In Conversation with Camilla Mlilwana | The MUA Behind Sho Madjozi’s Lewks on Dumi Hi Phone

The personal expression of transforming a face stems from a similar place that can be found in the act of painting a portrait or sketching a drawing.  Make-up gives birth to what we could call ‘facial awareness’, from a piercing cat-eye with unlocked stares to a golden bewildered cheek-bone. Disregarded for many years, the art-form has finally met its recognition.

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Make-up enthusiast and founder of Facebeat Studio, Camilla Mlilwana will ‘Beat your face to the Gods’. Her experimental nature and use of geometric lines scream range, from ‘pop queen’ to ‘poised princess’. Responsible for the blaring looks served on Sho Madjozi’s Dumi Hi Phone, Mlilwana is quickly mounting Facebeat Studio.

Describe your art/make-up aesthetic?

Extra. I live for drama, the good kind. I want my work to grab your attention. I love colour and all things that shine like glitter. I’m always playing around with different colours, adding geometrical lines and pieces of glitter just to give it that extra edge. I like to be experimental in the way I express myself using makeup while still preserving the essence of my subject’s natural beauty.

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When did your journey with make-up begin?

About four years ago, I taught myself how to do nails via YouTube and it kind of became a way of making money. Soon after this, I moved to Johannesburg and somehow ended up enrolling in a makeup course.

You have worked with Sho Madjozi, tell us about that experience.

That experience was a dream come true for me. She was definitely someone I wanted to work with, I always felt like my makeup style and her vibe would work well together so it was absolutely awesome for me to be able to tick that off my makeup bucket list. 

Also, apart from that, what are some of your achievements thus far?

I’ve headed hair and makeup for a TV and press commercials and that was huge for me in terms of my personal career goals. I’ve also done makeup for music videos for some of the biggest musicians in our country.

A lot of the time my client is either a production company, a music video director/director or an artist. I’m always trying to meet the creative brief and make sure that my work complements what the director is trying to do. In general, though, I like to make sure that my client feels good about themselves. 

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What are you inspired by and how do you use those components within your make-up work?

I’m mostly inspired by black women who are just out here doing their thing. I think for a long time black women were in the sidelines and I finally feel like they are being appreciated for who and what they are and it’s about time because they have been setting trends. It makes me feel like I can do it too and inspires me to be bold and try new things within my makeup – like creating looks I wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable doing.

Can you share some tips and tricks that you’ve kept with you? 

I think one of the biggest lessons for me throughout life, in general, is to always be willing to put yourself out there. Keep working, be consistent and remain true to yourself.

What’s next for Camilla?

I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately too. I’ve reached a lot of my personal goals within my art form and I think the next one would be to do makeup for a movie or even a TV show. I really want to work on creating my own content and trying to work with some of my favorite brands.

*Responses may have been edited for length and clarity.


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