Joey Mills Tribute

Scene: Celebration of the Life and Work of Joey Mills. Joey was the first black makeup artist with a focus in fashion and editorial. The co-hosts, Vanessa Noel, Luxury Shoe Designer, Hotelier, Gallery Owner, and Philanthropist; and Barry Weinbaum, Creative Consultant; created a touching remembrance environment to honor Mr. Mills. The venue was at Vanessa Noel’s townhouse on the Upper East Side on April 2, 2022 which would have been Joey’s birthday. A memorable evening. Joseph R. “Joey” Mills of New York, NY passed on March 10, 2021 (note the photos below the words of the obituary). The tribute was delayed due to the pandemic. The walls were full of Joey’s makeup artistry including covers from Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Essence, Glamour, Life, Mademoiselle, and Vogue magazines.
Joey Mills was the groundbreaking African American makeup artist whose career broke down barriers. His fresh approach to makeup, coined as ‘natural glamour’ in his book New Classic Beauty, made him very popular with designers, notably Calvin Klein. Their work together started an eyebrow trend that is still popular to this day, as he preferred a full brow that was groomed and defined but kept natural in appearance. No dramatic arching or bleaching, which were popular at the time. Joey designed the makeup for the iconic 1980 ad campaign for Calvin Klein Jeans, featuring a young Brooke Shields and shot by legendary photographer Richard Avedon. 
Mr. Mills was lead makeup artist at runway shows for Calvin Klein, Valentino, Versace, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta. He also designed the makeup for Cecily Tyson’s character in “The Corn is Green” on Broadway, the cult classic film The Eyes of Laura Mars, and several TV productions.
At his peak he had over 1,600 magazine covers, more than any other makeup artist at that time.

Scene: Graham Murphy and Vanessa Noel, co-host.
Vanessa shared with me how Joey and her met — “In 1987 I opened my first store, I began every morning by sweeping my store front.
One morning I noticed this black man leaning against the corner of the building, he just stood there staring at me. It was very unnerving. He was there again the next morning. The following morning he brushed by me and entered my store carrying a big maroon leather postmaster shaped bag. He pushed all the shoes aside on my center table and began pulling out makeup. I kept telling him I didn’t want to purchase any makeup. He paid no attention to me and he respond “You must be Vanessa Noel, and you’re not in drag!” I said to myself I’m a woman, what is he talking about? He said “sit down! I’m doing your makeup.” He was commanding so I sat down. His touch was so professional with the application, I began to feel at ease. He did half of my face and showed it to me in a mirror. It was incredibly beautiful! He then completed the other side of my face. I was enchanted! I then kept asking “who are you, what is your name?” He was packing up his makeup and brushes and wouldn’t respond until he started to walk away. Just before he reached the door he turned with a swivel looking back at me and said “I am Joey Mills, and I will return every day this week to do your makeup.” “Now grab your broom and finish sweeping.” The next morning and every day after that week, Joey was waiting for me by the front door of my store. As promised he did my makeup every day that week. We became life long best friends and we spoke on the phone almost every morning at 7:30am. Brooke Shields told me “Joey must have loved your face.”
Scene: Barry Weinbaum, co-host, and Helen T. Ginns.
Scene: Gary Evans, Alaina Demopoulos, Debbie Dickinson, Freddie Leiba, and Nancy Donahue.
Scene: Susan Gutfreund, Lucky, and Joe Pacetti.
Scene: Lucky’s comfortable travel bag.
Scene: Ginger McKnight-Chavers and Albert Narcisse.
Scene: Joey Mills’ notebook. I loved seeing pages from his calendar book with polaroids of models, client bookings, times, locations, and photos of him with models.
Vanessa Noel’s signature home fragrance, Stiletto, a gardenia and tuberose scented candle, left. And an invitation “Introducing Makeup for Woman of Color by Joey Mills” for cosmetic professions, right.
Scene: John Turner, Darnella Thomas, Joyce Brookes, and John Atkinson.
Scene: Barry Weinbaum, co-host, and Sarah Stavrou.
I asked Barry how he and Joey met — “The first time I met and hired Joey was in the early 80s. I was an Art Director at Avon and was doing a Spring shade promotion. I had hired Patrick Demarchelier as the photographer, Kim Alexis was to be the model, and I was holding a makeup artist that I had worked a lot with previously who had already done a successful Avon makeup line launch for me. 
Bryan Bantry, who represented both Patrick and Joey at the time, asked me who I planned to use for makeup. When I told him the name, Bryan said to me: “Patrick wants Joey. And Kim Alexis really wants Joey to do the makeup.” I knew that Patrick would take a beautiful photograph even if the makeup artist was not his first choice. I have great respect and gratitude for Bryan Bantry, but I somewhat discounted his comment about what Patrick wanted since Bryan repped both Patrick and Joey at the time. But Kim Alexis strongly wanting Joey was another thing. 
I had seen and admired Joey’s work in the magazines, and I did intend to “give him a try” at some point, but I didn’t like to work with someone for the first time on an important project.
Uncharacteristically, I did book Joey for the job. And it turned out to be one of the luckiest, most serendipitous events of my long career. When I met Joey, I gained the ideal makeup artist to help realize my projects and I also gained a lifelong cherished friend. Thank you, Bryan Bantry for “twisting my arm.” It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
Jeffrey Banks and Vanessa Noel, co-host.
Scene: Susan F. Sidor, Peter Bacanovic, and Debbie Dickinson.
Scene: Sandy Linter, Freddie Leiba, and Harry King.
Scene: Alaina Demopoulos.
Scene: Yvonne Delaine and John Johnson.
Scene: Joey’s book and magazine covers with Vanessa Noel’s shoes.
Scene: Cocktails and flowers at the bar.
Scene: Delightful offerings.
Scene: More appetizing offerings.
Scene: Sheila and John Atchison listening to Barry Weinbaum’s tribute to Joey Mills.
Scene: The parlor of Vanessa Noel’s townhouse. Guests listened to Barry Weinbaum’s moving tribute with sadness, joy, and laughter.
Scene: Barry Weinbaum, co-host, delivering his moving tribute.
Scene: Sandy Linter and Harry King attentive to the tributes.

