Black Panther, a 2018 American superhero film, became one of the most successful movies of all time. The special effects used on the movie, which featured Oscar award-winning Kenyan and Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o, was one of the elements that made it distinctive.
But unknown to many is that Kenyan make-up artist Grace Murema was behind the special effects used in the film. Murema, 28, is the founder of East Africa’s first special effects product line.
Murema said although Black Panther is her biggest project, she was never paid for her work despite the film raking in billions of dollars. Grace however says that does not bother her since the project opened many other doors. “We were not paid, but for me, it was fine because it was exposure for me as it opened other opportunities,” Murema said in an interview with NTV on Sunday, adding that she has worked on a number of Kenyan films and ads.
"I've done two movies in Kenya, Disconnect and 40 Sticks which is yet to be released. I've done some series, there is Mgema Akisifiwa, I did the pilot for Maria and a couple of ads."
Murema sys she developed a passion for makeup at a tender age. “From high school, I knew makeup was my calling. I didn’t even enroll in the university. I went straight to beauty school. I did the whole beauty package; Massage, nails, facial, hair, everything. However, I was gravitating more towards makeup. Three years later I decided to specialize in special effects makeup,” she said in a separate interview.
“The glam makeup look is a very crowded industry here. Everyone is doing it. I just wanted to do something different that would set me apart from other makeup artists. I did my research on special effects and prosthetics and went to school in South Africa for almost two years. Upon graduating, I came back to launch my career in Kenya,” she added in the interview.