I emigrated from Tanzania at the age of 21 to gain some work experience in the UK. I was always passionate about fashion, hair and makeup so I started to do this for family members. My aunt advised me to start offering bridal services professionally. I was a little hesitant as I had never received any professional training in this field but equally, I was very passionate and creative. Hence, I decided to make a price list and few business cards using my nick name (Raks) as a business name and distributed it in the Belgrave area in Leicester. Soon I started getting bookings in Leicester and nearby cities. Although I didn’t drive then, clients were happy to organise my travel arrangements. As I began to gain experience in the industry, I grew more confident and created a website and invested in makeup brands like Estee Lauder, Clarins, YSL and MAC Cosmetics. I started to advertise my services in the Asian Magazines and participated in wedding exhibitions. I began to receive invitations to do make up for models at the high-end fashion shows at The NEC etc which helped me gain more experience.
A couple of years later, l had a breakthrough in my career as I was approached by AFM magazine, who were based in Manchester, to see if I wanted to work with them on a weekly basis. It was challenging as I was also in full time employment but managed to use my holidays to be able to do both as I was very excited and there weren’t any such opportunities in Leicester. These were long days as I used drive to Manchester and create at least seven different looks for each photo shoot.
This would either take place at the studio or at an outdoor location like the Trafford shopping centre, The Midland Hotel etc. Although this was an unpaid job, I embraced the opportunity to get my name out there, as each photo used in the magazine including the front and back covers had my name on it which was an overwhelming experience. It was also a great advertising platform for my business which I thoroughly enjoyed and am thankful for.
Since then I have done countless brides and wedding guests. I started travelling abroad and have done bridal make up in places like Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Nairobi, Fuerteventura, Barcelona, Tenerife, Las Palmas, Lanzarote and Malaga. The best part of this job is when you get recommended by previous clients and their friends and family. It’s a great feeling when you get returning clients because apart from a great catch up, it motivates me to go the extra mile for each of the bookings carried out. I take great pride in every client I help to prepare for their big day, and this is evident in my client testimonials.
Four years ago, I was the East Midlands winner of the British Asian Wedding Awards and, although that came as a shock, the love and support from clients was very overwhelming. Thereafter I have been nominated each year but in 2018 I once again won the East Midlands 3rd English Wedding Awards. I am also grateful to have won the best makeup artist in the East Midland category at 4th Asian Awards held in London in Feb 2020