Laura Sanchez is a living example of the wondrous things that come from fearlessly and relentlessly chasing your passion. Laura has built a life around her passions, which have now become her profession. The Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate has gone on to become the first Hispanic winner of the NYX Face Awards (2016), and is a regular contributor to Popsugar, Univision, and People En Español. She was featured in Meghan Trainor’s “Lips are Movin’” music video, and collaborated with Latin pop stars Thalia and Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony. A quick Google search pulls up photos of the professional Makeup Artist with everyone from Nick Jonas, to Luis Fonsi of “Despacito”, to Patricia Field – the costume designer behind screen hits Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada! She’s done a makeover on Perez Hilton’s mom, been featured in Glamour Mexico, HOLA Magazine, Latin Times, racked, Tiger Beat, Teen Vogue, CNN Chile, Latino Scoop – where she recreated horror looks from the film Krampus – Enews, and El Tiempo.
In short, she’s become a beauty icon for millennial Latinas. She sits in a purple-themed room (though she says she’s often changing the colours for her Youtube videos) while a cat and dog dip in and out of the Skype-frame every few minutes. Fiddling with her rainbow hair, she laughs unassumingly as she talks about the success her career has met in its few short years. Charming, dazzling, and incredibly talented, Laura Sanchez is more than a beauty influencer. She is a beauty professional.
First off, what initially brought you to Vancouver?
I came to Vancouver to study English with my school for a few months. While I was in Vancouver, I made some friends from Mexico who were studying film. I started helping them with their homework and doing the makeup for the short films they would do. I started having to Google ‘how to make blood’ and ‘how to make zombies’. That’s when I started thinking about doing makeup professionally.
How did you know Blanche Macdonald was where you wanted to study?
I was having so much fun working on set with my friends and they told me that Vancouver was the place to be for the TV & Film industry. So I started looking around for schools and Blanche Macdonald had great connections and classes for me to succeed in that industry – that’s what made me decide to enroll!
What did you think of the program and your time in it?
I loved it! I remember when I got there I wanted to go into the Global Makeup program but I had to pass the TOEFL exam first. I was so happy when I did! I loved my whole experience! The teachers are so experienced and nice, you can always ask questions and they’re there to help. And the classes are so small and personalized! I really feel that I was able to learn almost everything about the whole world of Makeup in the time I was there, from beauty makeup to Special Effects, to body painting. Then they also told you how to find and apply for jobs and how to create a portfolio. And they helped you actually know how to be a Makeup Artist once you were done studying!
Were your parents supportive of your career choice?
My parents have always been supportive of me, I’m very lucky that way. When I left Colombia to come study English in Canada, I had no idea what I wanted to do. When I called them and said I’d figured it out, they were so glad I found something I was passionate about.
You were based out of Colombia but are now living in LA. How did that come about?
After I finished my Makeup program, I went back to Colombia and I was working as a Makeup Artist on photoshoots and in TV. One day, I just decided that I wanted to create my own Youtube channel and do makeup on there too. The main thing that seperated my videos in the beginning was that I did my tutorials in Spanish – not many people did at that time and so my videos took off really quickly. I met a woman through my makeup jobs in Colombia that lived in LA most of the time and she kept telling me how LA would be so good for me and my brand. So I made the move from Colombia to West Hollywood and she is my manager now!
How incredible! What made you decide on using Youtube?
I followed a whole bunch of Youtube channels, but they were all in English and I couldn’t find any in Spanish. When I was in Vancouver posting photos of my makeup at school, people were always re-posting my work and asking questions about what I used or how I did that look and it just made sense to me to start making videos where I could properly explain. Sometimes descriptions or captions just don’t work to explain it fully.
You obviously do a lot of makeup videos but you also do a fair amount of video that focuses on other areas of your life. How do you decide what makes it into a video and what is your own personal life?
Youtube is definitely becoming more of a blogging platform that shows your day-to-day life. My rule that I try to work with is that if I can relate something to makeup, I’ll film it. Like if I’m going to a party, I’ll film me getting ready for it and doing my makeup and then a bit of the party and my friends. But I’m careful to keep my life with my family and friends private, otherwise it’s not my private life anymore!
In addition to your Youtube following, you’ve also got a massive Instagram following (over 900K!). How would you describe your demographics?
My Youtube audience is people from about 18 years old to 26, probably Hispanic and kinda funky. My Instagram is a little bit of everything. Spanish doesn’t matter as much on Instagram. I have followers from North America, South America, Latin America – all over! Everytime I post a video on Youtube, I promote it on Instagram. Instagram needs activity everyday so I post more daily makeup on there and Youtube is where I do my more elaborate tutorials, and so those differences always draw certain kinds of followers too.
Can you explain some of the main differences in beauty between Latin America and North America?
Latin America uses more makeup and does more crazy makeup. North America is more natural, focusing on healthy and dewy skin. Now though, more boys and girls in North America are picking up the ‘full glam’ look and wearing a lot of cool makeup! I think it’s changing a lot right now. It used to be that only some people did fun makeup but now it’s becoming something for self-expression and for anyone to have fun with.
What does a typical week in your life look like right now?
It can be so different! But if I’m working on a video, I film it at home. Then I take one day to edit it and then I upload it the next. I’m on my computer most of the day. If I go out, it’s for events, a product launch, or a party. I do travel a lot too to Latin America, places like Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Spain. Depending on the week, I could be a host one night, doing my makeup videos, or fulfilling my influencer duties with a brand – my weeks are a little bit of everything!
That sounds amazing! With now over ONE MILLION subscribers, you must get recognized everywhere you go! Do you remember the first time it happened?
Oh yes! I was in Colombia going to the movies with my parents and two girls came up and asked me if we could take a photo. My mom was so confused and I was so nervous! I was scared I’d accidentally been too nervous and not talkative enough so I found the photo they had taken and tagged of us and I wrote them apologizing saying how nervous I’d been to be recognized.
What is the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do being an influencer and profesional Makeup Artist?
Everything to me is cool! I never thought I was going to have a life like this. It’s so cool to have your own brand and live off of something you enjoy so much.
You won the NYX Face Awards in 2016. Can you tell us about your win and what it was like?
It was incredible. It was the first time someone Hispanic, who did their videos in Spanish, had won. That was so exciting for me and for the Hispanic community in the United States because sometimes we feel like we’re not recognized. I got so much support from the Latin community voting on my videos and sharing and commenting on them – it was such a great experience. After I won, I got brand deals and collaborations – it’s opened so, so many doors and created so many opportunities for me! NYX is such an amazing company and they have so many good products.
You were just invited to the Latin Grammys! What was it like?
It was so fun! I was invited because I’m a brand ambassador with Colgate but I did makeup for Leslie Grace as well, who was nominated and presenting. So I did a little bit of everything!
What does the future look like for your brand?
My own makeup! But it takes a looootttt of time, effort, and money. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to launch something by next summer though!
What’s your dream product to make?
A palette. I love, love, love palettes. But I also want to make concealers, foundations, lipsticks, blushes… HAH!
Laura’s Top Five Tips on starting a social media brand and empire:
- Be consistent
- Be disciplined
- Don’t try and become famous
- Like any job, it’s hard work. So make sure to put that work in!
- Be online. A LOT!