Boasting 2.4 million followers and a client base that includes Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Rosalía and Shay Mitchell, few in the makeup industry have seen the dizzying heights of success reached by Ariel Tejada.
However despite the makeup artist’s Instagram lifestyle, outwardly looking to be all glamorous events and celebrity clientele, Ariel is refreshingly down to earth, acknowledging his roots and support system every chance he gets.
We recently spoke to the Los Angeles based creative about his start in the industry, his career-defining moments, the people that have made it happen and his recent collaboration with Morphe; “a brand that truly believes in the artist and the artist’s vision.”
“I’ve always been in love with anything beauty [related]. My mum constantly reminds me that as a little kid, I would compliment my teachers from kindergarten. I’d walk up and say ‘Your makeup looks so beautiful’, little things like that,” he explains. “Even watching my mum and sister get ready…seeing them put on a red lip or mascara…I think it’s something that when it’s meant to be, it’s just always inside of you,” he says. “Art is just a part of people and I think makeup was one of those things for me.”
From growing up in a “humble household”, to where he is now however, seems like an impossible trajectory, and never one someone in the early stages of their career can envision for themselves. But as an early adopter of Instagram, Ariel grew his following organically and early, making a splash promoting his work on the platform. In an industry saturated with new talent and ever-changing trends, Ariel took the first steps, catching the eye of Lilly Ghalichi, founder of Lilly Lashes. From there Kylie Jenner DM’d him, and the rest is history.
Since then, Ariel’s talent has taken him to new heights, whether it be running masterclasses or working with celebrities on event glam, photoshoots, and red carpet looks. A career-defining moment, Ariel explains “when I did the Met Gala with Kylie, it was [the] moment in my career where I set in stone the ‘Makeup by Ariel’ signature look. [That event] set the tone for what my look was going to be for… years to come,” he says.
Clearly not one to rest on his laurels however, Ariel’s current project, a brush collection with Morphe is the next addition to his resume and something incredibly close to his heart. “I had so many offers within the realms of cosmetics…to do a collaboration or start my own brand, and it just didn’t feel right [until now],” he says. Of his decision to start with brushes, he says “Considering brushes are the fundamentals of makeup, the first company that I thought of was Morphe…and they have been great. [They’re] a brand that truly believes in the artist and the artist’s vision, it really allowed me to be creative and free, and that was just a no brainer.”
Paying homage to the important people in his life, as well as how far he’s come, Ariel explains that “each one of [the] brushes has a special meaning to me or was a significant moment in my life. I really thought about how [the meaning] correlates with the function of the brush.”
For example, “my foundation brush is really special to me because without the foundation, you can’t have your look, right? And so my A24 foundation brush is numbered after my [mum’s] birthday, because my [mum] is really the foundation of my life and has built everything [for me] from the ground up,” he says. “She really bent over backwards to make sure I could have the life that I have now. Considering I come from a humble household that didn’t have much, my mum really did everything she could to make sure I had the opportunity to be successful. It was really important to have her be a part of this collection in some way,” he says.
And while he has brought immeasurable talent to the beauty industry, Ariel is the first to acknowledge what it has given him. “I’ve learned that I have found a space where I am accepted, I found my home, I found somewhere that I can be creatively free without judgement, somewhere I can express my art. I’m grateful and humbled that in doing [what I love] I have millions of people watching me and applauding my every move. That’s something I could have never imagined for myself and am beyond humbled by and grateful for, I could cry you know?”
Of his future plans, Ariel remains tight-lipped: “There is so much to look forward to and I will just say, stay tuned for what’s to come,’ he says.
Shop the Morphe x Ariel Signature Brush Collections here.