Windhoek - The first glance of her work will make one think it has been done by someone who has a PHD in prosthetics or special effects make-up (SFX).
Her art, which is mostly inspired by horror movies, appear so real even after several close up looks.
The world has heard about African SFX makeup artists such as Fredrick Kariuki and Grace Murema from Kenya.
Today, the Southern African region on social media seems to be falling in love with Zambian SFX makeup artist, Naomi Phiri (22), who is from Lusaka.
Phiri grew up playing with dolls and make-up which made her fall in love with beauty and make-up in general. However, while growing up, she developed an interest in SFX make-up which was inspired by her love for horror and thriller movies.
“I am intrigued by how SFX make-up artists do their work in horror and thriller movies. They actually create an image that seems as if someone is really hurt. As such, I took it upon myself to learn on YouTube how SFX is done, and I am still learning more to advance myself.
“As much as people say I am good with the images, my dream is to make make-up my career, go abroad and learn more of special effects on a professional level. I feel I still have a long way to go,” said Phiri.
She said initially, she would just watch the YouTube tutorials but had no resources to try it out. It was only a year and a few months ago that she started doing practical tutorials.
“The first time I did SFX make-up, I was really afraid to post the look on social media because I felt it was not good enough to be seen by people. It took me weeks to post it and when I actually posted it, I got a good response from people who saw my work. So I continued with different types of images and more people started following what I was doing that really motivated me into doing more and here I am today,” said Phiri.
“As much I have always had interest and the passion for SFX, it was really hard to start doing it because I never had the right products to use, so one day I just started watching some short SFX tutorials on simple Halloween looks using what I could find in the kitchen. I was really surprised and happy as I started that same day to make some products for myself. So I started making my own scar wax, my own blood, and for some other look, I would use gelatine, school glue, all that, and some eyeshadows. I still do the same up till today which only goes to show that if you are determined you can do anything.”
Phiri’s favourite SFX make-up artists are Doug Morrow and Lola Maja Okojevoh. She mostly loves their work on The Curse of Chucky and Mr Bowen respectively.
“I love Okojevoh and I would love to meet her one day and work with her on something. She is one of the best in Africa in my opinion.
“My journey in SFX is developing positively, I am part of a Zambian short film project which I can’t wait to begin. The film is actually my first and I believe it is an opening to more and much greater projects.”
It is Phiri’s dream to also advance her skills professionally in cinema make-up school in Los Angeles, California. It is her dream to learn more about prosthetic make-up on casting and thus she is believing in God for a scholarship that will see her attending such a school.
The 22-year-old talent fell in love with beauty make-up when she was a toddler where her father used to buy her dolls and doll make-ups.
“My dad knew how much I loved make-up and when he bought the kits for me, it was indeed my happy place. I thank God for the ability that he gave me of being creative and versatile. Besides SFX, I also do professional beauty make-up, nails and hairdressing,” she said.