Mario Robert Epanya is a talented beauty photographer and founder of AFRICA VOGUE . He was born on 29th July 1975 in Douala, Cameroon. He grew up with an architect and aesthete father and a good looking mother (model looking) who loves fashion and magazines, ”my parents like fashion and art”.
He arrived Paris in 2000.His penchance for figurative painting gets him into the fashion industry. In 2005 he started collaborating with a French brand Jacques Dessange and Camille Albane as trainer,studio hair and make-up artist. He became a photographer in 2008. Mario is now based in Paris.
Interviewed by dredecarlo, he describes his journey to becoming a renown photographer and some of his exploits in the industry.
” it’s long, it was not easy for me when I arrived in 2000 in Paris, I didn’t know anyone and had to fight to survive, but I’m tough, thank god, and I never stopped working and improving, constantly, even now. I never took anything for granted and always asking myself if my work reflects my personality … How I made it, I personally think it’s all about WORK, 20 hours per day, seven days per week, there’s no secret you know.”
For those oblivious as to who you are or how great your work is, drop some names and some of the majors achievements in your career.
Honestly don’t like to drop names, because personally, I’ve worked with very unknown creative people, and learned a lot from them, and I don’t think that you have to be famous to be creative or talented. But as a make-up artist, I worked with Denzel Washington, I like this man,very smart and spiritual, I really admire him after spending some days with him.
Majors achievements….honey, I’m 34 years old, there’s a lot to do(laughs) …trust me, I never look back ..what I did yesterday belong to the past and I just try to make it better tomorrow.
Africa is known for its striking beauties (e.g. Iman, Kiara Kabukuru, Liya Kebede, Katoucha Niane, Alek Wek etc. etc.), yet it’s hard to make it as a black model, no matter where you’re from. How would you say African VOGUE has impacted on the fashion world?
Gosh, well to make this clear, Africa Vogue is a project for now and I’m doing my best to make this happen (try to convince Condé Nast for a license and investors ..very tough…) but I think it’s an everyday fight, we must fight to have our own space, I’m just trying to contribute to that, it will be a huge success if this African edition sees the light in the future..
How did you feel when you were called upon for this project? (African VOGUE) [this question is to help people understand the misconstrued comments about Epanya’s role in African VOGUE]
I WAS NOT CALLED IN THIS PROJECT…… IT’S MY PROJECT, VOGUE AFRICA IS MY BABY…I grew up looking at my mother’s magazines with all these blonde blue eyed beauties, I used to cut my mother’s photos and glue them on the models faces, because I thought she was stunning and dazzling enough to be in those magazines, so I said that when I grow up, I’ll have a magazine with a lot of women of colour, that’s it.
What does African VOGUE mean to you, on a personal level?
What is your advice for up-coming fashion professionals (especially photographers and make-up artists).
WORK WORK WORK
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is for me something cultural, it reveals the evolution of mentalities and the research of new fabric, materials, and also bring a touch of dreams to this cruel world.
What does fashion in Africa mean to you?
RICH, luxurious, diversity, brilliant, creative, and so much more ….I think having an edition of Vogue Africa will bring into the light, THE AFRICAN CREATIVITY,the world will be amazed by it …trust me.
And what does Africa mean to you?
VISIT MARIO EPANYA’S WEBPAGE http://www.marioepanya.com/accueil.html