Hey guys, you’re going to have to bear with me for a while. I’ll probably babble on for a while but then i’ll get to the point in the end, eventually, I hope!
As strange as it sounds, I hate wearing makeup!!! Hmm ok, maybe that’s a little bit too strong perhaps I should say, I HATE seeing colour on my face.
You can laugh all you like or scratch your head, but as the old saying goes, a mechanic’s car is always run down and a builders home is always like a construction site. You’ll find that sometimes, alot of makeup artists or hairdressers actually can’t be bothered with themselves half the time.
But, when I first discovered makeup, it was a beautiful treasure trove, calling out to me, it wanted to caress my face, embrace me, it demanded my attention and wanted me to give myself without reservation to our relationship.
If you’ve ever worked in the cosmetics industry, working in a store for any of the major brands you’ll know that in order to even get your foot through the door, you have to look the part. You sell yourself. (Get your mind out of the gutters) – Your face is your main canvas, your style and creativity are your walking talking portfolio. Shoppers make a beeline for someone who’s makeup they like. It’s as simple as that. If they see someone who’s makeup looks like something they’d like themselves, then they’re likely to come straight over to you and avoid anyone who’s makeup isn’t quite what they’re looking for. Some want an artist who has glamorous makeup and others want an artist who’s makeup is quite subdued yet perfectly applied. It all comes down to personal choice.
And boy oh boy, I was the adventurous type. Even when I when I was working on counters who didn’t (at the time) cater for shades for those of a darker skin tone, I would mix & match to find shades to play with, wearing eyeshadow on my lips and attracting new customers their way. I think back on my time in store with much fondness 🙂 I mean, I worked in Selfridges before MAC and Illamasque were even there, we’re talking about the mid to late 90s baby!
However, if you ask any of my family and friends, they’ll cry laughing telling you about all my “interesting” looks. But I don’t care, I had fun and I was an Artiste!! (Or as my dad calls me Artiste Koko.. bless he truly thought I was mad he probably regretted sending his kids to England lol) I was Gaga before she’d ever held a microphone.. Beyonce, Rhianna, Kelis & Nikki had nothing on me! I came from the Lil Kim original era. In fact, Kim used to call me for advice. Hehe Luckily there aren’t alot of photographs left in existence of me during this time. I went through every hair colour you could possibly think of and match my make-up to go with it. And i’m seriously not over exaggerating, I remember bleaching my eyebrows to match my blonde hair. Dying my hair a mixture of Navy Blue at the Back with Turquoise in the front, to compliment my blue & silver eyeshadow / lipstick (I just had to match my uniform on counter). I would wear my signature dots out during the day or night and these later became known as “The Mark of Lollie” at fashion shows. If you saw a model on stage, you knew I had been there.
Launching the Iman Counter In Selfridges (1997)
Blonde Hair with matching Eyebrows & Lipstick
My Lilac & Purple Phase (1998)
Hair, Eyebrows, Eyeshadow, Lipstick & Nails all had to match
DISCLAIMER: I guess now would be a good time to apologise to my older sister Buki for the blue lipstick I wore as a bridesmaid at her wedding. I will not be posting pics from that Album. But what can I say, I got carried away in true Nigerian style coordinating my outfit with all my accessories. *oops* and yes I know I have a personal campaign against the use of burgundy liners on eyebrows but mine were artistic and matched my hair. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway, after truly exhausting the entire colour spectrum I guess you could say I became well truly exhausted!
You see the problem is, my mother is a real lady. The type that would never be caught seen in public without her lipstick on. I grew up always being told to make sure if you were going out you were wearing a presentable pair of knickers and a fresh face of makeup. You simply didn’t know who you might bump into, even if you’re only on your way to the shops?! Case in point was yet again proven today when I agreed to drop her to the bank. I refused to change out of my pyjamas opting for a long trenchcoat to cover my sins.. much to my mother’s disappointment.. ((well I wasn’t getting out of the car!)) But yes.. mother dear.. had to go and slap on some good old lippy. It’s just not acceptable otherwise!
Then one day I woke up and I couldn’t bear to see the colours on my face any longer. I think this was around the time when I established myself on my own as a freelancer. I no longer had to work in store and prance around like a peacock. I had a portfolio and I could let that speak for itself. My face was now free.. freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
The funniest thing however, growing up I wouldn’t be caught dead with black hair and no matter how much my long term boyfriend pleaded with me there was no way on this God’s Earth that I would wear Red Lipstick!!!!!! I mean.. seriously, any time I ever tried I ‘d walk past any mirrored surface and just see these lips jumping out at me. It was hideous.
