The beauty world has taken a shine to Wendy Asumadu for obvious reasons. Her self-styled face canvasses are an unmissable explosion of colour, sitting at the opposite end of the scale to everyday make-up. Finding fame during lockdown, Wendy went viral after posting a video of herself in her bedroom brushing rainbow-coloured face paints across her eyelids. Her IG feed is alight with abstract patterns and a kaleidoscope of graphic scrawls, either modelled by Wendy herself or her friends. "Anything bright is fabulous on dark and deep skin tones," she enthuses. But as we come to discover, there’s a deeper motivation for her fascination with colour...
You’re a make-up artist, content creator, project coordinator and model. How do you cope with such a wide and diverse workload?
I’m constantly finding new ways to balance my workload and make sure I rest. Recharging is so vital when you have a lot of tasks to avoid burning out. I make sure I go for walks, drink plenty of water and take time out to socialise and sleep.
Your background is in Fine Art. Did this make it easier to learn how to work with make-up?
My work in Fine Art has always been about experimenting, so in terms of aesthetics and the process of how I create my looks, it has definitely been an influence. But even with my background in art I still had to learn a lot about the technical aspects of make-up.
Do you ever wear your avant-garde make-up looks out in public?
Always! Even if it’s only a bold colour liner, unsurprisingly people do stare at me quite often. I’ve had many types of reactions whether it's positive, negative or odd, but I’ve never been one to shy away from wearing bright colours so I’ve gotten used to it. With every person that stares at me, there's always one person that compliments my look which is sweet and always nice to hear.
How does your Ghanaian heritage influence your work?
I was surrounded by colour in my life through the Kente and Ditch Wax fabrics that my family wore and still wear. The Kente patterns and fabrics are bold, unique and colourful, which has naturally become part of my work growing up. I think it unknowingly instigated my love for colour and pattern.
Besides improving shade ranges, what else could make-up brands do to become more inclusive?
Make-up brands need to employ black people to make them truly diverse and inclusive. The #pulluporshutup movement came around at the best time as it has brought the lack of black representation in many workplaces to light - especially in leadership roles. How can brands expect to represent and cater to black consumers if they don't have black employees in their workplaces? A lot needs to change, and yes it may take some time, but that will only happen by keeping momentum and holding brands accountable when changes need to be made.
How do you feel about the lack of diversity in avant-garde make-up?
It's boring and frustrating. I remember searching avant-garde make-up online and there was not a black person in sight. These moments are what motivate me and it's why I’m always coordinating projects and creating content on black skin. To emphasise this I've created a new platform called @editoralblk to shine visibility on my fellow Black makeup artists who are making space for themselves in the still very white world of beauty influencers.
Follow Wendy on Instagram at @wendymakeups_