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Celebrity makeup artists

By: - Columnist
/ 08:34 PM November 14, 2012

There is a spoof from the old “Electric Company” TV show that I remember watching as a little girl. On a movie set, whenever the director screamed, “Makeup!” a lady with an oversized powder puff would hit one of the actors in the face.

This would go on quite a few times until the hapless chap was covered head to toe in layers of white powder. Thankfully, this didn’t affect how I saw makeup in the real world.

Putting on base, eyeliner, blush and lipstick (yes, that’s oversimplifying things) can be incredibly transformative, completely changing the reflection you see in the mirror. Add a certain color of eye shadow, you can be either the girl next door getting straight As, or the cheerleader mean girl that pushes everyone else around.


Special effects makeup can transform a human into a zombie, a vampire, or a werewolf (I love watching the making of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” seeing Oscar winner Rick Baker work his magic… It’s nothing short of fascinating).

It’s not just about looking good. When you see someone beautiful in that mirror staring back at you, it makes you feel great.

I’ve had the great fortune of working with some of the most talented makeup artists, some of whom I’m lucky to call my friends (I don’t mean just on Facebook). Let me introduce you to a few of them.

Juan Sarte

He is known for that clean and fresh look on faces like Judy Ann Santos and KC Concepcion. He has worked on countless advertisements, both on print and television. He was the man tasked to do the makeup of former President Corazon Aquino after her passing. And he has worked on many weddings, including my own.

I first met him when he was a production assistant on a commercial shoot I was doing. He came to my home to help me try on clothes for the sessions. Fast-forward to many years later, and he was a makeup artist for an Avon shoot (for other actors—and he did such an amazing job).

We’ve collaborated quite a few times—for editorials, concerts, television appearances, advertisements… He is constantly in demand, and rightfully so. It’s not just for his hands, but also for his disposition and calm demeanor.

Gela Laurel-Stehmeier


If the name is familiar, that’s because she belongs to the extremely artistic Laurel clan that includes renowned fashion designer Rajo, theater artist Victor (Cocoy), singer Iwi, and actress Denise.

We first met for a cover shoot, and she introduced herself as Rajo’s younger sister, but she quickly distinguished herself from him with her very grounded, “cowboy” personality. Her work can range from clean to ultra-glamorous, from shower-fresh to nighttime gorgeous. And she’s a lot of fun to talk to, as well as look at (like all the Laurels, she is very beautiful).

Steven Doloso

I was first introduced to Steven on the shoot for the album cover of “Inspired,” so I must give credit to Narciso Chan (once head of Sony Music Philippines) for the hook-up. We’ve worked together on many more projects since, including my debut concert in Seoul, South Korea in 2008.

With a pair of seductive eyes that see the inherent beauty in the face he is about to touch, he is fantastic. He’s always simply, but fabulously dressed. I always find myself looking at his shoes, whether they’re simple white slip-ons or patent leather red loafers.

Antonio Maximo

Antonio Maximo, better known as “Maxi,” is a Fil-Am makeup artist based in Los Angeles. He works on some of Hollywood’s more familiar faces, including Christina Milian, and one of the most iconic singers, Patti Austin.

It was during a double-bill with Miss Austin in San Francisco that I met him. His personality is loud, large and in-charge. His talent, however, speaks even louder. We actually first worked together at my Disney Concert Hall debut in 2008, and I’ve fallen deeper in love with his work since. It’s always a riot in the dressing room, but once it’s time to get to work, his game face comes on, and the result is dependably amazing.

More exciting for him is the launch of his own makeup line, Maxitone Cosmetics. Here’s hoping he returns to our shores to share his talents and products. This man from Quezon province has most certainly done himself and his family proud.

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TAGS: Backstory, Celebrity makeup artists, Entertainment, Lea Salonga, Makeup
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