An honest conversation with Mario Epanya of Winkler Magazine

By Samsara - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mario Epanya came to Paris from Cameroon in 2000, with a great deal of drive and persistence. He landed a highly sought after position as a make up artist and hair stylist with Dessage. He eventually became one of the top make up artist in the business and a trailblazer in both fields.
When speaking with Mario you can feel his enthusiasm and passion for his craft. His humble spirit makes him relatable, but his drive makes him a luminary. Mario is what we would call a genius and his work is what we would call timeless and legendary. After a career in make up and hair styling his artistic vision pioneered a change in his life. Mario bought a camera and began shooting. He would eventually shoot and attempt to shop a Vogue Africa to Conde Nast. With no interest from Conde Nast, he carried on with his love for fashion through the eyes of Mario Epanya.

Mario has since released Winkler Magazine and in its second issue has achieved, in a short time, what many start-up magazines take issues to reach--perfection.Samsara Boutique recently got the opportunity to sit down and share a conversation with Mario. Here is what he had to say.

Samsara Boutique: Before you push the button describe your emotion?
Mario Epanya: Happy

SB: Name three different mediums that influence your work?
Epanya: Africa, Beauty, and Nature

SB: When considering your body of work as a whole, what artistic medium reflects your personality?
Epanya: Nature and Fashion

SB: If you could take your art in any direction, void of commercial influence and without fear of failure or rejection, Where would it lead you?
Epanya: Failure

SB: What was it like working with Katoucha ?
Epanya: Katoucha was very warm and she was like a mother to us. She always gave good advice and took time to listen to us, while pushing and convincing us to work hard., It’s the only way to free yourself.

SB: In terms of Vogue and the Vogue Africa concept, what did you envision for Vogue Africa?
Epanya: It's hard for me to answer this, for me Vogue Africa or a Black Vogue should have existed for years now. It was natural for me to propose a debate about that idea. Africa is so rich. Thanks Conde Nast for saying no and now welcome to Winkler magazine

SB: Where did you come up with the name Winkler for your magazine?
Epanya: I woke one morning with winkler sounds in my head, so I called it Winkler, that's all. ;-)

SB: List two short term and one long term goal for Winkler.
Epanya: Bye Vogue, Glamour and Haper's Bazaar, good morning Winkler magazine, please sit down. :-)

SB: Well two short term goals:
First, I want Winkler to be the official partner of Miss Black France in 2012, which is a major event in the Black beauty community in France.
More about this to come in my next issue.

Second, I hope next year, a Winkler exhibition in Parisan Avant-Garde black and white portraits of young African women in traditional hairstyles.

My long term goal is for the print version to be number one worldwide!

SB: What is the most important advise you can give to young artists and entrepreneurs?
Epanya: To believe in yourself and to work hard to make your dreams become reality.

SB: Samsara question we ask everyone: What do you prefer? Cre-8, Origin-8 or Elev-8?
Epanya: Elev-8

SB: Thank you, Mario Epanya.

Edited by: Jamie Coco

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