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Zim artist makes waves in Hollywood

By Grant Moyo

Hollywood-based Zimbabwean celebrity make-up artist, Jackie Mgido will next year attain two decades of a remarkable career working with stars on big television shows and movie productions in the United States. Being the only black African in the “Local IATSE Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild”, she ascribes her success to consistency, hard work, education, prayer, and keeping a positive outlook with everyone she works with or meet.

Mgido grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to the US when she was 18 years old to study veterinary medicine. But when she realised that she was more of a creative, Mgido pursued a career in beauty and special effects make-up. She is a certified make-up artist, and a make-up designory, Burbank licensed cosmetologist who has made up Hollywood celebrities like Denzel Washington, Sylvester Stallone, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Wiz Khalifa, Gayle King, Snoop Lion formerly Snoop Dogg, and LL Cool J, to mention but a few.

The seasoned make-up artist got her big break in 2001 when a movie director hired her to work on a low budget movie as the head make-up artist. She knew at that moment that this was her big break. Mgido had the opportunity to work for free and be exposed to American actor Orlando Jones who at that time was a big deal.

The notable productions she has worked in as the head make-up artist include Fatale, a movie starring experienced actors Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy and Michael Colter, Wedding Cake Championship (Food Network), and Home for the Holidays (CBS), among others.

“I have worked in Hollywood for 19 years. I attended a prestigious Hollywood make-up school, where I was a student and years later I became an educator. This education opened up doors for me to immediately work with celebrities on movies and loads of TV networks,” Mgido said.

“Over the years I have not only worked as a head make-up artist, I have managed to work as an assistant make-up artist in numerous productions like Kevyn Aucoin: Beauty and the Beast in me (Documentary), All My Children (ABC), Nike Commercial, NBA games (ESPN), The Four. Battle for Stardom (FOX), The Drop Cyle 2 (Cartoon Network), The Bachelor And Syndicated Productions-Inc, and Outfoxxed with Jamie Foxx, to name but a few.”

The success helped Mgido to establish Zimbabwe’s first cosmetics firm, Jacque Mgido Cosmetics, formerly Vault Cosmetics. The internationally recognised make-up brand has a full range of cosmetics products that were created for women that are looking to enhance their features, educate themselves, and understand why they are wearing make-up.

“Ten years ago I decided to take my blessing and knowledge back home to Zimbabwe and start the first Zimbabwean make-up line and train women on how to thread eyebrows and apply make-up on themselves as well as others. We came in the country at a time when there were international brands that only the high class could afford and this was not reachable to every woman. My brand has made make-up to be accessible to all women,” she said.

“We have empowered women to also want to see an avenue in revenue through doing make-up, understanding that it is not only putting-on make-up on themselves but also doing make-up on somebody that will give them revenue. Right now in Zimbabwe there are quite a number of make-up artists that are working and providing for their families.”

The make-up artist has accomplished a reputable make-up line which has expanded internationally, selling in the US, Australia, and UK. It is also in one of the biggest international retail cosmetic stores called ‘Lintons Beauty World’ in Kenya. Mgido acknowledges the pivotal role played by social media in nourishing the growth of her make-up brand.

“My online business has gone up and the brand is now more exposed internationally. In Zimbabwe my team has become more creative digitally. Since my brand is all about education, I want women to understand why they are wearing make-up. Currently, during this quarantine period we have been home full time and because we have access to the internet and different social media platforms we have been having one on one online tutorials with our clients,” she said.

“Finding out why they wear a specific type of make-up and guiding them to what will be comfortable for their faces, personalities, careers and lifestyles. That alone shares much about the fundamentals of what a make-up tutorial is.”

The Zimbabwean make-up artist continues to get international recognition for her superior skill in beautifying products. In 2016 she was featured on BBC World News and she is the only black African make-up artist in the “Local IATSE Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild”, an elite union based in the US that was put together by highly recognised make-up artists and hair stylists that work in big movies.

“It is an honour to be part of the union because this is an opportunity for us to be nominated for prestigious awards like the Oscars as well as the Emmy and be recognised for understanding different types of make-ups with different types of genres. The only way to know how to do special make-up for TV and editorial is by working in the different make-up sectors,” she said.

Mgido is surely making strides internationally as a sought-after make-up artist and an owner of a make-up brand that is coming up with amazing different types of make-up products. Her illustrious work is a testimony of how she is leading the way.

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