Sunday, March 26, 2023

Mother & Makeup Marvel Joy Adenuga, on Her Top Tips & Working with Malaika Firth

This week, we sat down with talented makeup artist and mother of two, Joy Adenuga – the girl behind the brush that paints pretty faces into your favourite magazines and campaigns for your favourite brands.

Sharing her beauty tips for mums on the go, Joy talks primers and working with model of the moment, the beautiful Ms Malaika Firth…


SPICE: Hi Joy! Glad you could stop by… We know you’re an amazing makeup artist, but how would you describe your role?

Joy Adenuga: Creating and enhancing beauty.


If you weren’t doing makeup, what else would you be up to?

I’d probably be a trainer.


How’d you describe your day-to-day in 3 words?

Busy, enjoyable and fulfilling. 


Can you name-drop some of the people and publications you’ve worked with so far?

Dark and lovely (a global American hair company), Tatyana Ali from Fresh prince of Bel Air,, Blackhair Magazine, Bobby Roache (from Beyonce’s video, Irreplaceable), Stella English (The Apprentice winner), Petra Roach (vice president of the Barbados Tourism Board), Pride Magazine, Ellements Magazine, FACEOn magazine, Black Beauty and Hair Magazine, Sarah Jane Crawford (from MTV and BBC Radio), OK! Magazine… There’s many more! 


How do you balance working in fashion and beauty while raising children?

I am a mum to two gorgeous children – Samantha (3 years) and Toby (1 year old). It’s not easy and it can be very frustrating, especially in London where you rely on nurseries and childminders which cost a fortune. But I thank God for my husband; together we have been able to balance our schedules to resolve the situation.


What struggles or standout memories do you have of times where your duties in fashion have clashed with your duties as a mother?

This has to be when I was trying to build my portfolio in the beginning. Because I was working on a lot of free gigs, paying the outlandish prices to childminders was a big worry. But I thank God for my family members that assisted me during this period.


What was your most recent shoot about and where can we find it?

I recently worked on a campaign for American Hair company CurlFormerz and will be published in the bridal issue of UK based magazines Blackhair Magazine and Hair Magazine.


You work in the fashion and beauty industry but how into trends are you – scale of 1 to 10?



What style or beauty tips did you learn from your mother?

The beauty of natural makeup; she does not wear a lot but looks just stunning.


How would you describe your mother’s signature beauty look?

Simple with a pop of colour.


Are there any trends we need to watch out for, for spring/summer’14?

The colours lilac and purple are going to be everywhere.


What should every girl have in her beauty bag and what products should every MUA be using?

Every girl should have a corrector/concealer because nothing beats a flawless face. Every MUA should own the correct primers for every skin type and ethnicity. 


Who’d you love to work with if your contacts were limitless and time wasn’t a factor?

Malaika Firth, the current face of Prada and model of the moment. I worked with her when she first got signed to top British agency Premier Model Management, on her model portfolio. I’m so happy to see her grow to be such a superstar.


Any brands or creatives in your field that have your attention at the moment?

Photographer, Mario Testino, but brand-wise I cant list as I have loads in mind!


You work on all types of shoots and with all different types of people, but what is your idea of a perfect shoot?

One where everyone brings their A game on the day – it’s about having a great attitude and amazing skills!


What is the biggest misconception about your job role?

A lot of people assume a makeup artist would work for free ‘all the time’ for exposure. Unfortunately, exposure does not pay the bills…


Is there anything we can learn beauty-wise from past African traditions?

I love how beauty was so uncomplicated in the past. Olive oil, palm oil, shea butter etc were all used to treat a lot of skin issues.


What beauty tips do you have for mothers on the go?  And are there any brands or products you’d recommend?

It’s all about multipurpose products. I recently discovered this brand, Cosmetics A la Carte – they have an amazing product called ‘Rose Dew’ which is a moisturiser and a primer. Perfect for cutting down the time on skin prep.


What will the rest of 2014 hold for you?

Things 10 times better than 2013’s, by Gods grace…


And lastly, what is the most pressing item on your to-do list?

Finishing my bridal site! 



Joy can be reached by email at, or on Twitter and Instagram via @joyadenugamua. You can also view her stunning portfolio, here.

Image source: Joy Adenuga

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