No matter our background, our roots and heritage often shape the way we grow up, how we perceive the world and ourselves and so often, the work we take on. Beautyblender Founder and CEO, Rea Ann Silva reflects on her Latina heritage during Latinx Heritage Month and shares how her roots shaped her own life and work as a makeup artist.
“I’m from Southern California and born and raised here. I think it’s part of the reason I ended up becoming a makeup artist. My mother didn’t really wear makeup and that’s probably why I was so curious about it, “ says Rea Ann.
Being a woman of color herself, she learned which shades work on her olive skin tone, especially in a time when there were very limited options for POC. “I learned early on how to mix colors and how to make it natural which helped me immeasurably because I became the makeup artist to go to for women of color.” Rea Ann went on to become the head makeup artist on shows like Moesha and Girlfriends, working on-set with clients like Brandy, Tracee Ellis Ross and Golden Brooks. The set of Girlfriends is where she famously created the prototype for the Beautyblender makeup sponge.
“I would always refer back to what I thought about Latin women. There’s the natural woman who has beautiful skin, takes care of herself and doesn’t need to wear a lot of makeup because she wants to accent and highlight what God has given. And then there’s my beautiful, glamour Latinas, like our telenovela stars. They want you to see the makeup, they want you to see the work they’ve put in to look good. I could see the blush, I could see the lashes, I could see the liner. It’s always so fascinating to me and I think it really helped shape my repertoire in my makeup. Being Latina showed me everything from minimalist to maximalist,” says Rea Ann.
“Skin was your thing, that was your canvas,” says Rea Ann’s daughter, Erica Dickerson, who often saw her working on-set and whose Afro-Latina background has also shaped her beauty ideals. “Being Afro-Latina, I often feel beautiful barefaced but sometimes I want full-beat glam,” says Erica.
“I think our culture really gives permission to do either or. You have such a wide range of beauty,” says Rea Ann. “We’re colorful people,” says Rea Ann. “We’re so many different shades and I’m so proud of my heritage,” says Erica.
Loving the skin you’re in, regardless of how you look, that’s always something worth celebrating.