Miss America :Women of Color who have donned the title.


Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams


In 1984 Vanessa Williams then Miss New York had now won the title of “Miss America 1984”! Not only did she have the new title of “Miss America” but she also had the title of “THE FIRST” African American woman to covet the crown. There was pride and a whole lot if cheering happening! We won!! Finally!!!

And no matter what Vanessa Williams will always still be the first African American winner of the Miss America Pagent. That is a fact and chronicled as such.

I had the pleasure of working with Vanessa on a music video for the movie “Panther” on a song called “Freedom” written and produced by singer/songwriter/producer Angie Stone also known as one of the cast members of R&B Divas: Atlanta. Angie is also one of my clients.

The evening of that video shoot was right after the Grammys Awards (I worked the Grammys as well) so all the female Artists were able to come out for the video and I alone was the Makeup Artist for over 60women!!! So I asked that some come camera ready (mostly those singing in the choir) and I’d be responsible for the lead singers as they came in or were available to shoot both in LA and in NY.

Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles


Miss America 1990 Debbye Turner

I don’t know what it was but I was especially teary eyed when Debbye won. I guess it was because I never thought I would ever see another Miss America winner be an African American. I was extremely happy and proud, not to mention the fact that she was a medium brown complexion, like me!!! A lot of young girls like me. I remember Barbie created a Debbye Turner doll in limited run.

Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent


Miss America 1994 Kimberly Aiken


Miss America 2003 Erika Harold


Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap


Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron


Miss America 2013 Nina Daviluri



Miss America Winners of Color
Oh the thrill, joy and tears of winning the crown. It’s serious business and truly life changing for all it’s participants. For the winner good or bad circumstances life will never be the same again.


1) Vanessa Williams (Miss New York in 1984)

2) Suzette Charles (Miss New Jersey in 1984)

3) Debbye Turner (Miss Missouri in 1990)

4) Marjorie Vincent (Miss Illinois in 1991)

5) Kimberly Aiken (Miss South Carolina in 1994)

6) Erika Harold (Miss Illinois in 2003)

7) Ericka Dunlap (Miss Florida in 2004)

8) Caressa Cameron (Miss Virginia in 2010)

9) Nina Daviluri (Miss New York 2013)


A “WICKED”…journey

20130927-180804.jpgA “WICKED”…journey

Have you every just felt so incredibly blessed? Like you are impervious to all things that could possibly deter your next prepared place. The place you belong in even if it’s only a moment or even a lifetime!

There are several times in my life where I’ve felt like that…things I’ve said, thought or consciously or unconsciously prayed for, ALL of these are really prayers.

Have you ever wanted something but weren’t quite sure it was attainable but went for it anyway? You went for it and you really weren’t attached to the outcome good or bad, you just wanted to see if you could do it?

There’s an old saying that says: “Be careful of what you wish, because you just may get it.”

Well, here’s one of my “getting what you wish for” stories. It was the beginning of Spring 2005, you know when it’s still a bit chilly and mostly rainy. It was a dark day out and I was at my then home office and I was on the computer. Then all of a sudden I had a flood of old Broadway tunes come into my mind.

I had a recollection of me as a little girl attending some of those marvelous plays that were out when I was a child and had the privalge to attend. The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Cats,and A Chorus Line. I loved them all but I have to say seeing The Wiz (3x by the way; opened 1975 and Starring Stephanie Mills, who went on to be a popular R&B singer with several hit records)was the closest to my heart. The music from the play was so brilliant and rhythmic much like Black life, complex and melodic. I should have known one of my favourite songs from the play ” EVERYBODY REJOICE” was written by Luther Vandross in 1972 and originally recorded by his then group called “Change”


As a little girl and even as an adult I have always loved the story of The Wizard of Oz. In fact it’s still in my Top 10 fave movies!! Yes, right up there next to Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, The Ten Commandments, The Matrix and more.

