Shaina Brown

Shades of Melanin - Ep 3 - Meet McKenzie

Shaina Strawberrie -

Tags: Woman

Shades of Melanin - Ep 3 - Meet McKenzie

So a lil back story to how Michel and I met.

"Once upon a time meh whooole long time friend Dernielle called me up and asked me to be a judge for an art competition.
While judging I met THE ever so talented, Michel McKenzie. When she found out that I am the Lead CBA at Wonderful World TT she began to address me as cuz (cousin) so next time she comes to the store she will look for me. Since then we call each other 'cuz' (no relation lol!!)"
Upon seeing Michel's face-painting I almost flat lined because a sista got skills! Dont worry when you scroll down you will understand what I mean. A few months ago I told her I wanted to feature her on my website and what a better time!

I got a chance to 'sit down' and write up some questions to grill her with in this blogisode of shades of melanin.

Michel Mckenzie-Joseph

  • We both have a mutual friend and she told me that you loved drawing ever since she
    knew you (and dais looooong time!). How long did you have this love for art?

I was always fascinated with finding beauty in the things around me. As a child I enjoyed creating my own dolls from anything I could find. Often times I would try to draw an image that caught my attention. I only realized that I was good when my mother discovered my drawings, she is a difficult person to impress so it was a big deal lol.

  • There was a story you told of how a friend of ours got in trouble for a ‘tattoo’. Do tell!

So, during my days in St. Francois I discovered Indian ink which, when applied to the skin, can stain and last a few days before fading. I love calligraphy and started to draw temporary tattoos for my friends and eventually other students. Needless to say, it was not part of the uniform and I got in a lil trouble.

Yes homegirl has mad henna skills! Mind Blown!

  • Do you remember your very first face painting gig and how was your experience?

During the vacation time I helped make costumes at renowned kiddies carnival mas band, Classix Productions with my clothing and textile teacher Ms. Vanessa Forde who realized my talent very early. Yes, I can sew too lol. I learned so much about colour and design and I loved every minute. Then I had a thought, how cool would it be to make their faces part of the mas production. It was a hit! I still work with them up to this day.

  • Children are probably drawn to you at events! What do they like getting painted the most?

Girls love butterflies, boys love Spiderman.

  • Have you had any problems working with other face painters? If so, how do you deal
    with it?

As a relatively new face painter I was surprised to meet super friendly artist along the way. There were instances where I got jobs where the client booked multiple artist. They have all been really nice, we even form groups and chat about ideas which is always the best way to learn. Sadly to say, the same friendliness did not happen in the makeup artist world (my experience).

  • How important is family to you?

Family is everything to me as they have been my biggest support. At times when I doubt myself there is always someone to keep me focused, especially my husband Ashton.

  • As a dark skinned woman, what advice would you give to a young woman who is uncomfortable in her own skin?

It begins with you. You have to take responsibility for your happiness. Trust your worth and take pride in your uniqueness.

  • You are multi-talented with face-painting being just one of the things that you do! What else can we look forward to seeing from you?

Besides face painting, makeup, henna/mandala art and calligraphy, I have a new-found love for newborn and family photography. Being able to capture those intimate moments and sealing a memory in a photo is so satisfying. I also love to teach and hope to do a face painting class soon.

Time for the fun questions!

    • Do you have any hidden talents you want to share?


    • What is your favourite dish?

Call me Garfield, I loveeee lasagne. No typo there.

    • Your biggest pet-peeve?

Adults without manners.

    • Now we both love makeup, so tell me what your staple item is!

My brow pencil, because my brows are THAT important to me.

    • What is your favourite character to paint?


    • BONUS SILLY QUESTION: Marvel, DC or My little Pony?

Think that is understood, #ponyalldayerryday

To get in contact with Michel or view her work,you can find her via the links below:


To book her you can email

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