Gabriel Zamora stumbled upon his love for makeup by accident.
The then high school student enjoyed acting, but found that his “small eyes” and “thin, sparse” eyebrows didn’t translate well on camera.
A Google search for “How to make your eyes bigger” revealed a cache of YouTube videos, replete with demonstrations and suggestions.
Instantly, the Los Angeles native was hooked.
“I’m not a trained makeup artist, I never worked at a makeup counter,” Zamora said. “I learned everything from YouTube. So I’m a product of my environment, in a sense, because now I’m working on YouTube videos with makeup.”
Zamora will join other makeup mavens, including Michelle Phan, Desi Perkins, LustreLux and Christen Dominique, on Nov. 5 and 6 at Ipsy’s Generation Beauty at San Francisco's Pier 27. This is the first time the sold-out event has come to the Bay Area.
The journey that started with one product when he was 17 years old – white eyeliner to help his eyes stand out – led Zamora two months ago to the Los Angeles-based beauty-box subscription service. Every month, Ipsy members pay $10 for a Glam Bag that includes samples of a slew of trending beauty products, which they have the option of buying in full size.
And what makes this breakthrough even more special?
“I’m the first boy,” Zamora crowed of his newly minted position as an Ipsy stylist.
“Makeup has no rules, makeup has no boundaries, and now … makeup has no gender,” said Zamora, who will also be the only male makeup artist at Generation Beauty. “I think it’s really fun that we can normalize makeup on an everyday basis.”
It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though.
Zamora admits to struggling with self-doubt and anxiety because posting videos online meant he was vulnerable. It wasn’t until February that he was able to move past the crippling fear and post his work on YouTube.
“It takes a lot of talking to yourself [and] realizing that this industry is going to be a little harsh,” Zamora said. “I get great comments, but I also get those negative comments. There’s a lot of people who say, ‘Men shouldn’t wear makeup’ or ‘Why are you wearing this?’ or other derogatory comments. And you have to get a tough skin.”
It took time, Zamora acknowledges, but he is finally in a place where he feels comfortable filming himself on YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat and not focusing on the naysayers. Instead, he interacts with his supporters – and moves on.
That’s what success looks like to Zamora, as well as the feeling of being truly happy with what he does.
“Makeup is art at the end of the day and you can’t really put art in a box. Art is free … art is sometimes emotion; art should just be an expression of yourself and on yourself, sometimes,” he said.
By way of advice for other makeup stylists, Zamora suggested using social media to follow others in the field and study their craft. To makeup lovers, who want to try their hand at styling, but are instead stuck on the sidelines, Zamora said: “Just do it.”
Gabriel Zamora’s obsessions
Favorite social media platform: Snapchat
Favorite video editing software: iMovie
Won’t leave home without: Sunscreen
Loving that look: No-makeup makeup
Dying to get my hands on: tarteist PRO Amazonian clay palette
Foundation: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Foundation
Concealer: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer
Bronzer: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Give Me Sun!
Highlighting powder: Bronze Glow by Bobbi Brown
Blush: Cheeky by Tarte Cosmetics
Lipstick: Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Gemini
Eyeshadow: Morphe’s 35O – 35 Color Nature Glow Eyeshadow Palette
Brows: All Benefit Cosmetics all day
False lashes: Lilly Lashes
Makeup brushes: Morphe
Editor’s note: Gabriel Zamora’s beauty tips have been edited for brevity.