Our instagram account gives us access to some of the coolest people in and out of Croatia. Nabilah Harron quickly caught our eye, particularly because she wrote everything in english, a facet of social media I appreciate most in Croatia. After some extended social stalking, I was curious to find out more about this South African native whose striking beauty won her a legion of followers.
I sent over some questions to find out more about Nabilah and how she paved her way in Croatia as an expat. Hope you enjoy this read as much as I did!
Don’t forget to follow Nabilah on Instagram & Facebook.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m from Cape Town, South Africa and moved to Zagreb 5 years ago with my husband. I have my degree in Graphic and Communication Design from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. While I was studying I did commercial and high end modelling part time and along with my best friend, co-owned our own handmade leather woman shoe company. So, my first job was doing something I loved, designing all the print and web material for this company while my best friend designed the shoes. It was so much fun and allowed me and my friend to travel abroad to some amazing exotic locations such as Morocco, Greece, Oman, Turkey, Spain, London and Italy from the age of 21 years old. I suppose I always went against the grain, was a bit of a rebel, and a complete travel addict!
I freelanced in graphic design for years but I yearned to travel more so I decided to join a Middle Eastern International airline and worked as cabin crew for 2 years, during this period I met my husband and we married. I stayed in the Middle East for 3 years then moved to Zagreb where we started a family the year after.
Becoming a mother changed my whole world, it taught me a lot and I grew up a lot in the process as well. For almost 2 years I stopped working and was a stay at home mom to my son. It was challenging, especially being so far away from home in a foreign speaking country that was so different to my own. I didn’t have many friends in Zagreb in the 1st 2 years, especially other mothers my age with babies! Also, I was working all my life so to not work and be a stay at home mom was challenging.
Golden hour✨ So many of you requested for me to re-create @emrata 's makeup she wore to the diamond ball. LOVED this look, perfect for fall. This is my version of her look & what I'd call an expensive looking smokey eye??, totally sophisticated & wearable glam! Tutorial comming ? On my eyes- @hudabeauty Desert Dusk pallete in bloodmoon, amber & oud + @morphebrushes 350 pallete
How did you get started in the beauty industry?
I knew I wanted to work again, but I wanted to do something that I really loved but at the same time I could make a business from at home (not a 9-5). Because I worked in the modelling industry for about 7 years in South Africa and the Middle East, I picked up a lot of tips from professional and celebrity makeup artists. Many people asked me why I didn’t go back to the modelling industry here. To be honest, modelling was never a career goal of mine, it was fun but it also has a lifespan. To be an expat mom with a young child and go on many castings in a day or jet off to various locations for modelling jobs was just not possible for me anymore. I also found it hard as a english speaking expat to get a job in graphic design in Zagreb. When I did find something as a graphic designer in an established and well known design agency I didn’t enjoy it anymore like I used to. The hours were long and I was working for a boss.
So in a way, after I became a mother i truly found myself and decided to do something that really fulfils me, that I love, has flexible hours, and allows me to be as creative as I want. I wanted to be my own boss! #girlboss
“I wanted to be my own boss! #girlboss”
Im such a visual person so it seemed natural for me to pursue a career in one of my passions. I studied at one of the most prestigious makeup schools in Zagreb under the guidance of Lucija Juror in beauty and bridal makeup artistry. I learnt so much and loved it! I definitely knew I made the right decision to follow my passion. I graduated1 year ago from JL Style Academy and am now trying to forge my own style in Zagreb. I was always one to push boundaries and go for what I want, I believe a strong and positive attitude is key, but for me personally because I am a mother to have a good balance is important.
Drive and hardwork go hand in hand, and Im not afraid to get my hands dirty and work long hours to achieve my goals. Im always learning which I believe is so important. As an artist you should always be seeking more knowledge to improve on your skills and practicing it often to excel in it.
What have been your biggest breaks in the beauty industry?
I think my big break is still coming. The best is yet to come:)
How has the beauty industry evolved in Croatia over the last few years?
Generally, I think the makeup and beauty Industry has taken off and evolved all over the world. I think in todays day and age we have so many resources available via social media to market ourselves. I believe to use whats available and make it work to your advantage.
Which local and international makeup artists do you admire?
