I had the biggest honor of interviewing one of my biggest inspirations, Joseph Harwood. And if you don't know who he is, please educate yourself because he's doing big things and is a brilliant makeup artist who has done makeup for an impressive group of people including Willam Belli, Detox, and Jinkx Monsoon. Not only that, but he has his own YouTube channel where he does makeup tutorials and beauty tips and was also the mastermind behind my favorite LGBTQ collab channel on YouTube named Perfect Androgyny. Joseph is a force that obviously cannot be stopped and I feel so blessed to have had the oppurtunity to interview him and he never fails to amaze me. So without further distraction, please enjoy my interview with the one and only talented Joseph Harwood and I will put his contact information on the bottom. :)
1. For people who aren't familiar with you, in your own words, please tell everyone what work you have done in the past and what you're currently working on.
Okay well my name is Joe, I'm a makeup artist and blogger based in London. I started out life as a model, I was very fortunate enough to have booked work in both mens and womens ware and that led me to develop a love of transformation. Whilst I was working in Tokyo I changed direction and I've been much more happier to be working behind the scenes instead of in front of the camera. I'm currently working on a few projects, my brush line Joseph Harwood Cosmetics is aimed for release at the end of this year and I am excited to get my teeth into music which has always been an underlying passion of mine.
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I honestly find inspiration in anything but I think I get more from just being creative with paint and fabrics and seeing how things develop and fall into place. Then I build on to of what I like to see and when it looks right to me I carry it into my work as a makeup artist. I was recently working and visiting Paris and I got to see the Louvre, it was amazing because I learnt so much growing up and studying Italian portraiture. It was an awesome experience.
3. What would you say is the main reason that you started doing makeup?
I honestly found it really laborious to constantly starve myself working as a model and I've never been naturally a female sample size. It's also pretty hard to make any money in this country doing that and I wanted to be in a more creative environment. In the future I see myself stepping back and transitioning to more creative direction than doing the makeup, but I'm enjoying this at the moment.
4. When did you start doing makeup?
I was always tweaking the makeup I was being put in on shoots so I guess you could say I started semi professionally when I started modelling. I've been wearing makeup in my personal life however for well over a decade and it's always been something I've been fascinated by. Recently a friend of my family who used to babysit me told me how I used to insist we paint my nails with poster paint and crayons, I guess I've always loved it.
5. In your opinion, if you could change anything about yourself, what would it be and why?
I would say I'm very atypical of a Taurus, I am very patient and grounded 95% of the time but I have a very silly streak in me where I loose my temper. I'm getting better at it though ahah!
6. What do you consider your best quality?
I think I aim to be the best person I can be in regards to who I am in my family, and who I am as a friend. Is that a quality?
7. Have you ever come across negative people with nothing but negative things to say? If so, how do you deal with them?
I think we all encounter negativity. I think the best way to be consistent is to be reflective, if someone is showing you stupidity give them stupidity back. Keep it classy though.
8. What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to do their makeup and they want to make a career out of that as a makeup artist, drag queen, etc.?
Practise, practise practise. And don't be scared to ask for things, you never know who might say yes.
9. Out of everyone you have worked with, who in your opinion was the most fun person?
I was involved on a shoot with Lara Stone once who I thought was really sweet. She was whipping some of the other models which was funny to watch.
10. I have to ask this because you have painted my absolute favorite drag queen...what was it like working with Jinkx Monsoon?
Jinkx was really lovely I was super happy to have been asked to do her makeup. I wish we had a little more time as I wanted to do a slightly different look to what we ended up with but she was hosting a club after and we have to work that schedule! I was so happy to see the images were so pretty, she's definitely a sweetheart!
11. What was it like doing Perfect Androgyny and will you ever consider starting the channel over again?
I started PA offline in 2009 and didn't get to launch it til 2013. It was my baby and I really wanted something to inspire people. I can't quite believe how successful it's been. We've not blogged for months and it's still growing everyday. I'm excited to say that Perfect Androgyny is coming back next month! It's not going to be the same format of blogging channel as we originally started, it's going to be more an upgraded concept AND we're going to be including new members! Stay tuned!
12. How do you stay humble?
That's a really sweet question, I try and just be as real and true to myself as possible. In regards to my social media I think alot of my intonation is lost when I'm posting online, I have a very stupid sense of humor and I think because of how literally some of the things I've said have been taken, I know that perception is just a silly game of illusion. I am exactly the same as everyone else, I am just confident and ambitious in the way I handle things. I am extremely grateful to be working in an arena I love and because of that I want other people to realize that they can do that too. You don't inspire people with a stupid attitude and I think you can get attention by acting a fool but at the end of the day, you will be known for that, so be cute. I think that we all see people in our subcultures who aren't too friendly to the new kids on the block, yet we were all new kids at one point and I think is so important to remember that. So always be cute to people and don't take yourself too seriously.
13. If you could pick a favorite weekly theme that you did for Perfect Androgyny, which one is it and why?
I loved our deadly sins video where I interviewed people about dick. It was stupid and hilarious and you guys got to see what I'm like in a real life setting as opposed to just an edited video that shows me in my best light haha.
14. What advice do you have for younger people struggling with others not accepting them because they're different?
I think the biggest thing you learn as you grow is you have to accept yourself first. And that takes time because you don't experience things that explore every facet of who you are until it happens. Once you accept yourself, flaws and all then people will accept you regardless.
15. Have you ever considered giving up? What did you do to feel better?
Everyone goes through ups and downs in their lives, I started this year with a real low which I will be discussing on my youtube channel in a few weeks. I think part of our journey through life is to overcome and learn from dark times. I am very spiritual and the way I would describe it is like you know when you're abseiling down a rock, and you take that giant lean back and your mind and natural reactions are telling you that you're gonna fall, but you have that rope that's still holding you up? I really believe that we need to believe in something that takes the place of that rope in our lives. I think that's how I've overcome dark moments in my life. I know that we are meant to go through stupid times to learn from them and I believe that when you learn from things you reap the rewards.
16. In your opinion, do you consider any dream to be too big?
Absolutely not, if you can think it into reality, it can happen. But you have to understand that the difference between a dream and reality is hard work. You never dream about all the hours you sweat in the gym to look like a Greek statue, you just visualize the end results and you have to translate that into everything. You don't get nothing unless you work for it.
17. What is your most embarrassing moment?
Oh god if anyone knew all the clumsy things I've done, my goodness. I fall over every single time I leave the house, I recently actually fell over in a corset and my friend fell on top of me and cracked my rib. Fail.
18. Did you ever take a step back and think that a certain moment in your career was really surreal for you? Like working with someone you look up to...etc.?
I definitely think that growing up watching the X Factor and looking up to people like Simon Cowell, to be announced as a surprise that I won the YouGen competition for makeup and then again to be announced as the grande prize winner overall was out of this world for me! I still can't believe it.
19. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would like Joseph Harwood to be a household brand with me as the figure head, I want to express myself musically and there are some other avenues I want to explore. I have started a secondary business that a few of my friends know about but that's top secret for now. Personally my next goal is to build a house. We can see!
20. If you were on a deserted island, and you could only bring one thing with you, what couldn't you live without?
Diet coke. No I'm kidding... I couldn't live without my laptop I take it everywhere. And my crazy friends and family!
Thankyou so much for asking me questions! I hope that gave you some fun insight into who I am. Don't forget to check back on my newly launched website coming in a few weeks and as always check out my social media below.
The Drag Enthusiast