I read with utmost disdain some few weeks ago, how a fellow Makeup Artist was maltreated and traumatized by a client to whom she went to offer her services. I was furious. I was livid. In fact, words fail me right now to really convey the exact emotion I felt that day up till this day on this issue. Too many questions went through my mind as to why, how and what exactly happened to this colleague of mine. I mean, it could have been any of us that had to go through all that harrowing experience. I knew I had to lend my voice to this but how could I? My laptop had been ruined in a house flood incident from a few days back.
For the purpose of clarity, the client in question is a lady. She is a big name, those we can classify as the "high and mighty", that believe they are above the law. The day the reports came in, I learnt that the MUA was beaten,strangled and traumatized for over 1 hour at her client's house on her orders.The client insisted she use water to wash her face and proceed to do the makeup after such a harrowing experience.She begged and pleaded for her life before she was let go. Just imagine the nerve of it.
The verbal abuses MUAs have to go through most times is better imagined than experienced. In my few years of work, I have encountered negative attitudes, snide remarks and outright outburst meted out by clients or their family and friends who turned themselves to "Voltrons". Let me just say I have been lucky, it has never escalated to violence. I have had bridesmaids who weren't part of the agreement come up to me boldly to say: "Ah Ah, is it not just makeup? Just touch our faces." In my mind I am thinking: Yea right, I know its makeup! If I whip out my brushes and give you products, will you be able to create that "just makeup"? I calmly decline and explain to them that I am here on a binding agreement. You then need to see their reactions. It ranges from inaudible swear words to stern look on their faces to hurtful words saying how mean you are or outright making your job more difficult than it already is. If its someone that has a lot of influence on your client, she will make sure she finds fault in all you do to even punish you further. In all of this, the client may not even bother explaining to her friends or bridesmaids as the case may be to be calm. The MUA takes all the heat.
You book an appointment with your Makeup Artist and on that day, the MUA makes it on time only for her clients to delay her for hours. When the MUA complains, you talk her down because you think you hired her services and in your mind her entire being, so as such she has no right to complain. Do you own her? Can you try that with the caterers or other event vendors? Hell no you can't, because the food may come after all your guests have left. Better still, you may get into your reception venue and find decorators still on their ladders.
Are you still one of those that treat MUAs as people who are into the industry as their last resort? Brace up for this, that MUA who just did your last makeup and you probably talked down on, may just have more academic qualifications than you do. A lot of us are into this profession for the sheer passion of it. Most Nigeria MUAs are trained engineers, lawyers, business administrators, nurses to mention but a few. Without trying to sound immodest here, I am an example and I know many more.
Fast forward to a few days later, fresh facts emerged from this particular case. Mrs. Funke Tonye Prefaghari, a fellow MUA, Beauty retailer and an MAGN Executive, who had been following up on this matter had this to say: "Special thanks to all who sent out the word about this awful situation that happened.Glad to report that the police was seriously involved and the female DPO in charge after reviewing all the evidence and testimonies of all those involved was able to resolve this matter.Thank you to all those who offered their legal services.The MUA is still recovering from the physical assault but has been given a clean bill of health.To also clear the air,the beating started when the client claimed the MUA didn't immediately greet her on entering her residence.Witness testified she greeted but the client didn't hear.Greeting or not,didn't warrant slaps,hair dragging and punches to the eye.Thank you everyone and I pray we can all learn from this unfortunate situation.Please post and re post"
Did you read the above? Just imagine! Truth be told, I was even angrier the day I read the reason why the MUA was maltreated than the day I read about the physical assault proper. Madam "high and mighty", if you so love to be greeted, why not hire a "Greeter". Or better still, ask those your domestic staff who helped you carry out that brutal act to keep greeting you at intervals. What nonsense!! Don't get me wrong, I am a well mannered and trained young Igbo lady but there are some things I can't stand. Madam "high and mighty" probably felt the MUA was beneath her in social strata, so she can afford to treat her however she deems fit. What am I even talking about? This woman has a torture room in her house!!
What happened to calmly saying: Ah my dear, this one you didn't greet, did you forget? Or even out rightly admonishing her that she didn't greet. Infact, the best option in my opinion would have been to greet the MUA and if she truly didn't greet, she will snap back to her senses if she forgot. But no, Madam took the law into her hands.
Now that this case seems closed and undertakings signed, do you think its over? It may be over for Madam "High and Mighty" but the same may not be said of the MUA. The psychological trauma she may have to go through for a while, the physical pains, the names she may have been called in the process of the torture and the pleas for her life may continue to ring a bell in her mind for a long time. She may even decide to stop taking home service jobs because of the trauma. Even if she's a toughie, she may need quite some time to recover from all those.
If you are guilty of verbal, physical abuse or refusal to pay MUAs after a job, please desist. The Makeup Artists Guild of Nigeria(MAGN) won't take that lightly with you. To the Makeup Artist reading this, what are you waiting for? Click HERE to read up about the MAGN and how to join. You can also email me if you need more clarification.
To read my fellow Bloggers/MUAs take on this and how to be security conscious while on a job:
Read Yemisi's post on this: Click here
Read Chinazor's post on this: Click here
Mrs. Funke Tonye Prefaghiri has this advice for us all:
MUAs learn from this,this period where it looks like there are so many random people calling for your services,make sure someone knows where you are. The days are evil,it's no longer business as usual.Infact we should now start learning to protect ourselves. Post and repost so a life is spared.The Guild will pursue all powers within our reach to bring an end to this. Muas need to come together to overcome these challenges instead of fighting each other within. The enemy is out there.STOP THE VIOLENCE!!!!!!
MUAs in Nigeria have worked hard to be where they are today. I chose to be a Makeup Artist and I'm happy with that choice. I know I am happy and fulfilled in all of my brow-shaping, brush-flipping, sanitary-practicing, kit-carrying, face-sculpting, gele-tying glory. Anyone that has a problem with that can suck it.
Over and out.