Jane Michael Ekanem , is talented ,hardworking and authentic. Earlier this year she was featured on CNN African voices as one of the premier stylist in our continent. I got the pleasure of chatting with her and I was inspired by her sheer motivation to succeed while still being relatable and humble. I left the interview feeling like I had known her for years because she was  such an open book . Thank you Jane Michael Ekanem for your time.


Brief background of what you do and why you got started

I am a fashion entrepreneur. I started over 8 years ago. I started off with a mobile boutique, selling cufflinks, then added clothes to it. Whenever clients saw the way I was dressed they would complement me and ordered the items. I would deliver the clothes and also teach them how to wear it; different ways to wear it and what it could be worn with. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing was personal styling  until our first major job with MTN Project Fame in 2008. My partner, Jaku the stylist, styled men and I styled the ladies.

Does skin/skin-tone play any role in styling?

When it comes to styling, the skin-tone is incorporated when looking at colours of the outfit. For example, when styling a person with darker skin tones I avoid darker colours as much as I can, and when I style lighter skin tones I try to minimize lighter colours so they don’t wash out. But colours like black and white are unavoidable. So even though a person has darker skin, you can style them with black, but there are different tips you can use. For instance, you can pull a person’s hair to the back so their face is emphasized, or if your client is curvy you accentuate that by finding ways to make it a focal point. Even using textures can also help.

That’s interesting and technical, I remember watching an episode of Oprah and she mentioned something about not wearing white on TV.

Yes, white on TV doesn’t work most times. There are certain things you can’t do on TV, like white or stripes. But in terms of personal styling you can do almost anything. 

How important is skin care to you?

Personally, I am not into makeup but I feel that every beautiful woman should try to have amazing skin. Your skin should glow from a distance. Skin is everything. I would spend all the money in the world on my skin than any other thing. I am serious! I wax my whole body. You know it is extremely painful, but I can’t stop waxing because waxing also exfoliates my skin indirectly, getting rid of the dead skin.  I also do laser treatments to reduce the amount of hair I have on my skin. Recently, I tried microdermabrasion to enhance the results of the facials.

I am very blunt; a lot of people will keep this information to themselves. When you compliment their skin saying, “your skin is looking fresh” they respond, “it’s God oh” (laughs). But I am open about what I do to encourage other women. I know it’s not easy, that’s why I share my tips with women. I am also glad I can afford it now. I remember back in the day my skin was not my priority; the garri I had to buy was first in mind. As much as we are focused on making that paper, when we do achieve those goals we should not forget to take care of ourselves; that includes our skin. 

What is your skin type?

 Normal skin

At what age did you begin to take better care of your skin and why?

I started taking care of my skin 3 years ago.  After a relationship ended, I decided I wanted to take care of myself a little more, and now it’s something that I enjoy doing.

jane-michael-22-640x360Take me through your skincare routine AM and PM

AM, I wake up at 4 am prepare for my day, get my outfit ready and take a shower.

I use a regular bar soap, I and then I use oil of Olay moisturizer. It is infused with vitamin E and B3 and a bit of shimmer.  I cleanse my face daily and use a scrub at least once a week.

Occasionally I get my entire body waxed. It’s the only treatment that gives me results. I try to avoid the sun as much as possible.

In the PM, I have pretty much the same products routine. But on the days I have makeup on I use face wipes to take my makeup off, and then I cleanse/scrub before going to bed.
What is the best skincare tip you have received?

The best skincare advice would be, scrub and exfoliate regularly. Find out what type of exfoliation technique works for you and practice that.

What is your current “can’t live without” skincare product (if you had to run out of a burning building what product would you pick)?

My scrub. It’s not easy to come by.

If you could create a skincare product, what will it be and what would be the benefits?

A three in one skincare product with sunscreen, it brightens (not lighten), and removes dead skin.

Your favorite item of clothing at the moment

Hmmmm, I am a sucker for lingerie. So, I will say my lingerie.

The celebrity I would love to dress is…

Kelly Rowland; any day any time because people say we look alike, and I love her because she looks homely and approachable. For Nigerian artist, Lola Rae anytime. She has a good heart and is polite.

Your favorite social media handle is…

Instablog naija (laughs). I am always busy and so whenever I go on instablog naija it’s like comic relief and a break in transmission. It covers all topics; politics, news and pop culture.

I would never be caught dead wearing…

Colorful leggings and a crop top.

Current fashion trend you are loving

I am loving well-tailored jumpsuits and well-tailored suits 

What is beauty to you?

Beauty is when something is well taken care of. You can have a dirty building with paint over it, it’s still dirty. When you take care of yourself, you appreciate what God has given you. That is beauty to me.

Whose beauty inspires you?

Apart from Kelly Rowland, the person whose beauty I admire in every way I would say is Derenle. I will say he is beautiful from the inside. With all the criticism that strikes him every now and again, he would rather not speak than speak negatively about someone else. That is beauty that is hard to come by.

I see beauty in my man as well. Being in the entertainment industry, everyone is into their swag etc. But he is a very laid back type of guy, he has an amazing heart and I find that really beautiful.

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