By Margarita Hirapetian


Makeup artistry isn’t just being able to artfully apply a smokey eye. Of course smoky eyes and proper contouring have their place, but a lot of makeup artists go above and beyond, creating looks that are simply astonishing. They are essentially artists who use skin as their canvas, and the transformations they bring about awe and dazzle anybody lucky enough to behold them. We love seeing makeovers that are not only beautiful but that make you take a step back and wonder, how? How was this accomplished? How can someone be so talented and skilled? Makeup artist Anel Anaya’s work will definitely have you asking these questions. She is a force, a versatile force that can go from painting intricate designs to doing special effects makeup to toning it all down for a radiant bridal look. It’s absolutely amazing. 


Anel got started as a makeup artist back in 2000 in Ontario, California at a cosmetology school called Marinelo. Years later she won a scholarship at Ruby’s Makeup Academy and took first place of the artistry world of makeup. Looking at her work, there’s no doubt that she deserves first place in all she does. Perhaps her most elaborate work is the Dia de los Muertos-inspired looks she creates that feature beautifully vibrant colors and intricate brush strokes. You could even say they belong in a museum – they’re that captivating and striking, and rendered with great skill. It’s a skill that really seems like something that has been gifted to a person, although of course hard work and lots of practice go into it as well.


For Anel, makeup is not just work – it is her passion, her craft, her comfort, and her world. She has stated in the past that the artistic side of makeup has saved her from depression. She explains, “I can really say that losing my mother has been one of the hardest things ever in my life. But she made me realize the gift I have in a very unique way. She put me as her last wish to do her makeup. And that was a sign for me to keep pushing and not give up with makeup, and I haven't stop since then.” A lot of creatives can attest to the fact that art in general is very soothing, and can rescue people from difficult situations and life circumstances. It’s not necessarily a surprise to learn that it has done that for Anel.



When it comes to the MUA industry, Anel says she’d like to see it evolve into a more supportive environment: “I would love to see the MUA industry be a lot more supportive to one another, and more competitive in a very supporting way. To learn from each other and not drag each other down.” She also readily admits that her least favorite part of the process is when a client “holds me back from doing my creative looks.” This can definitely be a frustrating part of the experience of being a makeup artist, but it also probably pales when compared to the joy of working every day in a medium that is your passion. Anel’s favorite aspect of makeup is “entering different twilight zones in my own creative mind with no limits.” When you look at her work, you can easily see what she means. It absolutely takes a creative mind with no limits to come up with some of the more fearless and sophisticated looks that Anel comes up with. Her inspiration comes from her dreams, her emotions, and also from movies.

Anel further feels that makeup artistry has come a long way, but could certainly get more recognition than it currently enjoys. Makeup artists are more and more often becoming recognized for their incredible work, but for some, they may not be thought to be as skilled as traditional artists. This is patently not the case, however, especially when you see some of the truly unique, painstaking, and many-faceted looks that makeup artists bring into the world. Not getting the recognition they deserve can be difficult for a makeup artist, but Anel’s advice is to never give up on your dreams. She also says, “When you’re born with the gift, use it but don’t abuse it.”

As far as the future is concerned, Anel plans to have her own makeup studio one day. She’d also love to be a makeup artist for a big celebrity like Jennifer Lopez or Lady Gaga. Other than that, Anel says, “Only God knows where He’s going to take me in my own fantasy world of makeup.” 


Escape into Anel’s Facebook page ( where you can see videos and photos of her incredible work, and prepare to be awestruck!