Mac Daddyy, a.k.a. Angel Merino, is a popping celebrity makeup artist, beauty influencer and business owner. He’s worked with everyone from Chanel Iman to Tinashe to Karrueche Tran, and many more. He also has an independent cosmetics line, Artist Couture.
In this exclusive interview, Mac Daddy dishes on his start in the beauty industry, tips for aspiring celebrity MUAs, his goals and much more.
Where are you from?
I’m born and raised in Southern California! I currently reside in Los Angeles and my parents are [of] Salvadorian descent.
When did you join the makeup industry and why?
I’ve always been fascinated with makeup, ever since I was a little boy! My mom would take me shopping with her at department stores and I would just be in awe like a little kid in a candy store! Everything was so shiny and colorful! Throughout different jobs I acquired in my teen years I found myself always coming back to makeup. Dancing has always been a passion of mine and at one point I taught at different studios to make some extra cash. I took it upon myself to do all of the dancers’ makeup before competitions and performances.
I wasn’t very good at it at all, but at least they all looked equally as bad lol. I got more and more practice with each performance and even started doing some of the studio moms. The more I did it, the more I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the idea of being able to make people feel great about themselves. A couple of years down the line I got a job working at a department store in cosmetics. I worked for tons of brands and really was able to develop my skills and gain experience.
How long did it take you to perfect your craft?
I feel when you’re an artist you never stop learning and growing. However, it did take me a few years to really feel confident in doing makeup on other people and actually charge them for it. If I had to pinpoint a number, I would say four. And that’s doing makeup day in and day out, working at a makeup counter, freelancing, and practicing my techniques on myself when I had spare time. It takes a lot of commitment, hard work and dedication to master your art.
When did you become a celebrity makeup artist and what advice do you have for inspiring celebrity MUA’s?
Once social media actually became a thing I started to get a lot of attention from celebs. It’s crazy how many of them have been in my DMs wanting to work with me, but my first celebrity was Christina Milian. I met her at an event called Beautycon, I was invited due to my large social media following. We were in a press line right next to each other and we immediately connected. We took a moment to chat, she complimented my makeup, and she started following me on Instagram on the spot. I was totally freaking out.
A few days later I received an email from her assistant asking me if I was available to do her makeup for an HGTV shoot. And that’s it, that’s all it took. She kept booking me and I was able to network with different people (Hairstylist, makeup artist, producers) that eventually led to other gigs.
For anyone wanting to become a celebrity MUA, location and environment is everything. You have to align yourself to meet people who can be potential “plugs” into the industry. Networking is everything. Putting yourself out there and not being afraid of rejection is very important. Social media has become such a great platform that has catapulted so many people’s careers. I would strongly encourage creating a professional Instagram account to showcase your work with great quality images, you never know who could be watching.
What is the most challenging thing about your job and how do you overcome those challenges?
Theres a lot of challenging things about my job. As a makeup artist its making sure everyone feels drop dead gorgeous after a good glam session. Everyone is so different and picky. It’s all about identifying your client’s personal makeup style and taking it to the next level.
As a beauty influencer, the biggest challenge is conceptualizing new content. Figuring out how to stay fresh and interesting amongst so many other talented beauty influencers. I always push myself to step outside of the box and comfort zone. Whenever things become stagnant I force myself into creative space for a re-up of inspiration.
Where would you like to take your brand in the next few years?
One of the best things I could have ever done was start my own cosmetics line, Artist Couture. The growth my company has had in the past two years has been mind-blowing and I’m so proud that I’ve done it all with my own funding. I want to continue to expand my product line and develop amazing quality products that will enhance and improve the life of glam boys and girls everywhere.
I want to continue to spread the message of self-love and empowerment. Ultimately I would love to see my line carried at a high-end retailer like Saks or Bloomingdale’s. The day I’m able to walk into either one of those store to shop and can sashay across the cosmetic department and see my line will be the day my life has been made. Definitely working hard to check that off my bucket list.
What’s your favorite high end and drug store products and why?
My favorite high-end product is Blush Nude lipstick from Tom Ford. One of the most beautiful, creamy, rosy nude color I’ve ever worn. I get soooo many compliments every time I wear it. My favorite drug store product is Neutrogena makeup wipes. So affordable and literally the best cleansing wipes to remove makeup.
Where did the name Mac Daddyy come from?
The way I got the name “Mac Daddyy” was so random! I came up with it way before I even knew social media was going to blow up and become such an amazing platform for me. I was working at MAC at the time and we would always play music while we would clean. A song came on by Mikey Jarrett called “Mack Daddy” and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. It was a little corny, but so catchy. It kinda just stuck. I would have never imagined it would be what people know me as now.
What beauty brands would you love to collaborate with in the future?
There are so many brands that I absolutely love, but there’s one in particular that really has a special place in my heart and that is MAC Cosmetics. I worked for the brand a little over three years and those years were absolutely life changing. I was 19 when I was first hired and worked there till I was about 22, some of the most pivotal years of my life. I was becoming an adult and finding myself. I had always struggled with self-identification, mainly because I didn’t have anyone I could relate and talk to about the way I was feeling inside. MAC was the first environment where I truly felt like I could be my authentic self. I would show up to work feeling so creative, strutting across the counter wearing and looking however i wanted and my individuality was celebrated.
The company has done a fabulous job in creating such an amazing culture that has cultivated such a prestigious standard within the industry. I got to work with some of the most amazingly talented people i have ever met and learn from them too! The daily interaction with customers taught me a lot about myself and enabled me to fall in love with teaching others about makeup and how to apply it. One of my favorite elements of the brand is their Viva Glam AIDS Foundation. The fact that I was getting paid to sell a lipstick and the total retail value of it was going to charity was mind-blowing. Leaving the company was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life, but I can absolutely say I left a better person and artist than I was when I started. Completely transformed and confident, ready to take on the world. MAC has that effect on you.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date?
One of my biggest accomplishments that I’m most proud of was landing a National Campaign and tour with Macy’s during Hispanic Heritage Month. I couldn’t believe such a mainstream brand had chosen me to represent my community alongside Mario Lopez and Don Omar. It was amazing being able to travel and meet some of my biggest supporters. It meant the world to me to be able to inspire people like myself that come from humble beginnings to achieve greatness and success regardless of who are what you are.
What is something your supporters may not know about you?
My followers may not know that if I wasn’t a makeup artist and beauty influencer I would probably be on tour with Beyoncé right now. Hitting the stage every night breaking it down with killer choreography lol! Overall, I’m just an average guy with big dreams like everyone else.