My St. Kitts and Nevis: Donella K Dias
Donella K. Dias, known locally as Donella D, is a professional makeup artist. This young mother juggles parenting with her growing makeup business. A self-described ‘makeup addict’, Donella is driven to create customised looks that will bring out her client’s best features. Presently Donella offers on site makeup application for bridal and wedding parties, airbrush makeup, editorial, print, and photo shoots. Today, Donella shares what she loves most about life in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Describe St. Kitts and Nevis in three words.
History, Togetherness and Tranquillity
What is your favourite Kittitian traditional dish, and why?
My favourite is our national dish, I love saltfish! I love seafood on the whole, but that is my favourite Kittitian dish. I think it has something to do with how my mother prepared the dish. My mother’s saltfish was always pleasantly flavoured, from the coconut dumplings to the saltfish that had just the right amount of salt in it, to the plantains and provisions on the side. There is just something magical about eating that dish.
How did you first start in the makeup artistry?
I started my makeup artistry journey in 2009. However, I have loved the art of makeup since I was a teen, but I was not very good at it. And back then, I would always apply lip gloss alone. Then, in 2008, my love for makeup grew after I entered the National Carnival Queen pageant. After that experience, I signed up for a beauty and makeup workshop. After the workshop, I was inspired to research the current makeup trends. I would always read about makeup application techniques and watch YouTube tutorial videos. Within a few months, I realised I had to gain more knowledge about this industry, so I completed an online certification.
What are your main challenges as a creative entrepreneur? How are you addressing them?
There are a lot of problems that we face but I think one of the biggest problems is the inability to monetise our ideas. I always have a lot of great ideas about what I want to do with my talent but the money and support are always minimal. During the last few years there has also been a drastic increase in makeup artists locally. And as such, the competition between makeup artists is extremely high. In order to address this issue, it always important to network, I am always on the go. But I never have a day of doing nothing! I keep busy by blogging, emailing and even playing with new makeup techniques on myself. But I think the most important thing is that you have to be assertive and creative to get yourself noticed, and to always be on top of those two areas.
What was your favourite subject in high school?
I really loved English and History. I always found it amusing learning about the history of my country, especially about the people who inhabited the island before us, and how we moved on from colonial days to where we are today.
Which local activist/personality do you admire the most, and why?
I admire Unoma Allen. She’s very self-assured and friendly. We don’t see a lot of women locally at the forefront. Take a look at how our government is made up, how many women are actually in politics? I admire Unoma because her presence demands your attention.
Unoma is an acquaintance, and whenever I would see her socially, she would give me these small pep talks about continuing my journey. I was surprised when one day she told me that she looks forward to my beauty and makeup blog posts. I had no idea that she was looking at my work and it was a great moment for me because I really admire Unoma. She demonstrates confidence, leadership, she’s respectful and most importantly she’s very humble.
What major developments would you like to see happen in St. Kitts and Nevis in the next 30 years?
Within the next 30 years I would love to see advanced development in all art forms. I would like our traditional school curriculum to be reorganised with more focus on technology. St. Kitts and Nevis can benefit from a skilled based curriculum that will support whatever career path an individual may take.
Where would you recommend as a ‘must go’ to a first time visitor to St. Kitts and Nevis?
I would recommend the Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens.
Considering a staycation, where is your favourite place to unwind and recharge?
Although I generally don’t like boats, I find that taking a trip over to Nevis is always relaxing. I love staying at Oualie Beach, it is calming.