Rebecca Mena is a junior studying communication and media arts at Montclair State University. Mena’s love of makeup led her to create a YouTube channel where she demonstrates her nontraditional makeup techniques, setting her apart from other makeup artists. She spoke with Montclarion Assistant Video Editor Annabel Reyes about her passion and professional goals.
Q: Why do you love doing makeup?
A: I like makeup because it expresses your inner beauty and your talent. It’s not only makeup, but it’s also the art behind it. I feel like you can really tell your story by being creative or doing a simple look because it really defines who you are and your mood from day to day. It’s fun. It’s not meant to be serious, so I feel like it’s really good to learn new things and try new things every day.
Q: What sparked your interest in wanting to be a makeup artist?
A: What sparked my interest in being a makeup artist is when I was in middle school and high school, I started watching YouTube and really getting into the beauty community and watching how they did makeup. I was always so fascinated because back then, I didn’t wear makeup at all, but I saw a lot of girls wearing it so I was like, ‘All right, let me try it.’ So, my dad took me to Sephora, and I purchased my first eyeliner and mascara. From there, I felt like I wanted to learn more and try new things and try eyeshadow, try foundation and that’s what really got me started.
Q: Can you elaborate on the content of your YouTube channel and why you started it?
A: I started my YouTube channel because I really want to open doors for other people. I want to teach people how to do things because, when I was learning, I didn’t have my mom teach me. I really was just learning from YouTube, and I wanted to help other people my age or younger. Whether you are more advanced or whether you’re just beginning, you can learn new things every day and learn how to do makeup really well.
Q: Do other makeup artists on YouTube inspire you?
A: For sure. I follow so many makeup artists from day to day, whether they have a smaller following or more of a higher following. I feel like natural makeup or more intricate, detailed makeup really inspires me to push myself to do better. Whether it’s doing more rainbow looks or whether it’s doing more neutral tone looks, I’m always thinking of something new to do or something different because I really like standing out and being different from other people.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in communication and media arts at Montclair State?
A: A lot of people ask me that. I decided to major in communication and media arts because I wanted to do public relations for L’Oreal or for a big makeup company. Now that I’m really getting a feel for what I love, the more I go through school and the more I advance in my makeup skills, I really feel like it’s a good median between doing makeup and the business side of it.
Q: What advice would you give to those who are interested in starting their own YouTube channel?
A: The advice I would give out to people wanting to start out in the makeup industry would definitely be to not focus on what other people are going to think, and not to be shy, and to just do it because the longer you wait, the more you’re going to regret that you should’ve started earlier.
Whether you’re good or whether you still have things to work on, just do it to get yourself out there because the more you work on your skills, the better you are going to get with time and the more people are going to see how much you’ve practiced and how much you’ve grown over the few months or years. For anyone starting out, I would definitely say to believe in yourself and be yourself.
Q: What was one of your favorite makeup styles that you put out on your Instagram?
A: One of my favorite styles that I put out on my Instagram would definitely be the “Bratz challenge” look that I did. That was going viral all over Instagram, and I really wanted to recreate something. I feel like that look was really the start of how I pushed myself on getting creative. I feel like that was really fun recreating a look that transformed me into something different, and it was really fun to do.
Q: From your perspective, do you think everyone should wear makeup?
A: Not everyone has to wear makeup, but I feel like I need to wear it because it’s a part of me. That’s all I know. I love wearing makeup and not necessarily because makeup makes me feel more beautiful, but it definitely gives me more confidence and essentially enhances my inner beauty and my natural beauty.