Meet Catface, the Nigerian British entrepreneur who is her own brand3 minute read

Mariette Immaculate is a creative director, designer and content creator from London. Over the last seven years, she has been using the internet to express herself with her platform Catface which started off as a blog and has expanded to include the colorful explosion known as Catface Hair and Catface Studio. Catface is essentially a materialization of Mariette’s personality and everything she loves doing.

Does your Nigerian heritage influence you in your business or your style?

It doesn’t influence me because it is my life and it is my culture so it is me just living. It’s not a trend like, ‘this collection is inspired by my days in Nigeria’. My identity is fluid. I am British and I am also Nigerian. I was Nigerian first, before I was British, but both identities coexist. I have dual identities and they are constantly interacting with each other. I could start a sentence in English and break into Pidgin English and end up speaking my [native] language. I can’t predict that. It’s like me waking up and brushing my teeth. It is part of me and who I am. It is inevitably constantly fueling my work rather than influencing.

As a black woman do you think it is easier in 2017 to have confidence in self-expression because of greater connectivity to diverse people?

Absolutely. I started my internet journey on Youtube. I was creating videos there consistently for about two years and I was drawn to Youtube because I lived in a predominantly white area in London so my family was the black community in the area. I was the only black person in my year at school. Before that, I grew up in a small town in Nigeria where everyone knew everyone. You would go down the road and my grandad would be like “see that man standing by the tree over there? That’s your uncle’s cousin’s sister’s friend, say hi”. And then when I moved to London the people I met had never really been around black people or been so close to a black person so I was met with a lot of racism and a lot of othering.

Even in beauty shops, you couldn’t really get foundation for your skin tone, so some black girls would wear bronzer as foundation because that was the only product closer to their shade. Funnily enough, it turned out really amazing because their face would just glisten and sparkle like ‘2003 Beyonce’. So finding youtube was great. I found girls like me who were trying to manage the environment they were in. Now in 2017, it is easier and much more accessible to find information and knowledge and visual representation of what you want to do but for a black woman actually making it in the creative industry and business it is extremely difficult.

As a social media guru, what are your top five tips for creating a brand and an online presence?

  1. Give yourself time to figure out your style and what you want to do. Everything is a narrative. When you focus on your own journey and narrative things start to materialize for you.
  2. You will never stop learning. You can have 1 million followers but there is still a lot for you to learn.
  3. It’s a journey, don’t compare your step 2 to someone’s step 5. Don’t get frustrated or try to replicate what other people are doing.
  4. If you find yourself getting frustrated that your life is not the same as the presentations on Instagram or Youtube then maybe you should have a day off and chill out and do something in your real life and count your blessings.
  5. It’s all a f***ing s**t show really. People are just playing smoke and mirrors, so use the internet with caution and moderation.

Studio Catface is expanding to a store in Central London. For the latest updates connect with them on Facebook.

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Julia Chanda Zvobgo is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Of Africa’. She was born in Zimbabwe and raised in The Netherlands. As an Afropean she is always looking for new and creative ways to “make the invisible, visible”. She is a co-founder and a member of 'ethnovision' a collective of visual anthropologists and filmmakers. Julia also volunteers as the Director of Communications & Development for Tariro House of Hope, an NGO that transforms the lives of children and their communities in Zimbabwe.