Local, of course Lucija Juros, she is a master at makeup with years of experience. I highly respect her and her ability to open and run her own makeup school, it takes a lot of time and guts. She sticks with her style and doesn’t conform to what everyone else is doing nowadays in the industry. Sasa Jokovic is great with editorial, high fashion makeup. Internationally I love Patrick Ta, Charlotte Tilbury, Mary Phillips, Lisa Eldridge, Mario Dedivanovic.
This Saturday my husband and I went for Špica (shpiza) after a long time! We used to go every Saturday but since becoming parents, of course not as often. Špica is a unique social phenomenon which happens every Saturday morning and afternoon in Croatia. I stay In Zagreb and Špica is definately a 'thing' over here! The funny thing is, during the week people rarely dress up, but come Saturday at noon and everyone is dressed to the nines strutting in the city centre, meeting friends for coffee (the coffee culture is serious business over here!), shopping and catching up on the latest gossip. You will most definately be seen or bump into someone you know so everyone seems to make an effort in the fashion department, including myself, of course? After Špica we ended up in Gornji Grad, which is the upper city in Zagreb. I love this part of town, so beautiful and quaint. At this point I had to remove my heels, I think next weekend Il be trading them in for my trainers up Sljeme mountain..but that's another story for another day! Have a great week beauties, I know it's Monday, but there's always coffee to make the day brighter, yayyy! ☕?
Which beauty products and/or brands do you swear by?
Firstly, for beauty products its important that you know whats your skin type then work from there. Not to buy everything thats hyped on social media. Everyone has different skin types, so what works for me may not work for you. All my lovely followers on social media know how much I love oils! Coconut oil (for my hair), Argan oil (hair and skin) and Rose hip oil (for hydration, smooth fine lines, and to help fade pigmentation) are amongst my favourites, these oils are also suitable to all skin types as i have very sensitive skin.
This Summer Ive been loving facial mists,they are so refreshing and charged with all the the good stuff! My favourites are, Avene thermal spring water, Nikel Alpine Rose tonic and Mario Bedescu facial spray with Aloe herbs and rosewater.
Exfoliation is so important especially now as we are approaching the end of Summer where our skin needs a bit more TLC after all the sun exposure. Ive been loving Dermalogica’s daily facial exfoliant, super gentle and really helps to brighten up the skin. Dr Brandts microdermabrasion age defying exfoliator is also amazing. If you prefer chemical exfoliants, I love the Pixie Glow Tonic, its very gentle and really brings out your natural glow! Foreo’s Luna Go is also great to help to cleanse deeply and aids in product absorption. I use this every single morning and night along with my cleanser and its made a huge difference in keeping breakouts at bay. Kiehls avocado eye cream is great for those tackling with fine lines under your eyes, I use this in the evenings before bed and my underlies are so well hydrated in the morning which means so much less creasing in my concealer!
For makeup products, I am all about the skin! I love concealers the most as I think its the most hardworking product in a pro makeup artists kit. My favourites are, Naked weightless complete coverage concealer, Nars radiant creamy concealer, La Girl pro conceal (its budget friendly too!), Kryolan derma colour camouflage creme is great if you have very dark under eye circles or pigmentation on the skin.
How do you use social media to connect your brand with your followers?
Social media, especially Instagram, is a huge platform to use to help connect me with my followers. I believe in organic growth (not buying followers) and to woman who are truly interested in beauty and makeup, love my style of makeup and want to book me , or simply learn how to apply makeup correctly to enhance whats already there. I want to inspire woman to have fun with makeup.
Its very important to identify who your ideal client is and what are you selling them. All my looks, product reviews etc..are usually on reccomendtion on what my followers actually want. I love instagram stories as it allows me to have a conversation with my followers and let them in to my world on a more personal level.
“Don’t go into the makeup industry because its popular or for the money, you will be disappointed as it takes a while to build up your client base and is an expensive investment before you start seeing a return.”
Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
Im not sure what the future holds but definitely doing makeup! Building up my bridal makeup portfolio, and perhaps having my own makeup studio. Im in the process of designing and developing my website so that should be up in the next few months and having a blog/vlog where il be doing product reviews and makeup tutorials.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into the beauty industry?
I do believe that education is important and working on different faces is important to develop your skills as a makeup artist. So never stop learning, stay true to your makeup style and have fun! Don’t go into the makeup industry because its popular or for the money, you will be disappointed as it takes a while to build up your client base and is an expensive investment before you start seeing a return. You have to truly love it and have an artistic flair helps.
Have your own style that makes you unique, and stick with it no matter what anyone says, thats your style and will make you stand out. Just do you.