Gone are the days when beautification was regarded a women’s domain. Yes, men’s hot too! And essential makeup art is now coming from the masculine stall. With the West taking a new wind in appreciating the need for men to look on-point instead of scruffy and unkempt, Zimbabwean men are also defying unruly ruggedness. From a young, inexperienced yet ambitious sixteen year-old ‘boy’ to a young and confident man who knows just what he wants in the variety of brushes department, meet Musa Mua Beat, the Zimbabwean male makeup artist who found his destiny behind the concealers. Read on and marvel at such an illustrious talent.
“I cannot have a son who does girly stuff!” was his father’s declaration, with his mother nodding a million times in agreement. Growing up in a conservative family meant bowing down to societally accommodative expectations in regards to career options for Musa. So, he had to shelve his passion for a while, embark on Graphic and Web Design as a professional career option and this ultimately meant stuffing the brushes for a while. Nonetheless to him, defying the norm was to be the order of the day as he soon realised that life without cosmetics was a far-fetched dream.
Since childhood, Musa’s fascination for makeup was beyond ordinary and all he remembers is himself sitting in his aunt’s living room and emulating the creativity of makeup artists on the Tyra Banks Show. He religiously followed DSTV fashion channels at a tender age and secretly knew that makeup art was his career orientation. His first contact with professional makeup was when he was sixteen, and he had to put his talent into practice on a young bride who had confidence in him. The most fascinating part of the tale is: he practiced on himself! As he grew older and at present, he emulates male makeup gurus like Patrick Star, Wayne Goss, Brittman Rock and Jeffrey Star. These individuals give him enough motivation to keep playing around with colour and more colour!
The driving force behind Musa’s makeup art is his love for creativity, beauty and drag. He insists, “…men in makeup, carnival makeup, for performance…I love it all.” To him, an individual’s before and after look when makeup is applied is a dramatic and different outlook on self. This really drives him to do more and more facial artwork. And not forgetting that Musa is in a female dominated industry, he never feels like he is at competition because he is definitely HIS OWN COMPETITION! The challenge he faces however, is a lack in terms of the right brushes and equipment. This can be attributed to the economic conditions in the country which do not permit favorable imports.
Asked for advice on beauty essentials ALL women must have, he is convinced that eyebrow pencil and lipstick should always be in the purse. As for future career plans, Musa maintains that experience and exposure is key and since there is ‘no hurry in Africa,’ he would like to take as much time as possible before starting his own franchise. He is optimistic though, and wants to have his own brushes and makeup line in the near future.
By Claire Miriam Rujeko