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Gravity Defying Gele in the Limelight: “Master Headturner” Segun Gele featured on CNN Marketplace Africa

BellaNaija.com

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Houston-based makeup artist and “master headturner”, Segun Gele (Hakeem Oluwasegun Olaleye) has made a name for him in the USA as the go-to man for woman seeking showstopping gele styles and beautifully madeover faces.
He famously beautified Nollywood star, Ini Edo-Ehiagwina for her wedding in April 2009 and has transformed hundreds of brides for their big day.

CNN MarketPlace Africa met up with Segun and were wowed by his skills. According to CNN, “The Houston-based businessman has made an artform out of tying a gele — the gravity-defying headwraps worn by Nigerian women…Watching Segun Gele whip the material into graceful folds and arcs in less than five minutes, you know he is the master

You’ll be surprised to learn that Segun has built his brand to such lofty heights in under a decade. He arrived in the US from Nigeria in 2003.
He first noticed he could turn his skills into a promising business when he offered to tie a woman’s head wrap at a friend’s wedding.

Within minutes, he had whipped the two-yard fabric into a headturning, vertiginous shape that left other women at the party impressed. Before long a queue had formed and he started charging $7 a piece to tie gele at the wedding, Segun said

Segun transformed that experience into a flourishing business!

According to CNN, he now “charges $650 to tie wraps for brides and their party for Houston weddings, and $1,000 plus hotel, rental car and airfare for out-of-town weddings.
This wedding season he’s already flown to Georgia, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Maryland. Knowing brides reserve him a year in advance, well aware of his popularity

Amazing story! Another shining example of transforming passion into enterprise. You can find out more about Segun Gele via his website www.segungele.com
Up next for Segun, his own wedding! He will be getting married to the love of his life Funmilola in December 2010.

We are also glad to see Nigerian women in diaspora keeping the flag flying with their creative ‘gele’ styles. Has anyone else noticed the different ‘gele’ approaches. The styles spotted by women in the US are usually taller and more extravagant than the ones we see in Nigeria. Quite interesting to observe.

Photo Credit: Golden Icons

Watch Segun Gele on CNN Marketplace Africa

27 Comments

  1. Marian

    July 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I want him to tie one for me. The gele is a work of art indeed. Fabulous. He is an artist!!!

  2. MiaJadore

    July 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    For $650, he better throw in a trip to Disneyland. Amazing work though, BRAVO!!!

  3. Bola

    July 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    he’s a creative one, some of his gele are the business

  4. Loli

    July 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Love it–so proud to see a guy doing this type of work and doing it exceptionally well. I’m glad
    to see Nigerians proudly showing off our culture whilst modernizing it. He’s made a
    name for himself with such an ingenious idea. shoot-i’d book him for my wedding; he needs to give me a discount though. Great work keep it up.

  5. Daisy

    July 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Bella i love y’all but this is soooooooooooooooooooooo stale. What took you so long to update. Oh!well
    guess loop holes here and there are allowed sha!

  6. tbn

    July 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    It gladdens my heart to see a Nigerian doing well and even recognised by CNN.

  7. Temilayo

    July 22, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    his gele always looks a hot mess to me, im not hating o, just saying!
    i mean that yellow one?? seriously??

  8. lola

    July 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

    [email protected] Really for $650 he better throw in something extra. nice job though.Its so encouraging to see Nigerians making our name proud

  9. xoxo

    July 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I agree with Temilayo………

  10. Ronnie

    July 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Went to Uni with Segun and you could tell he would end up doing something like this!Cingrats Segun.Well done!

  11. africhika

    July 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    @temilayo, are you serious?! i love the yellow one! well, each to his own.

  12. Otaki

    July 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    are these the best of his gele tying? Then am not impresses. i cld tie something better pliz

  13. Otaki

    July 23, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    if i may add, i would not invite him to tie my own gele esp if i was in another town cos sincerely, he ddnt wow me by what i have seen. i like dress to stop a show. *showstoppin*

  14. viv

    July 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    ok for a man to tie cos some chicks cant tie gele to save their lives!! me especially. but seriously he aint that fantastic, we do better back here. and it’s so expensive!!
    we need to commend him though for being recognised for his art.

  15. adenike

    July 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Good job bro! But $650 to tie my gele??? That’s absolutely farcical….

