Q+A with Speech Debelle

British-born Jamaican (real name: Corynne Elliot), Speech grew up in South London, taking up rap in her early teens. Her debut album Speech Therapy earned stellar reviews, but she truly burst into international prominence when the record won the 2009 Mercury Prize. 

Speech DebelleGraffiti


1. What is your earliest make-up memory?

Secondary school, top deck back of the school bus “let me do your face” lol. Along with re-doing each others hair,  I was the practice head like the ones you see in the hairdresser. I didn’t mind, except sometimes I would get home and my mum would look at me like “what have they done to you”.

 2. I feel most beautiful when…

When I’m taking care of my body like when I’m fasting or juice blending. When the sun’s out, allowing me to produce the amount of vitamin D my body requires to shine.

3. When you were a child, what was your Mother’s beauty routine?

Other than my mum going raving when I was very young I don’t remember. I can only assume most days she did what she had to do. But come the weekend when I would be going to my Gran’s house where some of my cousins would be, I remember I would watch her in the mirror. She had one of those all in one Marilyn Monroe mirrors with the lights around it. Music would be playing. She’d try on different outfits and bag combinations and say “which one do you think?” I remember laughing at how happy she was and how important the process seemed to be. It was like a show.

4. Is make-up a chore or a delight?

Getting my make up done is a chore. Make up artists have a process I just don’t go through when I do it myself. Foundation, powder, blusher and, erm, the eye lash thingy, I’ve forgotten the name for some reason but when I have that I’m good. Though it’s only going to come off throughout the night when I forget it’s there and rub my face! Saying that, I appreciate make up and enjoying the smoothness it gives me.

5. Did your father refer to your Mother’s beauty, and how?

He must have done as they had me. That’s not something I can remember. My father left when I was about 6, I don’t even know what he likes to eat I’m afraid.

 6. What’s been your worst beauty mishap?

Too much blusher. I did a Channel 4 interview and had to put my make up on in a dark room with a hand-held mirror (sometimes it is just that real). I saw the interview and just shook my head. I looked like the woman with the crazy eyes in Peckham.

7. If you could give one beauty gift what would it be?

Kind words.

8. What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry?

More examples of black beauty or even brown beauty. There are so many shades of brown, like a collage of melanin. It would be nice to see more. We all deserve it.

9. When was the last time your mascara ran, and why?

That makes me think of crying but that’s not the only reason, it could be raining. I don’t remember. I remember crying but not if I had mascara on.


Thandie & Speech met on a shoot in 2011 for The Guardian about award winners and have kept in touch ever since.





Speech Debelle put together the craziest lineup for this refix of LFTM ft Genesis Elijah, Dels, Rain Freedom, Kasha Rae, Akala, Realism, Confucius MC, Aks &  Jaza Soze. Buy here – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/liv…


Check out Speech’s mouth watering new enterprise FATTY BOOM BOOM here.  Anyone who’s seen her pure righteousness on Celebrity Masterchef will know that she means business. The menu promises a fusion of influences and flavors that reveal the REAL  London that we know and love.  Like the courgette, aubergine, fried plantain and goat cheese panini (drool!). It’s guaranteed to be poetry for the taste buds. We’re proud of you Speech, and yours will be the taste of ThandieKay when we celebrate our success 😉


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