By Lincoln Depradine
PRIDE Contributing Writer
TORONTO, Ontario — As a child growing up in Grenada, Najuma James developed a passion for fashion and beauty.
James now has transformed that passion into a thriving part-time business as a makeup artist in her adopted homeland, Canada.
For the past three-and-a-half years, she has been operating “Glow By Najee’’ at 236 Dixon Road in Toronto.
“Glow By Najee’’ provides makeup services for all occasions, including weddings and photo shoots. Women are a particular focus of the services offered by James.
“I enjoy doing it. It’s one of my passions; the fact that when I do it, it helps bring confidence to women who lack confidence; it raises their spirit and have them look at themselves in the mirror and regain that confidence that they were missing,’’ James said in an exclusive interview.
“I chose to become a makeup artist because we, as women, should work together to empower each other, and realize how beautiful and amazing we can all be,’’ she explained. “We can change our hair colour and even our eye colour. We can improve our bodies and our skin texture; we can also use makeup to emphasize our eyes or downplay a feature.’’
James was born in Grenada to US-based Abu Yah Yah Abdullah and Lydia James, a retired Grenada airport worker and well-known calypso competition judge in the Caribbean country.
A former dancer and Grenada teenage beauty contest winner, James migrated in 1995 to Canada, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in interior design.
James works fulltime as an interior designer, while also maintaining her makeup services at “Glow By Najee’’.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do since I was a child. I was always involved in things of beauty and fashion since I was a teenager,’’ said James, CEO of “Glow By Najee’’.
James said one of her memorable moments so far has been providing makeup for the entire cast of “The Good Lie’’, starring Reese Witherspoon, during its screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
“I’m very ambitious,’’ said James, who also recently launched a vase collection called “Najee’s Creations’’.
“It’s just something that I began from home and started putting it on Facebook, and a lot of people started ordering,’’ she said. “So, I decided to launch it and make it a business, doing it as centre pieces for weddings, baby showers, anniversary celebrations and so on. It’s all handcrafted vases.’’
James said that eventually, she’ll work fulltime at her own business and plans on expanding “Glow By Najee’’, including offering her services and expertise in Grenada.
She has scheduled a visit to Grenada for September; not for business this time, but only for holidaying, she said.