In honor of Black History Month, we're sharing one of our favorite melanin-blessed voices in the beauty world - MUA and beauty blogger, Apoman Abella. Keep reading to learn more about her story, what Black History Month means to her, her fave beauty tips, and how we can all push equality forward.
Tell us a little bit about you!
I am South Sudanese but I was raised in small-town Minnesota. After University, I decided to travel the world – I’ve visited all over the East Coast (New York, Boston, Toronto), Australia, Germany, France, UK, Spain, Holland. Now I live in Hawaii, which I love!
What’s your sign?
I’m a Sun Capricorn, Moon Capricorn, Rising Libra. I'm a Capricorn through and through - goal-oriented, super ambitious, creative, workaholic - its bittersweet 🙃
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It means celebrating my African Descent – I come from the Anyuak tribe. I constantly reach out to my aunties and cousins to practice my language, I cook the food from my childhood – it’s about celebrating my culture and where I came from.
As a Black MUA, what do you think the beauty world needs to hear?
Though it has improved, deep skin tones are still very underrepresented in the beauty world – especially the deepest skin tones like mine. Liquid foundation and concealer have gotten better, but there’s still little to no options for contour, bronzer, tinted moisturizers, and nude lip products. I have to buy multiple shades and mix them to find an option that complements my skin tone.
Why did you become an MUA?
My love of beauty started with painting and coloring as a small child, and then I realized that people actually got paid to color on people’s faces! Who knew, right?!
It's true, beauty is art! What's your fave ĀTHR Beauty product?
I really love the Moonlight Crystal Gemstone Palette – especially the teal shades (sapphire and ritual). I also love that lilac shade, Full Moon – I pop that in the center of my lid and inner corner to catch the light.
I love the ATHR Beauty shadows because they’re super smooth, easy to blend, and don’t have much fallout.
What's a quote you live by?
“You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one” –Author unknown
Fave beauty tip?
If you find that eyeshadows look different on you than in the pan, try color correcting your lids first! Whether you have cool or warm undertones, once you have a more neutral base, the shadow will look closer to (or exactly like) what you see in the palette!
And my overal tip - just go for it! The best part about makeup is you can just wipe it off and try again! If you’re worried a color is too bold or out-there, have fun trying it out at home first. So many of my best looks came from just experimenting at home.
If you could make any beauty product what would it be?
I would start with a cream and powder contour that would work for every skin tone. This is missing both for deeper skin tones and very fair skin tones.
What’s it been like being a Black MUA when you first started vs now? Have you seen the industry change when it comes to inclusion and representation?
Yes, back then there wasn’t much representation or inclusion. Now, more brands are starting to showcase more skin tones which is great to see. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel genuine but I think we're moving in the right direction.
How can we push equality forward?
By educating ourselves and by being more open-minded. Even if an or situation doesn’t apply to you, take the time to learn about the impact on others.
Are there any other Black MUAs you’d like to shout out?
Jackie Aina – she’s a beauty YouTuber. Her videos are really fun and she speaks about what’s missing for Black women in beauty. I think a lot of people would enjoy her content and would benefit from hearing her perspective.