Koko Guerra, hails from Trinidad, but currently resides in the Philadelphia area where her family settled in 15 years ago. Young Koko spent a lot of time being creative. Doodling turned into drawing and then into painting. Her love of colors and art intensified as she got older. As a teenager, she began to experiment with colors and artistry on her very own bronze colored skin, and then to friends and family. However, it wasn’t until she was sitting in a Microbiology class in college while studying to become a registered nurse, that she realized that her passion was to be a full-time professional makeup artist. That was over 7 years ago and since then, she has dedicated time, effort and downright talent into becoming one of the industry’s go to ladies for top notch make up application. It would seem in this era of beauty, that make up artists come a dime a dozen, but Koko’s skilled technique, professionalism and drive make her the go to gal.
In just a few short years she has grown her clientele and fan base due to her strong work ethics, and her commitment to continuously learning in the field. She attributes her rapid growth in the industry to her constantly advertising her business and attending networking and related events. Koko insists that those aspects and interning with others in the field are the key to advancement.
Besides women who contact her for special occasions like weddings, proms and graduations, she has had her share of long hour days at fashion shows, photo shoots and appearances for celebrity clients like SWV and K. Michelle, and has even worked on the set of America’s Next Top Model. As challenging as it is to stay on top of your craft in such a fast paced, ever changing profession, Koko states that her career isn’t the most challenging aspect of her life. She is also a proud mother of two, and a beautifully covered Muslim woman dedicated to her religion. On an average day she “beats” 7 faces, handles all of her motherly duties, and prays five times a day, comfortably. She admits that it can be challenging to schedule clients around afterschool activities, and the prayer call times of Islam, but says she has great clients who understand and that her faith keeps her committed to her responsibilities.
Ms.Guerra says it is an easy task to stay true to the principles of her religion and remain on top of her game in the industry by simply staying away from anything that is against her religion. She speaks passionately about both and disregards anything or anyone who holds negativity or judgmental views in her path pertaining to her choice of career or her religion. “I’ve worked for some larger companies who have given me looks, or were shocked that I am Muslim, and I’ve also had to educate others about Islam and that wearing or applying makeup is not a sin, as long as you have the correct intentions. I know a lot of Muslim women who love make up and wear it without the intent to seduce or change features and there is nothing wrong with it. There are other Muslim women who frown upon make up, and that is their personal choice. I’ve never had to make choices that go against my beliefs, so I am blessed.”
Koko is currently in preparations for a couple of major projects that she can barely contain her excitement about, but cannot speak upon. She mentions however, that everything will be launching in just a few short months. Her plans for the next few years are simple and consistent, to create beautiful looks for magazines, runways and film, all while traveling the world with her children continuing to follow her faith and be a positive role model and business woman. When asked what quote has been able to help her throughout her life and career to keep pushing, she smiled and said , “Sabrun Jamil” an Arabic phrase meaning, “Patience is beautiful.”