PARIS — Joy Sunday has been named a global ambassador for Lancôme.
Most recently, the Nigerian-American actress and filmmaker has portrayed Bianca Barclay in the Netflix series “Wednesday,” which is executive produced by Tim Burton. Sunday has also appeared in TV series and films such as “Dear White People,” “Bad Hair,” “S–thouse” and “Beta Test.”
Sunday will represent makeup and skin care for L’Oréal-owned Lancôme. She is to first star in a worldwide campaign for the brand beginning February.
But before that, Sunday will make her first official foray as a Lancôme global ambassador on Monday at the Emmy Awards. She had already appeared on the brand’s red carpet in September as an attendee at an event celebrating the limited-edition Lancôme x Louvre makeup collection at the museum.
Sunday said her first meeting with Lancôme executives was warm and comfortable, and that they stressed Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme global brand president, wants to build a family. This “is something so important to me, because my family is so close to me,” said Sunday.
“Any long-term relationship I would have I would want to be in concert with people who really appreciate community,” she continued. “And that’s something so evident with the Lancôme family. They’ve always made me feel like this is something that I can do and really imbued me with a sense of confidence.”
Sunday said she was drawn, as well, to how Lancôme continues to innovate, especially when it comes to inclusivity, both with ambassadors the brand signs on and in regards to making beauty accessibility for all.
Part of Sunday’s familiarity with Lancôme came when actress, singer and activist Zendaya became one of its ambassadors, in 2020.
“Beauty is something that I’ve always not necessarily had a contentious relationship with, but I had to find. I had to journey towards it, which is something that Lancôme speaks about,” explained Sunday.
“As a brand ambassador, I want for people’s journey to beauty to be smoother. The key to me finding my beauty was understanding that it came from the inside, and that my beauty is not what people see on my face, it’s what they see of my heart,” she said. “So that’s something that I would love to spread as a global ambassador — that there’s this universality and holistic-ness to beauty that can be found in every single person on Earth, that we can all share with each other and we can all find in each other if we look deeply in eyes and connect deeply with souls.”
Sunday believes beauty is found in each experience and person met.
“Everything that I get to do in my life, the fact that I’m getting to experience it is beauty,” she said. “Looking at beauty that way allowed me to reach the point that I have with my own beauty — aside from the physical — is that my life is beautiful, what I have to contribute to the world is beautiful. And being in community with other people is beauty.”
Lehmann and Lancôme chose Sunday for many reasons.
“Joy is an incredibly accomplished and creative woman with strong values and many different passions,” said Lehmann. “Through her exceptional talent, bold personality and natural beauty, Joy will be adding a unique touch to the Lancôme family. With a name like ‘Joy,’ she was destined to become an ambassador for the brand of happiness.
“As a leading luxury beauty brand, our strategy is to address women all around the world, of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. We look for spokespeople that convey Lancôme’s values: authenticity, generosity and happiness as a source of beauty and self-fulfillment,” continued Lehmann. “Our family of ambassadors embody these convictions, celebrating beauty in all its incredible diversity. Joy adds her own unique voice and identity to this.”
Sunday has many other projects on the go, too.
“I’m actually producing a short docu-narrative,” she explained, adding it’s with director Taylor Hom and executive producer Lynn Nottage. “It’s a project that I’m really passionate about, because I’ve been working with Taylor and Lynn for, I think, a decade now, and I’m finally getting the opportunity to produce something with them. It’s a story that’s local to New York, about a massage worker who unfortunately passed away a couple of years back. We really want to draw a portrait of her life and the reverberations of her life throughout her community in Flushing, New York.”
Alongside that, Sunday is writing and producing her own projects that will be unveiled later this year.
“I realized this thread in my work recently — that every project that I’ve produced in some way involves a sense of reality in it,” she said. “I’ve also always worked with people that I’ve known for years. That’s what’s really exciting, is getting to come up alongside people who have helped me get to this point.
“It’s overall going to be a very exciting and momentous year for me,” continued Sunday. “I’m really excited to be realizing this multihyphenate version of myself. It’s always existed.”
Acting-wise, she said she’s interested in playing a “creature” — a type of role she’s never tried yet — one day. That would allow Sunday to stretch her physicality and challenge her athleticism.
“’Wednesday’ really set that bug off in me,” she said. “And, you know, I think it’d be nice to play someone kind and warm — as opposed to Bianca, who I love and is warm in her own ways,” Sunday laughed.
Her wish-list of directors to work with is long. “How much time do you have?” she said, naming the likes of Barry Jenkins, Yórgos Lánthimos, Celine Song, Céline Sciamma, A.V. Rockwell, Bradley Cooper, and Benjamin and Joshua Safdie, among others.
Meanwhile, theater beckons.
“Getting to do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was so magical for me, because it really reconnected me to where I first started with acting at LaGuardia,” she said, referring to the high school of music, art and performing arts. “It really reignited a lot of the passion that I have for this career. I was recently so affected by Jody Comer in ‘Prima Facie,’ and so I’d love to do something like that, that really challenges me to zero in.”