Being a celebrity in any part of the world is never a walk in the park. Aside from having to deal with stalkers, groupies and hangers on, you also need a dream team to make you look good, or wacky, especially for those looking to be different or create trademarks. The celebrity status requires one to always look perfect and well put together at any given moment; from outfits, hair, to the makeup, you have to look flawless! Among the things they need to budget for is a makeup artiste, wardrobe stylist and even hair dresser, and these should be on speed dial; someone who will come to your rescue on those bad eye brow days, or a go-to-person when you have a bad hair day, well because there is no such thing as bad hair day in the life of a celebrity. In case you had no idea of the people who add the less to our celeb’s flaws, we fished them out. These may not be all of them, but at least a random celeb pick will see at least one of these guys on their contact list.
Wardrobe stylist-Brian Ahumuza
He may be famous for numerous certified looks on our celebrities, but the one look that will always come to our mind is the kikoyi shirt donned by Nigerian superstar D’banj last year during his Ciroc launch visit to Uganda.
Through his Abryanz Collection stores, Ahumuza has turned his once one-roomed business into a much sought out fashion collection chain in Uganda.
Raised in Masindi, Ahumuza begun his fashion journey selling second hand clothes to his friends and colleagues at work out of his back pack. “I knew I wanted a career in fashion. But I had to start from somewhere,” he explains. Years down the road, he has grown his business into two clothing stores, and a styling profile to match.
His celebrity clientele stretches across, from entertainers, sports personalities and even herbalists.
“Jose Chameleone, Radio & Weasel, Pallaso, Gravity Omutujju, the Gentlemen from Afrigo Band, David Lutalo, Golola Moses, Princess Bagaya of Tooro, Gaetano Kaggwa, Ziza Bafana, Sheebah Karungi, Mama Fiina, the list is endless.”
Ahumuza also boasts of an international clientele that includes Diamond Platnumz, Wiz Kid, Demarco, music producer Chopsticks, and so many others.
Abryanz, as he is known in the business world, says his styling charges range from as low as Shs350,000 per outfit. And these fees do escalate, depending on the conditions of the styling.
Wardrobe stylist-Abbas Kaijuka
He may have landed on the set for the NTV series, Deception, as a wardrobe stylist, but Abbas Kaijuka admits that fashion was never something he planned to do. The Human Resource Management graduate from MUBS admits that all he wanted was to be self-employed. And after trying his luck at items such as duvets and other beddings, he finally settled on clothes, particularly men’s wear.
“There was high demand for men’s clothes, and so I realised that I needed to concentrate on this, as it was bringing in more money,” Abbas explains. Using social media platform, Facebook, to reach out to clients, Abbas explains that his major breakthrough came in 2014 when he was asked to style the Deception cast for a promo shoot.
“Everyone on set was impressed, and this opened doors and opportunities for me. Soon I started working with some of the top models in this town on their photo-shoots.”
His most memorable look to date was on fashion model Housen Mushema: “That jacket from that look sold out the day the images from the photo-shoot were released, “he says.
Through his Kai Divo Collections brand name, Abbashas worked on numerous celebrities, including Sheebah Karungi, Solomon Tazibone, Geo Steady, Gravity, Bettina Tianah, and many others.
“My dream client is Jose Chameleone. I am not only a fan of his music, but I also find his style sense very versatile. He would be great to work with.”
Hair stylist-Kennedy Zziwa
He recently launched his HairbyZziwa studio in
Kisementi. The very posh and classy studio seats on the third floor of the Krismart Mall, and the sophistication of the salon is a far cry from the one-roomed barber shop he once operated in Gayaza back in 2009.
“It was a tiny room, with one bench for waiting clients and a chair where the haircuts were done. A hair cut was Shs500,”Zziwa recalls.
Born and raised in Wandegeya, a Kampala suburb, the celebrity hair stylist started out as a child actor with the Ebonies. It was during this time that he found himself engrossed in the world of hair dressing and makeup.
“Everyone had to take up a role, and I found myself back stage in the hair dressing section.”
