Last November, we here at ABS-CBN Lifestyle broke some very good news to you: That for the first time in a Miss Universe pageant held outside the US, the makeup team will be purely composed of artists from the host country (that's us, the Philippines!)—and the very talented bunch we'll be closely watching? The MAC Philippines Team!
As the pageant's official makeup sponsor, MAC Cosmetics is not only in charge of the contestants' makeup, but also of the current title holder, VIPs, judges, and hosts', from January 12-30, 2017. They'll also be doing a beauty consultation for the candidates once they arrive at their official residence which is Conrad Manila, and will be providing each of them with their very own Miss Universe Beauty Kit as well (the products in it are just love!).
[related: Hot Stuff: Inside The Glam-Packed Beauty Kit Each Miss Universe 2016 Contestant Will Be Receiving]
There are 19 makeup artists on their official lineup for the contestants and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, who will be taken care of by her beauty mentor Gery Penaso.
First row: Emer Buenaventura, Ria Aquino, Ryan Wong, Raf Manosca
Second row: Apple Fara-on, Pong Niu, Gery Penaso, RB Chanco, Mikee Raymundo, Leah Casio
Third row: Omar Ermita, Angel Manhilot, Byron Velasquez, Don de Jesus, Jaycee Matias, Al de Leon, Eman Concepcion, Kusie Ho, and Anacleta Paredes
They also have a special events team who will be in charge of the Miss Universe team, VIPs, judges, and hosts (and that special guest... wonder who he is...): Renen Bautista, Pia Reyes, Bea Colet, Alex Lisbona, Jorence Delimos, Cielo Desamparado, Erin Cabrera, Mhike Gonzales, and Jaja Pangilinan.
We got an exclusive invite to their makeup workshop last week, and here's what we're so sure of: They're more than ready to take on this major challenge of dolling up the most beautiful women in the universe amid the pressure of quick outfit changes, pageant chaos, and all. Check out part of the demo they had at the workshop:
We, of course, did not also miss the opportunity to ask them what they're most excited about being part of the official makeup team for Miss Universe:
"Last time Miss Universe was held in Manila was 1994, I was still a kid then. I'm a pageant fanatic, so I really made room for this Miss Universe in my schedule. It's very hectic, in a week five or four days straight, also out of town... I don't do out of town anymore, but for this I'm game. I really tried to squeeze it in my schedule I cannot talaga miss it. When will Miss Universe be here or when will you be able to work for Miss Universe again as a makeup artist abroad? I've already started researching on the candidates, scanning through the photos; I'm 60% finished already." —RB
"Since we have full access, we'll also be able to see the drama... yun that's exciting also." —Gery
"It's really exciting to be one of the official makeup artists; ever since I was young, dream ko makapanood ng Miss Universe, but God is good, he gave me the opportunity magawa ang Miss Universe talagang one for the books. It's such a milestone for me and I prioritized na the swimsuit competition, national costume, evening gown [*he will be out of the country on pageant night though as he's doing Lea Salonga's makeup for her concert at the Sydney Opera House]. I did Malaysia when they went here, I think may laban sya. And also sana mapunta sa'kin si Colombia, nakikita ko palaban sya, and of course si Miss Philippines, who I'm friends with also." —Kusie
"I'm excited to work with a room full of talented makeup artists and the candidates different skintones different nationalities. I wanna try doing yung women of color and Asian, I'd like to take on the challenge of doing different nationalities. I've been stalking the girls on Instagram, I look at the Miss Universe website, I research also about the products... I'm exploring more on races we don't do the makeup of often." —Pia
"I plan on making anybody who sit on my chair as beautiful as I can. I'm excited as well about getting to bond with my fellow makeup artists and I wanna see the contestants, the whole pageant scene is fascinating naman to me talaga." —Anacleta
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Photographs by Jana Jimenez / Special thanks to Vanessa Vergara, Gaby Azarcon, and Gay Lao-Chen