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What It's Like Working As a Makeup Artist: Jelly Eugenio
Get to know the person behind Nadine Lustre's gorgeous looks.
COVER PHOTO Mark Jesalva

As you all know, we've been featuring professionals here on Candymag.com. We want to orient you, girls, on the career you're interested in or are looking forward to pursuing after graduation or once you get in college.

Today, we want to share with you our interview with one of the country's most famous makeup artists, Jelly Eugenio. Does his name sound familiar? That's because he's the go-to artist for celebrities like Yassi Pressman, Sarah Lahbati, and Nadine Lustre. If you're curious about his job or you want to be a makeup artist just like him, here's your chance to know more about him, his experiences, and a few lessons he's learned in his field of expertise.

  1. At what age did you decide that you're going to be a makeup artist?

    "I think I was 15 years old. My goal back then was to be a makeup artist by day and a call center agent by night so I could really help with our expenses at home."

  2. What was your very first gig?

    "I did creative makeup when I used to compete in performances in school but I think my first paid gig was probably a pageant back in college where I did the makeup of a friend who was one of the candidates. I tried to use a really dark-colored blush on her cheekbones. At that time I know it was a technique and I've seen a lot of it on magazines but I didn't know how to do it properly. I didn't even know it was called 'contouring.' It ended up looking like pasa on her face. #FAIL"

  3. Who are your favorite people to work with and why?

    Of course it's always exciting to work with celebrities during big events. Also, I love working with people who are challenging—a really good photographer, creative director, an amazing hairstylist, anybody who makes me squeeze out my creative juices. But maybe a favorite would be non-celebrity clients. They trust me to make a better version of themselves on special moments of their lives. I really love giving them a transformation. From simple to strikingly beautiful. It's always a challenge I really enjoy."

  4. Who are the makeup artists you look up to and why?

    "Juan Sarte. The expert on clean, precise, on-point beauty. It's really amazing how he does flawless makeup. I was lucky to have worked with him on a shoot where I did Nadine's makeup and he did Carmina's [Villaroel]. And at this TVC shoot, there was an extreme eye closeup. Imagine, the frame was just one eye up close, close enough that you can see every strand of hair, her contacts, etc. I saw his makeup on the monitors, his eyeliner was jet black and lashes were perfect while I was shaking, holding all of the makeup I could to touch up Nadine's eyes again. But it turned out fine, I was just overwhelmed to see my eye work 10 times closer. After that day, I was so inspired and I remember posting something like being ready for some extreme closeup shots. I've been practicing more and I feel more confident (hehe). I also look up to Ms.Ting's craft (Cristine Duque). I find her makeup really soft, feminine, and very sophisticated. And Owen Sarmiento's polished creative looks is also a really big inspiration.

  5. What are the qualities you think a makeup artist should possess so they make it in the industry just like you, too?

    "Be a good listener. Be efficient instead of fast. Be creative, be resourceful, and never stop learning."


  6. Please describe your typical workday for us.

    "A typical workday before: I wake up and leave before the sun rises, maybe at 3 or 4AM for early morning clients like graduations, weddings, event attendees, etc. then go to a celeb's shoot before lunch time (a taping or a photo shoot), and go to another client after and another one if the schedule still fits. Yes, I will try to book them all before.

    "Now, I always try to prioritize because I dont want to sacrifice the quality of the work I provide, especially for Nadine. I try to have enough sleep which is impossible and have breakfast before working. But sometimes, I dont know how, but something like my schedule before just happens. Not to brag, but the last time it happened was during OTWOL's finale day. I had 6 people in Tagaytay at 6AM, a prom client in Pasay City at 3PM, then the last was Nadine for the show's live ending. And it was a Friday! I was late for two hours! I was running, carrying my kit, and when I got into the backstage, Nadine was done with her makeup. I just did a little more polishing here and there and a little more touch-ups to make her brows on fleek.

    "That day, I finished at midnight. And the next day, I had an early call time. This already happened so many times. I don't know how I was able to go through those day. I don't advise you to do this. Lagarista si Jelly. 'Wag tularan si Jelly. Haha!

    "Celebrity looks are always a collaboration between them and myself. I think most makeup artists normally refer to Hollywood looks and runway trends, but what I need to make sure is that my personal touch, my style will always be there. I don't want to just make it look like a copy of another artist's work. Nobody likes a copycat. Celebrity makeup looks also depend on the outfits and events, and sometimes my mood, too."

  7. Was there ever a time when the person you're working with didn't agree with the look you gave her? How do you deal with situations like that?

    "I did a campaign for a brand and there's this foreign model who complained about me overdrawing my vivid pink Schiap lipstick over her tiny pout. Im not saying that she (as a model) should not be complaining, but the look we were doing was inspired by '80s disco and neon. I immediately called the director of the shoot and apparently, she only knew about the peg right then and there. She was the one who didn't know the peg, so it wasn't much of a problem. For clients though, if they say anything is too strong or too thin, I try to explain once why. If they still don't like it, I just give them what they want. Makeup should give you confidence and should never make you feel uncomfortable."


  8. What are your tips for aspiring makeup artists?

    "Always do your homework. Research. Watch videos. Never stop learning. Take inspiration from simple things, stare at the colors of a flower while you're stuck in EDSA traffic. If you can, always watch TV before you leave the house. It's funny because during the times Nadine and I were still experimenting, I would always try to copy the makeup I see on TV. I remember she had a guesting and that morning I saw Ate Regine Velasquez-Alcasid's smokey eyeshadow and nude lips while she was cooking on a TV show. That's what I did on Nadine, no fresh makeup, no soft look. I just did what I saw on Ate Reg, haha, and it looked nice naman. This is still something I do until now. Well, sometimes. Lastly, I think as service providers we should always listen to our clients more than talking a lot and fail to finish their look even after two hours. If you're going to do something, do it right, make it always 'on point'. Do the best you can, all the time."


  9. Are there any makeup schools in the country you can recommend for those who want to work in the industry like you?

    "I will just promote one school: YouTube University. Just kidding! I always tell people that because I didn't really go to a makeup school. I just watched YouTube videos back then and try it on my mom who has really small eyes. But I think there are schools for makeup that offer a variety of courses like Makeup Designory Manila and Center for Aesthetic Studies. Makeup bands also conduct workshops and you should be there if you can. It will help you a lot."


  10. What's your favorite and least favorite things about your profession?

    "My favorite thing would be shopping for new makeup and finding a new highlighter. Haha! I love everything about it so far—making people more beautiful and seeing them gain back their confidence and being part of magazine covers and big events. It takes you places, but it's also a headache to pack everything into a smaller kit. It does pay the bills but it's sooo expensive at the same time. And heavy, too. But I'm not complaining."

  11. What are the biggest misconceptions about makeup artists?

    "I don't know. Maybe it's just me but cab drivers think I'm a member of a rock band. I guess because I always wear black. Plus, they also think my telescopic chair is an electric guitar."

Follow Jelly on Instagram @jellyeugenio.

Who do you want us to interview next? Let us know in the comments and we'll try our very best to get them to talk to you. :)

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About the author
Ayessa De La Peña
Candymag.com Assistant Section Editor
I am Candymag.com's resident fangirl and ~*feelings*~ girl. When I'm not busy researching about what to write next on the website, I sleep, read books, and re-watch episodes of Friends.
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