The story of Oz captured me as a child because my mind could see all the colors and characters. I thought about Dorothy and Toto (who was a really brave cookie through all that craziness). My Mum would buy me everything that pertained to the film and that included coloring books, Colorforms©™, comic books, Let’s Pretend Albums©™, dress ups and yes even the dolls!

I’ve always been one with a vivid imagination and saw the world my world in technicolor and I still do. I bought that same technicolor to my Makeup Artistry. But up to this point in my career all that Color and imagination was only reserved to Artists in the music industry, where I’d done amazingly well in a brief amount of time.

So now, back to my thoughts in my office. I was thinking about Dreamgirls as a movie (little did I know that there were plans indeed to turn the successful play into a film starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce’, Jamie Fox, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose and a host of others). Guess my Prophetic Vision is greater than I give it credit for. I made several phone calls to try and get on that picture as Makeup Artist especially because so many of the Actors were musicians (ie Beyonce’ one of my former clients with Destiny’s Child and Jennifer Hudson).

I thought about The Wizard of Oz…”Mmmm maybe they’ll do another updated version of the classic or even “The Wiz” (I can’t tell you how many times I saw on film Starting Diana Ross (who later on wound up being a client of mine), Michael Jackson, Ted Ross (the original Lion from the Broadway play), Lena Horne, Nipsy Russell)

When I got no call backs for Dreamgirls my heart sank no it tanked!!! Then I remembered a song I’d heard on a commercial “LOOK AT HER SHE’S WICKED!”. Wait am I tripping out or what!! Yes there was another version of The Wizard of Oz….a play, a play called WICKED!!! Only it wasn’t like any of the other movies or plays I’d seen about Oz. But I still had a burning feeling in my chest that there was going to be another Wizard of Oz movie…could that be possible? Yeah, my instinct is never wrong…shoot sometimes I feel like a Pop Nostradamus!! I’m always right.

I looked everywhere in every trade and industry magazine and heard nothing of an Oz movie. However they sure were buzzing about Dreamgirls!!! I cried like a baby because I wanted to work on that movie so bad. For me that was a dashed dream! Oh well,…keep it movin’ sista!!

Yet, there was no buzz about an Oz film so what was this feeling I still had about this Oz project?!?? Well, I went to the Broadway website to find out about this play WICKED and which Theater it was playing in. I found the phone number to the stage!!! When this happened and happened with ease I took it as a sign.

I remembered in my Makeup Artists Union Member book a section for Broadway Makeup & Hair Artists. I found the Makeup Department heads phone number and I called him (guts right)!!! He answered (I’m shocked)! I give him my credentials,…he said come in for and interview and that they have a list of “Swing MUA’s” and if I was good enough he’d put me on that list.

What was happening?!? Shoot!!! And it was all happening so fast! He asked me to come in the next day for the interview and bring nothing but my makeup brushes. I came in the next day we talked and then he asked me if I worked with prosthetics before, I said yes but minimally. He asked if I knew how to paint I said yes. He asked me then to work on the masks he had all lined up and labeled on the shelf.

He said “Here are the colors and a sponge I need these repainted. Go!!!” I said in my head first “What?!!! Go!…I paused, Im not ready for this!” then i said out loud “So wait you want me to paint these, now?” He said “Yes now please.” So I went for it! He timed me on top of it and he was quietly impressed.

He said “Ok! That’s great!! Now, I’m going to have you come with me to the dressing room to meet our lead actress. There you can see the Makeup I put on her step by step. I suggest you take notes because it all happens quickly.”

Now, the negators voice came into my head saying “What in the blazes have you gone and done! Are you sure you can do this? You’ve never done this before. You’re not good enough to pull this off! What made you think you could do this?”

Then the positive voice like wiped away all those negative thoughts and said ” NZINGHA , you are one of the best and you have been prepared for this, that’s why it’s happening this way. You will do well you are truly the Artist I made you to be, now go.”

