We had the good fortune of connecting with Odera Nduka and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Odera, why did you pursue a creative career?
I kind of believe my career as a Makeup Artist was something that chose me. I didn’t really grow up feeling like I was really creative and didn’t really even get into makeup until after college. My love for the beauty industry really started as something I wanted to do for myself. I woke up one day and decided I wanted to be the women I saw in LA. The Rihannas, Beyonce’s, SJP in Sex in The City who were always put together and wore makeup everyday. I got so into learning about makeup that I didn’t do much of anything else. I picked up pretty quickly and then started having other’s ask me to do their makeup. Looking back on some of my first “clients” it’s funny to see where I started but I also realized how much I grew and learned from each stage, but the one thing that stayed the same from that first client till now is how much I truly love working and being creative with the face being my canvas.
I pursued my career because I realized that deserved to have that feeling of love for what I do. I have so many dreams and aspirations for what I want my career to be and during the process of getting to those goals I also just love doing makeup whenever I have the chance. I get this nervous excited feeling for every new opportunity that come my way and I get this sense of pride when I feel like I did a job well. I want that feeling in my chosen career. I don’t want to just do something because it pays the bills but also a job that truly makes me feel alive when I go to work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My goal whenever I approach a project is to adapt to what the job needs. It is so important to me to learn different styles of makeup so that I can make sure my application goes with the assignment as hand. What makes me the most proud is when I have clients tell me how the still look and feel like themselves but just a more glam version or when I have photographers I work with tell me that don’t have to do too much editing post production cause the work is already speaks for itself.
Getting to where I am today is probably my toughest journey I’ve been on to date. I came from a structure that had a built in process set out for someone. I was used to the system of going to school, graduate, take the exams then get a job. While this process comes with its own challenges it was still pretty much straight forward. Becoming an artist made me have to step out of myself. I’m naturally introverted and quite, but growing as an Artist requires me to have to reach out to others, talk and network with other creatives or potential clients. I also wasn’t prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with following your dreams. I can go to feeling like a boss one second and the next like I’m some no talent wannabe. It was due to all the emotions I would go through that I realized how important mental health really is.
I’m just now starting to feel like I’m getting a hang of this business even though I have been in LA for a little over 5 years now. Sometimes I down play my achievements and tell myself I should be doing more, but then I also stop and realize that I prayed for these opportunities that I’m apart of now. I sometimes think about what I want my story to be when I leave this earth and I think of the Beyonce song “I Was Here”. I want people to say that I was ambitious, a risk taker, a hard worker, and someone who put their all in every project, photoshoot, special event that I had the chance to be a part of. I want to provide opportunities and mentorship other young artist who don’t know where to start when it comes to following their dreams. I want to be known as one of the best to ever do it, but not just because of my work, but also my work ethic and the way I treat others. I never want to forget where I started from and the feelings I went through along the way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One thing I love most about LA is the restaurants! I love eating and trying out new spots so I’m always researching and trying different restaurants especially when people come to visit. I also love doing things I don’t typically do when I’m just living my day to day life. I don’t typically go to the beach but I love going to Santa Monica Pier when someone comes to town. The best part of LA is that there is always an event or day party to attend (pre pandemonium) so just staying flexible to what events are happening during any given weekend is the best.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have had many people in my life who have supported me in different ways whether it be financially, emotionally, or with recommending me different projects. Two of the biggest support systems for me is the women in my life and my sister.’
Before I made the decision to move to LA I was in my final year of law school and I was talking with my sister, who at the time had already moved to LA, about my passion for becoming a Makeup Artist and wanting to take a chance in that career. She was probably the one who encouraged me the most to take that leap. I remember saying how worried I was cause I didn’t have any money and no Job and everyone was expecting me to start practicing law in a few months after I graduated. She would tell me if I didn’t do it now then when would be the right time and that there is always gonna be a reason why any given moment is not convenient. She understood why I was taking the risk and never questioned my sanity.
The women in my life is also the biggest support system. Whether it is being my models, sending me clients. getting me booked on shows, or just listening to me go through my rollercoaster of emotions. Most of all I look up to them in so many different ways. I realize how strong and capable women are and sometimes without them even realizing it. I see women in high power careers, starting business, balancing work and family life and I just think that how can I believe I won’t be successful when I have access to that same power that is within women.
Photographer: Zachery Brandan, Tony Bowen, Nick Branch