Fashionista, blogger and cosmetician, Lolar Shon (Omolola Shonowo), has said there’s a bright side to polygamy contrary to popular beliefs. The CEO of Lolar Shon Multi Concept, who grew up in a polygamous home with 17 siblings made this revelation during a chat with Sunday Sun recently when she opened up on career, marriage and her blog among other issues.
Our rendezvous was a popular hangout located at Adeniran Ogunsanya, Surulere, Lagos. At exactly 5pm that cloudy evening, shapely Lolar sauntered into the venue clutching a designer hand bag by Gucci. Clad in high heels, a pair of blue denims and a blue striped shirt with jet black curls cascading around her shoulders, Lolar was indeed a sight to behold.
“Growing up in a polygamous home was a very lovely experience quite unlike most stories I’ve heard,” Lolar began as she settled into the interview, “there are lots of children and wives and we all loved one another. What made us different was that we were all united; all the kids were closely knit. My dad has 18 kids,” she said with nostalgia as she reflects on her childhood.
Since she speaks so glowingly about polygamy, could she encourage her kids to embrace it? She pauses for a while for dramatic effect before she responds, her eyes beaming “Why not, if that’s where you find happiness then stick to it. I won’t lie to you, in as much as I believe in one-man-one-woman relationship; the truth is that sometimes, you can’t have it all. If you’re a career person and your husband has two wives, you can have time for yourself because if you are not there the other will be there.
“The truth is that a man could have one wife yet have countless concubines and that I don’t subscribe to. Why don’t you just make it legal and stay faithful? Why don’t you just do your HIV screening and stick to each other? And if it’s two women you want, stick to them, rather than stick to one woman and have countless concubines .”
Enjoy the chat…
Who’s Lolar Shon?
Barely in her early 30s, the graduate of Theatre Arts & Music from Lagos State University (LASU), who majored in cosmetology is a jack of all trades and guess what, she is master of all. From beauty pageantry, TV presenting, make-up, modeling, fashion, blogging and artiste management, Lolar has fingers in every pie.
And the question creeps up naturally, who is the real Lolar Shon?
Her visage splits in a grin displaying a set of perfect white teeth as she responds: “I’ve asked myself severally, who is Lolar Shon? And I realised that Lolar Shon is a young entrepreneur who believes in the dream of entertainment as a whole. I majored in make-up because make-up is part of fashion. You can’t divorce the two. I went into music management from the fashion point of view. Everything I have done has just been around fashion. I am just a fashionista.
“The Lolar Shon brand is a fashion brand that entails make up, fashion and clothing; it’s everything fashion. We have a state of the art office here in Surulere, Lagos. We have a boutique, a makeup studio and a fashion catalogue section also.”
In the beginning…
An indigene of Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, Lolar’s journey into the industry began at age 15 when she hosted the DTD Jamz Show, a TV programme in 2000. Then she won Miss Lekki Beach pageant and was first runner-up Miss Theatre Arts LASU. In 2001 she added another feather to her cap when she emerged Miss Spotless LASU. Ever since, the light complexioned beauty has never looked back!
Reflecting on her initial challenges, Lolar continues: “When I came into make-up, the only names known then were Tara and Banke Mishida of BN Pro. Back then, people said I was crazy! They were like ‘how can you make a living from making people up?’
“But the good thing was that the entertainment industry gave me a break and embraced me. DJ tee was there for me. So too was Clarence Peters and Woody Awa. Whenever they shot top notch videos they called me up for make-up.”
In 2006, her career took a dramatic turn after she met singer, Azeezat. That meeting culminated in her producing her maiden fashion show christened Fashion Fusion, a first of its kind as models infected with HIV were used for the event.
Recounting the experience, Lola continues: “Azeezat was quite impressed by what I was doing. And she said ‘oh yeah…you have so much in your head, why don’t you do a make-up or fashion show?’ And that culminated in the first ever runway make over show in Nigeria christened Fashion Fusion.
“We used people with HIV /AIDS as models. The models were wow! And guys were scrambling to collect their numbers. But after the show, the models came out and announced their HIV status and the entire hall erupted! And before we could say Jackie Robinson, guys were deleting numbers faster than they got them! It was so hilarious. That’s how the journey began after which I started doing annual fashion shows,” she adds with a guffaw.
