The untold truth of Manny MUA

Manny Gutierrez, who came to fame under the name Manny MUA, is a trailblazer. One of a small, but growing, number of men who are gaining prominence in the beauty industry, Gutierrez is helping to change the face of the industry and is also breaking down gender stereotypes. Gone are the days when beauty influencers were expected to be women; skilled artists like Gutierrez have completely changed the game.

Being a male in the industry has led to many challenges for the influencer in his professional career, but Gutierrez is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. From growing up as part of the LGBTQ community to being a male in a female-dominated industry, Gutierrez has faced quite a few hurdles to get where he is today. The challenges have only made him stronger, though, and motivated him to work even harder. Let's learn more about the blogger and YouTube star; here is the untold truth of Manny MUA.

Makeup has been his passion since childhood

Growing up, Gutierrez looked up to his mom. "She's beautiful inside and out," he told Teen Vogue. "I was very sheltered growing up so the only real beauty exposure I had was my mom. And still to this day she is my number one beauty icon."

He may not have had a lot of "beauty exposure," but his mom was enough to spark his initial interest in makeup. Gutierrez's fascination with it began when he was a kid, watching his mother put on her makeup. "As a child, I would watch my mom get ready for work and just sit there for hours watching her transform," he said. "However, it wasn't until much later on that I really started to dabble in makeup myself." While his mom inspired him from a young age, Gutierrez kept quiet about his passion for years, remaining silent about his interest beauty products throughout his teens.

He almost became a doctor

Gutierrez's family had no idea that he was interested in makeup, and expected him to follow a completely different career path. He was initially on track to become a doctor, a move that his family supported. When Gutierrez began exploring his love for cosmetics, it led to some tension in his family. "I did have push back in the beginning of my career because my parents weren't really sure what I was going to do with my life going in the route of makeup," he told Teen Vogue.

Gutierrez didn't want to upset his family, and initially blocked them on Instagram so they wouldn't know about his growing influence in the beauty industry. As his media presence grew, however, he couldn't keep his growing fame a secret any longer. His family became aware of it and worried about how his online presence would affect his plans for the future. "They were just like, 'If you're doing this makeup online, how do you feel like medical schools are going to be?" Gutierrez told Marie Claire. "They didn't understand then that it was my creative freedom."

Coming out as gay in a religious household was difficult

The disapproval Gutierrez faced from his family was not just because of his interest in makeup, but also because of his sexuality. He grew up in a Mormon family, and his parents were initially unsupportive of what they considered to be a lifestyle choice. "It was a no-no for my family and a no-no for my church," he said in a YouTube video, explaining that his parents didn't understand same-sex attraction and thought it was something that could be controlled. Gutierrez was so ashamed of his attraction to boys that he tried to "pray the gay away," and even went to counseling to change his sexuality.

"I wanted to make them happy," he told Marie Claire. "I got straight As in school. I was the perfect child, except this one aspect of myself. It was very, very difficult at first, but we got through it and here I am, lashes and all." His parents eventually came around and learned more about the LGBTQ community. Today, they accept their son for who he is and are fully supportive of his sexuality and his career.

His dad is fiercely protective

While his parents didn't know how to handle having a gay son when Gutierrez first came out, they ultimately just wanted their child to be happy. Once they began to understand their son's sexuality, they came to accept it. Gutierrez's parents now fully support him, and his dad has even publicly shut down someone who criticized the makeup artist. In an article for The Blaze in 2017, Matt Walsh said that men in the beauty industry, like Gutierrez, are "largely the result of parents who didn't really do much in the way of shaping their kids." He argued that fathers need to teach their sons how to be "real" men.

Gutierrez responded by tweeting an open letter from his dad to Walsh. "Not only am I proud of what he has accomplished but I'm more proud of the person he has become," wrote his dad. "I know the words you speak are from lack of knowing anybody from the LGBT community… they are some of the most real and kind hearted individuals that walk this planet of ours."

Sephora hired him even though he had no professional makeup experience

When Gutierrez finally made the decision to accept himself and embrace his love of makeup, he caught a bit of a lucky break. While he had spent years admiring the art from afar, he had no professional experience in the makeup industry. Fortunately, he didn't let this stop him and decided to pursue his passion anyway. He had been working as a waiter in a restaurant that was about to close. Knowing he would soon be out of a job, he decided to give makeup a try. 

