Career & Money
How Deryk Ssekamatte Went From ‘A Jobless Guy’ To ‘An ASFA Nominated Makeup Artist’
Meet Deryk Ssekamate the only male makeup artist nominated for Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards this year. This is no small feat as makeup is a ‘female dominated’ industry here in Uganda. As the awards event draws closer, we had a chat with him on how he cut his teeth on makeup and what it means to be nominated for the ASFAs.
When did you realize you wanted to do makeup?
I actually didn’t ever know I could do makeup. This was so until I gave it a shot, saw the results and kept bettering myself at the craft.
It all started in January early last year (2016) when I got in touch with a good friend of mine (Agatha with whom we were classmates at University) who was a front desk personnel at a famous city photo studio; iLove Photo pro in Kololo while in search for a job opportunity.
She suggested to me that she could introduce me to one of the Makeup Artists within the studio so that I take up makeup lessons. She strongly believed I could be good at it because while still at campus, I used to shape her eyebrows plus those of her sisters. She introduced me to Agnes Ahebwa from whom I took the lessons. I won’t lie, I too was amazed by how better I got at it in such a short time.
This also offered me the rare opportunity of meeting other makeup artists at the studio: Rachel Atuhire, Eva Kose & Connie who relentlessly mentored me while I labored to learn from them as much as I could in the absence of my teacher who got heavier by the day because she was expecting.
I did free trials on my close friends & acquaintances off Facebook while I posted the pictures on my social accounts which later led to me to open my official page “Beats by Deryk”. I also often got chance to practice & improve skills on the photo studio’s clients before they took pictures.
At that point, I could seat in for my teacher Agnes while she was away as each MUA had a particular day to work on studio clients. Later on Agatha recommended me to the studio manager Mrs. Maureen Otyek to be added onto the studio makeup team which was definitely a great opportunity for me to penetrate the makeup industry and market myself farther. The rest has been history since then.
Who was your first ‘paying client’ and how did you land them?
My first paying client was a fresh graduate who was doing a photo shoot at the studio (ILove Photopro) for her graduation portraits. She was recommended to me by my High school O.G Essy. Essy was one of those people who had offered me the opportunity to do free makeup trials on them. All my first clients were gotten through such recommendations.
What are some of your biggest projects?
There are many projects I’ve had my hands on for example the new Movit TV ad, music video shoots for Exodus (Nyinimu), Maureen Nantume (Malidadi), several profile shoots for personalities featuring in Flair magazine and Bride & Groom published by Vision Group.
I also got the rare opportunity to work on/with Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire for her profile shoot for Flair Magazine late last year and Hon. Winnie Kiiza the Leader of Opposition in Parliament. I’ve also worked with celebrities and musicians such as Sheilah Gashumba, Leila Kayondo, Minayo, radio hosts Crystal Newman (Sanyu F.m), Mariat (Galaxy F.m), Malaika Nnyanzi, TV hosts Argatha Loswash, Tinah Teise, Anita Fabiola, Maurice Kirya, Josephine Karungi, Rachel Mwine & Faridah Nakazibwe (news anchors at NTV), EmolSam DNA and several high net worth brides.
This is quite impressive for someone who only started learning last year. How did you get recognized by brands such as Flair magazine, Movit and all those celebrities with little experience?
My first major recognition was by Flair magazine’s editor in chief Ms. Keturah Kamugasa following Lady Justice Bamugemereire’s compliment after working on her for her profile shoot at iLove studio that featured in the magazine. The celebrities I worked on constantly gave me mentions & credits in their posts on Facebook & Instagram. For me it has been about recommendations and social media.
What is your signature makeup look?
My signature look is a soft smokey eye with shimmery eye shadow detail of calm gold and a wine red lip color.
You’ve worked with Sheilah Gashumba, how would you describe the style of makeup she likes?
Sheila Gashumba likes her makeup simple but with bold her red lipstick. That’s like her “any day…anywhere” look.
Who is your dream celebrity client and why?
I actually have many dream celebrity clients namely; Tiwa Savage &Alade. They have such beautiful facial features and never go wrong with their makeup.
You’re nominated for the ASFAS, how does it feel being the only male makeup artist in the makeup category?
First of all, the ASFA nomination is such an honor. I feel delighted being the only male makeup artist in the category this year. It has elevated my ratings and popularity, am keeping my fingers crossed for the award.
What in your opinion is the future of the makeup business in Uganda?
The makeup business in Uganda is on a fast growing rate with many young people venturing in the artistry & products. People are also starting to appreciate the art and actually pay handsomely for our services.
Lastly, what simple makeup tip do you give an ordinary Kampala girl looking to revamp her appearance?
I’d advise an ordinary Kampala girl looking to revamp her appearance to take time to understand who they really are (uniqueness of facial features) and what’s good for them in terms of skin complexion in relation to the available variety of products. Plus, it doesn’t hurt one bit for a girl to at least learn how to do her eyebrows or rightly apply their lipstick.
This interview has been edited and condensed
Photo credit: Beat by Deryk