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    Feyzo: The Makeup Artist Shaping Some Of Nollywood’s Iconic New Age Characters

    Every year actors are recognised for their work and contribution to the film industry because of how well they can translate written characters to the onscreen characters we have grown to love, but barely any attention is given to the artists who make sure the scripts written are properly interpreted into these characters that these actors embody. Those were the thoughts in my head when I saw the beauty that was showcased through costume and makeup in the Jade Osiberu’s film ‘Ayinla’. The creative behind the outstanding work that channelled the average person in Abeokuta in the 1980s was Feyisayo Ogundipe.

    From the makeup technique to the attention paid to the makeup trends of the season, everything was impeccable, and she has not only done it on ‘Ayinla’, but she has also done it on several films. When Sola Sobowale, in the first episode of King of Boys: The Return Of The King, self-inflicted pain on herself as punishment for not protecting her children, the scene was made more powerful with the physical representation of the depth of Oba’s pains with the redness of her eyes properly depicting it. In the same episode, when Charlie Boy was brutalising his subjects, the scene was further enhanced with the graphic depiction of the victims’ pain as his nails were removed. Feyzo’s team were behind the effect as she participated on the project as SFX support. We also cannot forget how throughout the film her makeup game was top-notch and at par with the regality of her costumes.

    “Being able to turn the words that I read in these scripts into something that others can watch on screen, that’s the most exciting thing about working on a film,” Feyisayo, the special effects makeup artist behind some of Nigeria’s biggest blockbusters told me on Friday, May 26, 2023, when we spoke on a Zoom call on her contribution to the film industry since she ventured into the space decades ago.

    Since she emerged in the industry in 2016 – a lot has changed. The Nollywood industry, which generated about N4.3 billion in 2017 in movie production to the Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) of Nigeria, generated close to N6.4 billion in 2022. The industry is growing, and corporations and individuals are investing to harness the talent and help tell the Nigerian story better with the help of our talents.

    However, long before streaming services like Netflix and Showmax invested in Nollywood, these creatives struggled. “When I first got into film, you could not speak directly to the director. We were at the very bottom of the food chain right after production assistants. Back then, we were badly paid, and badly treated. Things are a lot better now,” she told me. Despite the challenges, she thrived.

    Regardless of expertise, Feyisayo could channel the look of a modern contemporary woman with her makeup and special effect abilities as she did on Kayode Kasum’s Kambili with stars like Sharon Ooja and Nancy Isime; she could go back in history and successfully depict and represent how makeup should look like in the 1980s like on Omowunmi Dada, and Jumoke Odetola faces on Ayinla; and she could delve properly and deliver horrific looks with her work as she did on Dare Olaitan’s ‘Ile Owo.’ In simple words, her talent is limitless, and so is her ability to seek knowledge to achieve her artistic goals.

    Born in Ibadan, Oyo state, on August 3 in the early 90s, Feyisayo had always fancied herself a creative entity. Whether it was as a Visual Artist or as a Painter, her love for painting and drawing at eight years old led her to want to take up the profession in the future.

    Every year actors are recognised for their work and contribution to the film industry because of how well they can translate written characters to the onscreen characters we have grown to love, but barely any attention is given to the artists who make sure the scripts written are properly interpreted into these characters that these actors embody. Those were the thoughts in my head when I saw the beauty that was showcased through costume and makeup in the Jade Osiberu’s film ‘Ayinla’. The creative behind the outstanding work that channelled the average person in Abeokuta in the 1980s was Feyisayo Ogundipe.

    From the makeup technique to the attention paid to the makeup trends of the season, everything was impeccable, and she has not only done it on ‘Ayinla’, but she has also done it on several films. When Sola Sobowale, in the first episode of King of Boys: The Return Of The King, self-inflicted pain on herself as punishment for not protecting her children, the scene was made more powerful with the physical representation of the depth of Oba’s pains with the redness of her eyes properly depicting it. In the same episode, when Charlie Boy was brutalising his subjects, the scene was further enhanced with the graphic depiction of the victims’ pain as his nails were removed. Feyzo’s team were behind the effect as she participated on the project as SFX support. We also cannot forget how throughout the film her makeup game was top-notch and at par with the regality of her costumes.

    “Being able to turn the words that I read in these scripts into something that others can watch on screen, that’s the most exciting thing about working on a film,” Feyisayo, the special effects makeup artist behind some of Nigeria’s biggest blockbusters told me on Friday, May 26, 2023, when we spoke on a Zoom call on her contribution to the film industry since she ventured into the space decades ago.


    Since she emerged in the industry in 2016 – a lot has changed. The Nollywood industry, which generated about N4.3 billion in 2017 in movie production to the Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) of Nigeria, generated close to N6.4 billion in 2022. The industry is growing, and corporations and individuals are investing to harness the talent and help tell the Nigerian story better with the help of our talents.

