Makeup Artist Mally Roncal on Beyoncé and Hard Work

  • Written By:Bobbi Brown
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There was no other way than to hit the ground, roll up your sleeves and just do it.

by Bobbi Brown

I first met makeup artist Mally Roncal backstage during New York Fashion Week and have been following her career ever since. The self-taught makeup artist has worked with everyone from Beyoncé to Jennifer Lopez and started her own brand, Mally Beauty in 2005. We caught up to talk about how she got her start, working with Beyoncé, and her best advice. I can't wait to see what she does next. Listen to the full episode here.

On starting out as a makeup artist…

There was no Instagram. There really were no makeup schools. I really just started diving in. I would go to Duane Reade and buy makeup and try to make a kit. I would put makeup anything and everything. I just started hustling. I was lucky enough to have Todd Oldham as a friend. And he asked me to come and do some shoots for him. I was just creating these looks and just being free. I ended up getting some gigs, like Women’s Wear Daily covers. There was no other way than to hit the ground, roll up your sleeves and just do it.

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On working with Beyoncé…

I never set out to become a celebrity makeup artist. I didn’t really care about that, I Just wanted to put makeup on people and create art. I just wanted to do what I love. At the time, there were all these models on the covers of the magazines. My agent said to me, I just get this feeling that celebrities are going to be the next supermodels. And he said: I’m going to put you with celebrities. So, I was doing Celine Dion, which was amazing. And then I was working with the Osbournes. And one day I get this phone call from my agent and he said, you need to come back now and said, there is this girl named Beyoncé and she’s going to do this premiere for Austin Powers and I need you to come and do the makeup.

I did her face in, I kid you not, 10 minutes max. It was a little concealer, mascara, gloss. And she stops and she said, “Oh no, makeup takes two hours.” And I said, “With your face and my makeup it takes 10 minutes.”

This was before the internet, so you had to wait for your pictures to come out. I get a phone call from Yvette, and she said, we had three different makeup artists and three different premiers and Beyoncé pointed to your picture and said, “Find out what that girl is doing for the next two years.” I threw myself to the floor, screamed, and cried. And that started a whirlwind. I was so blessed and lucky to get on that ride with her.

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On creating her line, Mally Beauty…

I had always wanted to have a makeup line, there was just never the right moment. I will never forget, I was in LA doing an album cover for Mary J. Blige. I had been on the road, I was exhausted and I called my husband and said, it’s time. With all of the press, it was my opportunity to strike while the iron was hot. It was just about how to create the looks I was doing but fast and easy for people who don’t have the time. I really felt strongly about wanting to be the person that communicated my secrets, the tips, the products because I trusted myself and I knew that was going to be the connection. We had our first show [on QVC], we had I think, six products. And we had an hour show to launch and we sold out in 36 minutes. And that is when the rocketship started.

On her best advice...

Be grateful. I know that comes up a lot and sounds so Instagram-y. I find the minute I start to feel sorry for myself, I look at what I do have and what makes it special and it fires my ass up again.

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