Angel MUA: Beauty Icon

 

Meet the talented, Ángel Cuebas Mercado!

This 20 year old psychology major has always been interested in human behavior and the art of cosmetic beauty, “even though they’re on different sides of the educational/professional spectrum, I’ve found ways to intertwine both passions into my work and lifestyle,” Ángel explains.

He can't really remember when he started doing make up, yet he recalls an image of his 8-year-old-self sneaking into his mom’s room and taking her concealer to hide his dark under-eye circles and using her black eyeliner to fill in his eyebrows. He also mentions, how he would practice in the shower and clean it off so she wouldn't notice (which failed many times), “it was quite the rush at the time,” he added.

Even though he hasn't gotten any formal education in cosmetology, he learned the basics of what makeup is and how it should be applied from watching his mom do her makeup every day for work. For more specific skills, he's had a lot of help from YouTube influencers, who he has followed for almost 10 years, “social media keeps creating content and information that we all learn from in the beauty community,” he added.

Ángel explains that he first started wearing makeup publicly in high school, “I bought a black eyeliner and a thin angled brush to fill in my brows and a berry shade lipstick I could use to add color to my lips and my cheeks. It was so weird think how much more confident I was, just by adding some products that enhanced what was already on my face. I tried to make it as subtle as possible, as I was scared of what my parents and classmates were gonna say if one day I were to put on just a little bit too much lipstick, or if I made my eyebrows a little too dark.” He also mentions that he is very grateful for how his friends always supported him wearing anything that made him feel good about himself, “regardless of what it was; they are the reason I now walk the street in full glam with my head held high.” Everyone needs friends like these!

“I feel like my mom was never disappointed in me wearing makeup, she just wanted me to get my own so I would stop stealing hers lmao.” He also talks about how his friends have always been very supportive and how -fortunately- he hasn't lost any friends because of him wearing makeup. “Nevertheless, wearing makeup as a gay man in a very hetero-normative, patriarchal society, is a difficult choice to make. You need to keep your chin high and your ears shut, because people don’t hesitate to give you dirty looks and whisper things about you right in front of you. You have to get used to little kids staring, and asking about your choices as if you owe anyone an explanation. It requires patience, but I also subject myself to these reactions, because I know it can make some people uncomfortable. But as time has passed, I’ve found that having that uncomfortable interaction empowers me, because I challenged someone to think outside of their norm and having these internal debates keeps the conversation going.”

One piece of advise this make up artist can give to those of you who want to wear make up, is to find their right foundation shade and to go easy on the brows, “you don’t want them to look like caterpillars!” he said passionately. “Ok, but seriously, go out and buy any products that you think will be useful to what you want to work with on your face and practice at home. The moment you feel comfortable with yourself, everyone else will too,” is the best advice this makeup artist can give to anyone who wants to play with makeup. "My main arguments regarding men wearing makeup are based on history and free will. Men have always been known for expressing themselves through cosmetics, from Egyptians using eyeliner to protect their eyes from sand, to our own Taíno ancestors who would paint their faces with achiote. It’s not a complicated abstract subject to understand, it’s as simple as expressing an artistic impulse through paint that can go on your face. Also, I’d like to put it out there that the best thing about being human is our concept of free will. Let’s just let everyone be happy doing what they like to do, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, how about that?” he said gracefully.

    

If you want Ángel to beat your face and make it a work of art, you can contact him on Facebook as Ángel A. Cuebas and through Instagram @m.u.a.ngel. “Feel free to contact me if you need makeup for an event, a photoshoot, or anything else!”

“Oh, and one more thing. Never associate a hobby with a gender. Makeup is what I like to do, it’s not who I am, and it shouldn’t be labeled as something exclusively for people who identify as female.”