Mrs. Zainab Muhammed (nee Adejare) is a Lawyer who found passion outside the profession. She is the CEO of Ele Makeovers, a thriving make up studio in Lagos. In this interview with DNL Legal & Style, the accomplished beauty expert spoke of her passion, and her journey from law to beauty.
May we know you ma.
My name is Zainab Muhammed (Nee Adejare), I was born in Oyo Town and I’m from Oyo Town, Oyo State. I studied law at the Lagos State University and I am presently a Make Up Artist.
When where you called to the Nigerian Bar as a Legal Practitioner?
I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2013.
You are a make-up artist and a legal practitioner, which of these two was your childhood ambition?
None of them was my childhood ambition. My childhood ambition was to become an Accountant and I was already studying accounting in a Polytechnic. In my second year, my dad called me and told me he wanted me to study Law. Of course I wasn’t prepared for it. I had to take O’level again in order for me to meet up with the requirements for Law. That was how I found myself studying Law. As for the makeup artistry, I have always loved to beautify people since I was a child. But I never thought it was going to be my full time job.
After your call to bar, did you practice law at all?
Yes I did. I practiced for about one year and that was during my compulsory National Youth Service Corp
When did you start make-up?
I started make up professionally in November 2015 and I obtained a formal training for it before I started professionally.
How did you come about the name “Ele Make Over”?
Èlè is a Yoruba slang that means “beautiful lady”. It’s the pet name my husband calls me. So when I was faced with the challenge of looking for a name for the business, I just felt Èlè fits well for the business, since the business is all about beauty. So I decided to name the business Èlè Makeovers.
There are so many lawyers who have found themselves doing stuffs outside
of legal practice due to the frustrations in legal practice, would you consider yourself in that category?
No, I wasn’t frustrated out of the legal practice at all. As a matter of fact, I wanted to practice law but I realized very early that it was going to take so much of my time and I wasn’t going to have enough time for my family. For me it is the best or nothing. Anything I set out to do must be done to perfection to the best of my ability. So if I was going to practice law the way I wanted it would have negatively affected my home front. I had to do something that would give me the flexibility of time to take care of my family. And because I have always had passion for beauty, it was really easy for me to make the switch.
Have you at any time felt ashamed of what you do now? A legal practitioner doing make ups.
Ashamed? Never, I am proud of what I do. It takes a whole lot of creativity and analytical mind to bring out the beauty in people. I take pride in seeing people look beautiful. It is a beautiful world we leave in and I love beauty. My passion for my job makes me think it is the best profession. So no, I have never stopped to think anything except passion and love for what I do.
How has it been as a makeup artist?
Being a Makeup Artist has been fulfilling, since beautifying people is something I have always loved to do, now doing it and getting paid for it is more than fulfilling. Do a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work for a day.
What has given me the greatest fulfillment is the fact that I use my hands to make people happy. I love it when my clients look at themselves in the mirror and say ” Zainab you have done a very good job. I look so perfect. Thank you ” . Or when I receive messages from my clients saying, “oh Zainab, everybody complemented my look, people kept asking me for your contact, I gave many people your number.” Thank you so much.” Or “Aunty Èlè, my makeup is still very intact after about 9 hours , infact I don’t want to wash my face….”
Let’s talk about remuneration; has it been worth it in terms of income?
I must confess, the remuneration has been well worth it. In other businesses generally, you have seasons when your products sell well, and other seasons, you really don’t make much money. But in makeup business, it’s not like that. Here in Nigeria, people will always attend parties and they will always need the service of a makeup artist. So makeup artists make money all year round.
Asides doing makeup for party guests, we also do bridal makeup for brides and her bridesmaids and this brings in much more money than doing party guests. We do makeup for shoots e.g. birthday shoots, pre-wedding shoot, fashion shoot etc.
Also, through training of people who are willing to learn makeup, income is generated. And training is an ongoing thing, as some students are completing their training new students are enrolling.
I can confidently say the remuneration is very well worth it. A lot depend on how good you are and your location, amongst so many other factors.
How has the patronage been?
To God be all the glory, patronage has been fantastic. We have different clients ranging from brides, Nollywod Actresses , the creme de la creme of the society , Celebrities, to general party guests . Our location has been very helpful. The studio is located in Oniru, Victoria Island , and it’s in a residential area. This makes it easy for our clients who live in the area to conveniently enjoy our service. Our service is not restricted to these people alone. We go to different places to render services. And if need be, we travel out of Lagos or Nigeria.
We also have a studio / training center where we use for training students all year round .I have trained different students who have graduated and doing very well on their own. I have also upgraded students who although have their own studios and also makeup artists but have decided to seek more knowledge.
An aspect of the profession that cannot be underestimated is photography. Every makeup artist must have at least basic photography knowledge. This helps to show your job to the whole, especially these days where social media helps in marketing business .
Is there any particular area where your training as a legal practitioner has assisted your new found profession-make up?
Sincerely, being a trained legal practitioner has not assisted much in my profession as a makeup artist, but of course, being a graduate generally helps with better understanding because you would have met a lot of people from different backgrounds. If you are able to scale through the University system, you will be able to adapt to almost anything in life. Regarding the legal background, it probably assists with the administrative part of the job when you have to agree terms of engagement amongst others.
Do you see yourself going back to legal practice?
Oh yes, I have plans to go back to legal practice. But for now, I’m so enjoying
being a Makeup Artist.
What advice would you give to young lawyers who wish to venture into other areas outside law?
Law remains a very prestigious profession, but the truth is that in the early stage, it’s not very financially rewarding and it takes a lot of time. For those who can exercise patience and work very hard, it’s definitely going to pay off in the long run.
But for those who have passion for other things than Law, please don’t waste your passion; pursue whatever your heart really desires. Not everyone is destined to be great lawyer. Put God first in all you do, work hard and remain focused, the sky will be your limit.
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