Andrew Velázquez is a make-up artist and teacher at Cinema Makeup School. He was a finalist on the first season of American Beauty Star, Lifetime’s new game show where contestants compete in a series of make-up and hair challenges.

Velázquez in the hot seat

“I heard about the show through one of the school’s I am an instructor at, Cinema Makeup School. Our educator administrator sent an email to all instructors and school graduates with the casting call and auditioning instructions. It definitely caught my attention, especially because there hasn’t really been a show that puts beauty make-up and hair artists on a platform like that. I thought, ‘What the heck, I will submit an audition video and see what happens.’”

What happened was he was chosen and ended up giving the other contestants a run for their money. Ultimately, Sandy Poirier won the title of American Beauty Star but certainly by the hair of his model’s chinny chin chin.

Velázquez’s with the show’s winner Sandy Poirier

Velázquez has been in the beauty industry for 19 years. “As a young kid, I was fascinated with the way my mom did her hair and make-up in the 80s and especially enjoyed when she would take me to cosmetology school with her.”

In the 90s, Velázquez says he was raised by drag queens and that’s when his obsession with make-up really began. He enrolled in cosmetology school and ended up working for M.A.C. for 11 years; was recruited by Anastasia Beverly Hills as her first national make-up artist; and eventually opened his own salon in Glendale, Calif.

Velázquez’s working to complete one of his looks

So, coming into the American Beauty Star competition, Velázquez was not only a fierce, intimidating competitor but more than ready to put his skills to the test. However, the show wasn’t without its challenges.

“My biggest challenge on the show was finding a balance. Not having contact with my loved ones and only focusing on the production was difficult at times. I tried to channel that into the work once we were in the salon challenge room. I would also say fighting my inner self saboteur was challenging at times. As an artist, I am passionate about my work and when it was not received well … it hurt. I am a sensitive guy at times. But it forced me to open up and be vulnerable and learned to be open to the feedback.”

Velázquez’s mid competition

There were also lessons.

“I learned to always trust my intuition. It is pretty accurate. I learned to trust myself and to be organic when it comes to conceptualizing. My biggest take away is that I am on the right path. Had the show been presented to me a few years back I don’t think I would have been ready. This has been part of my journey and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share my craft and story to so many viewers.”

Judging

At the end of the day, Velázquez says he made some awesome friends and made his “#velababe’s proud—this includes my entire support circle. My family, my friends, my clients, my students, my previous mentors. I wanted to make them all proud. I stand by my work and what I shared. I can absolutely say that I am proud of myself.”

Velázquez says that he hopes to keep in touch with the show and possibly come back to visit as a mentor. Moving forward, he wants to expand his salon and online academy and continue to help clients and students. Also, during the down time on the show he finished writing a book, of which he’ll work to put the final touches on this coming year. Overall, one can expect Velázquez to continue to make a big impact in the beauty world.

Velázquez’s carefully paints the eyebrow of his model

Velázquez’s finished competition looks:

Velázquez will join IMATS L.A. this year as one of our talented educators—look for him on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Hall Three Stage from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where he will be producing, along with Dermaflage, a Corrective Challenge! Learn more here.