Nadja Nortje (30), is a South African make-up, hair and fashion stylist. Born in the mining town of Witbank, she has since spread her wings to the big city. Nadja’s diverse portfolio means she works on a variety of different projects including in the magazine, television and wedding industries respectively. She has worked with the biggest names in the entertainment industry including Karin Zoid, Karlien and Bobby van Jaarsfeld, Lee ann Liebenberg, Amore Vittone, Pearl Thusi, Boity Thulo, Gareth Cliff, Sharlene Surtie Richards and Riaan Cruywagen to name but a few.
After completing her A-Levels, Nadja was accepted to the Prue Leith Culinary school where she obtained a Diploma and soon began working at a boutique hotel in Pretoria. While she enjoyed the service industry her desire to connect with people was not fully being met. After discovering an interest in prosthetics, particularly film prosthetics, Nadja realised she needed a career change. She went to to study prosthetics which involved a basic make up course and four international Diplomas including a Diploma in Period and Film Hair.
After lecturing for some time, Nadja began building her portfolio. Opportunity arose to add styling to her portfolio and she added titles including Elle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, You, Huisgenoot and Taalgenoot and a list of TV projects to her growing resume. A new-found love for fashion lead Nadja to joining an international movement called Lookbook.nu, which had unprecedented effect on her career and contributed to her reaching a fan base of 53 000 followers on the site and lead to collaborations with international titles, including Vouge Korea, a highlight in Nadja’s rapidly growing career. Her blog grew quickly and inspired her to start a vintage clothing range, ‘Vintage Vices’ where she received orders from all around the world. However, soon Nadja missed the interaction with people and realised she needed to shift focus.
While she’s worked on countless famous faces, ultimately her goal is to reach real woman. "I wanted to focus on real woman that do not have knowledge about things like make-up, hair and styling, things that come naturally to me. My goal is to reach ladies, brides, real woman and young girls who lack the confidence to feel good about themselves, by empowering them to take the brush in to their own hands and own their beauty,” says Nadja.
Nadja has been happily married to husband, Thiart, for the past three years.
FIVE MINUTES WITH NADJA
How did you and your husband, Thiart meet?
I was single for almost five years before I met Thiart. I had gone on countless dates with all types, including famous men who would fly me to exotic destinations, but it left me feeling unsatisfied, and I decided I never wanted to get married. One evening, after a photoshoot, a friend and I went to a dinner in Pretoria and Thiart was there. It was love at first sight for both of us. We started talking and before I knew it I had invited to a family lunch the next day where he had to meet the whole family! We got engaged after three months and married three months after that. He is my best friend, inspiration, my support and my favourite person in the world!
What are some of your career goals and plans?
I have always taken life as it comes but after doing our show for DSTV Familie Foto, I soon realised how psychological something as simple as make-up is for a woman. It affects her whole being and how people perceive her and I want to teach women that she can feel great about herself, with a few simple techniques. As a lover of makeup, I would also like to bring a range out that does not change the appearance but enhances using ethical ingredients and methods, as well as a grooming range for men, as they are also becoming more in tune with taking care of themselves.
You have worked with some of South Africa’s top local talent, who has made an impression?
The celebrities that made an impact on me are the ones that are humble and well-established (they could have actually been arrogant but are the opposite) . Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, made a life-long impact on me. We did a two day shoot with her and just to have met the whole family and their gentle way of handling each and every person, being humble with no brashness. Her struggles with cancer and drug addiction had such an affect on me… and even remembering each name of the cleaners at the hotel showed me true humility.
Which famous face, locally or internationally would you still like to work with?
To be honest, over the years, I have realised that the people I want to work with is not necessarily a celebrity. I like the ‘underdogs’, the lady that does not have enough money to buy make-up but wants to look beautiful and feel great about herself, the woman that stopped caring because her husband left her. The doctor that cares too much for others but neglects herself… those are my ‘celebrities’.
Fun Facts about Nadja:
• I love travelling have travelled to round about 23 countries
• I have always had hairless dogs (Chinese crested)
• I love skateboarding but not allowed by my husband due to breaking my pelvic bone in two places on 27
• My vintage range was featured in 12 Korean magazines
• I want to open a lodge one day in a small town with my husband