    However, long before streaming services like Netflix and Showmax invested in Nollywood, these creatives struggled. “When I first got into film, you could not speak directly to the director. We were at the very bottom of the food chain right after production assistants. Back then, we were badly paid, and badly treated. Things are a lot better now,” she told me. Despite the challenges, she thrived.

    Regardless of expertise, Feyisayo could channel the look of a modern contemporary woman with her makeup and special effect abilities as she did on Kayode Kasum’s Kambili with stars like Sharon Ooja and Nancy Isime; she could go back in history and successfully depict and represent how makeup should look like in the 1980s like on Omowunmi Dada, and Jumoke Odetola faces on Ayinla; and she could delve properly and deliver horrific looks with her work as she did on Dare Olaitan’s ‘Ile Owo.’ In simple words, her talent is limitless, and so is her ability to seek knowledge to achieve her artistic goals.

    Born in Ibadan, Oyo state, on August 3 in the early 90s, Feyisayo had always fancied herself a creative entity. Whether it was as a Visual Artist or as a Painter, her love for painting and drawing at eight years old led her to want to take up the profession in the future.

    “I used to draw cartoons, I’ll take a comic book and recreate the comics in it and paint it. I’ve always been artistic, always been creative, and I believe it was when I graduated from secondary school that I turned that creativity and that desire to paint into makeup artistry.”

    Living with her parents, who believed in the expressiveness of their six children while raising them to love books and music, also increased Feyisayo’s love for art as she got to learn about art from people close to her, considering the fact that her father was a music director for 30 years before he passed at age 55. Her dream was simple – she wanted to explore the excitement that came with art.

    However, special effects makeup artistry was not exactly a profession you could study in school realistically during her time. “Back in my day, it was not a thing to consider as a course. In the early 20s or early 2000s or the late 90s you were either a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I mean, my older sister was studying Theater Arts at OAU, but I didn’t think I even considered it.”


    Although she wished she had considered Theatre Arts, during the time she didn’t, which led her to apply for a medical course that led her to write JAMB five times before she eventually gained admission into Bowen University to study Sociology. She said; “I say this very lightly when I say the memories are traumatic because I wrote JAMB too much in my opinion. I wrote JAMB five times, and I started writing in SS2.”

    Thinking of it in a positive light, if she had not gone to Bowen at the time she would have not had a friend gush about how their second semester holiday was spent on a movie set with her sister, who also happened to be a special effect makeup artiste. In Feyisayo’s words, she was fascinated by her friend’s narration.

    “I hounded her throughout the semester, and as we were parting ways, I was like I want to do this. I don’t think she even remembers that that is how I got into film to start with.”

    Months later, during her 200-level-long break with the help of her friend’s sister, Titi Aluko, she got to intern on the set for the African Magic Series, ‘Edge of Paradise.’ From then on she practised regular makeup alongside special effects as she taught herself and improved by interning and working on smaller projects before her big break in 2013.

    Before she served in 2008, she had worked in multiple banks where she had tried very hard to get into the Corporate Communications side of the system but wasn’t offered a position. She had also worked at an advertising agency where she loved the job but not the working environment. In the middle of that job-searching, she still found time for her bridal makeup, and makeup tutorials as she worked on fashion shows.

    In 2013, everything, however, took a different turn as she decided to focus on her craft as a makeup artist, but she still couldn’t settle on it as she thought, “the circumstances at the time did not look like you can just sit down and do makeup,” she told me but to her, makeup had always been exciting. In the middle of the conversation, she remembers how she created her first gunshot wound without prior knowledge.

    “I recall that there was a gunshot wound that I created. I’d created it for the first time, I didn’t have a reference like a YouTube video to watch on how to create it. I just watched a movie where someone was shot, and I replayed it many times just to see how that wound looked. So I used cotton wool, and I used red nail polish to achieve that. I used lipstick as well to colour the cotton wool, then I used blood-red nail polish to serve as blood, and it looked great. I was getting so many accolades,” she recalled fondly.

    Years after exploring other options, she finally decided to commit as she worked on the set of the 2017 film Ajuwaya. Despite the challenge when it came to the take-home offer of a makeup artist, she stuck through it. Although, she revealed that things have gotten so much better in the industry.

    “I honestly can’t remember how we survived in those days but we made it work. I mean from those days when you cannot even really express your creativity or you couldn’t really share your opinion to these days we’re getting AMVCA nominations, we’re getting awards, we’re getting fairly good recognition.”

    Feyisayo had been nominated in the Best Makeup and Special Effects category at the 2023 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) for the 2022 film Ile Owo. Although she did not win the category, the recognition in itself is not a small feat considering the prestige of the Pan-African Award show in African film.

