Taiwo "Tia" Ajao is a 17-month accelerated BSN candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
"Makeup artistry represents enhancement to me. It means a change of perspective, a new and refreshing dimension, a way to focus on features that may have not been so obvious before.
"I became a makeup artist in 2011 through certification from the Von Lee International School of Aesthetics. I then learned from the expertise of others, and my efforts landed me an intern position on the set of a feature film. I have been doing makeup for film and media since.
"I chose makeup artistry to match with my husband's expertise in professional photography. An internationally trained medical doctor himself, he has been developing his creativity in multimedia, and this challenged me to develop my creative self and merge this with my current practice, nursing.
"After finishing graduate school in 2008 with a master's of public health in maternal and child health, I immediately gathered from my job search that most of the positions that fit my interest required that I also be a registered nurse. I initially resisted the idea and instead focused on raising our family, spending two years as a stay-at-home mom. However, circumstances forced me to recapture my interests in serving the community and return to nursing.
"As a nursing student, I've discovered that my experience as a makeup artist was much like what is expected of me in this new field. I have to express care and concern for clients, cater to their most current and pressing needs, and learn to be comfortable and reassuring in their personal space. I have to be prepared to address concerns and help quell fears.
"I have a strong desire to care for new mothers and their babies as a public health nurse and health educator. With my husband as creative director and me as lead outreach specialist, we have started the Mommie Model Project, a merger of health awareness and advocacy, using my professional makeup experience and his expertise in media. We look for creative ways for people to advocate on behalf of our communities. We get actors, students, stay-at-home moms, and others to serve as models and spokespersons for nonprofit agencies, such as the House of Ruth. I can tell you, the joy of uniting my varied skills in one setting is intense."