The art of making people look and feel beautiful

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 07 January 2018, 12:00AM

Not a lot of people know how much work it takes for a bride to look radiant and stunning on her wedding day. 

They don’t even now how our Miss Samoa stands out in a row of pageant beauties looking supernaturally beautiful. 

The truth is there is a team of image Consultants made up of hair, makeup and wardrobe Artists behind the scenes who have an eye for enhancing your best features and creating flawless illusions for those special events. 

To them, you are their canvas and their job is to help you put your best face forward.

Ella Mau, of “EBB Samoa Hair and Makeup” is a hair and makeup artist based out of her home studio in Vaivase-uta for the past three years. 

Last year she had the honour of travelling with Miss Samoa to the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in Fiji. Charged with ensuring that Miss Samoa looked polished, radiant and beautiful every single day for every different event, Ella had an experience of a lifetime.

“That was a really cool experience,” said Ella. 

“I was contacted by the S.E.I. committee to see if I was interested and available. This was an opportunity that any makeup artist would take up. I was really excited to be in the middle of all that. I just wanted to know what it would be like in the pageant and what the energy would be like, how the programme would be.”

A Makeup Artist is always taking into account a person’s features and personality when deciding on how to transform their client. 

Contrary to popular belief, crafting a “natural look” that will stand the test of bright lights, heat and cameras is a tough ask and one that takes an expertise of a makeup artist to create.

“I always try to take into account what the person likes for example, Miss Samoa, she’s naturally beautiful and her personal preference was less makeup. 

“For me I wanted to show a different side of her. Because when you think of pageants, you think of heavy makeup and so many products. I loved the fact that Miss Samoa doesn’t wear a lot of makeup and so I wanted to go with a more natural look and do something different at the Miss Pacific Islands. 

“My vision for her at the pageant was to make her look like her. And she wanted to look like her too. I don’t think anyone of us wanted to make her up to much and that’s what people loved about her there, she was just naturally beautiful and she didn’t need to look like a caked up beauty pageant queen.”

Ella is a self-taught makeup artist who grew up in Manuwera, Auckland, before she moved to Samoa three year ago after marrying her local husband. 

To her, self image and looking your best was something that was part of her upbringing that naturally grew into a love for hair and makeup artistry.

“From our mother and with my sisters, we were taught to look good where ever go. With church that’s where it started, we were taught to look our Sunday best and dress up in our prettiest dresses. It’s just normal to look our best. 

Makeup was always there. My mum used to put makeup on us for school photos or passport photos.

“In my personal opinion, our Samoan women already carry that confidence. I don’t think makeup is a big thing for our people but I know for some they enjoy it because it’s just a pampering thing for our girls and it’s just something we love to do.”

It started out as a hobby with Ella doing makeup and hair for her sisters, friends and eventually people started to pay her for services in Auckland. Moving here in 2014, Ella wasn’t sure what the market was like for makeup artists like her, but she was surprised to find that the demand was there and it hasn’t stopped growing since.

“The ladies here in Samoa like to dress up more,” she said. 

“It’s such a big thing here and you have to look good for every event and function which is good for us makeup artists. At the same time there is only a few of us around too and the work load is pretty full on. Every weekend I’m busy, I have a wedding every weekend and because I network with other makeup artists here on the island – I know that it’s the same with them.”

Ella works with various photographers on the island for many types of photo shoots as well and her artistic touch can be seen on models in pictorial spreads of Eveni Carruthers advertising. The world of Social media well has helped this makeup artist in marketing her services particularly for clients from overseas coming to Samoa for a big event.

“I think the demand has started growing in the past two years now that there are more of us doing it now. I was only doing it in the weekends and I think word of mouth here is a big thing. I think it’s more effective than social media. I think social media is more for international clients; the majority of my clients are international and mainly come from New Zealand and Australia.”

With Samoa becoming a more attractive destination for weddings, Ella doesn’t see the demand slowing down any time soon and according to her, hair and makeup artistry can be a lucrative career for an individual.

There is money to be made here in hair and makeup, the demand is really high. Between me and other makeup artists, we try and share clients or help with a large wedding party because the work load is full on. Just this past year alone, I was just so surprised at how many weddings take place every week. It really opened my eyes, it never slowed down. 

Realizing that the wedding market has a global value in the billions, Ella sees a need to expand her business in the near future with a focus on catering specifically to bridal parties and their preparations which is trend that is starting to pick up in countries like New Zealand and Australia.

“I would like to expand and add other services, but stay focused on bridal parties; I find there is a huge market for that here especially for people in the resorts who are always looking for hair and makeup artists, even the local market because there’s always someone getting married every week.”

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 07 January 2018, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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