HARARE – No-one dared to miss an episode of the Gringo series back in the 1990s largely on account of the hilarious comedy’s lead actor Lazarus "Gringo" Boora.
Gringo’s mischievous character went hand-in-glove with the clownish outfit and a made-up scar on his fore head, which made him arguably the most popular television comedian of the time.
While television lovers generally warmed up to the ‘‘Gringo’’ character, not many realised that the clownish actor’s convincing appearance was the expert result of local costume designer and make-up artist Florence Gambe.
The veteran make-up artist’s career in the Zimbabwe film industry which spans over 18 years has seen her take part in numerous television productions locally and regional which include ZTV dramas, musical videos, feature and short films.
Gambe was involved in productions like Rage of Innocence, Murambiwa, Chakafukidza Dzimba Matenga, Munombodei, Tanyaradzwa; I want a Wedding Dress, Kwiyo Muzukuru, Where Others Wavered and I Am My Father’s son (Namibia).
The 37-year-old, whose other proud achievement was her involvement in the 2005 Miss Tourism World, says she became a make-up artist by accident.
“No one ever taught me to design costumes or do make-up I just found myself doing it,” Gambe says.
“I started off in 1995 at Screen Talent, an actor’s agency which focused on grooming actors. I also learnt a lot from my make-up artist sister Evelyn who is now based in Cape Town.
“I gradually grew into an acclaimed costumes and make-up expert. I would be referred to new productions by people I would have worked with,” added the veteran make-up artist.
Gambe told the Daily News on Sunday that creating different skin types like the Gringo’s scar or the scalded eye of Yanai Svura of the popular local drama series Murambiwa, does not come cheap.
“I travel to South Africa frequently to get all my products from a reputable film companies that produces artificial blood, foundations, powders, liquid latex that we mould to form different skin types and wounds, wound pallet, fake teeth and body parts,” she said.
The 37-year-old artist who also doubles as pastor bemoans the lack of recognition accorded to make-up artists.
“We are not recognised in local arts awards; in fact we don’t even exist. In South Africa even set designers are honoured at award ceremonies,” Gambe told Daily News on Sunday.