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Game changers

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Men breaking barriers in the local beauty industry.

Beauty is only skin deep but first impressions can last.

Both men and women want to put their best foot forward in this highly competitive world and it goes without saying that one’s looks are important, which is why many spend a small fortune seeking ways to improve their looks.

Voice Woman chats with two lads breaking barriers in an industry often thought to be a woman’s world.

THABO GODFREY MOTSAMAI

BEAUTICIAN: Thabo Motsamai
BEAUTICIAN: Thabo Motsamai

A chance meeting led 25- year old Thabo Godfrey Motsamai on his path to a career in the beauty industry.

“I have fallen in love with the diversity the industry offers and being a part of it has been fun and full of discovery.”

It goes without saying that no matter who one is, looks are important and most spend time seeking ways to improve theirs.

Even though skilled in other areas as well, Motsamai mostly offers make-up application under Mag Salon Studio operating from the mass media complex.

“We have the humbling responsibility of working with the national broadcaster’s clients who conduct various interviews across the station’s programming. It is common to have some people raise eyebrows at having a man consult with them regarding beauty needs and even surprising that a man can apply perfect make-up for various occasions. I see this as an opportunity to share the knowledge I have gained from school and through the experience I have had in my daily role and private consultations.”

Despite known male personalities across the globe making news with their refined skills in the dynamic world of beauty, it is still considered “strange” to have men excel in this industry locally but we are comfortable accepting these services from males who are not necessarily “Batswana”.

This may stem from the long held misguided belief that all things pretty are womanly and as a guy one must go after those things that require strength and being macho.

Men get dirty whilst women must be clean and respectable at all times.

This in my opinion is misguided and chauvinistic.

I do however use this to my advantage in the sense that I tend to go the extra mile to please my clients.

Motsamai recalls work with South African performer Khanyi Mbau as gratifying.

“It was awesome meeting her and having the chance to do her make-up.”

Despite being a big fan of Ugandan’s comedian Kansiime Anne, Motsamai’s work is no joke.

With expertise in makeup application, facial treatments, manicure and pedicure, waxing and other treatments Motsamai knows his way round beauty.

GAGOOPE FRANZ NTSHOLETSANG

PASSIONATE: Gagoope Ntsholetsang showcasing his skills
PASSIONATE: Gagoope Ntsholetsang showcasing his skills

With little knowledge of what studying for a beautician course entailed commonly called “Gigi” by those familiar with his work, Serowe born Gagoope Franz Ntsholetsang responded to an advertisement to take up beauty studies.

“I was intrigued and did a bit of research to familiarize myself with the industry. Passing all my foundation levels with merit and distinction was all the drive I needed to continue with my studies. I would have never guessed that I would have the pleasure to offer my services professionally on a platform such as Botswana Television where I am currently on attachment under Mag Beauty Studio. Each day my colleagues and I get to connect with different individuals while practicing our skill. Even though we mostly offer make –up application, we can consult on a variety of beauty areas including personal grooming, skin care and overall fitness.”

Ntsholetsang admits that even though there is no difference between female and male beauty therapists, one’s personality influences their work and the interaction with clients.

“It is really a matter of preference on the part of clients. Being good and disciplined in one’s field of study is what counts and I for one strive to have my work speak for me and not my gender.”

Ntsholetsang shared his observations regarding the perception some may have about his career choice.

“It is unfortunate that people can be misguided by holding on to old beliefs of what constitutes men and women’s rightful place in the work space. One can follow any career path and make a living from it but yet there are still individuals who refuse to give credit where it is due hiding behind statements such as “there is no way a real man can like make-up” forgetting that for a long time some of the world’s best designers and chefs were men. Whilst we grew up respecting that the home front was a woman’s arena one must be curious why then design in general and food/meal art has been dominated by males. I sincerely believe we ought to promote people’s abilities on an equal footing and provide learning opportunities without being biased. I find it funny that some people make the assumption that because I have taken a keen interest in “beauty” it means I am gay. I don’t know how my choices can be mixed with my sexuality when the discussion ought to centre on my delivery. Am I good at what I do or not?”

When not enjoying a good read on the latest beauty trends, the active softball player, self proclaimed hip hop head enjoys works by the likes of Common, Nas and Tupac.

Both Motsamai and Ntsholetsang encourage other men to embark on this field based on pure passion and the hard work they are willing to put in for their growth.