    “Awards are recognitions of the importance of the Makeup Department in filmmaking. So they’re like thank you for your contribution to the industry to the making of a movie.

    Aside from getting accolades for their work, Feyisayo disclosed that the payment has gotten a lot better. From 2016 till now, she disclosed there is a 400% increase in her pay, although it’s not enough for the work they do and the brilliance of their works as special effects makeup artists, the industry is finally paying attention to its creatives.

    “Considering what obtains in Hollywood and even South Africa, considering what obtains in other parts of the world, payments can be a lot better. What we get paid and what Hollywood makeup artists get paid are worlds apart, even South African makeup artists what they get paid are worlds apart.”

    The question begging for an answer is why are we still struggling to catch up with the world in regards to pay when Nollywood is reportedly the second biggest film industry in the world? Regardless, Feyisayo is content and committed to giving 100% with every production she gets to work with.

    Every year actors are recognised for their work and contribution to the film industry because of how well they can translate written characters to the onscreen characters we have grown to love, but barely any attention is given to the artists who make sure the scripts written are properly interpreted into these characters that these actors embody. Those were the thoughts in my head when I saw the beauty that was showcased through costume and makeup in the Jade Osiberu’s film ‘Ayinla’. The creative behind the outstanding work that channelled the average person in Abeokuta in the 1980s was Feyisayo Ogundipe.
    From the makeup technique to the attention paid to the makeup trends of the season, everything was impeccable, and she has not only done it on ‘Ayinla’, but she has also done it on several films. When Sola Sobowale, in the first episode of King of Boys: The Return Of The King, self-inflicted pain on herself as punishment for not protecting her children, the scene was made more powerful with the physical representation of the depth of Oba’s pains with the redness of her eyes properly depicting it. In the same episode, when Charlie Boy was brutalising his subjects, the scene was further enhanced with the graphic depiction of the victims’ pain as his nails were removed. Feyzo’s team were behind the effect as she participated on the project as SFX support. We also cannot forget how throughout the film her makeup game was top-notch and at par with the regality of her costumes.


    From the makeup technique to the attention paid to the makeup trends of the season, everything was impeccable, and she has not only done it on ‘Ayinla’, but she has also done it on several films. When Sola Sobowale, in the first episode of King of Boys: The Return Of The King, self-inflicted pain on herself as punishment for not protecting her children, the scene was made more powerful with the physical representation of the depth of Oba’s pains with the redness of her eyes properly depicting it. In the same episode, when Charlie Boy was brutalising his subjects, the scene was further enhanced with the graphic depiction of the victims’ pain as his nails were removed. Feyzo’s team were behind the effect as she participated on the project as SFX support. We also cannot forget how throughout the film her makeup game was top-notch and at par with the regality of her costumes.

    “Being able to turn the words that I read in these scripts into something that others can watch on screen, that’s the most exciting thing about working on a film,” Feyisayo, the special effects makeup artist behind some of Nigeria’s biggest blockbusters told me on Friday, May 26, 2023, when we spoke on a Zoom call on her contribution to the film industry since she ventured into the space decades ago.Since she emerged in the industry in 2016 – a lot has changed. The Nollywood industry, which generated about N4.3 billion in 2017 in movie production to the Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) of Nigeria, generated close to N6.4 billion in 2022. The industry is growing, and corporations and individuals are investing to harness the talent and help tell the Nigerian story better with the help of our talents.

    However, long before streaming services like Netflix and Showmax invested in Nollywood, these creatives struggled. “When I first got into film, you could not speak directly to the director. We were at the very bottom of the food chain right after production assistants. Back then, we were badly paid, and badly treated. Things are a lot better now,” she told me. Despite the challenges, she thrived.

    Bis

    Nancy Isime for Obara’m. Makeup by Feyzo.
    NANCY ISIME FOR OBARA’M. MAKEUP BY FEYZO.
    “I like the creativity that it demands from you because sometimes you’ll be working and your plan will just go south because everybody is waiting for you and there’s one thing about the movie Industry, Nollywood, I found that they want you to create magic in the shortest amount of time. So you want me to create an amputee in the shortest time possible? Those periods force creativity out of you. It might be tiring, but it’s so fulfilling. Creativity that you must churn out at speed as it is required.”

    For her creating a character out of a script is incredible. The collaboration between the costume person, the Arts director, the production designer, the director, and every other person coming together to tell a story, to create a movie is art in itself. The excitement of seeing how far clothes and makeup can go in creating an entirely new personality is enthralling. All that matters on set is the character, their backstory, the colours the character would love, and the ones they would hate, what matters is the big picture.So, whether she is working on sets like Ajuwaya or she is working for big productions like King of Boys, the storytelling is all that matters, and we are indeed looking forward to what more she has to say with her artistry.

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