Interview - Julian Kynaston (Illamasqua)

Julian Kynaston is the founder of marketing agency Propaganda and also cult make-up brand Illamasqua (who sponsor our Sisters of Real). He's also a regular at the Whitby Gothic Weekend and is a big fan of the beautiful game. 


Julian Kynaston Profile Pic High Res 1


Hello Julian, thank you for doing this interview with us.

As the man behind one of the biggest make-up brands in the UK, how did you become involved with The Sisters of Real?

I slept with at least 4 of them at the goth festival last year!

Is it true that the inspiration for Illamasqua came from your experiences with the punk/goth scene?

 In short, yes. Having such strong connections with Whitby and the goth scene for all of my adult life I have always been fascinated how a person can 'transform' with the help of make up. The idea of taking on different personas simply by creating a different 'look' has always intrigued me. I have always been drawn to very 'strong' looks and I suppose if I'm honest I can't remember a time where I wasn’t interested in make-up and what it represented.

What I found inspiring was everybody at the festival told each other they were beautiful, whether they be short, tall, gay, straight, black or white. Their self-appreciation was real and deeper than the typical ideal of what traditionally makes someone “beautiful”. I tried to look for the common denomination and it kept going back to the confidence, self-expression and empowerment they all felt through their dramatic make-up.  Put that together with my background in brand building and the next step felt very natural.

I'm a brand builder by trade and am Chairman of a Marketing Agency called Propaganda, which is now in its 20th year. Prior to Illamasqua, I headed the team on behalf of Propaganda that controlled the branding behind GHD, it is something I enjoyed so much that in the end I toyed with the idea of my agency launching its own brand  - enter Illamasqua. 

Anne Marie

Anne-Marie Hurst from The Skeletal Family in her Sisters of Real kit.


You’re a big supporter of The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which in turn has helped her family spread their message to a lot of people. Did you ever suffer intolerance or problems for the way you looked as a young lad?

I always wanted Illamasqua to deliver a very strong message, particularly around prejudice in a way people haven't been hit with before. I have always said that the SOPHIE foundation has done more for racism and homophobia than a lot of outright charities which focus on those very issues, as sometimes you are so bombard with a message you become resistant to it. Once you have engaged with SOPHIE and in particular the film we produced for it. You sit at the end questioning what it means to you and quickly understand that any form of hatred or prejudice is wrong.

Away from make-up, where do your footballing loyalties lie?

Barnsley FC. Real football. Real people. Real wages. Real supporters.

Which team in your opinion need a splash of colour to help them express themselves a bit more?

Barnsley. A splash of the colour green (cash!)

They say football is the beautiful game, if you could use one player from the world of football in an Illamasqua campaign, who would you pick?

Actually I’d go for all of the premiership referees in a stamp out prejudice campaign for SOPHIE!

Finally, i’ve heard you have friends in The Damned, any chance of having a word in The Captain's ear about possibly playing for the Goths one day?

I can’t promise, but I’ll give it my best shot! 

Case Study Illamasqua


you can follow Julian on Twitter @JulianKynaston