Joy Fennell: “Creativity has always been a healing vessel for creatives”

Creativity has always been a healing vessel for creatives. That’s how we heal. We paint, draw, sew, write, etc. We communicate through our hands. I want us to channel all our hurt and get it out on some form of canvas. As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I […]

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Creativity has always been a healing vessel for creatives. That’s how we heal. We paint, draw, sew, write, etc. We communicate through our hands. I want us to channel all our hurt and get it out on some form of canvas.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joy Fennell.

Joy Fennell is a top fashion and celebrity makeup artist and the founder of The Joy in Beauty and the All Black Everything Summit. She brings her belief in the perfection of everyone’s uniqueness, a heart-centered approach, and her commitment to the advancement of the Black creative community to all she does. Joy is known for enhancing natural beauty; for helping people to look, feel, and perform at their best, naturally; and for creating spaces for all voices to be heard.

For the past two decades, Joy has been a New York City-based, internationally sought-after makeup artist. Her work has been a mainstay of New York Fashion Week and has graced renowned runways and publications in the fashion and beauty world. Joy’s extensive client list includes powerhouse designers such as Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Betsey

Johnson, Marc Jacobs, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Cynthia Rowley; top fashion and beauty brands including L’Oreal, Maybelline, Target, and H&M; and an extensive roster of A-List models and celebrities. Her work has been featured in Italian Vogue, Nylon, V Magazine, and Cosmopolitan, among others.

Joy’s work as a makeup artist focuses on revealing her subject’s natural beauty and confidence, shining a light on the real beauty found in women of every color and experience. Her career as an entrepreneur and advocate for women was born of this aesthetic.

Today, as CEO and Founder of online beauty destination The Joy in Beauty, Joy has created an inclusive, safe digital space for women to celebrate their authentic selves and to share their love of art, beauty, fashion, design, and culture.

Most recently, Joy launched the All Black Everything Summit, a semi-annual digital event designed to provide vital support and resources to Black creative professionals. Over the course of the powerful three-day summit, key players and leading experts from the hair, makeup, and design industries share their perspectives and practices with Black photographers, stylists, artists, entrepreneurs, and makeup and beauty enthusiasts. The result is a life-changing conversation and plans of action, giving participants the tools and encouragement to position themselves to thrive in the beauty world.

A native of Maryland, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, Joy is moved by color, history, travel, reading, and collaboration, and is dedicated to the support of Black artists. Aptly named, it is her desire for women, especially Black women, to feel seen and appreciated, to believe that their beauty exists without striving for perfection, and to know that their beauty exists in joy. She continues to use her growing platform to spread that message.

Thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was brought to this career path during the COVID 19 pandemic. I was a working fashion, and editorial makeup artist in NYC and the pandemic basically shut down the whole industry. During that time, I needed to still fill my days with something, so I started doing Instagram Lives. From there I started to question and think about how Black creatives were handling the pandemic and that’s when the All Black Everything Summit was born. We held the first one in May.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

What’s interesting is seeing a lot of people view me now as a thought leader. Before I was in the fashion space and I don’t think that I was taken seriously that much. I felt like I constantly had to fight to be heard.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I accidentally sent my entire social media plan to the wrong account. The two email addresses were similar. I had to laugh to keep from crying. LOL! But hey, it is what it is. I learned that sometimes you just can’t fix everything and that the world doesn’t stop. You have to just keep going.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

The All Black Everything Summit is a solution-based movement geared towards Black creatives. It was created to help inspire, motivate, and equip the next round of Black creatives, no matter the age, with business tools to end generational trauma and advance generational wealth.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I received countless emails, DM’s from individuals from around the world just thanking me for putting on the summit. I was so happy and beaming with pride. I felt like a mini Oprah! 🙂

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Yes, First, I really want the community to know that the answers are already intrinsically in them. We don’t have to go to anyone else to “fix” us, we don’t need “fixing.” Second, I want society to realize that it is our creativity that births culture and that creativity is an asset and should be monetized accordingly. Finally, I would like politicians to stop pandering to us. We are not a monolithic group of people. All of us come with our own backgrounds and minds. We have the right to make our own decisions like everyone else.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is listening without needing to answer quickly. Leaders use their ears more than their mouths. Their action should come from their actions and not strictly their words.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Exactly what I’m doing right now. Creativity has always been a healing vessel for creatives. That’s how we heal. We paint, draw, sew, write, etc. We communicate through our hands. I want us to channel all our hurt and get it out on some form of canvas.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Sure, I just heard it recently through the business of hype podcast with Jeff Staples. He said, “Anything is Possible.” That’s my new mantra. I think about that all the time when putting together this summit. It just takes one person to say yes and then everything changes for the best. How exciting.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with and why?

Yes, this will be a controversial answer, but my answer has got to be Kanye West. He is the ultimate Black creative to me. He is fearless. And trust me, I don’t agree with everything he has done but to see him stand up and go after his dreams, especially when people told him he couldn’t do something, counted him out, or turned their backs on him, is super inspiring to me.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me on social media at both: @thejoyinbeauty and @allblackeverythingsummit on all platforms.

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