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Paulla knew she had a passion for fashion from a very young age. Her mom being a seamstress fuelled that desire. Although she had this ingrained desire for fashion, she still wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to become until later on in life. Very confident and full of self-esteem, Paulla made her debut into the fashion and beauty industry at age ten, as a mini model.
“I used to watch my cousin Kim when she was doing her makeup and was always amazed at how pretty she was with her beautiful chocolate brown skin. My father was very strict. I was not even allowed to wear lip gloss, or braids. If I ever did, he would have caught a fit.
By the time I was a teenager I had a good sense of what I wanted to do, I was obsessed with glamour. I grew up thinking that Beauty Culture was something that young girls did, if they were not academically inclined. So I channeled my energy into getting good grades at school and finding a job, though the one thing I was attracted to was becoming a flight attendant I wanted to travel and see the world. One of my mom’s clients had her own salon so, on the weekends and during the August vacation, I spent it with her. When I started working there was no joy sitting behind a desk doing the same thing everyday. I noticed the fulfillment I felt when I was working at the salon and decided to pursue that full time.”
Finally recognizing what drives her, Paulla was ready to be the Cosmetologist she is today. And she just isn’t your regular makeup artist. This woman has a creative side that is second to none. She left her native land Guyana for Trinidad in 1994 to enroll at House of Jackie Modeling School and Agency. Once enrolled in 1995, Paulla did a “Total Person” course aimed at enhancing her personal grooming skills. At the end of the three-month training, your girl walked away with the Award for Over-all Total Person for Port-of-Spain and San Fernando along with several other awards.
“I was passionate about upgrading my skills with the intention of opening my own school and salon. But God had another plan for my life, I was pointed in a different direction. I met Jean Inniss, a makeup artist. At the very first class I did with Ms. Inniss, she said to me, “do you know you have a natural flare for makeup?” Those words literally changed my life! She thought me the basics I needed to know to build on. After that, I passionately pursued every bit of information I could have gotten my hands on, from books, magazines, to the internet. I did not even know that one could have had a career just being a makeup artist. I wanted to be a platform hair-stylist. I love hair-cutting and styling.”
Ms. De Souza later received a request to return to Trinidad in 1997 to be on the makeup team for the local soap opera West Wood Park. She worked with the team for three seasons. She has since been working consistently as a free lance makeup artist.
“I traveled to several Islands in the Caribbean, gone as far as Accra Ghana and the UK executing my craft. I had no formal training though, I studied the work of two key international makeup artists, Sam Fine, whom I recently met, and the late Kevin Aucoin. Through their books, I was able to learn a lot to cultivate my skills.
Unfortunately, in my home town there is not much scope for makeup artists. While I was there, I was able to explore other talents, beginning with my first fashion show held in Paramaribo, Suriname.”
Paulla launched Paulla De Souza’s House of Elegance Diva’s International in 2003 and held her first Diva Training – Image and Personality enhancement workshop. About thirty models male and female were given the opportunity to be a part of her first production “Simply Irresistible”. In June of 2004 “Passion & Purity,” an all white fashion show, produced by Paulla, featured seven of Guyana’s finest designers and a large group of young women and men who had also gone through the process of the Diva Training.
“That year I wrote my first six-figure cheque as part of the proceeds which went to a non-profit organization working with families dealing with domestic abuse. Fantasia was my next show, which was also a great success.”
Many people in the Caribbean recognize Paulla as one of the best in that part of the hemisphere. She is a two-time nominee of the Caribbean Fashion Awards Committee. Paulla is still waiting to be discovered and catapulted onto the international scene. She will certainly bring a different flare, flavor and much enthusiasm to her work as she progresses. For now, she remains humble and always will.
”My passion remains in beauty. I haven’t reached my peak as yet. What is satisfying so far is that I am an inspiration to many others. My dream is to explore the International scene as a makeup artist in, film/television, fashion and beauty. In the distant future I would like to retire to fulfill the other part of my destiny, my very own Exclusive Day Spa giving the best service to my clients. I would definitely continue to inspire and pass on my knowledge to other deserving and upcoming artists, as well as the every day woman who strive to master the art of applying her makeup skillfully, via Maquillage.”
Maquillage is Paulla’s step-by-step instructional DVD on makeup applications.
Visit Paulla’s blog at http://facefabulous.wordpress.com to see some of her work and to contact her for your very own DVD.
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BELOW: A few of the many faces Paulla works her magic on