Young, talented, vibrant, energetic are just some of the words that can be used to describe Black Bush Polder’s up and coming makeup artist Geetanjale Leildhari, who dreams of one day opening a school for aspiring makeup artists in Berbice.
Leildhari, 18, also known as ‘Priya’, of Priya’s Make Up Glam and of Lot 54 Yakusari North, Black Bush Polder, told The Scene that she fell in love with makeup at the age of six when she first started to play with her mother’s lipsticks. She said she was not allowed to wear makeup at that age, but she was always fascinated by how makeup can improve a person’s appearance.
Her first real experience wearing makeup was for her sweet 16 birthday party as her parents allowed her to experiment as much as she wanted. She used foundation for the first time and fell in love with it.
She gradually started to experiment further and began to post pictures on social media with her face fully made up. The young woman, who is the only child of her parents, said it was in 2017 that she got her first client, a bride, through posting pictures online.
Priya said the bride had never worn make up before and as such she felt it was her duty to ensure she loved the result. She arrived extremely early for the appointment as she wanted to make a good impression. “I did her makeup and when it was finished she had tears… she loved the look and that made me so happy… Seeing her reaction made me know what I wanted to do and I want to see that smile on every client’s face,” she said.
Priya, who is now one of Berbice’s leading makeup artists, offers packages for bridal events which include a full face of makeup, dressing the client and doing her hair.
The J C Chandisingh Secondary School graduate pointed out that sometimes persons cannot afford the package. “So, I try to be flexible with the prices. I try to make it something they can afford because I know everyone can’t afford the same but want to look special on their day,” she said.
At present, she said, business has slowed down for a bit. However, during wedding season, she sometimes has two clients per day. And whenever she cannot fit in clients due to being fully booked, she would refer them to other makeup artists in the region.
She noted that despite there being many talented makeup artists in Berbice she does not feel there is any competition. “Every client has their own taste,” she said. “We all do the same thing and we should support each other, that’s what I try to do.”
She stressed that the best part of her job is, “seeing that happy smile on every client’s face and seeing that they are happy and satisfied and helping them to feel more confident and beautiful.”
She also spoke in detail of persons not fully understanding the concept of makeup. She said that when she started out older folks would often tell her that using makeup would ruin her skin. She noted that they do not understand that if the necessary precautions are taken and the makeup is used properly then it is not worrying.
Priya said she would always advise and encourage clients to maintain a good skincare routine. “I would tell them to drink water and exfoliate and moisturize their skin before their event to have a clean base and not any dry patches. If the skin is dry, I always use a facial oil or serum.”
She pointed out that she also tries to educate persons that makeup is used to enhance one’s beauty and help them to feel even more confident, “for them to look and feel more confident and beautiful than they already are.”
Living in Black Bush Polder comes with its disadvantages, she said, as often non-bridal clients are unable to travel the distance to get to her. However, it is something she tries to work around as she loves living in Black Bush Polder. “I born and grow up here and it’s so peaceful,” she said.
Priya started a YouTube channel just a few months ago and already has 797 subscribers. She explained that she took a class with Ultimate Image Beauty Studio, which is operated by Janica Sandy, another Berbician, who is extremely successful in the makeup industry.
After earning herself a certificate from Ultimate Image Beauty Studio in Georgetown, Priya returned to Berbice and hosted a few makeup classes last year. She pointed out that some of her students have now ventured into their own businesses, which makes her extremely proud.
However, she said, after realizing that not everyone might be able to afford makeup classes, she decided to start the YouTube channel where persons can get free make up advice and tutorials on various makeup looks.
She credits her husband, Niresh Leildhari, 20, a medical student who resides overseas, with helping her to make her YouTube channel a success. She explained that she films her videos and he assists with editing and posting. “It’s a team effort and he supports everything I do,” she said.
Expanding on getting married at a young age, Priya said she never anticipated such but after falling in love with her now husband and being in a long-distance relationship for a while, they decided it was best for them to get married. As her parents are very religious and traditional folks, they fully supported the idea of getting married to be together.
She also said that her parents are extremely supportive of the career path she has chosen for herself. Her mother would even accompany her to work sometimes and assist with getting the brides decked out. “My mother is very supportive, and I appreciate her for that.”
Meanwhile, Priya’s long-term goal is to open a makeup school in Guyana. She said that while she understands that she will migrate at some point to be with her husband she plans to enroll in a makeup academy overseas and then return to Guyana to open a makeup school.
“My parents are here, and I will have to return to take care of them even if it means going back and forth, so I want to have a school here,” she said.
She advised aspiring makeup artists: “Don’t let the negative comments get to you just go after your dreams. People will always have something to say, anything you do, it’s just how you choose to handle it and go forward.”