Exactly a month ago, we attended the official launch of the MAC Zambia MandaHill store, the MAC – Art of the Lip Party.
We were quite flattered to have been invited as we had been into the store before the launch and it was every bit a “makeup heaven”. We were also excited to be seeing Nallah, our friend, who we had met rather serendipitously at the Edgar’s MAC counter a few months before. We immediately hit it off because she not only looked like she had just stepped off an editorial set but was so warm.
On this night too, we were to meet the rest of her MAC crew from all around Africa, and happened to be the first time we were interviewing anybody for our blog.
We spoke to Marco, from South Africa, who was leading the delegation of artists, as well as Diahann and Nallah who are both currently based in Nigeria. Read our chat below.
That said, enjoy!
MaFashio: So, you guys arrived yesterday, right? How has it been so far?
Marco: I love the vibe here always, like, I’m excited. When we touched down it felt like home. I never get to meet the cool kids because Nallah keeps them all to herself (laughs).
MaFashio: You are here training the MAC Team today and tomorrow, and there’s quite a number of you, are all three of you together all the time?
Nallah: We have the training aspect (referring to Diahann), which is more the backstage and he (Marco) is more the “Ta Da!” (laughs)
Marco: But it’s cool, and I think the biggest success of the MAC brand is that they managed to bring together such big teams that are “backstage” in a sense, or AT & D. A team like this is just magic I have to say.
MaFashio: So, where do you go once training is done here in Zambia?
Nallah: To Kenya, because Diahann and I are on a training tour.
Marco: I’ll be headed to Lagos.
MaFashio: We know you get asked this a lot, but, we’re curious, with so many MAC products at your disposal, what has been your favorite product so far?
Marco: So, I’m going to go with Fix+, with all the travelling its ACs in the Hotels and ACs on flights, and the country climate changes from day to day. From a makeup artists perspective, definitely Mascara, because you can fix any makeup with Mascara. And then Ruby Woo (laughs), like, my peers, backstage, people would smack me and be like “dude, you need to be talking about all the stuff that’s there” and I’m like “hey, it’s iconic”, it really is an iconic lipstick.
Nallah: I would also say Fix+, also my concealer palette, the pro-palette, the dark one, because you can do everything on the face and then also, I use the correctors, the ‘pure orange‘for everything. Multiple use. (laughs)
Marco: She (Nallah) literally uses it for everything.
Nallah: (laughs) And then my bronze eye shadow because it was my first love.
Marco: We could go on forever (laughs), like “oh yeah, and then there’s this.”
Diahann: In my top three I would say, I love skin so I would definitely say my Match Master foundation, Studio Fix, has always been and is still my all time fave. And then lastly, Upward Lash Mascara, (laughs) it’s Upward Lash all day, everyday.
MaFashio: Speaking of skin, is that your thing? Would you say that is what you focus on, as a MUA?
Diahann: Oh yeah, everybody has a thing, some people brows is their thing, Mascara is their thing, lipstick is their thing. Me,it’s skin, i feel like skin is the base of whatever you do on your face. If your skin doesn’t look good, it doesn’t matter how beat your brow is, it kind of throws off everything.
MaFashio: We asked Nallah this the last time she was here, but, what is your favorite thing about working for MAC, or being associated with the MAC brand?
Marco: I think the biggest thing is the sense of community, it is a giant family, who happens to all dress in black everyday of their lives. (laughs) And with regards to store openings like Zambia, we want for the market to understand that we’re not just dropping off a store and being like “c’est la vie! Peace out, enjoy!”
Diahann: I would definitely say, we’re a team, like, no matter where you go, i call us a “soronity” (a Sorority and a Fraternity). I just met these guys (Marco and Nallah) and already I feel like they are a part of me, so it’s pretty cool.
Nallah: It’s the feeling, and wherever we go, even in casual clothes, you go into a MAC store, they will just welcome you with open arms. Also, sharing the same vision, it’s so important, because we speak about community, we speak about social responsibility, we don’t just paint faces, it’s deeper. (laughs)
Marco: That’s magic, what this brand does for people and what it’ll do for you as a person. We actually deal in people and we deal in communication. We sell a vision of loving yourself and makeup is the perfect medium for that.
MaFashio: We think it’s really amazing, and its great to have a full-on launch that is visually beautiful, because a lot of the time, and especially in the past, brands based here would be less glamorous, than their bases abroad where you’d get the full experience, which is what we’ve enjoyed the most about the Art of the Lip party.
Marco: For us, its so great to hear you say that because it’s been like, “is the market going to take us seriously, are they going to respond at all, are people going to show up?” and what we’ve seen from day one in Zambia is that we’re kind of late, it’s like you guys have been waiting for us and we’ve taken too much time to get here. (laughs) We bring all the core things, so that you get the full MAC experience, same way you do in New York or anywhere else.
MaFashio: We have to mention that your customer service is commendable. In fact, that was how we met Nallah, she was so warm and radiant, we bought so many products that day! (laughs)
Marco: It’s funny you say that because just as much as we say that the MAC Artists, it’s pure DNA from the get-go, it’s the same with our consumer, our “maccies”, we can spot them. I hugged both of you this evening and it was like “yeah dude, welcome home.” (laughs) It’s a little bit of everything, like, just how the brand brings out confidence in all of us artists, it does the same for our consumers. The customer journey is so awesome for us to see.
Nallah: That’s so true, the attitude that you see from the beginning when she’s keeping to herself to when she’s taking selfies (laughs). The MAC counter becomes her home.
MaFashio: And finally, what would you like your Zambian consumers to take away, what should they expect for the year 2016?
Marco: I think, firstly, we should take every opportunity we can to say thank you to the Zambian customer because we have been so well received. Go to both the MAC stores and spend time with the artists, make the MAC counter your makeup home. The one thing that sets us apart from other makeup brands is you’re dealing with professional makeup artists and not sales people. We work at it all the time, and, they work from the heart these artists.
Nallah: We’re Here. (laughs)
Photography by Sikota Mbewe.
We had a lovely time, many thanks to Mahungu for having us, and to the team at MAC Mandahill for our fabulous goodie bags. 😉
What’s your favorite MAC product?
Kahyi & Kii,