Chanel Boateng (AMA TOFFEE) is a London based make-up artist with 3 years experience in make-up artistry, working at fashion shows, photo shoots, editorial, glamour, and runway. Chanel pursued her love for make-up by successfully obtaining a job at the luxurious department store, Selfridge’s in Oxford Street for the make-up concession Benefit Cosmetics. Working full time after graduating gave her a lot of experience, undertaking appointment based bridal make-up as well as make-up tutorials for all types of looks for the general public and dedicated Benefit Cosmetics customers. Having a creative background, her main style of make-up artistry is extremely imaginative, eccentric and funky generally reflecting her own personality. Chanel is versed in all genres of makeup whether it’s imaginative, everyday, bridal, or something more specific.
Shadders: Can you share with our Audience your cultural/Family Background?
Chanel: I am an African. Brought up in a Christian home to parents of Ghanaian descent. My father is from Brong Ahafo region in Ghana where as my mother is an Ashanti. I was born and grew up in North-west London, United Kingdom in the late 80′s, that makes me 22 years old lol! Although growing up in North-west London, Harlesden where the Carribbean culture is more influenced, my parents never took me and my siblings away from the Ghanaian heritage we had. So, I was very much raised understanding the Twi language, the music, the food, clothing etc. My parents tried for us to at least go to Ghana once every two years or so as children, so I got to know my family very well back home, and got to experience a little bit of the Ghanaian lifestyle. Well, that was me as a child… today, I haven’t moved far from acknowledging my roots, I love to listen to Hiplife and Highlife music, love African inspired print clothing hence the reason why I am a big fan of Shadders! I cook traditional Ghanaian food as my mother taught me and I simply adore all Africans, particularly the women… they are beautiful and they stand out with their voluptous figures and distinctive facial features- ‘great to do makeup on i might add’ lol! I have many African friends, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Zambian, Zimbabwean, Congolese… the list goes on.
Shadders: Why did you decide amongst other aspects of fashion and beauty to specialize in make-ups?
Chanel: I love makeup. It entices me. I do love fashion, hair and all the other attributes but makeup is generally where I strongly stand. I got to know makeup from a child, from watching my mother apply her makeup when she was getting ready for church or parties, and when she wasn’t looking I used to go in her makeup bag and help myself to what ever goodies I found! Then growing up as a teenager I got to experiment with mascaras, liners and cheap eye shadows however didn’t get to much confidence as I wanted to apply it professionally because I was afraid of looking dumb! A close friend of mine who worked in the beauty industry as a nail technician introduced me to different brands of makeup and I started to explore, and the more I explored I fell in love. I guess it is the art of putting on makeup which I love the best as well as the wide range of brands and styles, its all so exciting! As a woman, we all love to dress up and look beautiful, but makeup to me ultimately completes it for me, I’m sure other women can understand me on that one; but its generally the buzz of creating a unique look for yourself to suit your eye shape, lips etc which makes me admire it more than other fashion and beauty aspects out there.
Shadders: What inspires your work? Is it your clients, your mood, time or the pay in question,lol?
Chanel: Lol, it’s definitely not just the pay! Although, I work for Benefit Cosmetics in Selfridges where I am paid, it still goes away from that. It is partially the clients but not particularly so, if I was to say the clients I might add the fact that I am satisfied and I hope the client is satisfied with the looks I give them as they themselves make my job possible which I am extremely grateful for. Makeup generally sets me in the mood… a good mood! I am honestly excited about every photo shoot I get and even make time to make small plans for shoots depending on if it requires a specific theme or not. I do generally just go into photoshoot and create what is on my mind, I do not rush, if I make a mistake I will erase it and try again with skill! Being a make-up artist can be all trial and error.
Shadders: What distinguishes you as a makeup artist from every other makeup artist around?
Chanel: Hmmm…. tough one! I will try and explain myself without being too vain or arrogant! I don’t actually know much makeup artists, only the girls I work with at Benefit and at work we are generally trained to do the same thing but as for freelance makeup artists there is not much I know as I just ‘do my own thing’. I can say I try and add as much creativity as possible to my looks, I generally like to stand out so I love to do fashion makeup as I am not so keen on plain makeup unless it’s purpose is to be so. I change my makeup looks each time, with different colours, designs etc. I do not copy anyone, but I however take inspiration from what I believe looks good and I add the Ama Toffee touch! All makeup artists generally carry the same skills i.e. blending, but as you can see my work speaks for itself in terms of the type of make over/ups I do.
Shadders: How do you describe your work as a makeup artist and what does it entail?
Chanel: ‘Avant-garde’ - a bit out of the ordinary really- but that is only based on fashion makeup of course- I like to use materials and create an art, i.e. the flower petals, pearls, feathers. I use different types of brands as each makeup tool for the different brands have their own qualities so I do like to vary. These brands include MAC, Nars, Barry M, Sleek and Benefit. I love to blend eye shadow colours to create outstanding looks. I use false eyelashes and even sometimes cut them up and make patterns around the eyes. When doing natural beauty looks, I still love to use colour depending on the outfit a client is wearing or the type of occasion and I avoid blending different colours as it may appear too over the top is some cases; I want my client to look beautiful and not trashy by also taking in consideration the shape of their eyes (not all eyes can have I flicks!) lips, skin tone, eye colour.
Shadders: Can we have a rundown of past,present and future works Ama Toffee has up her sleeves?
Chanel: Oh yes. I have previously worked at Fashion shows for Elook Casting, had some publication for GUBA awards. At the moment another magazine have approached me wanting to work on their beauty/makeup section they are called OMG Magazine, I also just done a photoshoot for Mahogany Models, Top Model of Colour 2010 press shoot working with Spikes Makeup Directory as their official sponsors for the event to be held late November which will enable media coverage for top black magazines such as Pride, Black Hair and Beauty. I am still building my portfolio I have lots and lots of creative themed shoots I want to try out with some terrific models and hope to get great photographers and hairstylists involved. Surprisingly, I have not got anything professionally photographed in the bridal section of my portfolio and aspiring to work on that part now. I would love how to do special effects and more body makeup as it looks really cool. I pray I would be on the television some day doing makeovers/ makeup.
Shadders: How do you get your jobs?
Chanel: modelmayhem.com. This is a great way to meet everyone you need to meet in the fashion industry for models, photographers, hairstylists, wardrobe stylists etc. I am also known on other social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Shadders: How can we access Ama toffee contact details?
Chanel: You could contact me on Facebook
Telephone number: 07539640882.