[Profile]: Foyinsola Ogunrombi is Quietly Building An Empire

If you follow @foyinog on Twitter, you will see a few things: a love for black women and their talents and skills, an occasional dragging of problematic faves and followers, and some choice musings about varsity life, her mom’s jollof, and how to steer clear of demons (i.e. boys who want to steal your glow and disturb your peace).
You will also see that Foyinsola speaks passionately about SA’s influencer scene, and about her plans for her own website, The Dear Solo Blog. Foyinsola is also a budding make-up artist with plans to share the magic of make-up with as many people as possible.

Lydie Byart for The Dear Solo Blog

I decided to take a leap into her DM’s and ask her a few questions about aesthetics, inspiration and the ingredients for Your Best Life™.

Foyinsola’s mom didn’t want her to wear make-up too early in life, because she wanted her to take care of her skin. Even so, Foyinsola always had a keen interest in make-up, and began experimenting at the age of 13:
“I used to love getting dressed up and doing makeup for a mini-photoshoot for a new Facebook profile picture, so I guess you can say I started young. That said, I only really started learning how to do things properly during Matric, and I only owned my own foundation in 2015, my first year of university.”

Make-up is more about feeling than looks for her:
“The real moment that sparked the love of make-up for me was when I went to my cousin’s wedding in Lagos in July 2015. I wasn’t even in the bridal party but we had a make-up artist come to the house we were staying at and do our make-up and tie our geles for us. She gave me brows on fleek, a beautiful smoky eye with silver glitter, and skin that was just incredible. The transformation made me feel incredible and I wanted to have that feeling all the time.
I wear [make-up] because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel confident, I feel snatchedt, I feel empowered. I don’t wear it for any other reason than because I want to.

A post shared by Foyin Og (@foyinog) on

She looks to the OGs for make-up inspiration…
“An old inspiration of mine is Michelle Lee Collins. She is the former senior make-up artist for MAC Cosmetics, and I met her when I interned at Seventeen Magazine.”

…and for guidance on her own make-up business, Foyinsola keeps up with current movers and shakers:
“Business-wise, I am seriously inspired by Huda Kattan [of Huda Beauty] and Connie B from ConnieTransform. Also Rabia from Swiitch Beauty. I’m inspired by the way they’ve managed to build businesses from their passions and I hope to do the same one day.”

Some of her YouTube inspirations for personal make-up are:

And what music does she listen to while getting ready for a night out?
“I hype myself up with upbeat music. My go to is trap and hip hop – so people like Travis Scott, Migos, Future, Drake and Kendrick Lamar are usually in the mix.

Foyinsola recently started her own make-up business, Beauty by Solo:
“I found there was a gap in the type of make-up I wanted to see, particularly for black women in South Africa. And you know what they say: if you find a gap, fill it. So I decided to do a makeup course at the House of Tara International School in Lagos, Nigeria. Once I was satisfied that I would pay me to do my make-up, I thought all the people I’d been doing makeup for should pay me too.”

Foyinsola incorporates a bit of her Nigerian heritage into her business by offering a gele tying service. A gele is a traditional head wrap used for special occasions: “It can be a sign of high status, like a woman’s crown, which is why they can get particularly elaborate, especially when it’s your wedding day. For an occasion like that, they can be bejewelled and decorated to correspond with your colour scheme and fabric.”

She is still mastering the skill of tying gele, so the prospect of tying it for someone famous does present a bit of pressure. But, if she had to choose someone, Foyinsola would choose to tie gele for her obsession, the Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage.

Because we are living in 2017, the time of the tightly curated (and often profit-driven) online presence, I had to ask Foyinsola about aesthetics.
Her aesthetic is not fixed, or even something that she is constantly performing:
“If you see me on a day to day basis, you would definitely say that I have no real aesthetic. Truth be told, I can’t afford my true aesthetic. I like to think of myself as an ineffable woman: I contain multitudes and I tend to present those outwardly. So on my lazy days, I have no problem with the world seeing me in sweatpants and Uggs with a messy bun and no make-up. But at the same time, I love glamour and high heels and dressing up and beating my face - I can style myself as a Braam lord or be on my Blair Waldorf.”

That said, she does like to surround herself with her favourite things:
“I am building a life worth Instagramming about. I love clean and simple decor and vibrant African art and I am obsessed with tea drinking and nap times. At the same time, I love glitter, coffin acrylic nails and hoop earrings. Like I said, I contain multitudes.”

Aesthetic, elusive as it may be, does come down to representation:
“I just like people to know that there is always much more to me than what meets the eye; it would not be in your best interests to pigeonhole me and especially not to underestimate me. I try to be honest in my representation of myself, because a lot of what I do online involves people trusting me and what I say.”

This links to the issue of personal branding, which Foyinsola is a “huge advocate” for. Personal branding is about authenticity:
I believe genuine, honest engagement is key to developing a sustainable personal brand. People often forget the ‘personal’ part of personal brand and try to put on this facade all the time. That’s why some of your faves on Instagram don’t do well on Twitter - because it’s too disingenuous. Not everything in life can be about the aesthetic.”

It’s also important to have boundaries:
“You have to have boundaries. Those who know me in real life can testify to the fact that I am pretty much the same online as I am offline, but there is a line that I draw for things I want to share. That line is important to me but it doesn’t make me any less real and relatable. In essence, you have to be real. You can only be a curated human being for so long before people tire of you or see through you.”
Separating online from offline when we all do our work, see our families and get our entertainment online – and essentially never truly log off – is important.

As a parting shot, I asked Foyinsola what she thinks it means to live Your Best Life™:
“Financial freedom. Mostly because then I can pursue all the endeavours I want: I can focus more on beauty blogging and YouTube, I can upgrade my make-up kit for clients and start production on my own cosmetics line, I can open my own beauty studio and school, I can finally have the closet I deserve and just enjoy life instead of stressing about providing for it. I can travel, shop, live and love stress free.”

And that’s just it, isn’t it? Living one’s best life is about having the freedom to create the environment in which you would strive. Making a world for yourself where you are completely in control of what you do, why you do it, and who you want to connect with. That’s the dream.

Foyinsola is one focused young woman. She knows the value of knowing oneself, and channelling that energy into everything you do.

How about you? What are you focusing your energy on? What are your plans for living the best life you can?

*This article originally appeared on wuzicdiaries.com


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