Melicia Partab-Alli has been the name behind makeup and a number of gorgeous fashion pieces in pageantry for several years and this week, she afforded The Scene a look into her journey to the fashion world.
Makeup artist (MUA) and designer are just two of the titles Melicia holds. In addition, she is the Co-Director of Miss Global International Guyana, Miss India Worldwide Guyana and Mrs India Worldwide Guyana, the other Co-Director being her husband, Hashim Alli. She is also a marketing professional at Massy Distribution (Guyana) Inc. But to her the most prestigious title is mother; she and her husband have a son, Zayid.
“Growing up as a child,” Melicia said, “I was always blessed to receive Barbie dolls as presents. They always amazed me with the type of outfits they wore and how pretty they looked. I wanted one day to be able to own a wardrobe of such and to be a fashionista. Once I had a lot of money to buy it all of course.
“However, as I grew older, I learnt how to spend wisely and where I needed to focus my money, which was on necessities; glamorous outfits not making the cut. Later in life when Hashim and I began our journey, he came home one day and told me this heart-wrenching story that drove me to start designing. He explained the situation of a family looking for matching outfits in a store and after learning of the cost realized it was too much for their budget. Their child really wanted the outfit and couldn’t understand why his parents were not taking it, until they explained. It was then and there Hashim and I came to an ultimatum, people should be able to dress nicely and not spend an arm and leg. We asked ourselves ‘what it was that we can do to help others in this situation?’ This is how Nachle Designs was birthed.”
She now owns a well-composed wardrobe of one-of-a-kind outfits that she sometimes lends out.
Melicia is self-taught. Given her admiration for makeup she began practicing on herself until she was confident of her talent to begin taking on clients. As regards designing, she took this on with her husband. Together they learnt about fabrics and styles using the ones that appealed to them the most.
In terms of the makeup profession, she is inspired by a long list including Saleha Abbasi, Alina Naeem Khan, Tamanna Roashan, Sadaf Farhan, Riz Khan, Michelly Palma, Jeffre Star, James Charles and Jaclyn Hill. She noted that their unique takes on makeup push her to keep evolving her talent while trying to be extraordinarily different and this led to her creating her brand ‘Eye Candy By Mel’.
As regards design Melicia could not point to specific inspirations but said that she gathers all things glitz and glam oriented mostly from Bollywood and the West and never forgets to give it a “twist of Mel. I prefer not to dress similar to everyone but to dress totally different, to spark and grab your attention as I enter the room wearing the clothing rather than have the clothing wearing me, since I would walk with the highest amount of confidence. Now that’s the wow factor!”
Both talents, the artist said are her ways of expressing herself on loud speakers. They show her personality well as it relates to boldness in the trend and high energy in the impact of colour. She does not seek the approval of others, what really matters is her satisfaction with the pieces she creates, knowing she would have done her best. Both have afforded her the opportunity to adapt, improve and elevate in a world that is constantly evolving.
Melicia acknowledges her biggest supporters to be Hashim and other family members who have always pushed her to be the best version of herself, while being a stronghold in not only support but guidance also. Close friends, too, she added have become like family.
Though she grew up as a Hindu, Mel was not very religious, though she does consider herself to be spiritual. Her marriage, she shared, was a Nikkah which she accepted to be converted to Islam. However, culturally Mel is involved in many religious festivities as this is widely part of being a Guyanese. She does not believe that one should limit oneself to only embrace one’s religion’s holidays but should also embrace them all with genuine acceptance and respectfulness.
Being a designer in Guyana she noted has presented two main challenges for her: the limited variety of materials available and the overpricing of these fabrics. Over the years, however, she has managed to deal with this having made links with sources that provide beautiful fabrics from other countries at an affordable cost.
As a MUA, Melicia’s challenge was creating her clientele which she admitted came through determination and continuous hard work.
Currently Mel is enjoying working with floral prints. “It is an inspirational phase that I am totally feeling that blossoms really well, especially in the coral shades and toned with rose gold accents,” she said. Asked whether she has a signature look when it came to Nachle Designs, she said there isn’t one noting that each line is different and guarantees that each piece brings with it, elegance and a hint of bold sassiness. Nachle Designs is always able to produce the finest pieces, Mel said, because she has the finest team.
While she easily picked a favourite material to work with, it was not as simple when it came to which her favourite makeup brands to use as she likes working with Morphe, Juvia’s Palace, Fenty, MAC, Black Radiance, Wet N Wild, Jordana, Loreal, Maybelline, NYX, LA Girls and J Cat. Melicia loves working with bright colours and infusing a touch of glitter.
Asked which two makeup items she would never leave the house without, the MUA had an even tougher time exclaiming at the idea of wearing only two as she loves her makeup. In the end she went with a black liquid eyeliner and a matte red liquid lip colour. She added that both items combined can brighten up any day when in a rush noting that it creates a total boost of confidence.
