Elaine Shobanjo: Makeup Artiste Extraordinaire

Our WCW today is the lovely Elaine Shobanjo. This award winning MUA is the founder of ShoMya and one of the most talented ladies in the Makeup Business. A visit to her professionally run studio in Lekki will leave you feeling relaxed, renewed and definitely more beautiful. Elaine is blessed with beauty and brains and before she decided to follow her passion worked as an asset/wealth manager. Read on and be inspired.
Elaine tell us a little about yourself
Life has been interesting. I was born in Lagos and went to high school there (Queen’s College). I then moved to the UK, where I lived for a further 14 years. I loved studying at the University of Reading, where I gained a BA in Economics, followed by an MSc in International Business and Finance. I went on to work in a few prestigious Financial Institutions in London, before deciding to attend beauty school at the weekends in late 2008. Working in Wealth Management taught me core skills that I use to date, but in 2009, I left the finance industry and started building my beauty career. I got certified by the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) and continued pressing forward.
Considering how well you did in the finance industry why  did you decide to turn makeup artistry and hair into a career? 
Simply put, I knew from childhood that my passion for makeup could not and would not be suppressed. In A-level college, I wanted all A’s. In University, I wanted to be top of my class. During my banking career, I reached a point where things felt too repetitive. I just wasn’t as excited anymore. On the other hand, makeup books, videos or pictures would get me so pumped!!! The rush was refreshing! I never went to beauty school to perfect a “hobby”. I went knowing that I was about to embark on a new, productive career.  Since we opened in Lagos, we have been blessed to win several awards including:
– 3rd glam & essence style awards, winner, Make-Up Artist of the Year ‘2014
-City People Fashion & Beauty award, winner,  “Makeup Artist of the Year 2013″
This Day Newspaper, winner, Makeup Artist of the Year”, 2013
-Eloy Awards by Exquisite Magazine, Nominee, Makeup Artist of The year, 2013
-Eloy Awards by Exquisite Magazine, Nominee, Makeup Artist of The year, 2014
-The Working Moms Awards, Nominee, New to Motherhood Moms, 2014.
Your professionalism especially in the area of customer service is outstanding. How are you able to run such an organised business?
Aww, thank you! I don’t run the business alone. We have a team, each person has their responsibilities, we have structures and procedures in place. Nonetheless, it is extremely challenging but we try our best to maintain a high standard, Occasionally, life happens and the ball drops. What’s important are the lessons learnt from such situations and how we bounce back from them.


Elaine doing what she knows best
Nadia being prepped for her big day by ShoMya
Nadia being prepped for her big day by ShoMya


 How do you combine work and taking care of your young family?
This is the million dollar question. Taking care of 2 kids under the age of 3 and a half is time consuming yet rewarding. My kids love being around me. I take them just about everywhere with me, which makes my day job more difficult to carry out…but I do it successfully. I don’t want to miss out on any aspect of their growth and development, neither do I want to see ShoMya struggle, to achieve this I integrate both. Thankfully my children go to school, thereby giving me a couple of hours to myself. I have domestic staff to help with the kids and even my ShoMya girls chip in too. Even with all the help I honestly feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. When I take 5 minutes to post something on Instagram, I get a flood of messages saying “check your email, I mailed you” , etc. I think people feel that the minute you post something, you have nothing else to do but check out profiles on Instagram, surf the net, etc. What they don’t realise is that once I post that one thing, I’m off the internet, doing homework with my toddler on one hand, while feeding my baby with the other. The little one follows me around like a shadow. Another thing people don’t realise is that what we do goes beyond painting faces. It includes strategic business planning, branding, looking for ways to be innovative, and so on. All these tasks require hours of  thinking, researching and some alone time to focus, not easy to do with children needing your attention at the same time.
From what you have said combining both Motherhood and your career takes a lot of work, what has been the most challenging aspect of being a working mum ?
My working hours are very anti-social. We work Saturdays when families should be out together bonding. After work, I stay with my kids until the youngest sleeps and that can be anytime from 8pm to \ midnight! When my house sleeps, I start to work. I have to decide what can be achieved in the few hours I have left. Do I respond to emails, create material to post, do some strategic planning, etc? I tend to work into the early morning and before you know it, the baby is up and ready to be fed. I’m used to this life though and somehow it just works. I’ve never been afraid of hard work and because of that, the work gets done!
So with how busy you get how are you able to de-stress?
(Laughs)When I de-stress, I would let you know. If had to choose between watching a movie alone at home, and going to some party to unwind, I would definitely pick option A.
What advice do you for other women who want to go into the beauty business?
First of all, invest in yourself and your future by acquiring top notch training and tools. Do not compromise on the quality of your training, in an attempt to save money. Once you acquire the necessary skills remain humble, work immensely hard, never get complacent, keep seeking more knowledge and refuse to be knocked down by negative comments. Instead, recognise constructive criticism when it comes, embrace it and learn. Also endeavor to find your niche and specialise in it.

Finally I won’t let you get away without revealing some tips on how you have been able to get your beautiful skin which is flawless with or without makeup. 


Thank you! I’m no dermatologist, so I shy away from giving skin advice. My routine is uncomplicated and for many years, I used just Dove soap to wash my face.  However what I can do is invite you to the studio to show you how to wear makeup to achieve a barely there look . That’s one way to fool people and make your ‘natural look’ noticeable.

Thanks Elaine, its been lovely talking to you and I will definitely be paying ShoMya another visit soon!

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  1. Excellent interview- enjoyed the insight into the strategic business portion of Shomya as well as how she manages being a mom to young kids.

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