We love the women who inspire and wear our shoes, so we’re showing them some love on #WCW! Today’s post highlights Shirley Ibe – a healthcare professional, makeup artist and founder of the cosmetic line Madeup Beauty.
She also happens to be Dr. Liza’s sister, and you can find her name in two of our styles: the dr LIZA Pump style called Shirley, and the new dr LIZA Closed Toe Sandal style called Nkechi (which is Shirley’s middle name). As someone with such an extensive shoe collection as Shirley – she owns hundreds of different pairs – it's no surprise to see her as a dr LIZA muse!
Read on to learn more about Shirley's shoe obsession, her beauty philosophy, and what keeps her motivated as an entrepreneur.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Shirley!
I'm based in Calgary and I work full time for Alberta Health Services. I’m also makeup artist, and I own my own beauty cosmetic company called Madeup Beauty.
Wow, that’s a full plate! What inspired your passion for makeup?
I've always been into makeup – it was a big part of how we grew up. My parents are always very well put together people, and I have like distinct memories of my mom getting dressed and doing her makeup. She had a huge Estée Lauder palette that I remember stealing to use myself!
Beginning in junior high school, I experimented more and more with makeup; and I had a lot of people ask me if I could do their makeup too. I was surprised by that – I never thought much of what I was doing because I was just having fun. But I started thinking to myself that there must be something here.
Eventually I just decided to dive into it more after getting requests to do wedding beauty for people; even though I told them I wasn’t a makeup artist, I started to think, you know what, maybe I could do other people's makeup. I took a makeup course in Calgary, and I became even more passionate about wanting to build my skills and learn more about the makeup industry.
I follow Rihanna’s makeup artist, Priscilla Ono, on Instagram and took one of her courses, and from there I started taking more courses with different celebrity makeup artists that I loved and admire. That's what set the foundation for me and my journey in makeup artistry over the last ten years.
What’s your favorite part about being a makeup artist?
Watching a client's reaction after like seeing their complete makeup look is always such a beautiful thing! Clients often request that they want to look like a particular celebrity – but I always tell them, I can't make you look like so-and-so but I can make you look the best version of yourself. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, but I think we are so easy to criticize ourselves and point out what we don't like about ourselves.
Shirley Ibe promoting her brand Madeup Beauty as part of dr LIZA + the[fix] at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022
You mentioned earlier that you’ve followed and learned from the work of other makeup artists like Priscilla Ono; are there any other people who have inspired your professional journey?
There are several! In the scope of makeup, artistry, I would say Keita Moore, who goes by Kilprity; he's been one of my favorite makeup artists for years. I did a one-on-one makeup session with him, and I remember having a moment where I told him, “I love the way you do makeup – it's so beautiful. And I feel like I'm not able to create the same looks as you do. How do you do it?” And he told me, “That’s the beautiful thing about artistry. It's not about recreating what I'm doing. It's about the beauty that you see in what you're creating.” That really sparked the understanding of what artistry was, and that it's unique to everyone.
I know it’s Dr. Liza’s blog [laughs] BUT she's an entrepreneur that comes with so much strength and determination. Watching her business grow has been incredible. She works so hard behind the scenes but somehow makes it look effortless.
And my dad is another person who I strongly admire. He worked with a lot of integrity and honesty.
Is there a philosophy or mantra that keeps you going as an entrepreneur who also balances another career and being mom?
I think back to why I started doing what I do and remembering the people that have been impacted by my brand and my artistry. I also think about the people that have always believed in my work. I think sometimes you keep going for the people that have supported you – they want this for you. It can be hard sometimes, but it's also very rewarding to have people that trust enough in you to spend money on something that you put your time and effort into creating.
Shirley Ibe (far left), Dr. Liza and their mother, Ngozi, in a photo shoot for the Generations collection
Let's go back to Dr. Liza for a bit – what did you think when she told you she was launching a footwear brand?
There was part of me that was shocked initially, because I'm the shoe girl [laughs] – I have many, many pairs. But I was also super proud; the way we grew up, looking elegant was part of the norm. For her to take something like high heels and say, “I’m going to make this product better for women” is amazing.
And you’ve ended up being a muse for the dr LIZA brand! Aside from the shoe styles that are named after you, the Shirley and the Nkechi, are there any other favorite pieces from the dr LIZA line that you just love?
I love her booties! Being Canadian, loving boots is almost in our DNA. And dr LIZA booties are such a feminine, cute, comfortable option for people to have. And I loved seeing her express her playful fashion sense through our culture with the Ankara collection – the accessories were amazing.
Let’s talk a bit more about your own shoe collection, which was featured in an issue of FASHION Magazine last year. How many pairs do you own?
My shoe obsession started back in university, when my friend and I would wear matching outfits to go out on the town; we’d go out a lot, so we bought a lot of clothes and shoes! I used to have over 400 pairs, but I've scaled it down to be closer to 300. I look at them as art; and they can hold great memories or tell a story.
So, you used to go out clubbing for fun – what do you do for fun now?
I'm big on traveling – I think of it as form of self-care. We also grew up overseas and traveled a lot, so it’s always been part of our lives. I love curating my travel wardrobes and planning what I’m going to wear in different cities.
Speaking of self-care, how do you take care of yourself having such a packed schedule?
To be honest, it’s a struggle – it feels like continual work to practice the self-care that we all truly need. But spa days are one of my favorite things to do when I have the time.
I've also been trying to redefine what self-care means. Someone once told me that we always think of self-care as something we actively do, like getting a massage or taking a bath. Sometimes, though, it's about being able to do something you love, and that brings you a sense of accomplishment and joy. That's where you feel good.