Makeup artist Victor Alvarez recalls his inaugural visit to Africa.

Scenes from Alvarez’s 2013 trip to Kenya, all photographs courtesy of Victor Alvarez

I’ve traveled all over the world — from Miami to Ibiza to Dubai — with my client Olivia Palermo, but nothing compares to our trip to Kenya.

In 2013, Olivia shot a campaign there for the Spanish company Pikolinos — she’s a brand ambassador — promoting its collaboration with the Maasai Project, a charity that provides women of the local Maasai tribe with a stable salary.

When Olivia asked me to accompany her, I immediately said yes. I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I flew from Barcelona to Nairobi, where I met her and her husband, JOHANNES HUEBL.

From there, we boarded a small plane to the MARA RIVER region, where we stayed for two weeks in bungalows right on the water.

Every morning, from bed, I could see wild animals like lions, giraffes, and hippos roam freely.

One day, we visited the Maasai women and their tribe’s leader.

Their town was incredible: the huts were made from the earth and completely unaffected by globalization.

It was like time had stood still. And although we were there to work, it didn’t feel like we were working.

The vastness of the region, the silence of the savannah, and the smiles of the Maasai people are only just a few things I’ll never forget.

It was a humbling experience, to say the least.

— as told to The Thick

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