  16. Blackberry

    July 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    @Otaki, the one that you have tied that is better, how much have you made from it? And I don’t remember seeing you on CNN, oh, my bad, that’s coz you’ve not done anything outstanding enough to get that kind of recognition.
    I have actually gone to his websites and I think he is doing a fantastic job and it’s nice to know he is being recognized for what he is doing.
    Nigerians are actually achieving so much, and it’s good to see a story on CNN focused on Nigeria that it’s not negative.
    @BellaNJ, you are doing a fantastic job. This is the second site I open when I switch on my computer in the office (of course, I need to open my work e-mail first now). Following you on tweeter also helps, so I always know when you update.
    Keep up the good work!!!

  17. bibi

    July 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    think the fee includes makeup as well..so its a 2 fr 1 deal. Banke meshida charges N70K in nija and i think its just fr makeup fr 2 days…..so wats d difference

  18. Buky Oj

    July 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Congrats to Segun, also known as Segcy.

    5yrs ago when I was getting married in Houston we used his services. Segun does more than gele, for ladies marrying abroad and dont have Iyawo ile (wivies) around to help. Segun will be perfect for your weddings. He does make-up, hair, he sings and dances too.

    At my traditional engagement he led the women in dance and songs. He was by my side thru-out, telling me to smile when pictures were taken. He tied my wrapper and top up my make up as needed.

    Same on the wedding day, he is the total package. I look forward to using him for many more occassions to come.

    He has earned the recognition. He knows how to make the bride truly feels like a princess

  19. Moo

    July 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Good job u re doing bro,but quite on d high side for me o….
    $650 – $1000 to tie gele naija lady rock anytime,anyday and anywhere

  20. reen

    July 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    @blackberry…mine is not business so I need no feature on cnn. No I don’t. So it doesn’t matter if its black or white. ..HE DDNT WOW ME OK?

  21. pam

    July 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

    @otaki first of all I get you point…
    i dont think everyone has to like his gele tying obviously enough people like it for him to create a business so successful and unusual he is on CNN. I for one never wear gele but I think the point is for a country that is always on international news for negativity and portrayed as thieves, ritualists and fraudsters and now terrorists its always great to see real hardworking Nigerians who I believe are the majority portrayed for once. Its not restricted to business. Excelling is the issue here.
    Unfoutunately we are so good at disparaging ourselves that outsiders take a cue and bash us with our permission.
    Congratulations to this man jo! Im wowed by his ACHIEVEMENT, whether I like the gele or not.

  22. Uchechi

    July 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Did you say “famously beautified ini edo”..not at all o! The guy did a poor job with her, no offence. Perhaps it may have been her pregnancy, but hey..I thought make up enhances one’s beauty.

    I do love the geles in the picture. Good work segun and wishing you a happy married life in advance. Just curious..will you be the one to beautify your future wife?

  23. Amina M.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I have always believed in him and new he will go places…..the sky is your begining.

  24. Okwyrose

    July 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    There was a time he used to tie gele for just 10 bucks. What happened? just kidding. The man has found a very enterprising way to make money. With this exposure I advise him to get a good grip on taxes, cuz guess who is also looking at him. I appalud him a lot. It is not about who ties it better but who knew how to make lemons outta lemonade. You go Segun.

  25. tiki2a

    August 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    You guys are all just hilarious with your ‘gele’ tying business. true, $650 is steep, but that is what ‘my wedding day’ is about, innit? learn to splurge girls, live the life, you probably willl not get the chance to tie a $650 ‘gele’ again, what with junior’s school fees and needing a bigger house and food prices going up and….

  26. ojaybaby

    October 10, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Nigerians,we cannont jst appreciate,see ur brother doing well,is not easy jo!U DO WELL O! 🙂

  27. Lollipop

    November 2, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Some pple are just full of criticism and such pple dont go far or do well, they compare their poor unrecognised handwork to d ones that are exceptional and they run their mouth to spoil the good in others.. shame on pple like Temilayo, Otaki and d rest… by dia fruits we shall know them.

    To Segun Gele more greese and we are so proud of u,God bless the works of ur hands and to haters scrammmmm..i,m realyy vexing at those -ve comments, next time u keep such obnoxious comments under your pillow and suck urself to sleep over dem.

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