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An African Minute: 5 Questions with Celebrity Makeup and Hair Stylist Jackie Mgido


In the past 10 years, Jackie Mgido, a native Zimbabwean, has worked as a makeup and hair stylist with celebrities such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Jamie Foxx, Jane Lynch, Gayle King, Snoop Dogg and too many others to count. As part of Okayafrica’s new series, “An African Minute,” we caught up with Jackie in New York City where she was working hair and makeup magic on Food Network star Lisa Lillien (aka Hungry Girl) to ask her 5 questions.

1. How did you get started in the makeup industry?

Being from Zimbabwe, my parents always wanted me to go to college and become a vet. Truth is I’ve always loved makeup, whereas my Dad hated it. He always thought that it was for women of the night. I used to put on makeup and he actually didn't notice that I had it on. After arriving in the United States I started working for a cosmetic company. It was my husband’s idea to move to California, where I attended MUD (Make Up Designery). Before you know it, I did my first gig in the industry and that's how it all began.

2. You worked with the very funny and talented Jane Lynch from Glee during her Emmy hosting stint, what was that experience like?

That woman is so amazing, patient and great. She knows what she wants and made things simple.  She's really professional and that pushed me to be as precise and as professional as possible. It was awesome, especially since she's the biggest thing out right now.  She's naturally funny. I had to  transform her into to a Jersey Shore/Real Housewives/Mafia Wives woman (photo in series below). That was awesome, I really loved that day. They cut out a lot of things, just her character alone "Donatella" would have been enough.

3. So you’ve worked with entertainers Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx and Lil Jon - all guys. Hold up! Men get their makeup done too? What do you do for them?

When anyone (male or female) is on television one of things you have to do is even out their skin tone. A lot of people don't realize that African American skin has a tendency of looking oily and ashy on film. If men have pimples its important is to even out their skin tone cause nobody wants to look at that (laughs). One of the people that has really great skin is John Legend. He's so cute and so polite, I love him. I also had to even out his skin tone. I’ve also worked with Sylvester Stallone and the thing with Sylvester is he's very red, so you don't want him to look that red on television, so you have to counterbalance that. There's a whole science behind it.

4. As an African woman, born in Zimbabwe, What would you say African attitudes are towards makeup?

The thing is, at home, it's not part of our culture. It’s associated with luxury, so we are not educated in that realm. It's funny, cause my Dad would say to me "Do you sell Mary Kary?" I'm not saying there's anything wrong with selling it but I would say "No Dad, I don't sell Mary Kay. I'm not getting the pink Cadillac" (laughs). A lot of people don't get what I do. They keep asking when they are going to see me  in the movies and I'm like “No, you don't understand, I make these people look presentable". I love doing special effects but I find that when I do them a lot of people don't quite understand it.  In Zimbabwe I see a lot of young people working with clay and it’s really special to me because I did a master’s program in that art form. I see the makeup industry  as a developing field for African youth especially for men, it's a big industry. I think what’s missing is the education behind it. If I could just go home and get all those artists to come to the United States and work, then perhaps the perceptions would change.

5. Do you find it difficult to balance being a mom to a beautiful 4 year old, a wife, and a career woman all the same time?

I don't think it's a matter of being difficult. It's about having a supportive spouse and knowing that each one has a dream and you have to live it so you don't regret it later. My husband is extremely supportive. So yes of course I do feel a certain amount of guilt leaving my daughter, but if Mommy's not happy then baby's not happy. So you need to make sure everyone is happy. Who's to say you can have a family and also live your life? Having a supportive spouse I can do both and it's great. I have a lot going on in my professional life. I'm working on a sizzle reel and I want people to know about makeup and get excited about it. I’m trying to pitch something to the networks and I'm really excited about. I'm also starting a lip liner line, I've noticed that what often happens is that these lip liners always come off. So I'm working with a company right now and we are creating a semi-permanent lip liner line. I'm also an educator at heart so you can always find me on YouTube educating people about the art of makeup.

Find out more about Jackie’s hair and makeup skills on her site.

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Bobi Wine's Release Detailed in Latest Episode of 'The Messenger'

Trauma is the topic on the podcast's latest episode: "The Ballot or The Bullet."

The latest episode of The Messenger is something to behold.

Created by Sudanese-American rapper Bas, The Messenger throws the spotlight on the thunderous circumstances many African countries face, with a close focus on Ugandan politician Bobi Wine.

In his most recent traumatic experience, Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi were released from a nearly two-week military house arrest following the ruling of a Ugandan court. Keeping up with current events and circumstances that Wine finds himself in, the latest episode of the podcast recounts the traumatic events that led to Wine's very public abuse and eventual house arrest.

Upon his release, Wine spoke with The Messenger and had this to say, "I want to remind the world that we went in this election knowing how corrupt the staff of the electoral commission is. We saw this through the campaign and the world saw how much was oppressed, how biased and one sided the electoral commission was, and how much it was in the full grip of General Museveni. And therefore we are going to test every legal test, we shall take every legal test. We shall take every legal step. And indeed we shall take every moral and morally proactive, nonviolent, but legal and peaceful step to see that we liberate ourselves. The struggle has not ended. It is just beginning."

Listen to Episode 7 of The Messenger here.

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