The Leading Makeup Artist and Melanin Expert, Joy Adenuga is an award winning talent, from Nigeria (currently based in London). She has solidified her reputation as an exceptional makeup artist within the realms of celebrities, editorial work, and bridal industries. Her unparalleled expertise enables her to create a diverse range of looks, spanning from flawlessly natural and fresh-faced aesthetics to the captivating allure of Hollywood glamor.

Joy is deeply passionate about celebrating the beauty of black individuals and instilling confidence in her clients through her craft. In this exclusive interview with Sheen Magazine. Joy candidly discusses the challenges she faced, the triumphs she’s achieved, and imparts invaluable advice that you won’t want to miss out on.

What drew you to becoming a MUA?

I’ve always been fascinated with faces, textures, symmetry and the sheer beauty of everyone having different features. You can’t apply makeup the same way to different people. This is when my love for makeup began. 

What challenges helped you to become the successful MUA you are today

  1. Skill development – Constantly improving and staying up to date with trends, techniques and new innovations.
  2. Networking – Building a strong professional network is essential for getting clients and opportunities. 
  3. Balancing creativity and client preferences. 
  4. Representation/Advocacy – In an industry that has historically lacked diversity, breaking through as a black makeup artist can be challenging with fewer opportunities offered to us. Many black makeup artists find themselves advocating for more diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry which can be both rewarding and demanding.
  5. Discrimination – Discrimination and bias can be present in the industry, making it crucial to stand strong in the face of diversity.
  6. Establishing a brand – Creating a brand that celebrates black beauty while appealing to a broad audience can be a delicate balancing act. 
  7. Marketing and branding – Establishing a personal brand and marketing your services effectively is key.

You’ve accomplished so much in your career from working with well known beauty and fashion magazines, in bridal and producing your brand By Joy Adenuga Brush. What has been a milestone moment for you in your career, recently?

Thank you! For me, it’s being able to use my brushes on a recent project with a huge brand such as Armani Beauty in Venice. 

You’re phenomenal at what you do and you have an impressive portfolio of works, but how would you describe your skills as a MUA?  

Thanks again! I would say over the years I’ve fine-tuned my knowledge in understanding different skin tones and how to enhance the skin to achieve various looks. Also, skin preparation before makeup and my ability to create various looks ranging from Natural to Editorial and bridal. 

As I was admiring some of your editorial work I was really drawn to the way you play with color. I’m curious about where you draw inspiration from for these editorial looks?

It always starts with the client brief or whatever project I’m working on. Seeing the moodboard always gets my creative thinking going. I also love pinterest! Just seeing a nail art design can get a look started in my head. 

What aspirations are you currently focusing on in your career and personal life? 

In my career, it would be my brush brand, I am highly passionate about my brand and my aspiration is to include more worldwide stockists. In my personal life – it’s my children. My son is currently preparing for the 11 Plus examinations so I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to getting him ready.  

What makeup tip do you have that has been a game changer in the way you do makeup now? 

Encouraging clients before and after we meet to elevate their skincare. Prioritizing skin care is a game changer! I noticed I didn’t require so much foundation and concealers on these clients. 

What do you most enjoy about being an MUA?

The actual process of applying makeup. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been fascinated with faces, so I genuinely enjoy the full process of applying makeup. 

What is something you do to help yourself feel confident and beautiful?

Working on aspects of myself I was the least confident about – one of these was my weight. I finally stopped procrastinating, got a health and fitness coach, joined the gym and changed the way I ate. It’s been a long process but it’s helped build my confidence. 

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Joy Adenuga