A Yemeni Make-up Artist, Mona Almutawakel, with Black Camel

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Black Camel: Tell us about being a make-up artist in Yemen? Does the society appreciate your job? How long you have been an artist? Who else are your clients?
Mona Almutawakel (MA): It is true that you don’t find many talented make-up artist in Yemen, which makes it a unique job to do. Being a make-up artist in Yemen has also made me feel in some way unique because it is a job that has its own taste and talent. I agree that it was kind of difficult for me at the beginning of my career as a make-up artist because the Yemeni Society is more of a closed society. But I can tell you now that the society is very much appreciating my job and many people are trying to approach me for my services and also my experience. Many people want to learn from me which makes me believe that the make-up industry will have a future in Yemen. For me I have been loving make-up since my childhood but I have been in this professional career for four years now. I have many clients mainly in the media production industry.

Black Camel:  I know that you were the artist for the 2010 fashion show in Sana. how did you get involved? and what happen to the fashion design field in Yemen now? Do you see it becoming an important field?
MA: Ya that is true I really was the artist for Sana’a fashion show 2010. At that time, a fashion designer, who is the director of the show, asked me to be the artist of the show. Fashion design field in Yemen has always been important but in different ways. Before, people focused in pure Yemeni fashion and designs and they used to compete in this direction. Now people start to adopt ideas and fashion from outside of Yemen. New designs are coming into Yemen from all over the world and fashion is becoming part of the Yemenis people life.

Black Camel: What is your relationship with BOUSHRA AL-MUTAWAKEL? And what do you think of her and her influence as a woman artist on you?
MA: When you mention this name to me you make my heart smile, Bushra is not just a cousin to me, She is a sister, a friend and much more than that. She was the first one who stood next to me and made me take the first step into my career. Without her strong support and positive influence I would have never reached to where I am today in the Make-Up world. I really want to take this opportunity and thank her for everything. Thank you Bushra.

Black Camel: What are some of the differences you see between makeup styles in the west and in the Middle East/Yemen? And why do you think this is?
MA: Each part of the world have its own civilizations and cultures and this is reflected in everything even in the make-up. If you compare the middle east in general to the west you will find that in the Middle East make-up is used more heavily. People in the Middle East spend more money in make-up products where in the West they use simple make-up. You can not say that one or the other is right. It is just a matter of cultures and civilizations as I mentioned before. And again it is not a rule and different people have different tastes so you can also find people use heavy make-up in the West and vice verse.

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Mona participates in various projects other such as this project portrays the civilians in the war zone with Abdulrahman Jaber.

Black Camel: Where do you find inspiration and are there any make-up artists out there who inspire you? What do you think sets one makeup artist apart from another?
MA: I see inspiration in myself and in a bright future. There are many Make-up Artist inspired me but I am mostly inspired by Bassam Fattouh from Lebanon. I just admire his work and products. Another make-up artist is Promise Tamang Phan. I think she has a unique and special touches in her makeup. Each make-up artist has his/her own views and touches and many things can separate them from each other, such imagination, experience, and personality. All of these differentiate each artist from the other.

Black Camel: In your opinion, what are the most common makeup mistakes women make? Like the women in the wedding. Do you say that is the Yemeni women’s sense of beauty?
MA: I like this question. As you know that different people have different taste in  make-up so you cannot say that mistakes are common for everyone. However, there are some common mistakes that many women do such as :
– Increase or decrease the amount of make-up / foundation used.
– miss matching the color of the make-up used with the color of their skin.
– Use the wrong product
– miss use the make-up or implement it in the wrong order which affects the final result.

You can not say that all Yemeni Women have a special sense of beauty because each woman has her own different unique sense of beauty that people may like or not. However, for me I think that the Yemeni beauty is always a different beauty because it’s an original beauty.

Black Camel: Where do you see yourself in ten years? Will you own your studio?
MA: I do have a plan for my career and yes, I am planning to open my own studio in the future which will also contain a make-up academy to spread and teach make-up lessons. I would rather not talk a lot about my future plans because I would like to surprise people with my plans and not just talk about them before building them.

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