Makeup allows us to reinvent ourselves — to dream, play, and create alter egos without losing sight of the features that make us unique. If any one YouTube star encompasses those qualities and more, it’s Manny MUA, Maybelline’s first male brand ambassador and an absolute beauty boss who shatters gender stereotypes each time he applies a coat of mascara to those luscious lashes and invites followers to learn more about his life.
You may have heard Manny’s name mentioned more than a few times in past months — most notably, connected to the highly anticipated Jeffree Star x Manny MUA makeup launch, which includes the Skin Frost highlighter and Velour liquid lipsticks. Manny and Star are both business partners and best friends who often appear together in informative and hilarious makeup tutorials.
Perhaps you’ve heard about Manny via news that Black Moon Cosmetics filed a lawsuit against Manny MUA and Star for allegedly copying their holographic moon logo on their packaging (the issue has since been resolved). No matter what obstacles or challenges are thrown his way — and despite some of the ugly backlash Manny received when Maybelline anointed him their first cosmetics king — the 26-year-old handles it all with grace and poise.
After all, the vlogger has more than three million subscribers to his Manny MUA YouTube channel and 3.8 million Instagram followers — with so many fans, there’s only so much attention you can give haters.
Manny Gutierrez grew up in a strict Mormon family in San Diego. As a child, Manny says he watched his mother apply makeup and “transform,” and that her makeup routine inspired his fascination with beauty. His own makeup experimental phase didn’t begin until much later, and the straight-A student was on the fast track to medical school when he announced to his family that he preferred a career in beauty to one in medicine. Manny has said his decision wasn’t met with understanding and acceptance at first, but that didn’t stop him from accepting jobs at Sephora and MAC makeup counters to help sharpen his makeup skills.
“At 17, after his parents found suggestive (or ‘flirty’) texts he wrote to another boy he met on MySpace, they all agreed to get him ‘help’ at a weekly counseling session designed to reverse homosexuality.”
Breaking the news about his career choice wasn’t the only major hurdle in Manny’s life. In a brave and inspirational video that has more than 1.4 million views, Manny revealed how he had feelings for boys in junior high and high school that frightened him and that he would pray for them to go away. At 17, after his parents found suggestive (or “flirty”) texts he wrote to another boy he met on MySpace, they all agreed to get him “help” at a weekly counseling session designed to reverse homosexuality.
This story could have ended on a horrific note, but was resolved with Manny and his family coming to terms with his truth and the makeup artist proving you can get through crazy difficult times in life by simply holding true to yourself. (Also: it doesn’t hurt to have a badass “savage” dad in your corner who is willing to take on trolls and respond to mean tweets about his son’s success with Maybelline).
With Manny in full control of his identity, he was ready to take on the world and make a name for himself in beauty. The self-described “Boy Beauty Vlogger” has made whip-smart business choices and comes across as so genuine and good natured that it’s easy to understand how he connected to other major vloggers like Star, Laura Lee, and Jaclyn Hill.
His Makeup Geek x MannyMUA limited-edition eye-shadow palette was a stroke of genius, his Skin Frost highlighter collaboration with Star continues to gain rave reviews by fellow beauty vloggers and customers, and Manny merely has to mention a product like Morphe makeup brushes on his channel and countless fans who trust him are inspired to invest in the brand.
Manny’s honesty and groundbreaking decision to rep Maybelline are paving the way for more men to feel comfortable expressing themselves through makeup. By applying his work ethic and talent to a field in which he feels passionate, Manny has established himself as a beauty star who is only beginning to show the world what he has in store for us. We can hardly wait.
Image Source: Getty / Emma McIntyre / Stringer