When we got to chat with celebrity makeup artist Jelly Eugenio, he was on his third client of the day—and still had one more to go that evening after our shoot. He had been client-hopping around the metro since early that morning, from his muse Nadine Lustre’s endorsement shoot, to another client in Makati, to one in Eastwood, to our shoot in BGC, then back to Makati later. Yet there was no trace of fatigue on his face; it was apparent that he still had lots of energy. Energy, that no doubt comes from passion for what he does—and the passion to help women look beautiful.
Jelly is all of 23 years old, yet he’s got drive that rivals those of his older peers. He might be the go-to beauty guru of Nadine, but that doesn’t mean he’s resting on his laurels, just banking on Nadine’s success. He has also gained the trust of many other celebrities like Arci Munoz, Sarah Lahbati, Bela Padilla, Yassi Pressman, and even Anne Curtis.
“It’s always better that the client knows what you’re gonna do—me, I ask the client tons of questions so I can understand them fully well,” Jelly says of his style. “Makeup should always be a collaboration between the artist and the client. It’s the client who wears the makeup so she should be comfortable with it.”
His relationship with Nadine is one of the most exciting and colorful collaborations in the industry, with them coming up with different “Nadine Looks” every year. “What’s nice about doing makeup on Nadine is hindi sya naha-haggard or baka yung makeup ko tumatagal na rin talaga kasi kabisado ko yung mukha nya. I know what to use on her since we’ve been together for three years, sabay kami nag-start sa industry.”
The chikahan during a magazine feature shoot where Jelly was sent to do then up-and-coming Nadine’s makeup and James’ grooming has evolved into a unique friendship that goes way beyond work. And this harmony is apparent in the stunning beauty looks they come up with together. “Nadine is an artist like me [both are into cosplay as well], we don’t want to stick to one look. When we started, it was all about simple, round eyes; the baby girl look,” he says. “Last year, we did a lot of the wingtip look, and now we’re trying to do more edgy ones because that’s the direction Nadine is going also in terms of style and her career.”
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Read on for more of our interview with Jelly—he got very generous giving makeup advice, too…
Soft, full brows, dewy skin, nude lips... freshness, Jelly style.
On doing makeup for Nadine: “She can’t sit still on a chair for two hours so you have to be fast. I like doing quick makeup also, so sometimes 30 minutes lang, but minsan ang dami nyang gustong gawin. There’s already a signature 'Nadine Look.' Yung face nya kasi—if you do something different, damihan ang eyeshadow, or do liner a certain way, her face is gonna change. She’s gonna look like people. Marami syang ibang kamukha because that's the face of a real Filipina. So the goal is always to make her look like herself even when we’re experimenting.”
On what Nadine likes: “She’s into the fresh and natural look, but she has standards na now, like fresh and classy as I said. Though sometimes depends lang also sa mood ko. Minsan relaxed lang sya sa makeup chair ko tapos pink na yung eyeshadow nya.”
Genius makeup application tip: “I do the eyes first para kung may eyeshadow na malaglag malilinis ko pa sya unlike if I start off with base or foundation. At the end of the day, fresh pa rin yung kailangan ng client so dapat malinis.”
Another proof of Jelly's impressive talent? Iconic international beauty brand NARS has also tapped him to be a sponsored makeup artist.
On learning from YouTube vlogs: “When people ask me where I learned to do makeup, Youtube University talaga ang sagot ko. Everything’s there! When I was starting out, si Michelle Phan yung sikat—her “Bad Romance” tutorial, her “Barbie” tutorial. But yun lang, wala naman yung mga ginagamit nyang products here so good thing eventually nagkaroon na ng mga Pinoy beauty vloggers.”
Jelly’s tried-and-tested beauty tips…
1. "Good skincare is important."
2. "Try the 'drunk blush' application. Put blush at the center of the face so it looks like your skin is naturally blushing."
3. "I mix blush shades to get the right shade—sometimes I start off with cream then I put powder over it."
4. "Natural makeup is the best—it’s you, only better."
5. “Look for lipstick with good pigment and good staying power. Hassle yung sa umaga dami mo pang ginagawa sa lips mo so dapat your product isa na lang but long-lasting.”
5. “I’m so serious about this—‘pag sinabing glowing skin, hindi dapat hinighlight lang yan. It should really be good skin,'with that lit-from-within glow.”
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Photographs from Instagram.com/jellyeugenio / Banner artwork by Jana Jimenez / Interview by Angela Sy