Wajid Khan and his magic wand
This low profile and yet highly experienced makeup artist has worked on the Miss Universe pageant as well as the IIFAs this year. He talks about his experiences…
Talent takes you places. This well-known adage holds true in the case of Wajid Khan, who has literally travelled the ‘Universe’ with his magic wand. Not only he was the handpicked stylist at the recently concluded IIFA ceremony in New York but he was also one of the chosen makeup artists for the Miss Universe beauty pageant a few years ago.
Khan started working professionally at the age of 16 and since then has created a niche for himself in the world of styling. Having worked with most of the film and fashion industry, Wajid has also styled many significant names in the Indian TV and film industry.
Based in Karachi, Wajid spends his days shuttling between his two salons in the city while he also runs a beauty segment in a morning show.
Instep got in touch with this young yet experienced stylist and asked him to share his experiences…
Instep: First things first, tell us how the IIFAs happened?
Wajid Khan: IIFA happened through a friend, Maliha, who is Nargis Fakhri’s stylist and we both go back a long way. She had recommended my portfolio for IIFA’s weekend events that included makeup and styling for IIFA Rocks and the IIFA main ceremony. I have had a history of working with Indian stars and also some International events that worked in my favour and I got a call that they would like to have my services for IIFA 2017.
Instep: Speaking of international events, you were also one of the stylists for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant. How did that happen?
WK: I work very closely with the brand ‘CHI’ and the owners who distribute this brand are the distributors for Kardashians Beauty and many other International makeup brands. Every year as part of our collaboration we submit our portfolios and our profiles are pitched for these events by CHI. Like you have L’Oreal at Cannes, CHI does the same for the International beauty pageants. I am looking forward to the next Miss Universe as well.
Instep: You have been working for more than fifteen years. Is there any visible difference between the former pool of artists and the recent ones?
WK: I have worked with all the senior artists from Zeba Bakhtiyar to Sania Saeed, Samina Peerzada, Uzma Gillani and Atiqa Odho. They respect time and their fellow artists. They hardly talk about a person (as in gossip) and the conversations with them are more insightful. I would suggest you do a sting operation in my salons when I have the newer lot and the self-proclaimed superstars sitting in front of the mirrors. They can’t stop gazing at themselves. And the blow dry sessions are full of comparisons and bitching. That speaks volumes about the respect they carry for their work and fellow artists.
Instep: How do foreign celebrities respond when they get to know you are from Pakistan? Also tell us something interesting about your interaction with them.
WK: I found Richha Chaddha very engaging and very humorous. She mentioned to me that we don’t know how India Pakistan relations shape up but keep doing the good work and never create a line between art and countries. ‘What you are doing with me here is a great example of how art brings the countries and artists together. Think of it as your contribution to create unity between the two states,’ she said. Richa particularly complimented my work and said ‘aap ke hathon mei jaadu hai, aap Mumbai shift ho jayein.’”
“And Kalki is so cool. She sweetly spoke to me during the styling session and explained what she wanted me to do with her hair and as you know she has been to Pakistan as well so she spoke to me about how good her experience was in Pakistan.
Instep: You have a great body of work behind you yet you have never submitted your portfolio for local awards like the LSAs. Why is that so?
WK: I have been working for over 18 years now but I have to say the way Lux manages its Style Awards is very inconvenient for the artists. You never know when to submit your portfolios or who to contact. The dates are also not announced at the level to create awareness for artists in general. So every year I have been missing the boat. Plus, I cannot do the lobbying business to please everyone but unfortunately that’s what drives the agenda these days.
Instep: With so much pressure from the social media, do your clients pass that pressure on you in anyway?
WK: All the time! Every other client comes in with a handy celebrity picture from Insta asking me to copy the look or wanting to look like someone. As a stylist my job is not to create clones. I have to brainwash them into believing in themselves, which is not easy.
– Sadiq Saleem is a Dubai based entertainment journalist. He is also an Instep & Something Haute correspondent and can be contacted on his page fb/sidsaidso.