IKRAM GOHAR - A Magical Makeup Guru

  • 24 Sep - 30 Sep, 2022
  • Wajiha Jawaid
  • Interview

An established name in Pakistan’s glam industry, Ikram Gohar is a powerhouse of talent in the hair and makeup business. Starting off his career at a young age, the boy gets trained under the wings of beauty experts like Nabila and Saba Ansari. His incredible work ethic, attention to detail, and visionary approach have made him the most sought-after makeup artist in the country.

In a decade long career, Ikram has created iconic looks for stars such as Kubra Khan, Sarah Khan and Hareem Farooq and even cross borders to reach to Bollywood A-listers such as Aishwarya Rai, Shraddha Kapoor, and Konkona Sen Sharma. MAG sat down with the dynamic artist to get insider makeup secrets from the master himself! Excerpts:

What inspired you to go into the beauty space?

I have been artistic since childhood. Once my niece came from Saudi Arabia, I did her make-up for the first time. I gave her a dramatic smoky eye look: and it was the time I realised that I had something in me that I could use to make big in the beauty business.

Later, I got a chance to work with a friend, a makeup artist by profession. I assisted him for some time before joining Sabs.

You were lucky to work with professionals like Saba Ansari and Nabila at the start of your career. How was the experience working with these super-amazing women?

They both have helped a lot in shaping my career. I joined Sabs almost 13 years ago and I learned all the basic makeup training there. As a part of the Sabs team, I got a chance to work in diverse areas, from drama shoots, brand campaigns, and TVC to even films.

However, with Nabila, my horizon as a makeup artist got expanded. We did international events together and I got the chance to work with Bollywood divas like Aishwarya Rai, Shraddha Kapoor, and Konkona Sen Sharma.

These wonderful opportunities helped me groom myself personally and professionally.

Did you receive any professional training? If yes, from where?

No, I haven’t taken any professional training. My learning is entirely based on in-hand experience. Social Media has also helped me in learning new trends – there are thousands of make-up tutorials available online and they contribute a lot to my self-learning process.

Do you remember the first star you worked with and how was the experience?

Yes, I still remembered my first celebrity-based project was Hum TV’s drama, Mein Abdul Qadir Hoon. I did Fahad Mustafa’s make-up there. I was very young at that time, so he used to treat me like a child and was very supportive. Syra Yousuf’s elder sister, Alishba Yousuf, and veteran actress Saba Hameed were also part of the drama. Alishba was sweet but I used to go scared with Saba ma’am – she was a senior actress and I always got intimated by her presence.

As you just said, you have worked with Bollywood stars, what difference have you found in them as compared to our local celebrities?

Our new lot is more educated and professional. There are only few who have taken the fame on their heads – the rest all are good and sensible.

As far as Bollywood stars are concerned, they are thorough professionals. I still remembered I worked with Aishwarya Rai in the Manish Malhotra show in Qatar – the lady impressed me with her humble attitude. She was with us backstage for hours wearing a heavy outfit and jewellery but she didn’t complain about anything – like getting a proper seating arrangement, crowd interference, and any other hindrances.

Shraddha Kapoor was also nice. I worked with her in IIFA. I was super nervous with her stardom but she came to our team and asked her manager to take her pictures with us – it was a nice gesture from a star with a huge fan following.

Coming to your make-up expertise, tell us your secret to achieving a flawless look.

To achieve a flawless look, doing proper colour correction is very crucial. There are different colours available for correction such as orange, peach, pink, blue, or brown. As Asian, we have a yellow undertone so the orange colour corrector works well on us.

The next step is the selection of a good foundation. Fortunately, we have tons of foundations available in the market so the options are unlimited but again the decision should be taken wisely. Choose a shade that goes well with your complexion. I believe to go less on foundation and powder.

Could you please tell us about the styling process in detail? How does it start; from a sketch or a discussion with the celebrity? Do you see the script or character sketch?

It starts with some basic questions like who is the model and what is the nature of the shoot – is it a formal, bridal or casual one? I also ask about the mood and styling board. So, I create a certain look in my mind. Now we also get make-up references.

You did campaigns, commercials, and styled celebs for a project for different ventures what do you enjoy the most?

I loved doing Bridal makeup – it’s fun, quick, less hectic, and well paid. Plus, we get the response of the client right away. So, I enjoy it more than doing celebrity-based projects that are hectic and time-consuming.

What have been your favourite red carpet looks you’ve done?

It would be dark smoky eyes with red lip colour and a sleek hairstyle.

When it comes to fashion and styling, where does Pakistan stand especially in comparison to India or Hollywood?

We stand nowhere as compared to them. They are far from us in styling and makeup both. Unfortunately, in our industry, the standard to be a top-notch stylist depends on how fluently someone speaks English and it has nothing to do with their talent.

Most of our stylists have no idea of their work and they are considered as super-successful just based on their fluency in the English language.

What make-up advice would you give to a middle-aged woman of over 40?

Use thin texture foundations as the thick ones tend to create lines on the face after some time. Go for a foundation shade that is near to your skin tone otherwise, your make-up will turn grey. Eliminate compact powders from your makeup regimen.

You have worked with a lot of celebrities and beautified their faces. Among all of them, who has been your favorite?

I loved working with Kubra Khan. She is self-assured, dynamic and grounded. While working with her, I never feel that I am working with any celebrity. She always gives me free hand to do my work. It is her super-humble nature and down-to-earth persona that make her a true star.

Can you give our readers some tips that can help them in their day-to-day makeup routine?

Yeah sure. Always prep your skin first by properly moisturising it with good cream or serum. For daily make-up, use BB cream or tinted moisturisers instead of foundations. Conceal your face if needed. Apply blush and use lip balms to get a fresh look.

For glamorous party make-up, go for soft make-up with retro waves or dead straight hair. Geometrical eye-liners are in trend so you can experiment with them to make an edgy appearance.

You’ve worked incredibly hard to get where you are today, what drives you?

For me, there is always an inner calling that keeps me motivated. It pushes me to explore new ideas and keep on working.

Any celebrity you would love to work with?

I want to do Kareena Kapoor Khan’s make-up. She is the ultimate diva for me and, I wish someday I get a chance to do her make-up.

What advice do you wish you had received at the beginning of your journey to success?

Alhamdulillah, I have no regrets in life. I am happy with the choices I have made in life and their outcome has been amazing. I have been fortunate to meet supportive people in my life who have guided me throughout my career.

Any tips would you like to give to aspiring make-up artists?

Work hard with complete honesty and the Almighty will give you success. Don’t be insecure about your work and feel free to share tips and tricks.