Sharing makeup tips, Melicia said that when dealing with glitter on the eyes one can reduce the messy cleanup of fallout on the face by choosing to do the eyes before foundation. If one still prefers to do eyes after putting on foundation, then it is best to place setting powder under the eyes which can easily help to brush off the fallout. There is also the option of using scotch tape to pick up the glitter.
Recalling a time of design catastrophe Mel shared, “I can recall one time when the infinity zip of an outfit refused to go up as the model was about to go onstage. Absolute terror could have put me in a state of shock, but the mind started to work, and safety pins came to the rescue. Since then, I always walk with tons of pins.”
Mel and Hashim’s wedding had created a huge buzz because of their bold decisions to wear black. In planning their big day, the couple wanted something unique that made a statement. They decided to use a colour that was never used before and knowing that wearing black to a wedding, specifically theirs, was taboo, they decided to do just that. Because they knew how highly opinionated persons would be had they known beforehand, they kept it a secret until their big reveal on their wedding day. The designer to take on such a project was Jason Shurland known for his out-of-the-box designs. Being satisfied with Jason’s designs the couple decided to have him do the white wedding gown as well. “I am so happy that we made that decision because on the big day with the grand reveal of our outfits, persons were astonished by the absolute beauty of it all. There are definitely no regrets on that. I have not received any negative feedback about our outfits even until today. It has become such an iconic event for our lives just because we decided not to be afraid to be ourselves and be different,” Mel enthused.
Both makeup and design Melicia said have led her to visiting many places in Guyana especially Berbice. She has also travelled outside the country to Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Curacao and the United States.
“In ten years or less I will be having my own studio for all things glitz and glam, inclusive of a training centre for pageantry. I should by then have our second child and we all will be settling nicely into our new home. Now this is only part of my goals, but I am very well set to achieve these and much more in the near future. Keep in mind that in order to achieve it all, one must stay focused on the goals and on the time. If life was easy or didn’t have challenges then we wouldn’t know how much to be grateful for everything we currently have, and also to have that mindset to go after greatness,” Mel said about the look of her future.
She encourages up and coming MUAs and designers to not be afraid to fail, as failure is part of success and not to expect the cheers of everyone. Gradually, she continued, one knows who their cheerleaders are and who the genuine ones are. Mel added that if in everything you do, you give 110% of love and sweat, the rewards will be bountiful.
Speaking of the franchises, Melicia said that they took on the Miss Global Inter-national Guyana in 2014. Their representative that year, Onesha Hutson, finished in the top ten internationally, placing top five in talent and walking away with the Best Smile Award. In 2015, Alicia Bess, their current pageant coach brought home the 2nd runner-up position at the international leg, then in 2016 songbird Poonam Singh was awarded six special prizes along with copping the 1st runner-up place. The year that followed saw Cynthia Dookie bringing back the Miss Global International crown. In 2018, Melicia and Hashim were offered the franchises of the Miss India Worldwide Guyana and Mrs India Worldwide Guyana pageants. Their representatives were Shoshanna Ramdeen who copped the Best Smile Award at the Miss India Worldwide pageant and Shivanie Latchman-Persaud who finished in the top five at the Mrs India Worldwide. They are aiming for bigger successes this year for all three franchises. Currently they are recruiting for the three pageants. All national pageants will be held between May to June 2019. The Miss and Mrs India Worldwide pageants will be held in India, while the Miss Global International pageant is slated for Jamaica.
Asked how she spends her free time, Mel replied, “Free time? What is that exactly? In my downtime I enjoy time with my family and cooking scrumptious Guyanese cuisines. I would have said I try to replenish my sleep deprivation bank with some extra hours of rest but currently that’s not possible with an active 16+ months old child.”
Her hobbies include listening to music and dancing, watching Netflix, hanging out with close friends, learning with Zayid and cooking with Hashim.
Among her favourite dishes are: baigan choka and roti, curried – duck, beef, chicken, crab, shrimp and pachunie; baked custard, cheesecake, sweet rice, barbecue, a good steak, pasta, pizza, KFC and seven curry.
While Mel has many colours that she likes, she wears a lot of pink, yellow, red, blue, green, florals and generally anything with sparkles.
She has a pet dog, Jessie, a birthday present in 2013 from Hashim.
Being born on April 21, 1988 means that Mel’s astrological sign is the Aries-Taurus cusp as she was born at the end of one sign and the beginning of another. According to Chinese astrology, she was born in the year of the dragon.
Melicia attended Happy Acres Nursery, F E Pollard Primary and St Stanislaus College.
Mel can be followed on Facebook at Melicia K R Partab-Alli, Eye Candy By Mel, Nachle Designs, Miss Global International Guyana, Miss & Mrs India Worldwide Guyana. On Instagram find her at: @meliciapartab, @eyecandybymel, @nachledesigns, @missglobalinternationalguyana and @missindiaworldwideguyana