeling very optimistic about life and work, because she feels like she’s finally found her place in the world. But Anansa will acknowledge that getting to this point hasn’t been easy.
“I used to model when I was younger and I really wanted to be a fashion designer,” she revealed with a hint of laughter. “I used to hand sew when I was younger, make clothes and wear them out and people would say ‘where did you get that nice dress’. I would have been the one who sat carefully and put all the stitches so close together that you would think this thing was sewn by a sewing machine. I started making my own clothes because I really had the vision to be a designer.”
Apparently, Anansa knew early on when she was at school that her passion tended towards the arts.
“In school I was not very good on the academic side at all. I was good at woodwork, needlecraft, cooking anything that was hands on,” she said. “I guess back then it wasn’t as compulsory as it is now, so I didn’t do computers, or anything like that. When I left school I didn’t see an opening for that type of hands-on career. So I wound up sitting at a desk and that didn’t quite work out.”
Anansa found out early on that her heart wasn’t in sitting behind a desk, and trying to fit into a more corporate type of environment.
“So eventually I got into bartending and I used to make drinks and I became one of the best female bartenders on the island, “ she said. “I was very highly recommended as well. “I worked at Opa, Boatyard and Lucky Horseshoe, and people would call and say I want you to work my bar. For me to keep that image up I started applying my own makeup and as time went I got better and better. As time went people were hiring me to do their weddings.”
After opportunities came doing makeup jobs, Anansa realized that bartending really wasn’t what she wanted to do.
“I got into modelling and I would do the makeup for the models for the fashion shows,” she said. “People started hiring me for makeup. Imagine getting hired and not being qualified. So eventually people started hiring me more to do weddings and stuff, that’s when I remembered something that happened when I was still in the bar.
“I had met this guy who really motivated me. He looked at me and said I could see you doing more than this. He said ‘what do you like to do?’ I said I’m an artist, I was a bartending but still professing to be an artist. He said ‘But what do you want to do? That’s when it hit me I can be any type of artist that I want to be. I think if you’re an artist, you can’t help but be an artist. Your art is going to come out in everything you touch. It was coming out even in the bar. I would decorate the glasses, try new things and drink recipes.”
Anansa said that after recalling that conversation she got dressed up, did her hair and makeup and went into town and walked into MAC Cosmetics.
“I said I’d like to see the manager. I went in and sat down and was immediately in an interview. They thought I was actually coming for an interview. She asked ‘How did you know we were hiring?’ I was like I didn’t. She asked me some other questions and I got hired on the spot. They started training me and because I already had it in me it didn’t take me long to catch on.”
After extensive training with MAC, Anansa enhanced her skills and further solidified her desire to pursue a career in makeup artistry. She stayed with MAC for three years and then moved on.
While she was still trying to figure out her next move in terms of work, as a mother she had her children to consider. She even had some family members really pressuring her to get anything because of her children.
“Having the kids one of the obstacles I would have in other fields of employment is maintaining a family working shift, because it doesn’t allow for flexibility in terms of emergencies,” she said. “But I felt a real push to work for myself. I was already doing that in terms of makeup artistry and I just wanted to find a way to build that up. So I thought if I could station myself in town and get people to come to me, maybe that would work.”
Then Anansa summoned the courage and stepped out on her own.
“Just last year I started to pursue my own business, Beyond Imaginations Make-up Artistry,” she said proudly. “I opened a little makeup corner in a salon and they’re doing pretty well so far. Everybody is excited because they are doing something new.”
As part of her own advertising, Anansa will put on some creative makeup of her own.
“Obviously I’m the canvas that sells the service,” she says. “There are times I just walk through town and people are like ‘who did my makeup, I want mine done’. Town is very central so I find the traffic is pretty good.
Now that Anansa is doing her own thing she has found her place in the world,” she said. “I love it. Most of the time people have jobs and they can’t wait for the day to end. That’s not me. I enjoy going to work because it doesn’t feel like work. It’s more than just making up a face because sometimes within that you can build somebody’s self-esteem, or confidence.”
From doing makeup and interacting with women, Anansa also comes face to face with the issues that plague many women.
Though she jokes that she would love for her daughters to keep out of her stuff, she uses the opportunity to impart wisdom to them.
“From working with women all the time, I see the different areas women lack in terms of self-esteem. It reminds me the importance of teaching my daughters where real beauty comes from. It may seem strange that I’m a makeup artist and promoting beauty, but I try to teach my daughters that what makes a woman truly beautiful comes from inside.”
Anansa who is soon to cross the threshold into her thirties, feels happier and more at peace with herself, something she credits with her Christianity and belief in God.
“I did it for my daughters mostly because I had to find my place for them,” she said. “I wasn’t getting the time to spend with them, so I had to find my place for them so I could be a mum and an entrepreneur, so that I would be in control and my family wouldn’t have to suffer. Yes there were other options that came with more money, but it came with a sacrifice, and I didn’t want to give up being with my kids. “
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