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IT STARTED WITH a new job at CS Pharmacy where Asha Johnson was working in the beauty department. Surrounded by lipsticks, foundation, primers and every make-up item needed for women, the 26-year-old’s interest was piqued.
“It was in 2008 and I started working there. I saw all this make-up and I was a simple person when it came to my own make-up – just the usual foundation, lipstick and some eyeshadow. When my boss Jeffrey Browne saw my interest in the Black Opal line the pharmacy carried he allowed me to take two courses in make-up artistry and skincare.
The former Coleridge & Parry Secondary School student used her two siblings Zalika Kamiliah and Shakeer Johnson as guinea pigs to perfect her craft as her passion for the art kept growing.
“After completing my courses, I began to think about my future. I made the decision to follow my heart and my head and make make-up artistry my career.”
To do that, with help of her accommodating, understanding and supportive employer, she has opened her own mobile studio – Ajays Beauty Studio.
“My clients are varied, so I design a custom look for all my clients but my signature look is a classic gold smokey eye with a nude or red lipstick. I take my career very seriously and love what I do. Mastering this craft, staying focused, working hard and constantly learning in this beauty industry is what sets me apart.”
Many mistakes have been made and learnt from, she related. She calls them “challenges which are in every aspect of life but I use these challenges to propel me to excel in my field of work.
“There are also unexpected pressures you place on yourself and what clients place on you but at the end of the day is about customer satisfaction. That satisfied customer is a walking advertisement for potential new clients.”
Talking about advertisement, Asha herself makes sure she is always made up to perfection: “Yes, I wear make-up daily. I’m an artist so I use myself as a walking advertisement and I’m addicted to make-up. It’s like my cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It gets me going.”
“Make-up is all about expressing yourself. Some people use it to highlight or accentuate features, while some want to hide flaws and blemishes while others only use it for special occasions to do the full works.”
The favourite products in her kit? Black Opal Pore Refining Perfecting Liquid, Black Opal Lip Liners, Too Face Primer, Morphe Eye Brow Gel, Ben Nye Setting Spray and LA Girl Pro Concealer. “My kit is never without eye lashes, powder foundation, blush and bronzer,” she said laughing, adding she has recently discovered Color Pop Lipsticks and banana powders.
As you can see, Asha is open to using brands that work best for the client’s skin and also pocket: “I wish people would be more open minded and do more research about the art and products used to create such beautiful canvases. The more expensive the brand doesn’t always equate to quality. As an artist I have access to all types of make-up brands. Many drug store brands are just as good or better than the expensive brands.”
The make-up artist of seven years was gracious enough to provide some tips for darkskinned beauties: Apply moisturizer daily with sunscreen; while selecting foundation, test it on your forehead or above the jaw line; if you have oily skin use a powder closest to your complexion or an invisible oil blocking powder; eye shadow options are brown, purple or burgundy. For lipsticks, stay away from frosted or highly glossy lipsticks and when choosing a blush, deep orange, burgundy or bronze will complement your skin best.
Asha is looking to achieve many goals she has set and sees herself creating her own line of make-up. “It would be a dream come true to have my brand distributed island wide and internationally.
“Looking into the future, I see an established businesswoman perfecting the art and transforming the lives of others through my skills. I wouldn’t change anything so far for without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. . . . Especially with the challenges I’ve encountered and overcome.”