Laiqa Shahzad, a second-year studying political science, uses the art of makeup to fuel her creativity. Credit: Amal Saeed | Lantern Reporter

Laiqa Shahzad spends most of her time at Ohio State studying political science, but with a love for art and makeup, she’s found a way to keep in touch with her creative side in her spare time.

Shahzad grew up with a passion for all things art: painting, drawing, photography and, as she got older, graphic design. When she was a sophomore in high school, the now second-year began doing her own makeup and practicing on others until deciding to freelance as a makeup artist late in her freshman year of college.

“Over the course of the years, I have just been really kind of perfecting my skills and just gaining confidence to the point where I can do [makeup] on other people,” Shahzad said. “Recently this year, I started my makeup page really as a platform to get my name out there.”

After beauty and makeup tutorial videos inspired her to pursue makeup, Shahzad said she made a realization that hit home for her.

“I’m Pakistani. There’s a huge community here and growing up, there weren’t really any artists who specialized in that,” Shahzad said. “Upon realizing that, I wanted to use my skills to benefit the community.”

Shahzad explained how much more difficult it is to do makeup on others rather than on herself. She said most of the time when she meets a client, it’s her first time meeting them and she has to immediately know what is going to work for their face.

Sarah El-Mahdy, a second-year in early childhood education, has known Shahzad since her senior year of high school. She said the first time Shahzad did her makeup was for a big birthday party event. El-Mahdy described it as a huge learning experience in makeup for her.

“When she’s doing your makeup, you’re not just getting a beautiful look, but honestly you’re getting a lot of education with it too,” she said. “[Shahzad] walks you through every single step and she gives you tips on what would look good with your skin tone, what’s going to match the look that you’re going for.”

Shahzad is unlike other makeup artists, El-Mahdy said, for reasons that go beyond artistic ability.

“I think [Shahzad] stands out because she focuses on deeper skin tones. She focuses a lot on brown-skinned girls and for us, to match our foundation isn’t always easy,” El-Mahdy said.

While she does makeup for any occasion, Shahzad said she would love to work with brides and bridal makeup primarily.

Besides being a freelance makeup artist, she also dabbles in graphic design on top of being a full-time student.

“I just made it an effort to consistently keep myself engaged in some sort of creative interest because it’s really easy to fall off of that and just get caught up in your career,” Shahzad said.

Shahzad said she has a passion for educating others and human rights. She hopes to become an immigration lawyer and said that for as long as she can, she’ll pursue makeup as well.