In the early months of 2017, Babenextdoor, a school dropout was sitting in her living room when the thought of being an Instagram makeup artist came crawling by. The idea of starting a YouTube channel and becoming a professional makeup artist seemed doable but she was camera shy & she had no money to fund such an expensive dream. She began using the makeup of her mother and sister to practice on herself. While the quality did not feel great, it was the starting point in making her into the creative force she is today. She changed her Instagram handle to @babenexttdoor and noticed for a while that her engagement began to recede. That was not not unexpected because with every new venture, you have to hit the bottom to get to the top. A few months passed and the dream was just that, a dream until a friend introduced her to a studio to work for a while….
Did you like working in this studio?
I needed the experience/exposure but y’all know how it is when you work under a company, you end up getting used. We had a lot of target that helped you stretch your limits and also a platform for improvement. One of the target in this studio included having to market drinks. That part, I had no business doing but I was asked to go sell tiger-nut milk (kunu aya) on the street. I remember that day when I was on the street a man drove by and stopped to reach out to me and these were his words “fine girl why are selling drinks on the street, hop into my car my hotel is near by. I can take care of you” KWASIA! that was exactly what I felt like, tears just started rolling down my eyes because the humiliation was too much. After that incident, I packed my bags and I never came back and I decided to push babenexttdoor like never before.
What inspired the name babenexttdoor?
It may sound cheesy but what inspired my brand name was from the cartoon kids next door. I found a way to figure out the puzzle and make it work for my brand. I thought they is always a lady next door and every woman is a babe!
Why do you consider Makeup a science?
I consider makeup as a science because it’s a very intellectual and practical activity. Down from the structure of how makeup products are made, you know how you mix two chemicals for reactions or results? that is basically how I can mix my foundation and concealer to get a clean base. There is also a delicate yet triumphant process in blending colors of eye shadow to get my results. I see all of these as an experiment. As much as makeup is a science, there is also a huge part of art that drives me. Pop culture, fashion magazines, Pintrest & moodboards, fashion designers, beauty bloggers… the list goes on an on. there is an endless well of creative inspiration out there.
How long have you been in the business of beautifying others?
I started doing makeup on myself and on others sometime in 2017. So, it’s been about two years and then some.
What keeps you inspired?
I am inspired by a variety of people & things. God and his eye for beauty, music and other creative minds, and the nay sayers I have come across. My country Nigeria inspires me a whole lot because I need to create awareness that a different type of makeup should be embraced. Not a lot of makeup artist do what I do. It puts me in a place of leadership and as a leader, I am willing to go first just to let other creatives know that if I can do it they can too. Do you know vogue has made a lot of magazines in different parts of the world but none in the whole of Africa? isn’t that a sad news ? One day I would bring vogue to my country Nigeria! My dreams inspire me to put in the work.
How do you pick a Muse?
I Scout for my muses myself. Something about them has to inspire me and then I create a look based on the inspiration I get from what they look like.
You are so creative with your body pieces, do you work alone or do you have a team?
When it comes to my body pieces I work on them alone most of the time but I do have an assistant that comes in handy. So, incase my assistant is reading this, I appreciate you a lot.
How do you handle obstacles and setbacks?
I show up every single day regardless of whatever I am going through. I may not be at my best but I execute and execute until I am proud of myself.
Do you ever feel pressured to always create something better than your last creation?
Definitely, I am always pressured to do better. I am not sure whether that pressure is good or bad. There is just that intricate need to always try something new and before you know I have a moodboard of something extravagant. The bells go off in my head like can you pull this of? So yeah, the pressure is mostly within and every time I create, I relieve some of that pressure through my art.
What has been your favorite creation till date?
Okay that’s a hard one to choose because there are all precious to me. All of my limit stretching projects all have a sad story behind them, you might think I am a sadist but pain sometimes makes for the best art. I do not shy away from the parts of me that are sad, I use it to create something beautiful, I guess what I am trying to say is that I make my sadness work for me. My favorite art work is called the ELYSIUM PROJECT. The reason it’s so special to me is because I had no knowledge of what I was doing, I just wanted prove a point to myself. In seeking self validation, I ended up pushing through and I created a magical piece. It was a tough one because I was going through trial and error phase for a while. It is my favorite because it showed me I can really do anything I set my mind to.
Your art is quite unique, do you feel different because of it?
Yes that was the point, to be different. That’s my niche in life, I was always want to be outstanding. It is a trait I took from my father. I have never been comfortable in being second best so I push through till I am the best of the best. That is my journey to success, to be the best of the best ! and I am willing to put in a hundred and 20 percent!
Any word of advice for people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Yes, don’t be a victim of your talent. Talent doesn’t really mean anything if you don’t put in the extra work. Learn to regulate tv, sleep, and whatever unnecessary activity that takes meaningful time off your hands. Also, put in the money to fund your brand, it would pay off in a long run.
Do you feel accomplished?
I just started, as a matter of fact I feel like I am just about to start. I am no where near where God has designed for me. It’s all still a work in progress and I am grateful for the talent, the opportunity and the platform I have right now.
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