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FATIMA UMMIE LAWAL: HENNA ARTIST

Hey Guys, we have a new guest, she’s a Henna Artist! Exciting right?

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Fatima Ummie Lawal was born on the 4th of June in Lagos State. She is a Kambari lady from Yauri in Kebbi State. She attended New Capital School, Stella Maris Primary School and Stella Maris Secondary School in Abuja where she held the position of a General Prefect. Ummie studied Computer Science at the American University of Nigeria, Adamawa State from 2009 to 2013 and mastered in Information System Management at the University of Salford, Manchester from 2015 to 2016 where she trained to be a Business Analyst and Developer.

HENNA ART

At the end of the year 2014 as Ummie was preparing to go for her Masters program, she came across a beautiful picture of henna, the design was different and it was neat. She went through the person’s page, saw more designs and thought to herself ‘if this is possible I should find where to learn when I go to school’. So she met up with a Moroccan henna artist she found on Instagram in Manchester and had a class with her; then she kept practicing on her own to perfect the craft.

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Ummie decided to turn her Henna to a brand in the last months of 2016 and she currently has a Natural Traditional Spa in Kado estate Abuja. Ummie has some standard designs she displays on her social media and in person to her customers to choose from but usually people come with pictures of what they like which she recreates with personal tweaks here and there.

CUSTOMERS

Ummie’s customers are often Ladies between the ages of 19 and 35. She has had a few male customers who have requested for lines and tribal looking designs but she stopped receiving male customers after she got married.

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PROFESSIONAL CAREER AND HENNA

Not too long ago Ummie had a 9 to 5 job so she only opened her Henna spa on the weekends. However, using the internet as a working tool, Ummie now does her Business analysis and development on the go (online/part-time) leaving her with enough time to attend to her wonderful customers.

CHALLENGES

  1. Appreciation:

‘A lot of people don’t regard being a henna artist as a job so they don’t want to pay what you charge. Downgrading it constantly to isn’t it just henna. Some will say. Anh anh. This simple henna ya charging this? I think this is a general problem in Nigeria. We don’t appreciate people that do hand work. But, the Customer is always right remember? So, I usually smile, take a deep breath and reply with I understand you. Unfortunately, this is my price.

You can reach Ummie for her services or further inquiries on;

  • Instagram: @houseofhermanaabj
  • Twitter: @Ummie_L
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RUBY THE PRIESTESS: Artist, Jeweler and Model

Hello Everyone, let me introduce you to the Priestess!

Her name is Ruby Ojoma Ace Abalaka. She was born on the 8th of October 1995 on a cold stormy night! She is an Igala lady from Ofu Local government in Kogi State. She schooled at NCWS Abuja and Thomas Adewumi International College where she was a House Prefect. She then attended Afe Babalola University where she studied Media and Communications.

She is an artist, jeweler and a model; she runs an artisan gift shop in Abuja.

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History of priestess

As far back as Ruby can remember she has loved everything artistic. As a student she started making and wearing her jewelry and soon enough people labelled her as ‘the girl with modern juju bracelets and bags’. In August 2016 someone asked Ruby to make jewelry just for her, that was the beginning.

Ruby then started trying new things, she learned other forms of art which eventually carved out a particular lifestyle for her. Then her boyfriend started calling her Priestess to pull her legs but she liked the idea and went along with it because it explained the lifestyle she was trying to create.

Priestess was officially launched as a brand in 2014.

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Nature of the Priestess Brand

It is an Art Brand that creates furniture and jewelry. Sometimes Ruby makes them from the scratch or just adds her touch to ready-made pieces. When making furniture from scratch she uses ‘unconventional materials like tires; she makes stools, bean bags and benches etc. from scratch. She also picks up basic ready-made pieces like a plain bench or chair or stool.

Ruby had no formal training in jewelry-making, she learned to make jewelry from watching tutorials and other jewelers at work, she still does till date. Early 2017, she learned leather-work and basic sculpting for a few months in Kaduna.

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Inspiration

Ruby worships the story of the human race, its deep roots and how it affects the present and future. She likes surrounding herself with culture because there is always a story to tell with it; African, European and pop culture.

Collaborations

Ruby got paid to make costume jewelry for pageants; Miss ARWA (Aso Rock Women Association) 2014, Miss Achiever 2014 and 2015, Abuad’s Next Top Model (1st and 2nd Edition) and Miss Abuad 2017. She partnered with Temworks Jewelry at the debut BBQ Fest in the summer of 2016.

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Modelling Career

Ruby started modelling in SS2; Someone came to her Secondary school on visiting day and scouted her for a fashion show in Abuja (Arewa Fashion).

At first it was just a way to make a little extra money but then she started getting creative and working with different photographers for test shoots.

The first major step was in 2015 when Ruby became the face of Alien Prose Studios in Abuja (a start-up studio at the time). She then started getting jobs in school for party posters, look books and photography collaborations.

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She was the first runner up in the first and second seasons of ABUAD Next Top Model. She later competed in the first Miss ABUAD but she didn’t reach the finals.

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In 2015 to 2016 she signed a one-year contract with Uwaa modeling. After her contract ended things slowed down and she became a free-lance model.

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In 2017 she put modelling on hold but in 2018 she began negotiations with GI modelling agency. At the end of March 2018, she’ll be going to modelling camp.

Balancing careers

Art is my lifestyle and modelling is a hobby I hope to delve into later… media and communication is just a big word for creative communication.

-Ruby Ojoma Ace Abalaka ‘The Priestess’

Challenges

  • She has had a hard time explaining to people that art isn’t just an element but life itself. She said ‘Our Creator is the Master Artist; we are just Interns’.
  • Funds: There was a time Ruby was broke up to owing the bank. She complained that a lot of artists live below the standard because of that, that many artists have turned borrowers just to survive.
  • Support from Friends and Family; ‘It’s hard when nobody has the slightest idea what your bigger picture is’ – Ruby Ojoma Ace Abalaka.

When faced with these challenges Ruby simply looks on the bright side and stuffs her face with the deliciousness that Jollof rice brings.

Future plans

Ruby is working towards anchoring her own Radio and TV show soon.

She has started writing a blog series which she will launch at the end of the year (2018) titled; ‘The Confessions, Complaints and Voice overs of an Unconventional Hippie’ so, Watch Out!

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Ruby’s Advice for young artists

  1. Never forget why you started.
  2. Remember that people are waiting for you to fail so never stop doing the opposite.
  3. Always keep these privately; your finances, your love life and your next move.
  4. There is a God out there and he’s more than capable to put you here you want to be so ask him to.

Her Social Media

  • Instagram: @rubiee_007
  • Twitter: @rubiee_007