Saturday 27 June 2015

Interview: Justine Jenkins

Justine Jenkins is a celebrity makeup artist and cruelty free ambassador. Also known as JJ, her amazing work has graced the pages of Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and Grazia and the faces of Fearne Cotton, Laura Whitmore and Elizabeth Moss.

JJ has racked up 15 years in the industry and is a regular BBC Radio 1 Beauty Expert, as well as a beauty writer and Huffington Post columnist. So you can understand how excited I was when she kindly gave up her time to talk to me about all things beauty. We talked industry success, beauty tips and the classic beauty crime...

What inspired you to work in the beauty industry? And how did your career journey begin?

I'd worked my way up in the City to become a stock market dealer, however - since the age of 17 - I had secretly yearned to be a makeup artist. I got to my late 20's and just said to myself, 'it's now or never'. Something took over and I had this laser point focus. Luckily a chance encounter led me to meet a wonderful film makeup artist who took me under her wing. I was still working in the City at the time, so I used all of my annual holiday leave to work as her trainee on the most wonderful film sets. I went from feeling despondent in a job that I knew wasn't for me, to feeling elated being on set of a Tim Burton movie.

I then worked morning, noon and night to create my portfolio and, with that, I eventually got into college; I left my City job and re-trained. Before I'd even started college, I managed to get a job at MTV. Back then there were no online tutorials, so I read any make up book I could find and offered my services for free. I work as an assistant to brilliant makeup artists from whom I learned a great deal about the industry.

I studied fashion and media makeup at college and then went on to do a degree in film makeup, which included prosthetics. After a few years in film, I decided beauty was for me and I haven't looked back since.

What is your career highlight?

Being asked to be the Beauty Ambassador for Humane Society Intl. When I discovered that animal testing in the industry still existed, I knew I had to make a stand. It wasn't easy and it took guts to be a spokesperson for something my industry wanted to 'shove under the carpet'. I love being part of such an important change in my industry.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in the beauty industry?

Never give up. Assist as many makeup artists as possible and be helpful, friendly and great at your job. The assistants that I've stuck with have been the ones who've impressed me from the get go. Also be punctual, efficient and loyal and you'll go far.

Who is the ultimate beauty icon?

For me, the ultimate beauty icon is someone like Helen Mirren. I'm very pro-women and pro-ageing and she does it with such panache. Inner confidence mixed with elegant style is the epitome of beauty. When she modelled for a big beauty campaign, she refused to allow them to retouch her image; that takes great self-esteem and I love it!

What are your makeup bag essentials?

My makeup bag essentials are always changing, however for the moment I've been loving:
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream - this is hands down one of my favourite primers. It's packed with organic nutrients, so you are treating your skin with the best ingredients possible. This product is a game changer. Every one of my clients love it.
  • BareMinerals Complexion Rescue - this BB cream provides a quench of hydration for the skin, whilst giving light but effective coverage. A cream foundation can be used all over for those days when you need a bit more coverage or as a concealer. Trish McEvoys Even Skin cream foundation is in compact form, so it has great coverage but feels as light as a feather on the skin.
  • Charlotte Tilbury's The Retoucher - this conceal & treat Stick provides good coverage under the eyes. It has a creamy consistency that won't dry out the skin. You can also use it to highlight the brow bone, centre of nose and cupid's bow.
  • Becca's Beach Tints - these great multi-taskers that work to give cheeks a beautiful layer of colour. They can also be popped onto the lips for an easy quick make up look.
  • Charlotte Tilbury's Beach Stick in Moon Beach - this highlighter is perfect for creating a strobing effect. Giving a hint of healthy colour, it also gives a wonderful sheen to the skin, portraying glow and vitality.
  • NARS Lip Pencils - these large lip pencils stamp out the need for a separate lip liner and lipstick, they are the perfect size to do both jobs.

What is the biggest beauty crime a person can commit?

The biggest beauty crime is not looking after your skin. It's your biggest organ and can make a huge difference to how you look and feel and how your make up works for you. Follow a good daily routine; always remove your make up, drink plenty of water and buy the best ingredients possible. Buy natural and organic products where you can, as I believe the skin recognises a natural ingredient and will absorb it more deeply than a synthetic or chemical ingredient.

Your skin is a living organism, so treat it with the respect it deserves.

What is your top beauty tip?

My top beauty tip is to develop beauty confidence in who you are. Whether your thing is a slick of mascara and a touch of lip balm or a smokey eye and a bright lippie, Wear it with pride and confidence. Age gracefully and enjoy your life!

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