Allure Inspiring Woman of the week: Abisola Akintunde
Women have long been breaking barriers and redefining the professional and business landscapes globally, but in no era has their impact been more felt than in the last 20 years.
From medicine, robotics, astronautics to film, music, and makeup artistry, women have spread their tentacles of innovation, creativity and value to every profession, not merely as contributors to these fields, but also as Industry Leaders. Vanguard Allure (VA) woman, seeks to discover and celebrate Nigerian, African, and Black Women all over the world rising to the top of their Industries, and brining many more women along with them on their race to the top.
One of such women we’ll be celebrating this week is 28 Year old, Forbes 30 Under 30 Creative, Abisola Akintunde.
Who is Abisola Akintunde?
“Abisola Akintunde is a beauty professional and a graduate of English Language from the University of Ilorin. I am the first of four kids, and I grew up in a small town in Ondo State, Southwestern Nigeria.” You listen to Abisola’s simple and straightforward self-introduction and you wonder, or at the very least are amused at how someone goes from English Major to Professional Make-up artist. “Really, my professional career started in 2012, a year after my graduation from the University. I went on to train for a year in make-up artistry with Ewar Make-overs before going on to become a Make-up Artist with International Make-up Brand, Black-Up.”
That same year, Abisola’s career got another boost, when she landed a Job as a Make-up Artist with Africa Magic, the Continent’s largest movie network. At Africa Magic, where she worked between 2012 and 2015, she played make-up artist on set to a host of Africa’s top celebrities. “During my time at Africa Magic, I had the opportunity to work with a number of amazing Celebrities including; the Legendary Onyenka Onwenu, Shaffy Bello and Hip-Hop World Award Nominated Singer, Dare Art Alade. Currently, I work with Abimbola Craig of Skinny Girl in Transit, Sharon Ooja, Bisola Aiyeola and Jemima Osunde to name a few.”
After three years of working at Africa Magic, Abisola Akintunde made the bold decision to launch out on her own. In 2015, not only did Abisola open her flagship studio on Toyin Street in Ikeja, she took a bold step, extending her professional portfolio to include the title of make-up product manufacturer with the launch of Beelashes, her very own eyelash brand. “In April 2015 at the time Bee lashes was launched, It was so difficult to get strip lashes in Nigeria. Most of the indigenous brands weren’t carrying lashes, and also there were only two foreign eyelash brands and they were always running out of stock. So, I saw the need to start an eyelash line because there was a need for that.”
After two years building two beauty brands that were rapidly becoming national power houses, Abisola like every truly committed professional and ambitious career builder would, took some time off to further perfect her craft by enrolling in the Makeup Forever Academy in New York City in 2017. “I’ve always loved Make-up Forever and I felt it was time to get new knowledge, meet new people…” In the last four years since she stepped out, not only has Abisola’s Make-up Company, Make-up by Ashabee become an established celebrity make-up brand, Bee Lashes has also become an internationally retailed beauty product. “Beelashes currently retails in major outlets nationwide as well as in Egypt, New York, Canada, South Africa and Ghana, and has sold over 100,000 units of false lashes.
As if being a celebrity Make-up Artist and having an internationally successful beauty product is not impressive enough, in 2019, after having worked on almost 1, 000 faces over the course of her seven year career including, over 200 brides across Africa and the United States;
Abisola was named by Forbes Africa in their 30 Under 30 List in the creative entrepreneur’s category.
“When I was contacted by Forbes, I was very excited and scared at the same time, because as much as it is a big deal, I always love to beat my own record and do better. So I knew this is a huge responsibility and the world is watching. Forbes wrote in the email they sent to me that they believe soo much in my brand and they can’t wait till when I’m worth over $200m. I was like oh wow! Even Forbes is watching. I’ve decided to take it one step at a time, no pressure. I’ll just keep doing the work and everything will add up. It’s always been a dream to be on the Forbes Africa under 30 list. It was a great honour so now that I finally attained that feat, I also see it as an opportunity to keep working hard and smart.”
In honour of her international debut, Abisola Akintunde will be focusing her annual Portrait Challenge; a segment where she beautifies and photographs inspiring women from all walks of life and professions on Nigerian Migrants in the US, and a host of other American women from a multiplicity of backgrounds and races.
“I have a platform and I wanted to use my platform for more than just make-up. I meet a lot of amazing Women everyday who are doing amazing stuff. I want other women to be inspired and so I decided to showcase more than beauty to my audience.” One of the notable women to be covered in the 2019 Make-up by Ashabee Portrait challenge set which debuts in November, and will run through December is International Nigerian Dancer and American Idol Contestant; Kora Obidi.
In addition to being an advocate for celebrating women, particularly Nigerian and Black Women, Abisola Akintunde is a firm believer in giving back and investing in other people.
In line with Make-up by Ashabee’s Vision to empower a new generation of Make-up Artists to succeed at the business of make-up, and build a stronger Industry first in Nigeria, and then Africa, Abisola Akintunde is launching an online training and mentorship school in December. This training and mentorship school will focus exclusively on the business side of make-up and how to build a successful and profitable make-up artistry company and brand.
“As a way of giving back, I want to give more makeup artists the opportunity to learn more than just make-up. Basically, I want to teach them how to handle the business of make-up, help them understand that they can build an empire out of this skill, and teach them how to do just that.”
Beauty, purpose, intellect, drive, the courage to celebrate other women, and the vision to empower others are a few of the things that make Abisola Akintunde a truly inspiring woman.
BY TERESA ALIGBE