First of all, what led you into the makeup industry – how did it all begin?
I was never academic. I dropped out of my A Levels, much to my father’s disgust, and went to Nice to be a nanny. Realised I hated kids, so back home to work in Nat West Bank – realised I couldn’t add up. I joined the police force, where I was undoubtedly the worst Police woman EVER. While training I would have my face fully made up whenever possible. I resembled a stripper when in uniform – if you’ve ever watched Private Benjamin – Goldie Hawn – that was me! My love of makeup led me to Helena Rubinstein cosmetics house where I lied about my age to get the job – I was 19 – and I loved it! After being head hunted by Estee Lauder, it was agreed I would go to Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris to be trained as a Makeup Artist. On my return, along with other exciting things, I was given 121 private sessions with Elite clients. At that time I was recommended to Princess Diana by one of her friends and she came for private makeup advice and training prior to her engagement to Charles. She knew she was going to be photographed impromptu and wanted to learn how to do her own makeup. She told me she would be wearing a blue suit and we had a fight about blue eye shadow – I hated it even then – I won. I then met the wonderful Delores Hope (Bob’s wife) who invited me for tea at Claridge’s, which turned into a booze filled hilarious evening, dancing and singing and nearly being kicked out – until they realised who she was. We became friends, so much so that she recommended me to her friend Barbra Streisand, who introduced me to her friend Bette Midler. Madonna was also a client when she was an up and coming pop star. My big break came with Giorgio Armani – working as Chief Makeup Artist for his fashion shows and magazine shoots. It all happened in a sequence that was not planned, as these things rarely are. I believe my Northern roots and total naivety played a part in my never being swayed by position or celebrity – from Barbra Streisand – that was awesome and scary.
What was your motivation behind founding ‘Jo Jewett Makeup’ and the Make-Up Training Company?
When I hit 40 I noticed my own beauty needs were changing. Let’s be honest, Mother Nature can be a bitch! Being married and bringing up two children, while juggling a career, life pressures and the dog, were taking their toll on my looks. I had to look again at my whole regime – in particular my makeup. I had always used a dark heavy liner – too heavy! My eyes couldn’t carry that look any more so I began to try new techniques, playing with colour combinations, mixing colours and creating what are now my Colourscope ranges. It was important to me that it had to be it had to be quick, simple and easy to apply. I wrote my book ‘Make Up Made Easy’, followed by the Masterclasses, Roadshows and Spa events. The training programme was missing one vital ingredient – Products. I was advising on my simple to follow Colourscope technique, then sending my girls out into the abyss in the hope that they would negotiate their way through cosmetics sales spin and the myth or miracle cosmetics jungle, to buy their kit. I needed to find and make available cosmetics, geared to my Colourscope ranges and the texture of our ever changing menopausal skin. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to find the perfect colours and backbone products to ensure total success in application, but I got there and the range launched in September! After a few false starts, I found an e-commerce Entrepreneur and a team of wonderful specialists who believe in my mission and in me – so a new, exciting platform is now available to share my technique, training and products worldwide. All available on my website. I am so happy to finally offer my makeup kits and I’ll soon be launching the first ever online makeup course for women over 40.
Tell us a little about your masterclasses and the philosophy behind them.
Where does a discerning woman over 40, who doesn’t want to look like she fell asleep on a Mars bar, go to get PROAGE advice about makeup with expert training in how to apply it? A simple message from me is that what we wore aged 20 simply doesn’t work when we are 40, so if you haven’t changed your makeup in the last ten years it’s tim e for change. Be brave, and remember www.jojewett.com fear of change is for old ladies! My masterclasses and virtual training reveal what truly works. I know first-hand that the tiniest changes can often make a huge difference to how we look and feel about ourselves. I work out your personal Colourscope and makeup needs – then step by step the magic happens. Most of my girls are facing similar problems to me, so it’s easy to show how to define eye brows (if like me you don’t have any), disguise hooded lids, find our lost cheekbones and, my particular problem, disappearing lips! I ensure that we have a laugh and learn without being too precious. I stay available to all my girls and I’m always there if they need me. *You can book in for a virtual Masterclass at jojewett.com or for personal/group Masterclass themakeuptrainingcompany.com
You say that “beauty has no age” (I couldn’t agree more!) – do you think the beauty industry is moving forward with more midlife and older female representation?
