Voices: Joya Dass

Voices: Joya Dass

News anchor, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, Joya Dass has proven herself to be a triple threat. As a news anchor, she learned to make a living using her voice. Now, as the leader and founder of LadyDrinks, a networking platform for South Asian professional women, she is helping others to find theirs. 

We recently interviewed Joya on her relationship with beauty as a professional and woman of color. Read about her experience down below. 

How did you first get interested in beauty?

was born to a father from Burma and a mother from Calcutta. Both of Bengali origin. My mother was a vain woman with products crowding every surface of the bathroom. (Today she works for Elizabeth Arden). So makeup and skincare was something I always had access to. I started experimenting with foundation and Kajol (Indian eyeliner) at 14 years old. I toggled through the drugstore variety of foundations,i.e. Covergirl, Maybelline, and always looked like a geisha. I have this photo of me in my cotton candy pink prom dress, with a distinct line where my jaw ended and my neck began. My face just looked ----ashy.

When I started my career as a business news anchor on television, the makeup artists used an air gun to apply foundation. They would custom mix colors for me.   Makeup Forever was the first line I remember making an 'off the shelf' foundation that gave me the coverage I needed for tv and matched my skin tone. I wager I wore that Matte Velvet in shade 20 for the better part of 15 years. Last year, I left television to run my women’s movement full time and I wanted something that wasn’t so darn heavy that you could scratch it with a fingernail.  My best girlfriend turned me on to Milk Tinted Moisturizer. As overwhelming as it is, to walk into Sephora, I was delighted to find that Medium tan matched my skin perfectly and had sun protection in it.

I’m even more delighted to learn today that women of color are now driving the conversation when it comes to creating makeup. It's not a concession that a makeup line makes, comprised of two colors. 

What does "everyday beauty" mean to you? 

It’s funny. I’m designing and producing fireside chats for my women’s initiative with influential women like Misty Copeland, Payal Kadakia, the founder of Classpass, Amanda Johnson, the co-founder of Mented Cosmetics, The Chief Diversity Officer of Pepsi. Programming with gravitas. And yet, the number one question my members ask me is  ---can you teach a makeup class?  They want their makeup to look the way mine does. 

Now I’ve had the benefit of sitting in so many makeup artists’ chairs over the years. I’ve observed and iterated so I have become my own expert at makeup application. This is my process: 

I always apply a toner and moisturize my face with a serum called Neostrata before applying makeup. Toner gets rid of any residue that might still be on my skin from the night before. Neostrata is an AHA product that maintains my glow in between microdermabrasions.

Eyeshadow first. Makeup doesn’t have to break the bank, but brushes can. I never ever check my makeup brushes when flying. They are irreplaceable and come with me.  With Eyeshadow, I really love NYX’s earth tone palette.  I usually mix two to three colors on my lid, creating depth in the crease.

Eyebrows. I’m loving Estee Lauder’s brow multi taker or Benefit’s eyebrow pencil in dark brunette. I’ll draw my eyebrows in with a feathering action. But afterward, I’ll really fan it out using the brush at the other end of both products.

Foundation. With the Mented line, I’ll apply Skin by Mented in the shade L10 all over my face, and push the product around with a beauty blender. Ill contour my cheekbones, nose, and forehead with shade T20. Again blend in with the beauty blender. I prefer the Real Techniques brand of beauty blender from Duane Reade. Again, makeup products and accessories don’t need to be expensive.

Tarte has a great shape tape that I use for concealer under my eyes, down the center of my nose.

This next step is very key. I mattify all of the product with a translucent powder from No.7. I use the little pad that comes in the packaging to do this. This sets the makeup for the day. 

Mascara from Thrive Cosmetics. This gives my eyelashes a base for the faux lashes to sit on. I’m a big fan of the No. 11 “Shy" lashes from Kiss (also sold at Duane Reade) After toggling through all the expensive brands of lashes and glues at Ricky’s, I found this brand one day, running to work at the New York Stock Exchange. It's the most natural look of lashes I could find. I’m a believer.

I’ll tamp down the lashes with a pointed brush. Then camouflage the lash line with a wedge-shaped thin brush, wetted and dipped in makeup forever, black eyeshadow. I’ll draw the line across with the brush. Then I’ll refine it with a Maybelline pen eyeliner.

Then blush. and I’ll ‘bake’ under my eye with Makeup Forever’s banana powder. 

For lips, I prefer to go natural, with just clear lip balm. A glam red if the evening occasion demands it.

Final flourish.  Olay Mist Ultimate Hydration Essence spritzed all over to keep the look dewy.

Want to keep up with Joya? Check out her website and follow her on Instagram here!

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