Let’s Make-Up The Rules

Posted by Kay

“What I loved about shooting these diverse women was that not only are they all exceptionally talented, which was really inspiring, but they were all really comfortable in their own skin.
When asked the question for the film, ‘What does beauty mean to you?’ they all had really intelligent and insightful answers.  I deemed from them that being yourself, and being more than happy by being yourself is what beauty means, and that is truly powerful stuff.” Photographer Nicole Nodland.

When one of our favourite UK Sunday supplements – Stella Magazine (from Sunday’s Telegraph newspaper) asked Thandie for an interview, she suggested tagging along a beauty shoot with some ideas we’d been wanting to showcase -and so we joined forces to create the pictures below.

We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for us to use the commercial beauty angle to do what we feel is extremely important. To include and to represent women in the many wonderful shades that they are all around us, and have them on the same platform together – in the same tribe.

Obvious to some perhaps. Fair to deep-brown plus all the shades in between was simply the colour of my family and friends’ skin – also the shades of the kids in my classroom and the teachers who taught us; in the clubs I grew up in; and on the faces of the singers and musicians I heard, loved and danced to. But it’s obviously not been the experience of influential people in the media, which has, until more recently, consisted mostly of people who haven’t grown up with (what is now commonly called) ‘diversity’ as their normal experience.  But that’s all changing.

Diversity is fast becoming the norm as the corporations are catching onto the fact that there are a lot of shades of brown out there; they like make-up too; and a lady called Beyonce has become the unifying, commercial queen of the world.

This is also attracting many people of colour who have grown up, or are growing up to be huge influencers: British-born Make-Up superstar Pat McGrath (Jamaican heritage) and American Vogue Fashion Edward Enninful (Ghanaian) , Toronto-born (via Trinidad) Samira Nasr who’s Fashion Editor of US Elle, Korean-born Grace Oh, head of marketing at Shu Uemura & Kiehls UK, Facialist and head of her own signature skincare brand Antonia Burrell (also of Jamaican heritage), Womenswear buyer for Browns London Rebecca Osei-Baidou,  Anita Bhagwandas; Anglo-Indian beauty/health ed of Women’s Health UK and beauty writer for The Guardian.. These are just a few friends off the top of my head that are powerful visual influencers; helping to shape and change the way beauty is perceived, marketed, and sold. There are many, many more who we have the pleasure of continually meeting, and as we all collaborate together, these divisions will cease to exist, or at the very least, will lose validity in the mainstream.

Inspiration behind the Stella shoot!

We cast 3 more diverse women to be alongside Thandie for our very own take on Autumn/Winter 2014 runway m-up looks. We asked the wonderful Nicole Nodland to photograph it all.

I don’t think we’re trying to break any beauty rules, it’s more that a lot of them didn’t need to be there in the first place.

We decided to choose one make-up look and apply it on 4 different-looking women. I took a few elements from the A/W 2014 runways – like cloggy mascara at Prada, and the stained berry lips at many others. Though to be honest, as a make-up artist I’ve never taken much notice of so-called ‘trends’, as I don’t think there really are trends anymore, certainly not in the traditional sense. Years ago I’d go to work, and although there would be minor variations on the make-up and hair, it would pretty much be the same style of woman for months, or even a year-now that’s what I’d call ‘a trend’!

There are now, however, a multitude of ideas each season, often there are iconic make-up references thrown together in different ways. There’s a spontaneity about this approach which is fresh, and can inspire us to reboot our make-up look, to experiment with new colours, textures and combinations, even embrace a facial feature or hair ‘thing’ that you’d always considered ‘wrong’ somehow.

I guess ‘trends’ are an efficient way for beauty journos to create concise copy, though what Thandie and I love about having our site is refusing the notion of ‘what you should and shouldn’t wear and how/when you should wear it‘ and encourage us all to go the old Oscar Wilde route: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”

Alyusha Chagrin, Singer.

Alyusha Chagrin, singer

Alyusha Chagrin, singer



“A wonderful, inspiring day working on this female-led shoot. All such strong, powerful, inspiring and warm women who are really making a difference. ”

See Alyusha’s website.

Follow her twitter
















Anousha Payne, Sculptor.

Anousha Payne by Nicole Nodland for ThandieKay.com

Anousha Payne


“As a young British Asian female artist, I loved being part of a shoot that focused on beauty in more than one way; on both creativity and ethnicity.”

See Anousha’s website

Anousha is represented by Annin Arts




All make-up by Chanel










Yrsa Daley-Ward, author. 


Yrsa Daley-Ward by Nicole Nodland for ThandieKay.com

Yrsa Daley-Ward







Last but not least,

“It was such an incredible day being photographed alongside such exquisitely gifted women. I’m honoured!”





“My skin isn’t “specialist” skin. But it has taken a long journey to get to this point. There will be a time when different skin tones won’t even be a discussion point: it will just be beauty, that’s it.”


Thandie by Nicole Nodland




“My skin isn’t “specialist” skin. But it has taken a long journey to get to this point. There will be a time when different skin tones won’t even be a discussion point: it will just be beauty, that’s it.”















Key Make-Up Products: The Teal shade in Chanel Les Ombres Eyeshadow, Eyeko Brow Liner Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara, Red Lipstick (for this look we suggest Lipstick Queen’s Medieval, Ilia’s Strike it Up, or Bobbie Brown’s Candied Red).

M-Up Notes: I used the Teal Eyeshadow with a wet brush on Yrsa which strengthened the pigment to make the colour ‘pop’, applied many coats of mascara on all 4 women to get a deliberately retro-lashed look and made the red lipstick into more of a ‘stain’ by applying, blotting, and applying from the centre of the lips and blotting again until the desired effect was achieved.

Stella ThandieKay Key MUP Prods


Thank you for the beautiful hair Anna Cofone

Now for the film of the shoot! ‘What is beauty?’ by Manos Ioannou



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