I followed him up the narrow staircase to the dressing room. He introduced me to Dee (who was charming, gorgeous skin and lovely smile, polite and my goodness had a serious collection of stuff in her room) and then began the process….

Actress Dee Roscoili

During the process I asked like 100 questions…because after all Broadway was different from the music biz. Well, the actress Dee seemed to like me enough and, we laughed and she asked me a heap of questions about all the musicians and music videos I’d done. She even rattled off a couple of cd covers I’d done. I was shocked!!! We got along fine.

So, the MU Department head asked me if I got everything and would I be able to come tomorrow and the next 3 days to learn the show (all paid days). I said yes!!! I came in the next day early as requested to recreate what he’d done on Dee last night. And I did it!!! To perfection and quickly. He said “Gosh your fast and good! Wow! Ok so it time to do Dee and the rest of the cast, let’s go!”

Things were moving so fast players everywhere getting into their costumes the band I could hear warming up though the house was not open yet. I was nervous…the negator came back to tell me “Quit while you’re ahead honey, you’re out of your league this ain’t the music biz!”

Humph…I shook that mess of and plowed right on ahead! Dee was happy to see me, “You made it! You’re here!! Awwww this is gonna be fun. Don’t worry I’ll help you.” I began to do her makeup step for step as I’d remembered him doing it (I’m a quick visual learner) Dee was floored and so was he. They looked at each other and it was a beat of silence…., then came busting in the room wardrobe and hair!!!
Backstage at WICKED

There was so much going on backstage and props moving and dancers twirling and singing and we rush past them all to run upstairs to do makeup for the Shiz, Fiyero, Tinman and Lion (last two all prosthetics) the makeup was laid out in each room. Everyone had expected me and greeted me with love and respect still asking me about all the Artists I’ve worked with. Two of the well known actors in the show during my time there were Ben Vereen as The Wizard of OZ and Rue McClanahann as Madame Morrible. They were both loving and helpful toward me…made it easier and calmed my butterflies.

The Cast of Characters

I had indeed started to doubt myself again thinking had I bitten off more than I knew how to chew? Again NO SHAKE IT OFF GIRL!!! During all of this I’d been taking notes…it wound up being 11pages of notes!!! (If you’d like to see my notes I’d gladly email them to you)

Remembering songs, remembering when I had to be in position for the quick change of the other players (the Monkey Masks and Dr. Dillamond, run upstairs to do all the prostetic makeup wearing actors Timan, Lion and Wizard, and ultimately Elphaba’s Makeup change.

Elphaba’s Makeup change was a bit more dramatic than the initial Makeup in the first act but, honestly it was to me “alright” Makeup… HONEY…the fashionista in me wanted to take it to a whole other level but alas I was firmly “Not Allowed To Change The Makeup In Anyway OTHER THAN ITS ORIGINAL DESIGN!” The Makeup was designed by a M.A.C Makeup Artist Joe Delude. I still say it needs the “ZING!” on it however I am one to follow the rules and simply give another Artist their respect.
Then after the 3day crash course in WICKED Makeup and staging the show was all mine!!! Only one person…solo, no assistants prepping for the change just you a huge theater several players and trust me a pair of sneakers!!!

I worked matinees and evening performances (2 weeks) it was I think the hardest work I’d ever done in my entire career (26yrs). But from this area of Makeup Artistry, I was stretched…I’d grown and challenged my own Artistry and my own dreams!! I dared to dream I dared to go into the unfamiliar and I did it!!! I wasn’t just the music and fashion Makeup Girl, I’d grown up in those 2 weeks. I grew as an Artist!

Alas WICKED and I parted but it’s forever imprinted in my repertoire of Makeup Artists adventures. Who knows I may join the Broadway ranks again!

Moral of the story is…follow your instincts and dreams, sometimes they do come true!

Oh and P.S… I was right (remember I was feeling like it was going to happen in 2005)!!! There was a film in the works!!! An adaptation shot in 2011 called,…OZ The Great & Powerful!!! Stellar Makeup work on that one!!!