Zziwa’s parents had wanted him to join the corporate world, so imagine their disappointment when he decided to open a salon from his savings while at the university. This was in 2009, after spending a year at Tina School of Beauty.
His world, however, turned around when he decided to travel to China for holiday.
“I sold my three cows, that had been given to me by my grandfather and I bought an air ticket to China.” An encounter with the Ugandan girls in China, whose hair he worked on soon had him getting recommendation left and right. What was supposed to be a one-month holiday turned into six years Beijing.
Since his return to Uganda, Zziwa has had the honour of working with Maurice Kirya, Desire Luzinda, Hellen Lukoma, Roger Mugisha, Leila Kayondo, Irene Namubiru, and many others.
While in Beijing, his clientele included NBA player Dewitt Howard, the Sierra Leone vice president, all African ambassadors to China, Kehinde Wyre, and so many others.
The Nabagereka of Buganda, Sylvia Nagginda, he adds, is someone he would love to work with. “She represents the kind of clients my brand targets. And working on my queen would definitely be a dream come true.”
Any future plans?
“Expanding to Nairobi, Nigeria and South Africa.”
Setting his focus on majorly the hip hop world, Yousef has worked with the likes of flex D’paper, Allan Toniks, Kyle, Navio, Big trill, Keko, Andy music, Rabadaba, Dave Dash, Atlas, and many others.
The Nkumba University graduate says his wish list client is Exodus and Milka of Deception, the NTV series.
“I feel that Milka’s character would need a little improvement in the wardrobe department. She is the lead actress and she needs to dress the part,” Yousef says.
When it comes to choosing the wardrobe choices for his celebrity clients, Yousef explains that the costumes are normally determined by the music video script and what look the directors are going for.
And the hardest thing about working with celebrities?
“They are not very embracing to new ideas. They like to go for a look or concept they have seen on someone already. And this kills my craft as a stylist.”
Makeup artiste-Peter Russell
With a two year experience in the makeup industry in Uganda, Peter Russell has become one of the town’s most sought face beat pros.
Born Peter Mugisha, Russell attended Seeta High and St. Mary’s Secondary, Kitende, before joining Makerere University.
“I pursued a degree in Industrial Art, and majored in painting, textile design and ceramics,” he explains.
Unknown to him though, Peter was quite the skilled makeup artiste. “I started out with family and friends and soon, I had built a clientele.”
That was in 2014, and aside from working on Ugandan musical star, Ang3lina, who was his first celebrity client, he has gone on to work with Flavia Tumusiime, Irene Ntale, Juliana kanyomozi, Irene Namubiru, Renah, Judith Heard, and many others.
“The celebrity client on my wish list is Desire Luzinda and Sheebah Karungi. I feel like Sheebah never plays safe and loves to go all out; and that’s a dream for any makeup artiste.”
To get a makeup do from Rusell, you will have to part with Shs70,000 up to Shs3m, particularly for brides.
With a new artiste emerging each day, competition gets tight and staying relevant becomes crucial.
“I am always learning new techniques, either on YouTube, or from other artistes. And I always strive to give my clients a look that is different from anyone else in the business,” Russell explains.
Anything he wished would change about the industry?
“I just wish we (makeup artistes) could all get along, and stop bickering”.
Make up artiste-Sylvia Kawalya
The 30-year-old Sylvia Kawalya runs not only one of the most established beauty and cosmetology brand in Uganda, but also has 10-year experience in the makeup field.
The Theatre Makeup and Costume Design major is a co-founder of Paramour Cosmetics Ltd.
The celebrity makeup artiste is also an alumnus of YALI Regional Leadership Centre Nairobi for Business and Entrepreneurship – Inaugural Cohort 1 and a Mandela Washington Fellow 2016 at Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois.
Having started with just an eye shadow palette and a small bottle of brown loose powder to get rid of the shine in the face, Kawalya has slowly grown her brand into one of the most enviable cosmetology lines in Uganda.
After volunteering on local movie sets like the Kina Uganda by Jerry Stone Films in 2006, she was recommended for different celebrities, media and production houses.
