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Makeup Artist Fidel Gonzalez Shares His Must-Have Products – and How He Began His Career

Everything you need to know about the artist-turned-photographer and how “MUAgraphy” was born.

Makeup Artist Fidel Gonzalez Shares His Must-Have Products – and How He Began His Career

Makeup Artist Fidel Gonzalez Shares His Must-Have Products – and How He Began His Career

Everything you need to know about the artist-turned-photographer and how “MUAgraphy” was born.

For Makeup artist and photographer Fidel Gonzalez, makeup was always his one true love. An artist at heart, he was inspired by creating a piece of art and seeing it come to life. But with a good eye and a decent camera on hand, the pro decided to not just create – but also document – his work. And with that, his career blossomed.

Now, Gonzalez does it all, and recently held a photo shoot at Make Up For Ever’s photo studio in New York City, for his digital and print publication, XIOS Magazine. We caught up with the pro to chat about his career, his experience as a photographer, and of course, his favorite products.

How did your artistry career begin?
I started as a performer. I guess people would refer to you as a drag queen these days, but back in the day there was a difference between a drag queen and a performer, so I was more of a performer. I created everything – if it was a music video, we’d create the makeup, the hair, the wardrobe, even props. That’s how I started with makeup. The first time I experienced the editorial world, I fell in love with the industry – how everything just comes together at the end and you’re a part of a project that you see come out in a magazine.

This was all like 1993. The internet was different. You had to wait for the magazine or music video to come out. When I really got serious into trying to do this, I was working on my book to get into an agency, and I didn’t have the experience to know what was required of me. They ripped me a new one. So, instead of running into a hole, I took that information and my partner, Josh, was like, “You have a camera, why don’t you start shooting your own content?” At that time, I didn’t want to be a photographer, I wanted to be a makeup artist.

But it opened a lot of doors for me. Through photography, I understood lighting more, and I understood makeup more because I understood lighting. I was like, “I don’t need to contour because I’m contouring with the light.” Long story short, I got into the industry by shooting my own content. Later, I started seeing my art come to life.

How did you evolve as an artist after that point?
I started getting attention because I was doing everything by myself. The makeup, the photography, the hair. Allegria is one of the biggest bilingual magazines there is, and they liked that I could make it all come together. From there, my network grew and people started noticing me.

What was your big break?
One of the biggest breaks that I had was meeting Scott Barnes. I shot something and he was on set and we became really close friends. He opened a door for me into the beauty world because he liked how I captured beauty. And I believe it’s because I started in makeup, I was capturing from more of a beauty angle.

How did you discover Make Up For Ever?
I first discovered Make Up For Ever when I was doing shows. My friend was like, “You gotta try this makeup, it just launched, and it’s called Make Up For Ever.” So, I remember going into the store and I fell in love with the artistry of Make Up For Ever. When I saw the brand, I didn’t know a lot about it, but it felt like it was made by artists for artists. It made me feel very much at home. That’s what made me fall in love with the brand.

Do you remember the first Make Up For Ever product you tried?
The first product I used was the Concealer Pencil. It’s two sided and has a lighter color and a darker color. I’d use the beige side for lips to get a nude lip, and from there I started using the creams and palettes.

We’re dying to know: what Make Up For Ever products are always in your kit?
Some of my favorites that are in my kit at all times are the Artist Color Pencils. They’re universal. I love them because one pencil does it all. It makes my kit a lot lighter. If I’m in a rush, I just grab my Artist Color Pencils and I know I can do anything with them.

I shot at the Make Up For Ever studio in NYC, which I loved – it was incredible to be there. The team was amazing to work with. I was introduced to Water Blend foundation, and I love it. I also love the HD sticks – those two I carry with me. The Flash Palette, of course, that’s an icon right there, and the new Artist Nude Creme liquid lipsticks – I’m in love.

How does being a photographer change your perception of makeup?
Being a photographer, it’s completely different from being just a makeup artist. My eye has changed a lot. When I use a foundation, I look at the macro photos and see how the foundation sets at the skin and what the texture looks like. That’s a big part of how I choose foundations, and why I love Ultra HD Foundation Stick and Water Blend,

Many makeup artists can’t go home and look at the images the way photographers do. But looking at images raw, I get to see everything, all the imperfections and how the foundations settle on the skin. The Ultra HD Stick and Water Blend just look like skin – they’re flawless.

What was it like to teach at the Make Up For Ever NYC Academy?
One of my dreams was actually to go to the Make Up For Ever academy. I always wanted to attend the school in Paris and unfortunately my life took a different turn and I couldn’t go. So, to actually be in the academy, teaching students my art, is a dream come true. It’s a total full-circle moment for me. For everything I’ve ever achieved in my career, this accomplishment is the most dear to my heart.

The experience was incredible because people are there to learn and they want to be there. I love to have an audience that truly wants to be there. The students are interactive; they’re happy to learn.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists or photographers?
Keep working on your craft. Believe in yourself. It’s ok to get inspiration from others and as you grow, you change and you become your own artist. You stay true to your brand. In the beginning, I was told that I couldn’t do both. I did it anyway, and eventually branded MUAgraphy – a makeup artist turned photographer.

See more of Fidel’s work on Instagram or at http://fidelgonzalezmakeup.com

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