Scene: Elaine Korn, Joey Mills, and Sheila Johnson circa 1985.
Joey, makeup artist, had just finished working with Bill Cosby who wrote Leonard Part 6 (1987) and Sheila, actress, had just finished a film starring Eddie Murphy Coming to America (1988).
Elaine Korn was a good friend and Joey’s representative for a period of time. She was not able to attend this event, but sent Barry Weinbaum, co-host, these heartfelt words to read —
I am so disappointed I will not be there to celebrate, not mourn, the life of Joey. But I am certainly there in spirit. With all my complaining to you over the years, with all the drama, with all the “on edge” adventures I am so glad to have known Joey. He was a force to be reckoned with and lived passionately and always full of life and glamour.
Once when I told him “Joey they are going to turn your electricity off if you don’t do this job” he said “so I’ll live by candlelight. More romantic.” You can’t help but smile.
The sun is shining down today my friend. I hope you can see from above how loved you were. We all honor you in our own way.
Your work was groundbreaking especially for the black community. Your love for life lives on in the people who respected and loved you.
Happy birthday, darling. I am wearing the lipstick you gave me today and will always think of you telling me “never go anywhere without some lipstick on your lips. Even if your house is on fire.”
Happy happy birthday. Love and more love, Elaine

Scene: Loris Diran giving his tribute. Maya Monroe also spoke at the event.
Scene: Photos of Joey with friends. The portrait at top, photographed by Harry King, was taken at Joey’s MAC Cosmetics event in 2011 honoring his phenomenal life and legacy.
Scene: Sweet treats.
Scene: Caught in the act of checking my notes of the guests names. Photo Harry King.
Scene: Susan Fales-Hill, Nancy Donahue, and Sandy Linter.
Scene: Maya Monroe, Vanessa Noel, co-host, and Marita Monroe.
Scene: Sandy Linter and Barbara Neumann.
Scene: Debbie Dickinson, me, and Barry Weinbaum, co-host. Photo Debbie Dickinson.
Scene: Graham Murphy, Barbara Neumann, and Nancy Donahue in conversation.
Scene: Barry Weinbaum, co-host, and Ronnie Grant.
Scene: Freddie Leiba, Nancy Donahue, Sandy Linter, and Harry King.
Scene: John Turner and Debbie Dickinson.
Scene: Vanessa Noel’s luxury women’s footwear and accessories handcrafted in Milan, Italy.
Scene: Loris Diran.
Scene: Sheila and John Atchison.
Scene: Mike Dean and Yvonne Delaine. He’s holding an Essence cover featuring Yvonne.
Scene: Barry Weinbaum, co-host, yours truly, and Harry King. Photo Sandy Linter.
Scene: Joey Mills’ assemblage containing his makeup application on an illustration, his glasses, hat, and shoes with his book New Classic Beauty on top. Vanessa Noel’s 24 karat gold covered alligator skin in background.
Scene: Joey Mills’ visual tribute in Vanessa Noel’s store window.
You really made a difference, Joey. Rest in Peace my friend. xox