January 30, 2017, 3AM, Philippine time – Miss France Iris Mittenaere was already wide awake for an important reason, her usual preps aside: To make sure she gets to fall in line early for her turn on Filipina celebrity makeup artist RB Chanco’s makeup chair. But then she still only managed to get the third slot—because RB, member of the official MAC Miss Universe makeup team, who counts ABS-CBN Chief Content Officer Charo Santos-Concio, host Kris Aquino, and actresses Julia Barretto and Erich Gonzales as her loyal clients, was pretty much the Helen of Troy of the pageant’s 2016 candidates.
[related: In Focus: Meet The Official Miss Universe 2016 Makeup Team]
Launching (prettifying) 12-15 beauties during the preliminaries and finals night itself, RB is one of the winningest members of the Miss Universe 2017 production team. Candidates would literally fight over a turn on her makeup chair; this after Miss Venezuela shared on social media her discovery that is RB’s stellar makeup talent when the latter did her face at the Miss Universe registration.
“Miss Venezuela took a photo of us after I did her makeup at registration, and then nag-trending—the next day, many other girls were looking for me, falling in line to get their makeup done,” RB recalls. Everyone was crazy about the stunning beauty look she did on Miss Venezuela that she became an instant celebrity on Latin American social media, with pageant fanatics messaging her on almost every imaginable app (from Instagram to Snapchat). Someone even cropped Miss Venezuela out of the picture she posted of the two of them to put the focus on RB. She has since also done Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Indonesia, and Miss Philippines, among others.
With Miss Venezuela
“We only had three to four hours for makeup so I did shortcuts but of course of high quality pa rin, what I learned from MAC, the five, ten, 15, minute face,” shares RB. “Key was also grace under pressure, a focused mind—you have to chill talaga.” For the pageant earlier today where their call time was 2AM, she was only running on two hours of sleep after getting home at 9PM from yesterday’s dress rehearsals.
[related: Hot Stuff: Inside The Glam-Packed Beauty Kit Each Miss Universe 2016 Contestant Will Be Receiving]
“She was a top contender but hindi ko naiisip who would win kasi for me pantay pantay sila they all became my friends,” she says of Miss France. “It was a surprise actually that she went to me during the prelims because I did not do her makeup for registration. But when she sat on my chair, she told me, 'I follow you on Instagram and you’re the best. I wanted to do something I haven’t done before—do anything you want, I trust you.” RB describes Miss France as quiet and timid, but very nice and patient. The new Miss Universe even signed RB's copy of the souvenir program with a sweet message, "For the best makeup artist, bisous de Paris."
The look RB created for Iris? Dewy skin, fab contouring, modern eyebrows, which was a hit not just with Iris but also with the head of the Miss Universe France organization. “[Iris] told me that their parang Jonas (Gaffud of Aces & Queens), told her that I have to be the one to do her makeup because they super love the look I did for the prelims and they want me to recreate that.” And we sure all loved Miss France’s look as well—fresh yet sophisticated, glowing in all the right places.
RB and Miss Universe 2016, Miss France, Iris Mittanaere, during the preliminaries.
Fun fact: RB was also responsible for Miss Colombia’s makeup today, while MAC colleague Emer Buenaventura did Miss Haiti’s. They had their own cute announcement moment, holding hands as they waited in anticipation for the winner, with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s beauty mentor, Gery Penaso, present as well:
[related: The Glam Squad Diaries: RB Chanco On Erich Gonzales’ Signature Glow]
“It’s any makeup artist’s—big or small, old or new—dream come true to be able to step on the Miss Universe stage, to be able to do the delegates, and be friends with them. Behind the glamour, they’re all real people—the camaraderie was amazing, learning about different cultures and different ugali was wonderful. It’s truly an experience that you’ll cherish,” she adds.
But while the honor of doing the makeup of this year’s Miss Universe is one for the books for RB, one other thing stands out more about this once-in-a-lifetime experience for her and the rest of the artists in the brilliant roster of MAC Cosmetics Philippines: “I feel so appreciated—us as makeup artists we’re also sanay that clients dictate their look, but these candidates, they give you the freedom to do what you want. Iba yung appreciation, it felt so genuine, na 'Wow I really feel that I’m such a good makeup artist.'”
With Miss Colombia
And more than likes and followers on social media, that genuine appreciation is the best gift any beauty maven can ask for—as for the rest of us Filipino spectators, we can't help but be proud of the amazing work RB and the entire all-Filipino MAC Miss Universe Official Makeup Team has done throughout the duration of the pageant festivities, proving once again to the global arena just how talent Filipinos are.
ALSO READ: In Focus: Discovering The Many Layers Of Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere
Photographs from Instagram.com/rbchanco