Head of PR at Boohoo.com and Founder and Creative Director of ACC. We meet Arieta Mujay at her North London home to talk about all things beauty.Where are you from?
I am from Lagos, Nigeria, but grew up in London.How and when did you start your career?
I studied Business Law at Brighton University but I decided before I finished my degree that I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I knew I would work in business, in some capacity, eventually but I also knew that I wanted to work in fashion. Whilst at University I was a Hall Monitor. I was in charge of an Art’s dormitory and met all these fashion and arts kids and used to think they were really cool but I never thought that they looked at me in the same way as I used to dress differently. I didn’t have a lot of money so I was creative with what I had. I used to go to ‘The Lanes’ all the time to shop, that was like the Mecca. One day I met one of the fashion students, she asked me to style her final year collection and that was it. It was my first foray into styling and I knew I had to make my career in fashion.
After University I moved back to London and started working at Sneaks and Smash Hits magazines. Henry Holland was interning there at the same time, really lovely guy. I would intern there three days a week and work three days as a Visual Merchandising for New Look.
I loved my time interning at the magazines and I remember being amazed at how stuff went down and the amount of work that went in to fashion shoots. This was around the time that The Osbourne’s just started on TV. We Styled Kelly Osbourne for a cover and I knew then that this was what I wanted to.
So, I started styling shoots for friends and underground publications but after a while I moved into PR and eventually became head of PR at River Island. After 6 years at River Island I left my position to launch my own PR agency ACC (African Creative Collective). There is a lot of amazing talent in Africa. Potential that is untapped and under represented. I wanted to bridge the gap between the UK fashion industry and the creative talents in Africa. It has been a challenging project but it is a very exciting time for me. I am a multi-tasker and love pushing and challenging myself, I thrive when I am busy. I run ACC along side my new role as Head of PR at Boohoo.com.What is your approach to your personal hair care ?
I definitely could take better care of my natural hair. I work very closely with my hair stylist, Shade. I am very adventurous and I like to experiment with different hairstyle and Shade helps me to develop these. I am inspired by a lot of things, different eras, celebrities etc. A few months ago I had a meeting with an architect and was feeling inspired by buildings and structures so I started doing some research on symmetrical afros. I’m used to changing my hairstyle every six weeks, a different weave each time, it’s not great for your hair. To help protect my hair I like to have a deep conditioning treatment in-between hairstyles. I use Mizani hair products. The Moisturfusion Milk Bath is great and I also love to use Argan oil. For my next hair style, I plan to shave my head completely and let my hair breathe for a bit.Have you had any major hair disasters?
Yes! Many! When I was younger I went through a stage were I would have any hairstyle that Mary J Blige had. If she was golden blonde one day, I would dye my hair golden blonde, then I would relax it, and then add hair extensions. It was a disaster and my hair fell out in clumps.
But I didn’t stop there, when the Lace Front Weaves came out, obviously I had to get involved and I lost my entire hair line! It took years to heal. Hair extensions are the curse and the cure. When you are in that cycle, you’re trapped.
I am constantly fighting with my hair, because I like experimenting and trying different things but they aren’t necessary good or healthy for my hair. You only have to look at Naomi Campbell to see what damage excessive styling can have on black hair, her hair is finished! Products for afro hair are getting better and hair care advice is more readily available. The whole team natural movement is now in full flow which is great but that wasn’t cool when I was growing up.Tell us about your beauty routine?
My routine is very simple, I like Soap and Glory products. I also like the Dermalogica face scrub. At night I like to use my This Works Rose Water face wipes.
This might sound odd but I like to use a little bit of Bio Oil which I massage into my face as it keeps my skin supple. My main beauty concern though are my under-eye bags. I use InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel to help reduce puffiness. If I break out then I’ll use witch hazel but that’s about it. One thing my mum used to say to me is ‘Don’t disturb your skin’ so I’ve never liked to put too much on my face. On my body, I like Body Shop’s Almond butter I just love the smell.
Mac, Mac, Mac, this is the face that mac built. I love Mac products, they just work well on my skin. My favourite are the powders I use NW43 Pressed Powder which gives me great coverage and stops my skin from looking shiny. I am also currently obsessed with Heroine and All fired up lipsticks.What are your must have products when travelling?
8hr cream is a must have for a flight, and I love Maybeline’s Baby Lips. I find my sinuses get blocked on a flight and find it difficult to breathe so I always have a menthol balm with me and I don’t go anywhere without my Ruby Woo, it’s so common now though. I get on a flight to Lagos and everyone is wearing Ruby Woo. But I love it, red lipstick just gives me that extra oomph. For my hair I will always take my Argan oil, I tailor my hairstyles to the climates I’m travelling to, so when I go to Africa I opt for braids as they are a great protective style or hair extensions that will be easy to maintain in the heat.
Have you picked up any great products or had any amazing treatments whilst abroad?
What is your quick fix or go to products to take you through from afternoon meetings to evening drinks?
If I have just a few minutes then my trusted Mac Press Power and Ruby Woo lipstick and I’m good to go.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would say that my style is very eclectic, I’m influenced by my culture, the places I’ve travelled to, the industry I work in. In a nutshell, I would describe my style as global chic.
Follow Arieta @arietawho
Photography Lindsay Watson
Make-Up Jessica Mejia at Stella Creatives
Text Abisoye Odugbesan