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Mariam Wazir: Star of special effects makeup

by Editorial Team
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By Hussein Kiganda

When the country was locked down after COVID-19 struck, it may have seemed like hell to many people, but to others, it presented a golden opportunity. 

For Mariam Wazir, the managing director of Henna Courts, a makeup studio in Kabalagala, a city suburb, the lockdown paved way for her to delve into the special effects (SFX) makeup business.

“Since there was nothing much to do, I decided to experiment with SFX makeup on myself and posted it on my social media handles. One day, one of my friends contacted me, saying he wanted makeup that would make him look like he was beaten up. When I did it, he shared it on his social media handles, claiming he was beaten up by LDUs in town. He brought me several clients who wanted the same and I indeed made money during the lockdown,” Wazir told The Kampala Sun.

After the lockdown was lifted, she minted more money when she was invited to do SFX makeup at Halloween parties, and make revellers look like zombies.

Wazir narrated that having garnered enough popularity, she got her first gig in the film industry and since then, SFX makeup has been one of her major sources of income.

Mariam Wazir posing with a model

Using the money from SFX, Wazir opened a makeup studio (Henna Courts).

“I got a mega deal in 2021 to work on a film shot by white people. They paid me a huge sum of money since I did not want my name to appear in the credits. It was a life-changing moment. I decided to open a makeup studio so that after school, I do not look for jobs,” she said.

How she acquired special effects makeup skills

Wazir said watching makeup tutorials on YouTube and behind-the-scenes of Nollywood and Hollywood movies gave her an idea about it.

Using her siblings’ bodies as well as hers, she became better at it with time, and is now confident that she can work on any project. 

Unlike other artists who buy makeup materials from abroad, Wazir uses local and natural products to protect her clients’ skin. She uses wax, honey and food colour to create blood, wounds, puss and bruises.

The young makeup artist also does henna tattooing, veiling, and contemporary makeup at bridal parties, birthdays, and other functions, which she learnt from friends, as well as from YouTube.

Wazir is proud that after she graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication, she has not laboured to find a job, she is rather a job creator.

She, however, decried theft on sets. She said some clients take off with her materials like eyelashes, honey, and lipstick.

Wazir added that some do not pay her all her money and others undermine her at first sight, owing to her age and size.

She admires an international makeup star, Nehasser from Norway, and Ugandan artists Shakirah Kibirige and Peter Russells. Wazir dreams of working on big film projects produced by Loukman Ali, Morris Mugisha and Doreen Mirembe.

She is now planning to start a makeup school to teach students how to create careers in makeup.

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