By Carla Pineda
A self-proclaimed “Jane of all trades and mistress of all,”
journalism student Ifeanyi Chijindu’s ambition and passion is
hidden behind her pretty smile. The graduating senior has worn
numerous occupational hats that differ as much as a published
writer and a psychiatric technician do. With graduation fast
approaching, she will finally have more time to devote to her
cosmetic line and Web site, Goddess Cosmetics Accessories and
Toiletries, and to continue writing fiction.
Chijindu has never gone about life traditionally.
“I don’t go by convention,” said Chijindu. “That’s the biggest
thing my friends used to say. They would always say I was the
rebellious one; I was the stubborn one; I talked back; I challenged
things (…) and the more people tell me not to do something, the
more I do it.”
Since she was a child, the multifaceted Chijindu has known that
she would have more than one career. Writing, art and beauty are
her passions that she chose to pursue after being in the $50,000
income bracket for a few years. Her financially stable life that
allowed her to purchase a home at 21 years old, did not make her
“No amount of money is going to make me happy,” she said. “I
wasn’t doing what I wanted to do so I thought, ‘I have to make that
leap now because if I wait for the right moment, the right moment
will never come.'”
Cosmetics have been Chijindu’s passion and topic of research for
about 10 years. After being disappointed with make-up counters
because they didn’t meet her needs, she decided to make products
for herself in her mother’s kitchen.
Diva, as she called it, was a line of natural products that
contained basic ingredients such as bees wax. She sold her products
when she attended people’s homes to give them a demonstration. Her
lack of capital and time at 18 and 19 years old while working full
time caused her to put this project on the backburner.
As a model, Chijindu has encountered professionals who lack
skin-care knowledge of women who don’t fit into the beige
foundation palette. She wanted to create cosmetics for women of all
Goddess C.A.T. products do not the contain mineral oil petroleum
that most big name cosmetic lines have. This ingredient is harmful
because it clogs pores preventing toxins from exiting the body
through perspiration, according to Chijindu. She said her products
contain anti-oxidants, herbs, vitamins and minerals.
“I’m a beauty-a-holic,” said Chijindu. “I like looking at people
and bringing out their potential. Everyone has different reasons
why or why they don’t wear make-up. A lot of it has to do with the
way people are raised and their culture and just their own
self-esteem. There are some people who just don’t know, which is
why I’m offering the class. It’s going to be a girl’s night out at
a hip coffee art gallery place.”
She’s offering a “Tea Party and Makeup Class” to teach women how
to create flattering makeup looks for themselves.
Chijindu wants to keep the class intimate so she has the time to
pay individual attention to every attendee. By requiring the
purchase of an $85 cosmetic kit, she is “weeding out the people who
aren’t serious.” The freelance make-up artist said her rate is
reasonable compared to beauty school and her class will be truthful
compared to make-up counter advice. She will teach step-by-step
what is needed for day and night looks. For example, instruct as
the women apply makeup themselves. Her goal is to “teach and
empower,” not to sell her products.
Because of her excellent grades and multiple extracurricular
involvements, her high school teachers told her she seemed like an
ideal candidate for schools like Columbia and Princeton. She
conjured a “bohemian writer’s life” in New York where she wanted to
attend college and live a grand life, ready to leave the Pomona
area where she grew up.
After an outstanding high school career, Chijindu was
disappointed that her top choice ivy-league universities rejected
her and enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona reluctantly. She blames the
denials from these schools on a lack of connections and a low
income and she wishes her high school teachers had given her a
realistic perspective of what colleges were feasible for her to
attend. After attending the summer bridge program she met an
eclectic group of friends and became more accustomed to the idea of
being a Cal Poly student.
Due to financial difficulties, Chijindu took a leave of absence
in 1997 to complete a psychiatric nursing program at Mount San
Antonio College. From there she went on to take a full-time job at
the Lanterman Development Center as a nurse in the acutely ill
sector which is the severest of the departments at this mental
health and development institution.
From there, she moved on to work at a juvenile detention
facility that required Chijindu’s utmost strength of character
everyday to supervise troubled youth.
“It was like God said, ‘You learned that lesson. Now we’re going
to toss you in jail where you really have to learn patience where
kids can talk back.’ It’s not like a hospital where they can’t
speak. Now I have, like 80 kids and they all are talking,” said
Chijindu. “You walk in and they hate you already because they think
you’re a pig.”
During this stint, she recalls having a teen prostitute in one
of the groups she supervised. She was recruiting girls in
Chijindu’s presence to defy her but ended up ridiculing
“She was making prostitution sound fab, like, ‘Why work for
somebody if you could be a prostitute.’ But to my ears, I just
heard a lot of insecurities and sadness,” said Chijindu. “She was
really shocked that I took the time to strip her bare.”
In the near future, Chijindu hopes to donate a percentage of her
proceeds to charities involving women, children and the
“That is my philosophy – Do good, look good, feel good,” she
At nine years old, she published her first poem in a newspaper.
At 11 she completed her first 90-page novella. At 15 she had sold
her first short story. By 25 years old, she fulfilled a goal on her
list of publishing a book by this age. “A Girl’s Life: The Song
That Never Ends,” is a collection of poems about different stages
and emotions in a woman’s life.
She returned to Cal Poly in 2005 and is happily graduating this
“I can’t wait to get out of school because I feel the creativity
was being sucked away from me,” said Chijindu. “You’re always doing
papers and it’s constantly ‘analyze this’ and ‘analyze that’ and
‘write in this style’ that you forget your voice. College turns
people into drones (…) college is more about making worker bees
and not leaders, and I don’t like that.”
Looking past commencement, Chijindu has her wedding to plan
before her October nuptials. She also has two fantasy novels that
are written but awaiting correction before she submits them for
publishing. She wants to continue painting, writing poetry and
expanding her cosmetic line.
Another item on her to-do list? She wants to have a child by
In her ever-changing career course and pursuit of spiritual
happiness, driven Chijindu will retain her rebellious nature.
“I don’t want to be known as a nice person,” said Chijindu. “I
want to be known as a good person. Nice people are pushovers (…)
I’ll stand my ground; I’ll challenge if you need to be challenged;
I’ll check if you need to be checked, but I still want to help and
be a positive person.”
Carla Pineda can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or
by phone at (909) 869-3744.
Emily Breeland/The Poly Post
Student Fulfills Dreams Early
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