Barbara Onianwah used to work as an Advertising Account Manager, but decided that Internet Marketing had more appeal so she quitted her 9-5 job and started Barbara & 1923, a classic and comfortable blog listed on the Top 20 Beauty & Fashion blogs to follow in 2015.
A professional makeup artist and writer, Barbara is currently the Official Blogger for The Nail Studio Lagos, and has contributed severally to bellanaija.com, thehairdresserseyes.com (now the ultimateedit.com), styljunki.com, thisdaystyle.com to mention a few.
The versatile beauty has also worked in TV (as Beauty Producer & Writer for Spice TV, DSTV Channel 192).
Barbara shares are inspiration, fashion essentials and the legacy she’s aiming to leave behind in the industry in this no-holds-barred interview.
St. Eve Magazine: Who/what is the greatest source of inspiration behind www.barbara1923.com/?
Barbara: Above all else I know God is the source of Inspiration for the Barbara & 1923 brand because there have been so many times when I literally had nothing to write about or talk about or just plain couldn’t do anything. Those times are now in the past but without Him, the brand would most likely not be existing by now.
Also, I find inspiration in things as simple as my mood for the day or the colour of my handbag or the scent of a perfume which is a new one actually. Lol
St. Eve Magazine: Who is Barbara and how do you see fashion?
Barbara: Barbara is just a down-to-earth girl (my mum says I’m not a girl anymore but I still behave like one, so girl it is) who happens to like makeup, comfortable old clothes and is everyone’s best friend. She is blessed to have ventured into a career – Advertising – that provided her with extensive room for growth in whatever industry she fancied – digital marketing, beauty, fashion, branding etc. – and continues to rely on the grace of God for success.
For me fashion is defined by style and style to me is being yourself in whatever you wear and how you wear it. Fashion shouldn’t dictate to you, you should dictate to fashion.
St. Eve Magazine: What should every woman own? What is the one essential item in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?
Barbara: My vintage flared skirts. What would I do without them?
Really, I think everyone should own a flared skirt even if in solid colour. They go with everything and are super comfy.
Can I add one more essential item?
The good Lord knows how many times I’d have been in a fix if I didn’t have a T-shirt to rescue me.
St. Eve Magazine: What do you think of body piercing and/or tattoo? If you ever consider piercing or tattoo, which part of your body would go first?
Barbara: I don’t like piercings or tattoos and won’t be getting one at any point in time.
St. Eve Magazine: Is make-up overrated? Is it possible to be beautiful without wearing any make-up, earrings or other accessories?
Barbara: Yes, makeup is over-rated. A lot of women have been made to believe that they can’t live fulfilling lives if they don’t have makeup on. I’d rather be seen more times without makeup than with because that’s the real me.
It definitely is possible to be beautiful without makeup or any accessories. In fact, a woman who is beautiful without any of those is indeed truly beautiful.
St. Eve Magazine: What would you tell a man who believes make-up is a waste of time and that women lie with their make-up looks?
Barbara: I’d first of all tell him to define how he thinks a woman should look and if his ideal is achievable without makeup. Most of the men I’ve met often refer to light or nude make-up as not having make-up thus meaning that most times, they really don’t know what they mean when it comes to women and make-up.
Some women do lie with their make-up. I won’t begrudge the men that at all.
St. Eve Magazine: What would you wear to meet royalty or the President of your country?
Barbara: I’d wear a monochrome black & white vintage dress with 20s style black or silver shoes.
St. Eve Magazine: What is your favorite outfit that you’ve worn, and why?
Barbara: A black & white polka dot dress from Nouva Couture. Nouva Couture are custom made but sold to the public. Each design is one of a kind so one knows they are the only ones EVER who have that dress.
The polka dot dress is very classy and chic. Suits every occasion and looks different every time. I get compliments every single time I wear it.
St. Eve Magazine: What items of clothing do people not wear anymore but which you miss not having around?
These are heavily designed, thick fabrics that were mostly used to sew jackets and dresses. One didn’t need to use starch on these because they wore really well. My mum had a skirt made in this fabric which I absolutely loved and looked awesome in.
Shame that they couldn’t be washed in water, though. This made them difficult to maintain. I guess that’s why they faded out.
St. Eve Magazine: After all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered and what are you doing now to make that possible?
Barbara: I would like to be remembered as the one person who drove the Nigerian make-up & beauty industry to grow and go out into the world via digital media. I’ve done that with the creation of the Nigerian make-up artists page on Facebook but I’m still working on it via consultancy services for beauty industry brands in Nigeria and also educational materials for beauty bloggers.