Fashion blog & catalogue
Lolar opened a new frontier in her career when she launched her fashion blog and guess what, it came with an app. Commenting on her new baby, Lolar says: “I needed to look up stuff on fashion online, so, I uploaded fashion blogs in Nigeria and what I saw was quite disheartening. The so-called ‘fashion bloggers’ are now trending in news that is not related to fashion; they don’t do stories from the fashion angle.
“Back in 2006, I wanted to go online. Azeezat had advised me to but I felt Africa wasn’t ready for it but I was wrong. I did not know that Nigerians were ready for it. In fact, I was the one not ready for the revolution. And when it finally dawned on me, it took me time, I didn’t just want to do it and be a failure.
“So I sat back, did reviews to know what people were doing right and what they were doing wrong. The idea was let me learn from people’s mistakes, because that’s what will set my blog apart. However, I must give it to them, because some of them are doing quite well.
“As fashion bloggers we should dictate the trend, we should tell people what is in and out of fashion. When people want to hear fashion news they should know where to go to.”
Commenting on her fashion catalogue she continued: “All the pictures are exclusive to me. We showcase other designers. The Lolar Shon brand accommodates others so we showcase other designers. We do a photo shoot and put up their new designs with their price tags , so, before you come to the shop you already have an idea of what you are gunning for.”
So, who are her clients?
“Wow! I have worked with a lot. Most of them don’t want their names mentioned, because they are private people. In entertainment, I have worked with Keith Richards, Michael Power, Sunny Neji, Tuface Idibia and a host of others. I got my first break working with Michael Power in 2006.”
Fifteen years down the road…
Fifteen years after, how has the Lolar Shon brand evolved? “The journey has been hectic. There have been ups and downs. When we started make-up , people weren’t doing it. Then if you watched 15 music videos, 10 were done by me in terms of make-up. I have worked for brands with Michael Power, Keith Richards, Tuface, Sunny Neji, Onyeka Onwenu, late Goldie Harvey, 2 Shots and Azeezat and basically, it’s been ups and downs. There have been good times and there have been bad times but the good thing is that the good far outweighs the bad, so it’s been quite encouraging.”
Is Lolar making money?
“Do we really ever make money from what we do?”, she asks rhetorically adding “Is money ever enough? I am making money in the little sense of it. But you know, I think what happens is that I have a man that is very supportive and believes so much in me and even though the money is not coming in, he is pushing the brand financially. I wouldn’t say we are not making money but not the kind of money we want to make.”
“Wow! That was when Charly boy insisted that I must be on the set of his Ninja Bike video shoot. He told Clarence Peters he wanted Lolar Shon and I was like wow! Money can’t buy that. I got paid for doing what I love doing. The height of it was when Tuface flew me all the way to Oturpko, Benue State, to do his live concert. I was like wow! This is good. I handled costume and make up for Sunny Neji during his album launch and I must confess, that cheque was huge! My Guinness job was also another happy moment. It came with a chauffeur and a suite at Eke Hotels & Suites,” Lolar adds, her eyes beaming with joy.
And behind every successful woman…
In 2010, Lolar took a break to start a family after she met her knight in shining armor. Today, her marriage is blessed with a boy and a girl.
“15 years after, God has been faithful,because we are really doing good and don’t forget that behind every successful woman there is a man,” she says laughing softly. “I took a break because I met this fantastic man after my heart. And he said to me ‘can you give me four years of your life to make kids? And if we don’t even make kids I am good. Let’s just have fun and after that you could get back to work.
“And I looked at him and I was like ‘yeah, I need this break.’ You know, when you are in love you don’t even think. We did not date officially. We were more like brother and sister and then we got married.”
Five years after, what does she have to say about marriage?
“I think my marriage just got better, because now my husband is even more supportive. He is actually the brains behind Lolar Shon. He is an engineer but more of a fashion person. He critiques all my jobs and he’s my biggest fan.”
“To be a fashion brand that anyone would like to identify and reckon with, a fashion brand that sets the pace. I have a clothing line, LS Clothing and it‘s genuine Ankara all the way. My make-up line is still on hold. And guess what, my fashion blog is going to set new standards.”