With her face smashed in a pile of glass, left with over 250 facial scars, a shattered left leg, loss of hair and hip replacement surgery yet, Eryca Freemantle courageously triumphs!
For everyone who has ever given up on life, the riveting narrative you are about to read is sure to change your orientation to life and motivate you to keep on keeping on.
The same girl who had no hope in life, who accepted abuse as a normal way of life, who didn’t know where she belonged, who travelled the world searching for her soul, who lived with sexual abuse from the age of four, is today a lifestyle guru, an award-winning celebrity and international make-up artist, industry intelligence, consultant, educator, author, corrective make-up specialist, trendsetter, keynote and motivational speaker. Her name? Eryca Freemantle.
Working with clients such as British Vogue, Elle, BBC, Wella, Island Records, EMI, Kodak to mention a few, Eryca sits on the panel as one of the experts at high-profile institutes such as the London College of Fashion, she is an ambassador for various charities and organisations including Make your Mark and she is patron for Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation. Call her a truly inspiring woman and your judgment will go unopposed.
Eryca’s journey from childhood was filled with a lot of daunting experiences, some of which she shares with me when she tells me “Kemi, reflecting on my life, I now realise growing up from the age of four to adulthood was very painful. I come from a very solid and happy family. My mother and father have been married now for nearly sixty years and I have five lovely brothers who adore me. As one who has been through a number of different types of traumatic experiences, I know that hope is the most expensive necessity of life.”
“I still live with the effects of being bullied at school, called ugly and that I would not get anywhere in life. I was slapped in the face on a daily basis, kicked in the stomach, tripped and spat on daily. One of my most awful childhood memories was being called ‘black attack’ and ‘bull frog’, because of my dark complexion and my eyes were (and still are) large and round.” Eryca tells me and continues “all of these accounts helped me get where I am now. I have shared and will continue to share my experiences with people who can relate to these same scary, painful and disgusting feelings. I faced my fears and funnelled my anger into creative expression and business – makeup artistry, fitness and empowerment speaking. Surviving trauma represents a second chance to rebuild my life and implement the lessons learned and that is exactly what I am doing.” Eryca admits.
Eryca is easily identified as a make-up guru among many other things she is into but you will be shocked to know that her career in makeup was not planned, sounds like a paradox right? Hear her shed light on this. “Yes, I went into make-up by ‘accident’. While standing in a petrol kiosk a lady drove in, lost control of her car, and smashed my body between her car and the kiosk. My face landed in a pile of glass, leaving me with over 250 facial scars, a shattered left leg and the loss of my hair. When the bandages were removed I was appalled at what I saw, my face was changed forever and I cried for months. My dilemma was how to cover the scars on my face without further injuring myself.”
“I remembered reading about Egyptians who used mud to camouflage and cover scars on their bodies. I started using earth from the garden, mixing with water and creating a mud mask. This is what gave me confidence to go out and try to live a normal life. The mud mask became my new look, my saving grace and my confidence. After months of this ridiculous look, I had to find a better alternative. I asked my parents if I could go to a school to train to become a makeup artist. This is how I started in the industry. I completed the makeup course to help rebuild my life.” Eryca discloses.
With Eryca, life is truly what you make it. She elucidates my affirmation when she says “I was very ill. I broke my back, leading to an open back surgery. I had spinal fusion, resulting in two pins, a plate and an axle permanently placed in my lower back. To top that, I had a hip replacement; doctors again told me that I would not walk again. Now several months later, I am not only walking but I am dancing and smiling. I am now embracing my deepest passion which is fitness! I have been a qualified fitness instructor for over thirty years, teaching and training clients all over the world. I enjoy enabling women to lose weight, improve their image and connect with their body, mind and soul.”
From her name, you can tell she is not from Nigeria infact, Eryca was born in the UK to Jamaican parents (did I hear you say yah-man!?…ok I admit, that’s how far my Patwa skills can go) but her love for Nigeria has kept her coming again and again and again and she tells me why “my love for Nigeria is what has kept me going through many dark moments over the last few years. My passion and desire for living in Nigeria can only be described as divine, deeply emotional and forward thinking. When outside of Nigeria, I am eager to return. This is my home. Nigeria evokes powerful feelings of sober thoughtfulness, peace, contentment and love in me. Lagos is an energetic, sleepless and at times dysfunctional city but I love it and the people.” She says and adds “I have travelled extensively in my lifetime. Of the over thirty countries I have been privileged to visit, none compares to Nigeria. I often say I get it. I really get Nigeria. I will always be appreciative of how Nigeria has helped me with my healing process. It gives me a sense of belonging and a deep understanding of who I am. God Bless Nigeria.” She appreciates.
Eryca defines beauty as what you see and feel in the pit of your stomach. She says beauty is how you make others feel about themselves and being able to look in the mirror and embrace yourself for what you are, not caring what others say or think. “Beauty is freedom of speech, feeling free and laughing from the depths of your soul. Beauty is a moment, a lifetime of wonderful thoughts and feelings. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Beauty is whatever you want it to be. Beauty is peace within.” Eryca creatively expresses.