Regina high school students collaborate with Indigenous-owned cosmetics firm for class

·3 min read
Mariam Niyimuhoza poses for her class's collaboration project with Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics (Photo submitted by Chris Hartman - image credit)
Mariam Niyimuhoza poses for her class's collaboration project with Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics (Photo submitted by Chris Hartman - image credit)

Students at Campus Regina Public high school got some real-life experience at what it takes to produce a professional fashion/cosmetics photo shoot for a social media marketing campaign.

The students in the Grade 11 and 12 cosmetology class teamed up with Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics for the collaborative class project.

The students used products from the Saint Catherine's, Ont.-based company, founded by former Dragon's Den contestant Jenn Harper, as well as jewelry and clothing contributed by Indigenous artists from across Canada for the project, taking some of the design elements within the beading and fabrics to inspire their looks. The makeover project finished with a photo shoot.

Photo submitted by Chris Hartman
Photo submitted by Chris Hartman

The project was incorporated into three different classes for the students: cosmetology, English and advanced media production.

For the English class, the students did research and wrote letters, contacting artists to ask them to donate and be involved in the project. For the advanced media production class, the students are producing a video telling the story of the project.

"[Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics] talks about empowering women and bringing to light Indigenous culture, so we took a look at those issues and ideas," said cosmetology teacher Judy Musleh.

"The lipstick colours, for example, are using Indigenous women's names within the culture to empower women," she said.

Student Danica Mlazgar enjoyed learning about how Harper founded her firm.

"It's very cool … because you get to learn more about Indigenous culture and why she named the different lipsticks after different people, and just her background on why she created this company," said student .

Musleh says she wanted to focus on incorporating the beauty of diversity into the program.

Joelle Seal/CBC
Joelle Seal/CBC

Student Salem Fenske found a way to incorporate her Métis heritage in the makeover.

"I decided to pair my Métis sash along with the outfit so I can incorporate my culture that way," Fenske said.  "It's empowering, especially for Métis women, to be able to represent that and the years that we fought to be recognized as [our] own distinct group of people. It's empowering for me and it makes me proud and my family proud as well."

Photo submitted by Chris Hartman
Photo submitted by Chris Hartman

Madison McKnight, another student, enjoyed the inclusive nature of the project.

"I've never really gotten a class where people around me that aren't of that culture are embracing it so well," McKnight said. "I like that a lot, I like to see it. I'd never imagine in high school I'd be doing something like this, but it's a pretty big opportunity."

Mariam Niyimuhoza was also happy to share in the "amazing culture with everybody in the class, especially Maddie. She's my friend."

Joelle Seal/CBC
Joelle Seal/CBC

Niyimuhoza, who is from Burundi, incorporated some of the traditional clothes from her African homeland, into her look for the photo shoot.

Musleh appreciated the time and effort the students put into the project.

"I just want to add how proud I am of the students," Musleh said. "They have been fantastic with just embracing the whole project, growing and practising, working really hard. We're so proud of them."

Photo submitted by Chris Hartman
Photo submitted by Chris Hartman
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