Joyce Bonelli – mega-talented make-up artist to the Kardashians and Nicki Minaj – shares her secrets

If you’ve kept up with the Kardashians over the years, you’ll have noticed a certain blonde bombshell pop up on the show whenever Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, Kylie or Kris have been in need of a little glam before a big event. She’s called Joyce Bonelli and is the woman to thank for gifting the world that enviable contoured, long-lashed and smokey-eyed look that the Kardashians and many other Hollywood hotties have rocked over the past few years on the red carpet. With over 20 years’ experience as a make-up artist, Joyce has become as in-demand in Hollywood as she is popular on social media (um, 1.3 million followers on Instagram? HELLO), so we couldn’t resist grabbing a quick chat to discuss her beauty inspirations, fave Kardashian looks that she’s created, and what she has planned for 2016.

Talk us through your morning routine… On average, I start my day at 4.30am, catching up with emails. I have a few hair and make-up artists who I manage bookings for as well. Then I attend to social media, Snapchat, have coffee… I savour breakfast with my son before I have to run out the door to make my 7am call time.

What does your average day look like? Every day is different, but we roll with it. On the days that are super packed with three or four clients, I’ll take my son Zeplin to work with me so he can have play dates with his friends Ma$e, P and Nori [that’s Mason and Penelope Disick and North West, in case you were in any doubt]. In our home we always have dinner together and sometimes I bake with the kids. Zeplin is obsessed with confetti cupcakes. My boyfriend Ben Taverniti is a designer who often turns our dining room into the biggest explosion as he works all night on his line, Unravel. So really we’re never not working. I love it! Secretly I’ve been passing out listening to my French lessons, which is why it makes it impossible to ever speak French with my boyfriend [laughs]. I can never sleep longer than four hours though, so when everyone is sleeping I work on designing a kids’ collection. Then repeat. I love my life.

Is there a particular person who inspired the make-up artist you’ve become today? My dream was to be legendary special effects make-up artist Rick Baker. But my inspiration in life comes from my son Zeplin; his innocence and genius, with his smiling heart, fuels my drive. I’m also fortunate enough to wake up next to my biggest muse every day – my boyfriend, Ben. I really can’t look at anything and not be inspired. Actually, even when it’s something I hate, it sets fire to me and compels me to try and do it better.

What style of make-up do you think you’re most known for? I get the most recognition for my glowing skin and contour, along with long lashes and smokey eyes. I don’t look for trends, because I’m so busy helping my clients.

You’ve worked with the Kardashians for over 10 years – do you have a favourite beauty look that you’ve created for a Kardashian/Jenner? Doing 90s chocolate lips on Khloe and Kylie. Kylie’s recent ELLE cover with the bleached brows. Kendall’s 2015 American Music Awards look, with bangs. And, of course, the seasons of Kim And Kourtney Take New York, because we did heavy, gorgeous glam.

You’ve also worked extensively with Nicki Minaj – what are your highlights from that experience? Nicki’s ELLE cover when she had a stripped down, no make-up look. And her American Idol judging looks, because they were all so different and allowed me to use glitter and colour, which I never use in other settings.

Which stars have you been most excited to work with over the years? Everyone. Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kylie, Kendall and Kris, Nicki Minaj, J-Lo, Demi Lovato, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Jessica Alba, to name a few.

Who do you like to follow on Instagram for beauty inspiration? I like to see what my glam [hairstylist and make-up artist] friends are up to, such as the iconic Serge Normant, Clyde Haygood, Scotty Cunha, Chris Dylan and Rob Scheppy. Also magazines like Let’s Panic, and other amazing artists who don’t do ‘beauty’, but have a more artistic movement that I live for.

When planning your own nights out, do you start a look with the make-up or with the outfit? I wear a lot of black, so I would say different textures, layers and heels will accompany any make-up I wear.

What was the best thing about last year for you? My family and my work. What I love most is being around creative people every day with one purpose: to create beauty. I really love working with a team to create new looks that someone hasn’t tried before, especially when it’s outside of my client’s comfort zone.

What can we expect from you in 2016? I’m working on launching a very anticipated line, Joyce Bonelli Brand. I’ll be on tour with my make-up seminar and I’m also working on an app that is going to murder the industry (in the best way)!


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