Kawalya has worked with Her Royal Highness the Nnabagereka of Buganda, The First Lady and The First Daughters, Klear Kut Crew – and she is the full-time stylist for Navio and The Mith, Cindy, Lilian Mbabazi, Sylvia Owori, Bebe Cool, Naava Grey, Desire Luzinda, Hellen Lukoma, Daniella, etc.
She has also worked on Nyanda from Brick & Lace, Wiz Kid, Aly Allibhai, Kampala Fashion Week, Brenda Maraka, Arapapa, House of Talent, and others.
Like Kawlaya explains, the industry comes with its own share of challenges; long hours and very little pay, particularly in the early years of her career.
“We have so many people who don’t know what they are doing and are in the business for a quick buck.”
Wardrobe stylist-Chuck Brian Salvator
Born and raised in Kampala, Chuck Brian Salvator has over the years cemented his position on the table of elite wardrobe stylists in this town.
The Mengo S.S and Makerere University alumnus began his fashion journey at Bambi Fashion House, run by former obsession member, Brenda Nambi.
“After a while, I decided to start out on my own and I began with offering styling services to some of my close friends, including Flavia Tumusime, who happened to be one of my first clients.”
Today, Chuck is an award-winning stylist and over the years, his clientele list has grown to the likes of Desire Luzinda, Juliana Kanyomozi, Jackie O, Lillian Mbabazi, Natasha Sinayobye, Sheila Gashumba, Judith Heard, Remah Namakula, Julie Mutesasira and many others.
“The one person I would probably want to work with is Irene Namubiru, just because I love her a lot!” he states when asked about who his wish list celebrity client would be.
Depending on the services provided, Chuck’s styling charges vary from Shs150,000 onwards.
With the huge clientele conquests that he has, he points out that Juliana Kanyomozi’s all-white look that he styled for her Kalibatanya music video is still his personal favourite.
“She looked phenomenal. The look was perfect for the song, and that particular scene in the video.”
For Chuck, maintaining a friendly relationship with his clients, not only helps keep them coming back for more, but also helps keep him relevant, in a vast and ever-growing industry.
Hair stylists-Martin Ssekyanzi
He runs one of the most successful hair dressing businesses in Kampala. His decade-long service at his Lords and Lady’s beauty parlour has seen him work with almost all celebrity hotshots in Uganda.
But life wasn’t always this rosy for the award-winning hair stylist. While at university in Makerere, he dropped out only after a year, to go on kyeyo in the US.
“It was sort of the in-thing at the time. People went abroad for work and came up with lots of money. That is what I also wanted. I was young and very ambitious. So I wanted in,” he explains.
On reaching the US, he realised they only hired professionals.
“Even cleaners and garbage collectors needed at least a certificate to be hired,” he explains.
He then decided to turn to the one thing he knew he was good at; hair dressing. With a little experience from his practice on friends at school, Ssekyanzi was privileged to receive the mentorship and guidance of Sarah Kizito Nyakana of the Lady Charlotte beauty parlour and store.
“She bought me an air ticket and took me to Bangkok where she had just opened a hair studio, and like they say, the rest is history.”
From this job, he saved up enough money and joined the Brane School of beauty. His résumé reads; Juliana Kanyomozi, Iryn Namubiru, Leon Island, Gagamel, Fire Base, Angela Kalule, Angela Katatumba, Blu3, Sophie Gombya, the Ebonies, and many more.
Make up artiste-Zipper Atafo
Born Meddie Matovu, Atafo says his mother, who loved makeup so much, was his inspiration.
Over the years, Atafo has worked with artistes Juliana Kanyomozi, Irene Namubiru, Desire Luzinda, Leila Kayondo, socialites Sue Ochola, and Judith Heard, and many others.
“I also had the honour of working with the beautiful Nhanhla Nciza from MafikiZolo and Vanessa Mdee, a singer from Tanzania,”Atafo adds.
His biggest challenge is having a clientele dominated by females, “Working with women isn’t easy. You need to clearly figure out what it is that the client wants, but is also comfortable with. And you need to be as diverse as possible.”
For him, many times he will recommend a look, depending on the clients’ personality, facial features and interest. A makeup do by Atafo will set you back anything between Shs100,000 and Shs2m.