Born and raised in Zimbabwe, and now based in Canada, Magdalene Lafontant is the Founder of Nakai Skincare and Cosmetics. A skin specialist by profession, Magda has been in the Aesthetics Industry for an impressive 21 years and is the Founder and President of PEMA, a Canadian Association for Beauty and Wellness Professionals. She is also a part time Medical Aesthetics Instructor with a great passion for sharing her knowledge which has allowed her to see over 100 students graduate from the Aesthetics Program she lectures at a local college in Toronto. The proud mama of two beautiful Queens,Magda is passionate about the health and beauty industry and says Nakai represents the value of being true to yourself..
Before the birth of Nakai, Magda worked as a Spa Director on Carnival Cruise Lines, travelling around the world and gaining knowledge and expertise along the way. She also managed some of the top rated spas in Canada. And then came the big move to rent a space out and embark on the journey to starting her own Beauty and Cosmetics Line. According to Magda, this all began with one woman (Guida), whom she calls her Guardian Angel, believing in her dreams and potential and giving her the opportunity to open up the space. And the rest as they say, is the incredible story of Magda making history!
We spoke to the vivacious trailblazer (who by the way is also a loud and proud champion and cheerleader for other women) to get the inside scoop on how the journey to Nakai all began….
“Growing up in Zimbabwe, my parents moved a lot because of my father’s work. I went to 6 different Primary schools.
Because of this, I have always been the type of person who adapts easily and it was so easy for me to make friends as I knew I had to take advantage of knowing the people that were around me, study what gave them their magic and keep it close to my heart.”
“I have always had a fascination for skin and lipsticks. Growing up my mum ALWAYS had beautiful skin whilst I struggled with mine🤨 and my grandma ALWAYS wore a lipstick… she’d say to me “mwana wemwana wangu, brugwa ndinga kanganwe hangu kupfeka, asi ripistiki, hazvigone. Inondipa mapapiro uye inobuditsa runako rwangu rwose”( My daughter’s child, I may forget to wear my underwear, but I’ll never forget to put on my lipstick, it gives me wings and always brings out the beauty in me) I remember other women judging my grandma for wearing a red lipstick ALL THE TIME. But… she didn’t care, she stayed true to herself. It stuck with me since I was 11yrs old! I knew that no matter what I’d always want good skin and a great lipstick. Fast forward to 2020, I decided to create my own lipstick collection which allows people to always be true to who they are and be able to express themselves through the art of lips!”
“The names I choose for the Lipsticks are so deep seeded in my heart as they come with so much meaning…
To share a few…
****Nakai**** (My daughter’s name) from my Zimbabwean language which means ‘Be Beautiful’
****Chi-town**** (Chitungwiza)- I hold the best childhood memories from there. And this is the place that allowed me to dream big and reminded me that my dreams will always be valid. (Thanks to Ms Hunda and Mrs Mugari) – My kindergarten Teachers
****H-town**** (Harare) the city that took me from my pre- teen years through life before I left Zimbabwe.
****Emma**** named after my late grandma who to this day made me have an obsession with RED lipstick which drove me to create my own!
***Sahwira*** (Friend) everyone needs a good friend by their side! Which I’ve been lucky to have.
****Chihera**** not taking away from other Totems from Zimbabwe but the Chiheras that I grew up knowing were always so Carefree and BOLD and I’ve always admired that!
****T.Dot**** Slang for (Toronto), A city that I’m so proud to call my home. A city that is embedded with so much culture and opportunities to make your dreams come true. A city that has allowed me to raise two beautiful, resilient daughters. I couldn’t have asked to live anywhere else in the world!
And then the Skincare was birthed after that.”
60 seconds with Magdalene Lafontant
Creating something that a brown skin girl can relate to and actually be proud to use.
I’d have to say continuous self belief is never easy, but I’m getting better now at mindset.
Be fearless and go after what you believe in.
Find what excites you and “Just start”. Stop overthinking how perfect it should be.. Make that first step and stay consistent.
Right now I’m doing all the shipping from Canada. But absolutely, my dream is seeing Nakai in Spas in Zimbabwe being sold and used by other Skincare professionals.
A good Face Wash, Daily Moisturizer and Sunscreen.
Oh gosh! My childhood! We would walk from Unit F all the way to Zengeza in Chitungwiza just to play “Slug”. I also went to 6 different primary schools and that was an adventure on its own.
My Sunday routine is exfoliating my skin, applying a mask and sitting in front of the TV catching up on my favorite shows and eating sadza, kale and oxtail. That just does it for me.
The grass can be greener from anywhere.
I love Feli Nandi. I listen to her when I’m in beast mode. Her music literally speaks to me. I have rehearsed too many times how I’d act when I meet her for the first time(Laughs) She stays on my Playlist 24/7.
A loaded question that is!! (As my heart races) A Masterclass in Zimbabwe on Nakai Skincare for sure! Covid just needs to settle down, otherwise traveling is tough under such conditions.
I’m definitely going to be releasing some new lipsticks and a few more skincare products and possibly some body care as well before the end of the year. Some very interesting collaborations are in line to continue fulfilling my “nakai to the world” affirmation.
I want to be remembered as someone who was helpful to others both professionally and personally. Being a kind human being matters to me.
We bave no doubt that Nakai Cosmetics and Skin Care products will take over the world and we will definitely be tooting our horns for her! This is just a testament to the fact that once a woman sets her mind to do something, she will definitely see it through!
By: Nyaradzo Ngoma