From the glamour of fashion to the beauty of vegetables

Christopher Anthony Ikus harvesting crops at his farm in his village in Niah.

KUCHING: With the Covid-19 pandemic ripping the life out of the glamour and glitz of the beauty and fashion business, a professional makeup artist here has gone back to the farm to sustain himself.

“Who would want to call for a makeup artist these days? All events, including weddings and makeup classes had to be cancelled due to the national shutdown under the movement control order,” Christopher Anthony Ikus told FMT.

“It is impossible for me to sustain a living as a makeup artist so I have to look for another alternative, like farming. I have to stay positive and strong.”

The Sarawak-born professional makeup artist said he delivers vegetables and fruits by van from his farm at Kampung Sekaloh, Niah, to his customers on Wednesdays and Saturdays to ensure that the people had continuous supply of food.

He delivers on other days, too, when there is high demand, and also helps other farmers unable to sell their crops at weekly markets, now closed.

Ikus says he sells mostly wild vegetables and fruits, such as cassava leaves, yam stalks, banana corn, paku pakis (wild ferns), bananas and papayas.

Christopher (left) with a customer on one of his delivery runs.

He has received not less than 80 orders a day around Miri. His customers are mostly friends and previous clients. He has also received orders from new customers via social media.

Unfortunately, there were also many criticisms about him having resorted to a farming business. “But why should I be ashamed if the farming business is very profitable? It is more shameful for those who choose to do nothing and depend solely on the government’s financial assistance,” he said.

“In fact, the income I get from my farming business is more compared to my makeup artist business.” He said he could earn about RM1,000 a day now.

Some of the crops growing at Christopher’s farm in Kampung Sekaloh, Niah.

He hopes to open a vegetable market with delivery services in future.

Christopher owns a fashion boutique and makeup studio in Miri. He has won numerous fashion awards, with most of his designs featuring the cultural motifs of the Iban community and their woven textiles known as Pua Kumbu.