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  • Writer's pictureShay

Joey Roo: Taking Flight

Joey is a two-spirit Indigenous make-up artist and model and an avid arts supporter and advocate for gender expression and LGBTQ+ inclusion to creative spaces. As an emerging artist, Joey practices free-lance make-up artistry, being a recent new addition to the MisMack team.

Joey always felt a bit of connection to the arts and found their way into creativity as a positive coping mechanism for the mental health challenges they experienced in their youth. Joey recalls the experience, sharing some of the struggles they held with anxiety, depression and substance use, but also reflects back on the turning point to their career and how things began to change for the better.

Photo: Jo Sarada (@jmcavay)

“[It started when] this guy came up and said to me ‘I really like your style. I’m a clothing designer.’ He handed me his Instagram on a napkin. I started modeling for him. I felt encouraged and like I had something to look forward to.”

After taking the opportunity, the experience inspired Joey to continue to explore modeling and make-up artistry, giving them a positive outlet and something to aspire to moving forward. This new direction also encouraged them to more deeply explore self-expression and gender identity from different angles. The journey that Joey was just beginning was already leading to more positive destinations - not only from the perspective of personal growth, but also in community connections.

Joey garnered many new contacts in the industry, which opened more doors for their future. One of the many recent opportunities they were able to participate in was the MMIW+2S project and photoshoot with Fashion Speaks International, a local Indigenous organization here in Kamloops.

Photographer: Kim Coltan, Asst. Photographer Stephanie Saunders

Joey shared that one of the largest struggles beginning this journey was the challenge of overcoming the self-doubt and lack of confidence in themself. Reaching this point in their career wasn’t easy, and it was particularly challenging to remember that being kind also means being kind to yourself. They want to encourage others who are seeking to chase their dreams as well, and adds to following advice:

“It’s not gonna happen right away, but you gotta be okay with that. You have to keep chasing that dream. Stop waiting for someone to cheer for you and cheer for yourself.”

Since then, Joey has seen their career soar in all kinds of new directions, taking flight as a new team member with MisMack Clean Cosmetics and receiving additional education in make-up artistry to further their skills and expertise as well as receiving an award nomination from International Indigenous Fashion Week (IIFW). The newest announcement will be that Joey has accepted an incredible opportunity to help support the MisMack brand in the Victoria, BC location as a make-up artist.

Most recently, Joey has been featured in Devyn Louis' Intertribal Talks Podcast, and had been working closely with Lydia Frederick and Shaw TV to create a short documentary with the Shaw: Spotlight series. The mini documentary, The Gender Journey of Non-Binary Indigenous Fashion Artist Joey Roo, has premiered and is now available to watch on the Shaw social media pages, as well as their official YouTube page.

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