Makeup for the performance…(from the official website)

Actress Alexia Khadime

Actress Idina Menzel

Life before R&B Divas


Written by NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc

The Ladies of R&B are just doing it! So glad that they’ve channelled their gifts into other arenas i.e. television.

Not only did they bring something new to the genre of “reality TV” but created a platform for the survival and rebirthing of true R&B music to make its resurgence on the world stage.

Music is the reason why I got into the beauty business in the first place to tell you the truth. And I’m so glad for the revival of what I grew up listening to R&B. the music and rhythm this generation is so sadly lacking.

I’m definitely a supporter of the show. Mostly because I’ve worked with all of the Ladies doing their Makeup for CD packaging, Music Video’s, Magazine Shoots and Live Performances with the exceptions of Lady Monifah and Lady KeKe Wyatt.

I laugh and cry with the show mostly because I know the struggles the ladies are going through first hand…, mostly because I’ve been right there in the thick of things with them at various times in their careers.

I consider myself to be one of the “UNSUNG” invisible behind the scenes Diva. “Why do I say that?” you may ask. I’ll tell you why,…because the Glam Squad is as much of the performance as the Artist who is seen upfront!! The looks and presentations are from the minds of the Glam Squad in agreement with the Singer. We behind the scenes are “UNSUNG”.

Now don’t mistake what I’m saying as some form of envy but as a part of me goes onstage too, when people critisize them I feel it too, we are interconnected and when it’s a good working relationship we are inseparable!!

Faith Evans has always held a very special place in my heart and always will. We are truly Sista’s!! Not only is she beautiful outside but beautiful inside ask any of her peers or anyone who comes in contact with her and they’ll all tell you the same: “Man is she cool.” And I raise my hand to say the same exact thing..she is THE COOLEST!!

Her generous spirit has not only penned amazing songs for herself but for many others and now serving as Executive Producer for R&B Divas comes as no surprise to me…it’s merely an extension of her generous nature. I feel so blessed to say I was there in the beginning and guess what…I’m still around after all these years.

Forever Love Faith…your Sista in Spirit…NZINGHA


Photographer: TAR Terrance Reese
Makeup Artist: NZINGHA for ZFACEINC, nyc

Faith Evans first number one single and very first music video…”You Used To Love Me”

And yes, that is Actor Isaiah Washington best known for his work on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” and if my memory serves me right Sean Puffy Combs was the co-director on this video. I can see and hear him now dancing and screaming “C’mon and move Faye!!! Why you just standing there like that Ma you gotta move cause this song is HOT!”

“You Used To Love Me”

Ms. Angie Stone…LEGENDARY!!

Photographer: Ruven Alfanador
Makeup Artist: NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc

The first single off of the “Black Diamond” CD…”No More Rain”

Makeup Artist: NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc
Love this tune: “Brotha”

Makeup Artist: NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc

20130926-180611.jpgSyleena Johnson Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness
Photographer: Marc Baptiste
Makeup Artist: NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc

Here’s a lil video Syleena and I did together…I just love her face, great for Makeup!! Oh and another client of mine Mr. Busta Rhymes is in this too.

“Tonight I’m Gonna Let Go”

20130926-180603.jpgSyleena Johnson The Flesh: Chapter 3
Photographers: Marcus Klinko & Indrani
Makeup Artist : NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc

Here’s Lady Syleena’s 1st single off of “The Flesh” CD entitled…”Hypnotic”

Last but never least Nicci Gilbert of the never forgotten girl group Brownstone also serves as Executive Producer of R&B Divas. And this too is no surprise to me. Ever pioneering Nicci will make it happen AND work!! Always had great ideas for and with the group though the group like many girl groups went through changes the songs remain timeless.


One of my favourite songs from Brownstone “Grapevine”

Faith Evans and Monifah @ Good Morning NY Fox 5 TV
R&B Divas
Makeup by NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc