From royal wedding to the Cook Islands

Wednesday December 05, 2018 Written by Published in Local

After an exciting year, which included being part of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, London-based makeup artist Zana Begum is visiting the Cook Islands for a well-deserved break.


The 32-year-old beautician is celebrating her achievement with sister Gulshana, who is visiting the country for the first time.

Zana, who first visited the Cook Islands in 2015, said she needed some downtime after an eventful year. And, she said the Cook Islands was one of the first countries that came into her mind.

“It has been an amazing year, and quite stressful at the same time. To top it off, I made history by being part of the royal wedding. It’s quite surreal and I still can’t get over it,” Zana said.

“To end the year on a high, we needed an equally appealing aspect and coming to the Cook Islands to celebrate my achievement is just amazing.

“I loved it so much (in my first trip) … the sun, beach and the people, Cook Islands is just perfect as it is.”

The company Zana works for in London, Space NK, was responsible for doing the makeup for the members of the Kingdom Choir who performed at the royal wedding.

“We didn’t know until like a week before the actual wedding. There were six of us who were part of the makeup team responsible for the choir,” she said.

“The whole experience – meeting at Buckingham Palace and going to Windsor Castle, was just surreal. We were given VIP treatment, which included a special escort by six police officers to Windsor Castle.

“The whole wedding itself was larger than life. Being a part of it and getting so close to the actual wedding was just an overwhelming experience for me.”

Zana and the rest of the make-up team, including the wardrobe, hair team and others, were based at Windsor Castle’s Green Room which was nearby the St George’s Chapel, where the wedding took place.

“They had a massive screen so we could watch the wedding from the Green Room. We didn’t attend the actual wedding but we were so close by that we could hear everything from our room.

“We took few pictures of Meghan Markle when she arrived for the wedding because we were so close by and also managed to take a picture with the choir.”

Zana said the idyllic Cook Islands was a perfect place to reminisce those beautiful moments of her life and prepare for the challenges ahead in the coming year.

Sister Gulshana said she was so fascinated by the beauty of the Cook Islands that she is now planning to return in the near future.

“I have fallen in love with the island, and the people. It’s just amazing to see how friendly and welcoming the people are. Everyone is treated like family here and that’s the beauty of this island,” Gulshana said.

The Begum sisters, who also visited Aitutaki over the weekend, will spend the next three months visiting New Zealand, Australia and Fiji before returning back to London.

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