"A friend posted on his Facebook that Sephora was hiring, and I was kind of already interested in makeup," Gutierrez told HelloGiggles. "I thought it was a fun thing. So I applied and I got it even though I had no prior experience. I started working at Sephora and the makeup I was already wearing, I was like, I might as well post about it on social media. So that's what I started doing."

His secret for how to achieve flawless skin is simpler than you might think

When we think of beauty products and looking flawless, we usually think of what to put on our face to achieve the perfect look. Gutierrez pointed out that many people are missing a critical step. "Stay hydrated!" he told Teen Vogue. "That's the most important thing in my opinion. Drink plenty of water and use moisturizer every single day."

According to Gutierrez, hydrating not only keeps your skin healthy but also helps keep your makeup looking fresh. "I know people want to look beat in their makeup and they want to look flawless, and they think that makeup is going to get them there, but it's really taking care of your skin and hydrating," he told HelloGiggles. "That stuff is more important to make sure that the makeup looks better on your skin. People always ask me, 'Why does my makeup not last all day?' or, 'Why do I look so oily throughout the day?' If you're not really priming or prepping or moisturizing your skin, then it's not going to look great."

Fellow male beauty vlogger Patrick Starr is his BFF

While there still aren't many men in the beauty industry, their numbers are steadily growing. One of Gutierrez's closest friends is another male beauty influencer, Patrick Simondac, also known as Patrick Starrr. The two share a deep bond, and together are helping to redefine the beauty world. While some might expect the two to be rivals, Gutierrez says that this isn't the case.  "Patrick is my best friend, and that's truly all that matters," he told Refinery29. "Why should I feel competitive toward him when… he's succeeding and I want him to feel happy? He pushes me to be better."

Simondac also has Gutierrez's back. "Our friendship is like no other," he told TeenVogue. "He's like a brother to me. This journey through social media has been so overwhelming, but it has been so much easier having a friend going through the same things!"

Encouraging inclusivity with his makeup line

In 2018, Gutierrez launched his very own makeup line, Lunar Beauty. One of his goals in doing this was to promote inclusivity by creating products that cater to everyone, regardless of gender or skin tone. His first product was an eyeshadow palette. "I really wanted this palette to be for everyone," he told Glamour. "So that's why the whole left side is neutral — with eight tonal colors in total — and then the six shades on the right are for pops of color… It's great if your everyday look is more neutral, but you also want to have a little fun here and there."

By having a variety of colors in the pallette, Gutierrez ensured that it would appeal to a wide variety of people. "There have been so many doors opened for better inclusivity in beauty recently," he said. "I feel like there's no excuse for brands to skip over deeper complexions or superlight complexions now. … That's why it's really important for me to have a range of colors that I feel like any skin tone could wear."

Bringing awareness to the LGBTQ community through makeup

As a proud member of the LGBTQ community, Gutierrez does his best to use his platform to raise awareness. He launched his first eyeshadow palette from Lunar Beauty in the month of June for a reason. "I'm a member of the LGBTQ community, and I feel like we need more representation," he told Glamour

"In the makeup world, especially, it's always been really, really hard for men in beauty to kind of be seen in a way beyond being a 'fad.' That's why I timed the launch to Pride month: not only to bring awareness to my brand and who I am, but also to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community as a whole."

Gutierrez isn't just repping his community, but also men in the beauty industry. "I feel like, as a whole, the world has shifted a bit," he said. "People are much more accepting and are willing to go to bat for you nowadays."

He wants boys in beauty to keep doing what they love, despite negativity

Being a male in the beauty industry poses some unique challenges, but Gutierrez works past the negativity. He hopes that, as the world changes, other young men who love makeup will be inspired to follow their hearts. "When I was starting off… it wasn't easy," he told Glamour. " Especially four years ago, it was much less of a 'normal' thing for men to be wearing makeup."

His advice to boys who are into beauty is to "continue to do it if you love it," despite negativity from others. "That's what I always tell men who ask me how I continue to do what I do," he said. "It's just because I love it. It makes me happy, and I feel like people will come around eventually… if you're having a hard time in that moment, just remember that it becomes so much better. The more confident you become in yourself — which will happen — you'll start to care less and less about what people think."