Lydia Stanley, now Lydia Mokwuah, is one of Nigeria’s pioneer beauty content creators and influencers. She and a few others paved the way for other beauty content creators like myself. This is why it was so important and special to me to have this interview with her. I believe she has so much to offer in terms of insights for budding creatives, and she really shared a lot of information. So get your pen and paper and be ready to take notes! 

Lydia Stanley is a civil engineer turned beauty influencer. She studied civil engineering at Landmark University, but like many others, she is now doing something on an entirely different spectrum from her degree. Lydia is also a makeup artist and a YouTuber. 

Unlike other beauty influencers I have interviewed who fell in love with makeup from childhood, especially from watching their moms do makeup and hiding to apply mummy’s lipstick, Lydia did not care for makeup until 2014.

“I’ve always been a tomboy who knew nothing about makeup—I never even had the common white powder girls used then,” she says.

But, as fate would have it, she saw a post by another beauty and fashion influencer, “GlambyIsoken,” and seeing how stunning she looked with her hair and makeup inspired her to give it a try; this was the butterfly effect that changed the trajectory of her life. She started following @glambyisoken, discovered she had a YouTube channel, and her YouTube videos were among the first she watched to learn how to apply makeup.

Lydia realized pretty early on, after falling in love with makeup and learning how to do makeup, that she could turn that love and passion for doing makeup into a stream of income. While at university, she started doing makeup for people and she would charge between 500 and 1000 naira. Even after graduation, her beauty business was doing well, and she could pay herself from it, but the salary offers from careers in civil engineering were too low. It was then she decided that she put her all into doing makeup and making a career in beauty, and today she is doing very well for herself. 

The glitter queen, as she used to be called, started her journey as a content creator during her time at university. On the weekends, she would use her face as a canvas to practice makeup, and she would take pictures and post them. People began to compliment her makeup and inquire about the products she used. As a result, brands began reaching out to her and offering to pay her to showcase their products because they saw how much interest there was in the beauty content she was posting. This is how she became one of Nigeria’s first makeup gurus to take up content creation as a career. “I used to host a lot of tutorials on Snapchat under the handle @naijabestmua. I experimented a lot with makeup; I just love to teach and share, and that’s how I got started creating content,” she explains.

A key characteristic Lydia has is her drive to keep evolving, and this is what has propelled her to become the amazing creative person she is today. She says, “My mind moves at a thousand miles per hour, and I’m always eager to learn something new. This is what pushed me to learn how to do FX makeup. I started by watching videos online and kept practising till I mastered it. I just like to evolve, which is why the butterfly means so much to me. The butterfly starts as a caterpillar, and it can stay and die as a caterpillar, but it wants to become a beautiful version of itself, earn its wings, and go through the whole cycle to become a butterfly. Constant growth and learning is something I stand by.” She hammers home how important it is for people to be willing to constantly learn and improve themselves. She says if you want something badly, there’s a plethora of information online that can help you grow and make your journey easy.

Linda’s content creation journey can be classified as the saying, “Start with what you have and where you are.”

When she started creating content, she didn’t have the tools she needed, so she would borrow them from her roommates. She also didn’t have a lot of resources at her disposal, which is what a lot of upcoming content creators complain about as well. Compared to her early days of content creation, right now, she has the right tools needed because she has saved up and invested in the tools of the trade for content creation and she has also invested in upgrading her skills.

“I can create content more efficiently now because I’ve invested in classes online, I’ve watched a ton of videos, I’ve practised as much as I can, I’m always willing to learn, and my makeup game is much more flawless than it used to be. Even just two years ago, compared to now, I’ve become so much better.”

She continued to speak with pride about how much growth and improvement she’s made over the years and mentions a makeup look she created for the “End SARS” movement in Nigeria, which went viral.

She was happy to note that she is definitely no longer where she was years ago.

It was incredibly fascinating to learn that Lydia Stanley never learned makeup professionally; she is a self-taught makeup artist. She taught herself everything she knows about make-up today, including beauty makeup, special effects makeup, and stage makeup.

She further notes that the human mind is incredibly versatile, and most people shut down the creative part of their minds because they’re trying to just do what needs to be done to survive, especially in this country. But if people could let their creative selves out, they would be surprised at how much talent they have inside of them.

I couldn’t get a chance to speak to such an amazing makeup guru without asking at least one beauty-related question. So I asked her what common makeup mistakes women make today, and from her tone, it was clear that she was excited and fired up to share her opinion. Which is that women need to match their foundations and concealers to their skin tone and stop using too much foundation. She laughs as she recalls some of the makeup looks she’s seen.

“I’m learning recently that less is more when it comes to properly applying your makeup. Your face doesn’t need to be lighter than your body for people to notice that you’ve enhanced your beauty because that’s not flattering. Because for makeup to be flattering, it has to match your skin tone, but your face looks flawless and smooth, and your eyelashes are not overbearing, especially for an everyday look.” 

The catalyst behind Lydia’s social media growth and overall self-growth has been consistency. She says, “I never stopped. Even when I wasn’t seemingly growing, I never stopped putting in the work to grow.” She goes on to say

“I’ve hacked into the fact that online, people want real. People want to see something that they can relate to in their actual lives, not the over-arranged and over-planned shots or the fake stuff. People want to be able to say, “This looks like my real life, this looks like my daily routine too.”

Another thing that has aided in Lydia’s growth is that she uses her talents for makeup to speak up about injustices in the country which lots of people can relate to. She’s realized that people love relatability and people will come to you for that. She also points out that people can read energies through the screen, so you have to genuinely be a good person and give off positive vibes. She says if people come to watch your videos the first time and it makes them feel good, they will come back. When people feel whole when they interact with your content, it’ll make them come again. 

Too busy to visit our blog every day? We get it! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get our best stories delivered to your mailbox every Friday!

Leave a Reply