An Interview with Joy Adenuga, an Award Winning Makeup Artist

    I’m literally pinching myself as I introduce to you all Joy Adenuga, an award winning London based makeup artist, whose name alone conjures gasps of awe! When I fell in love with makeup a few years ago I discovered Joy’s impressive body of work on Instagram and quickly became a huge fan. She’s a person that I often turn to for makeup inspiration and I’m always excited when she shares new pictures of her work. Her makeup application is flawless! Joy also has an amazing understanding of colour and she combines them in a way that brings out the best  in every skin tone.

     Joy’s work has been featured on the cover of Vogue Italy, and she has been the makeup artist for several advertising campaigns with BBC Children in Need and brands such as Kellogg’s, Dark and Lovely, and Organic Root Stimulator. She’s the first Beauty Director to Britain’s first Wedding Magazine for Women of Colour – Crème De La Bride Magazine; furthermore, Joy is also a regular columnist for Black Hair Magazine and Black Beauty & Hair Magazine. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Joy also has a successful bridal blog called ‘Brides by Joy’ where she showcases the makeup she’s done for brides of different ethnicities. It seems that many brides book her services without a trial – this is how much confidence people have in her work.
    I was very grateful that Joy agreed to answer my interview questions via email because she is extremely busy. I believe that her success will inspire others to do what they love with passion – it’s certainly inspired me. Read more about Joy below, please follow her on Instagram and Twitter,  and also check out her websites to see more of her wonderful work: Joy Adenuga and Brides by Joy.

    ♠  ♠  ♠  ♠  ♠

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    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga

    MSA: So tell me a bit about you, like where are you from, where were you raised and where do you live now?

    JOY: I was born and raised in Nigeria. My parents and siblings relocated to the UK and I joined many years later.

    MSA: Where did your interest in makeup begin and did you always know that you wanted to do makeup full time?

     JOY: My interest started from University, but didn’t really materialise till I started working and getting comments on the way I applied my makeup. At that time, unlike now, I didn’t believe Makeup Artistry could be done full time.
    The industry back then [in Nigeria] was not really booming compared to now. It was when I relocated [to the UK] that the dream began.

    MSA: How and when did you get into the makeup industry? Did you do any formal training?

    JOY: I am blessed to be married to someone that noticed my passion and gave me the push after our wedding to go after my dreams. I attended a Makeup school in Central London to get certified. This was about 6 years ago.



    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga


    MSA: What was your first ‘big break’ as a makeup artist?

    JOY: When I first got my work published in one of UK’s foremost Black Magazine.

    MSA: What magazine was that?

    JOY: Tropics Magazine.

    MSA: I love that makeup allows me to create something new every time I apply it, and I’m interested to know what you love the most about makeup?

    JOY: The transformation! I never get tired of seeing this.

    MSA: Tell me what keeps you motivated to continue working to a high standard, because sometimes when people achieve a measure of success they can get sloppy?

    JOY: God and my family motivates me. There are days I feel so tired/stressed and just want to take a break but they have always been pushing me to strive for more.

    MSA: Tell me what if feels like knowing that your work has been on the cover of or has been featured in Vogue, Elle, The Guardian, Black Hair Magazine, and OK Magazine (to name a few)?

    JOY: It feels amazing!

    MSA: I read on your website that you are a Freelance Beauty Contributor with Black Hair Magazine, and a Freelance Columnist with Black Beauty and Hair Magazine. How did you start working with these magazines and how often do you contribute to them?

    JOY: There was gap in the magazine for those pages; I got into talks with the editors and was commissioned to fill them every issue.



    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga


    MSA: The photographs of the brides on your blog always look so amazing! Do you do your own photography?

    JOY: Yes I do with support from other amazing photographers who have sent me images as well.
    MSA: I’m interested to know what a week in your life looks like because in addition to doing makeup and contributing to magazines, you also have a blog and you’re very active on social media? How do you make time for everything?
    JOY: It’s not been easy as no day is ever the same. I could be working on a bride on a Monday and shooting with Kellogg’s on Tuesday, meetings with an upcoming brand on Wednesday, Bridal consultation on Thursday and Friday and another bride on Saturday. I rarely work Sundays; I prefer to go to church, come home and chill with my family at my mum’s. Within these days I am still updating my blogs, dealing with job enquiries and keeping my social media pages busy. Coupled with my family life – husband and kids – it can be very daunting  but strangely I’ve learnt how to cope.

    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga

    MSA: So apart from makeup what other interests/hobbies do you have?

    JOY: I love holidays with my husband and kids. I also enjoy reading fictional novels.

    MSA: I have to ask you this question: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only choose 5 beauty/makeup products to keep with you, what would they be?

    JOY: Water ( I consider it a beauty item as it’s great for the skin :-), sunblock, creme cleanser, Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream and Simple wipes.



    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga


    MSA: Hmm, I wouldn’t have guessed that you would say water, but it makes sense because great skin starts from within. Joy, you are a great success as a makeup artist, looking back over your career what would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?

    JOY: I don’t think I want to change anything, without mistakes I wouldn’t learn. Its the learning process that has brought me to where I am today.

    MSA: You are absolutely right! Failure is on the path to success and I’m trying to embrace this. I’m interested to know from your perspective if there are any downsides or negative aspects of being a makeup artist?

    JOY: The standing can cause leg and back pain (only downside). I do try to sit while working on some jobs, but it slows me down as I am faster on my feet.



    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga


     MSA: So, what has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
    JOY: When I was invited on both BBC TV and Radio, not to work but as a guest. A definite pinch me moment.
    MSA: Wow, that’s incredible and very well deserved! Tell me what you would say to someone out there who has a passion for makeup and is wondering how to turn this passion into a career?
    JOY: Practice, practice and practice on different ethnicities. It’s never a good idea to only learn on one skin tone.

    MSA: That’s really good advice! You’re at the top of your game as a makeup artist, so I’m interested to know what your future goals are?

    JOY: To keep developing the Joy Adenuga brand.

    MSA: Well, I very much look forward to seeing that!

    ● ● ● ●

    Thanks so much Joy, I appreciate you! xxx

    From this interview I learnt a number of things. Firstly, the importance of having someone (or a group of people) in your life that recognise your passions and encourage, or even push you, to pursue your dreams. Joy was blessed to have a husband that brought out the best in her, and I hope that this teaches you to look for people who will do the same for you and let go of the people who don’t. Secondly, I’ve learnt the need to develop your skills by practicing consistently, because although you may have a passion for something it’s your skills that will make you a success. Lastly, I’ve learnt not to agonise over past mistakes. Joy stunned me by her statement of not wanting to change anything about her career; she embraced her past mistakes and that’s why she is a success. So take a page out of Joy’s life’s story and run after your dreams because success is waiting for you.

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    Picture shared with permission from Joy Adenuga


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