Women our age need to demand more. It saddens me that so many women are sceptical about products that work. I believe they are fed up with the hype, and there’s a disbelief about anyone ‘selling’ products, even when the guesswork is gone. I also get angry when I see the beauty industry using younger, perfect models with airbrushed faces that give us unreal images of beauty. Beauty has nothing to do with age – our wisdom and maturity transcends beauty gimmickry. The beauty industry has a long way to go. I will hold them to account whenever I can.
What would you say to women to feel less invisible, bolder and more confident as they age?
Before I launched my hand picked range of products, which includes Studio10, I recall finding myself without any makeup (I had forgotten it – it’s an age thing!) I was in Newcastle visiting my Mam. Without makeup, I am anaemic looking and without any definition to my face – along with a bad hair day – I probably looked like a vagrant! I was shocked at the response. It was as if I were invisible. The consultants must have decided I was penniless and so didn’t bother, apart from few sideways glances. I had fun sorting them out. Never be put into a box. Be the best version of yourself. Big up your eyes. Be brave. When we look in the mirror we sometimes only see our crow’s feet and crepey lids. I see the twinkle, the glorious eye colour in all of my girls – so my instruction is to bring your eyes from tired to glamorous by following my simple eye opening makeup tips. I may not be wearing the right shoes or nail varnish but my eye shadow is perfect.
The one piece of skincare and makeup advice most women need?
I love Jerry Hall. I did in my youth – she was my first female crush! I love her more now because she refuses Botox and fillers and is happy in her own skin – to me she looks sensational. High maintenance has to go, and don’t become a Botox junkie.
Hardest career challenge you’ve had to face?
Hanging up my makeup brushes after I had my first child, Cameron. It was impossible to continue doing what I was doing. I was ready to leave the bright lights of London, missing my family and the warmth and humour of my roots in Sunderland and the North. However, it was tougher than I thought to give up my hard earned career. Then that day arrived, after years in the wilderness. I was incensed by the way the cosmetics and beauty industry giants were ignoring the needs of my age group, so I came back with a vengeance. It’s quite challenging to start again and write a book aged 50 – and now at 62 I’m about to launch the first worldwide online course for women over 40!
Nothing to do with my career – I have produced, along with my husband, two of the nicest humans on the planet. Cameron and Shannon.
Your ideal downtime?
Simple – I go to the pub. Or have the girls around, which always gets messy. We eat food, drink enormous amounts of wine and sing loudly, usually finishing with my rendition of The Sound of Music. Classy stuff.
Top beauty ‘must haves’ in your makeup bag?
I always maintain that great things happen out of a very small makeup bag, so I never have lots of products, in fact, the least amount the better. I would always need a contour powder and matte contour eye shadow – and of course a great eye brow pencil from Studio10.
Desert island disc, book and luxury item?
Recently I had a wobble, as I’m sure lots of us have. In these scary times it’s hard to keep focused and our mental health can suffer, as mine did. I have the most wonderful book, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. I’m not really a self-help person with affirmations to save my head space from my negative chatterbox (you know the one) but this is different. Get this book! It’s life changing.
My disc would have to be John Mayer – he is my calming background playlist when filming and working.
Luxury item – total sun block. After living in Corfu for a year I developed a melanoma on my eye, caused by my varifocal lenses. A wake up call. Sun protection is key to great skin and safety from sun damage.
And finally, your favourite quote?
From the aforementioned book: “I let go, and I trust, everything is working out perfectly.“ Join me x