A woman’s modesty with her body and her beauty is a virtue, so she is always covered. She’s much like a pearl hidden in an oyster shell, hidden away only to be revealed once a particular effort has been made to find it.
Jeneva Zoya Edwards is a scroll-stopper. It’s more than her stellar features or impeccably flawless face beats. I was drawn in by her hijab. In every photo she wore one (often cleverly complementing her makeup) and that caused a juxtaposition in my mind. I’ve always been enthralled with the aspect of concealing your beauty to maintain humility and the gift of exclusive intimacy with your husband. Unlike others, I’ve never seen it as a symbol of oppression, but rather of strength, and romantic devotion. Question after question came to me, things I always wanted to know about being a Muslim woman, specifically their views on makeup and beauty.
My fear was that she’d be offended by my words or at the very least, might find my questions dotish. I was in awe of her and hesitated to reach out at first. But in light of all I wanted to know I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. Despite her busy schedule, Jeneva was gracious and able to make time for my questions. When she’s not doing her own makeup, she teaches the application of it and caters to what seems to be a healthy roster of beauty clients. It’s grad season in Trinidad and as most of us MUAs know, one gig can mesh into another.
I’ve always believed that a good measure of a makeup artist is not only how well they can apply makeup on themselves, but how well they can do the same on others. Yet the true mark of mastering your craft is teaching it, being able to transmit what you do to others and replicate yourself through them. This requires the ability to communicate and help your students through their weaknesses. Jeneva is a trifecta, a winner in all 3 areas. Her social media (@makeupbyzoya1) can attest to that. It’s hard to say which is more impressive, the vibrancy and passion she puts into her own face makeup, the many clients who are canvases for her creativity or her ability to replicate her magic through the work of her students.
To accommodate her schedule, I sent her the following questions after which and amazing convo ensued over voice notes (biggup WhatsApp and her sweet Trini accent)
Q. Define beauty? To you, what does it mean to be beautiful?
A. Makeup is my passion and it’s a form of expression. It’s purpose is only to enhance a woman’s already beautiful features. Many of my makeup looks articulates bits and pieces of my personality especially the bold ones, the bold and vibrant looks signify my jubilance.
Q. If you could name one makeup brand or line that was your favourite which would it be?
A. That’s a hard one because I adore many brands and their formulas. To name a few Morphe brushes and palettes, Sacha Cosmetics Matte Lipsticks and their Setting Powders, Jordana Cosmetics Lipsticks, Colouredraine Lipsticks, Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade and Mac Foundations.
Q. What makeup application technique is the most challenging to teach?
A. The most challenging makeup application to teach is the Winged Liner because it requires precision and patience.
Q. How do you achieve a flawless finish?
A. The key to a flawless finish is plenty Blending. Blend those eye shadows and foundations diligently.
Q. When it comes to your one of a kind style and use of colour, where does your inspiration come from?
A. I’m always inspired by nature especially the birds.
Q. Are there any misconceptions that people have about Muslim women?
A. Muslim women are often perceived as being controlled, not liberated and limited to certain things in life. These are untrue stereotypes because in Islam, men and women are equal, but there are generally more roles for our men. He would be the maintainer, protector and provider for a woman in Islam.
Q. OK. So as a Muslim woman, can you elaborate on Islam’s philosophy on beauty and modesty? When, where and how would makeup be worn? I love the philosophy on modesty and am wondering how wearing makeup fits into it.
A. A woman’s modesty with her body and her beauty is a virtue, so she is always covered. She’s much like a pearl hidden in an oyster shell, hidden away only to be revealed once a particular effort has been made to find it. This is the symbolism for how sacred and beautiful women are considered in Islam. Being modest women is also our means of avoiding fitnah or bacchanal, and preventing disorder caused by temptation.
Our religion does not speak against wearing makeup, it is not considered haram or forbidden by Islamic law. As a muslim woman, I exercise good judgement and use modesty when it’s appropriate and required. Because makeup artistry is my profession, I promote that by wearing a wide range of makeup looks, from colourful glam to subdued and neutral. I’m grateful for the support of my husband and this talent that I have been blessed with.
When asked the secret to turning her hobby in to a successful career and passion:
“Practice is everything and so is surrounding yourself with good energy because energy is transferable.”