- ‘I’m bold, multi-tasking, outspoken’
Award winning singer, songwriter and Africa’s Queen of Afrobeat, Tiwa Savage, recently made Nigeria and Africa proud as the first MAC maker. The superstar is not just excited about the great opportunity; she is anticipating pitching a tent in the beauty industry if all goes well. In this interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, the diva shares some funny secrets about her that makes her human like every other woman
How does it feel being the first MAC Maker in Africa, setting the trend for other women that are going to come after you?
I feel honoured and humble but I feel like it’s been long overdue as I said. I feel happy. I feel very excited about the possibilities of what MAC could eventually do with more and more women. Africans consume so much makeup and I don’t think we’ve been recognized for how much we spend on make-up.
For me, this is long overdue and for Mac to actually recognise and hear our voice and for them to use me, an African woman as Mac Makeup, which I also feel is long overdue, I think it’s important for us to realise how iconic this is because I’m praying this is not an isolated collaboration. I hope that this would open more doors for African women.
Not just for me but for make-up artists and other personalities. To give us a voice in the beauty market!
My whole career has been in music and just recently, I decided to try to expand my brand and go into the beauty market and I’ve realised how unheard we’ve been for a long time in the beauty market.
So, this is really important and as I mentioned earlier on, I wanted to be very involved in the making of the lipstick brand.
Tell us why you chose the colour red, which usually is said not to be a black girls’ right shade when it comes to lipstick.
I would tell you why I chose red. I’m a nude person.
Naturally, if you look at my page, you always see that I wear nude. But I wanted to do something to push myself because this is an opportunity for me to enter that room and make something different.
I didn’t want to go there and be the same old ‘Tiwa Savage’. I hardly wear red but if I want to wear red lipstick, what would it be?
And I didn’t want it to be like a muted red. African women, we are strong, we are bold, and we are beautiful. So, I wanted a colour that is that bright. I wanted a colour that you can tone down or gloss it up. So, I wanted a colour that is also good for women with my kind of complexion. Light skinned girls get away with any colour and this is why I wanted something that can go with our skin colour.
It’s not just the lipstick.
When you hold a Mac Tiwa Savage lipstick, it’s not just lipstick. I want it to represent, p o w e r , struggles a n d h u s – tles. I w a n t it to represent that the impossible is possible. I won’t w a n t it to just be about me. I see so many beautiful make-up artists, whose lovely make-up brush has touched my face and I hope that one day, you also have a collection with MAC.
I’m just the face here today. This is for all of us. I want you to look at the name on it and the package behind it. This represents all of us. It’s really important for us to feel heard, and powerful, and live our mark.
When you first heard about the collaboration, what was your reaction? How did MAC make up brand contact you? Was it by email? Did your manager call you?
When I got the call from Vannessa, I was like “oh cool, another endorsement, sure.” I didn’t really think too much into it. I thought it was just another endorsement until I started researching and reading about the collaboration and s a w that an A f r i – c a n woma n never did it before. I was blown away.
I mean I have been everywhere around the world and no make-up artiste gets my face better than an African. I always insist on bringing my make-up artists from here to wherever I am going.
Not because I am a diva or anything but they get my face better. When I saw that no African woman has been a MAC maker before, I was like, are they serious? I cannot stress it enough that Africa is amazing. The continent that has all shades of skin! I mean, Africa has from the darkest skin to the lightest skin colour.
From the thinnest lips to the fullest lips! From the highest cheekbones to the not so high cheekbones. We represent everything when it comes to make up.
So I told myself, choosing me for this is not just for me; this is important for us in Africa.
Is lipstick the only make-up you will be making with MAC cosmetics?
Like I said, I hope it is not an isolated collaboration. Yes, sure, I plan to do more than lipstick shade. I hope that we sell out and we are also able to do a lot more than that. I will love to make other make-up if the opportunity comes.
Also, it’s not just me. There are other MAC makers around the world.
Tiwa Savage is one of the very few women that we can say that rarely has a Bad Hair Day. Have you ever has a Bad Hair Day?
That is my Instagram image that people see. Trust me, I do have Bad Hair Days. I had one before coming to this unveiling but before you get to social media, men you get the hair done.
What do you think prompted them coming to you as a MAC maker?
I think they had finally just seen that Africa is a huge consumer of cosmetics and make-up. I think they just wanted somebody that would represent boldness, the core of being an African woman; a little bit of crazy that I think I have [laughs]. I mean not even just African women, women in general.
I think they liked the fact that I’m able to juggle being a mother, a career woman chasing after her dream and still believe in the core values of being an African woman.
How do you think this will impact Africa as a whole?
It’s huge because I think I speak a lot on how unheard African women are, and I think this is a step in the right direction. I think this is a step into the beauty market which we as African women, we know we love beauty, and I think we are leaders in that industry as well. So, the fact that they are using MAC Maker from Africa, I think it will open up a lot more doors. Not even just for beauty but for the cosmetic industry and the fashion industry.
You said it took two years to produce the MAC Tiwa Savage lipstick. Was it very challenging and was there a time you wanted to give up?
So, the collaboration came during COVID-19 and I had to take my time to make it perfect. Not all shades of red matches my complexion. So, there were several back and forth changing of the shade between me and the factory.
I think it is about finding the right shade of red that would work with people with different complexion. From very light-skinned people to very-skinned people. That was really challenging.
So there have been different shades of red. What stands this out of all the shades in the market is the very pigment. As I said, it cuts across very different shades. It is matted but it does not wipe easily. It’s also something that pops very well.
This is very important for African women. If it took me 10 years, I would still opt-in.
What’s the impact of this on up-and-coming artists?
I hope it gives them confidence. We are a huge consumer of cosmetics and make-up and finally, we are having MAC look in our direction.
What’s your trick to having your make-up stay on as a performer while on stage?
So, it’s great to wear makeup but I don’t wear too much. One trick that I have adopted for the past four years is that I don’t use foundation.
What’s the one make-up item you can’t do without?
Does this mean that Tiwa Savage would be starting a beauty line soon?
I would love to. There are talks in the works but I can’t confirm.
Do you remember your very first lip gloss or lipstick?
The first one I actually bought was MAC, Velvet Teddy. I remember it always. And my first foundation was NW45.
Between true love and money which would Tiwa pick any day?
You all know I have tried love, got married and it didn’t work. So, I am all for making the money now.
Between champagne, red wine, vodka and Hennessy, which is your favourite?
I love Hennessy.
Is it true that your favourite food is bread?
It’s bread and Ewa Agoyin actually
Jewellery set: The all-time wedding classic
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