But as time went on, I became more and more comfortable with my own eclectic style. On one hand I was a crazy hip-hop/rock loving tomboy and on the other I felt as though I’d been born in the wrong time, the 1920s-50s held such a magnetic pull. The glamour, the sophistication, housewives in heels & tea dresses vs burlesque performers in tightly bound corsets, stockings and feather boas. We grew up watching all the classic MGM movies. Musicals, love stories the glitz and glam of the Golden Age of Cinema. My younger sister and I would dance around the house singing Jazz & Blues classics but when we left the house, it was back to the modern day world.
The day I made the decision to dye my hair black, I think my mother was afraid I’d decided to join a cult or become a goth.
You’d be surprised how much the colour of your hair can change your features. At times, it also changes your entire wardrobe. It’s not easy to pull off certain outfits when you have Pink, Green or Blue hair. Alot of people associate blonde with glamour, blonde is probably the most sought out shade in the world, that’s why alot of people tend to go lighter during the summer as gold/bronze shades look great in the sun. Pinks and reds need to be carefully chosen to suit this look but they can lend an edge to create classic timeless beauty.
But the great news is that with black hair, everything goes!! Dark Brown/Black hair has traditionally been associated with mysterious, exotic, sensual screen goddesses. Intellect vs Bimbos (eek I didn’t mean that.. heheh.. I meant blondes are meant to be more fun, alluring & desireable) so imagine Elizabeth Taylor vs Marilyn Monroe or Scarlett Johansson vs Angelina Jolie (or maybe I should have said Jennifer Aniston heheh).
Or just Nicki Minaj -vs- Nicki Minaj (lol)
(What-e-vaa Nicki.. i’ve so been there done that in the 90s.. yawn.. lol)
Black Hair, Red Lips, dark brows and a healthy dose of liquid liner dates all the way back to my favourite period (see i’m tying it all up together, bear with me). It’s such a classic, simple yet striking look. It screams Old World Glamour, Burlesque!
The dark liner is further emphasised by wearing a soft highlighting shade along the lower lid. It’s a simple look and gives you instant WOW factor without having to wear too much makeup. I can put my hand on my heart and say that this, this simple look is where I feel most at home. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but it’s a rut i’m quite happy in. You can always count on a signature red lipstick. And there really is a shade out there to suit all tones. (If you don’t believe me you can check out our guide to finding the right shade for you here )
On a day to day basis, the effort to put on makeup other than my usual base, blush & liquid liner is more than I can muster. I now have my routine down to about 10 minutes, start to finish, and I can do it in a moving car or while walking out of the house (or just before I walk into a meeting). So I love the simplicity of day to night by the quick sweep of a bold shade on my lips (my mother would be proud of me). A sexy red or a fushia pink (for a more modern take on the classic look), can never go wrong. Oh and of course, finished off with a pair of stunning lashes and VOILA.. you instantly feel transformed.
Ive been asked quite a few times and my answer is usually always the same. Who is my style icon? Well Dita Von Teese of course! *swoon* She embodies the very essence of Burlesque. 1950s style at its finest. Give me a beautiful corset and a touch of red lipstick and I feel like i’ve been transported back in time. Why can’t I do the washing up and dust the house perfectly made up and wearing a pair of killer heels?! I’d love to be transported to a time where Audrey Hepburn ate Breakfast at Tiffanys and when Barbara Strisand came swooning down the stairs being serenaded to “Hello Dolly”.
Afterall, I’ve grown up having strangers randomly sing the lyrics of either Barry Manilow “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl” or the Kinks “Lola.. lo lo lo lo Looola” immediately after we’re introduced. Apparently with my name comes great responsibility to live up to. But I prefer a song which many don’t know. It’s an old song and my Uncle always sang it to me “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…”
I think I could get used to this.
The stunning Dita Von Teese
Oh yeah.. before I forget, I guess I should add a couple of photos of me to finish things off.
Black & Yellow, Black & Yellow.. heheh
Although…..I can’t promise I won’t get bored and dye my hair bright pink again some day soon!
I do still like to rebel against the norm now and again *wink*
I WILL BE BACK