It’s hard to talk about Instagram beauty’s influence without Manny Gutierrez‘s name coming up. The 27-year-old makeup artist—better known to his 4.7 million followers by his handle “Manny MUA“—has used his platform to challenge gender stereotypes and further the makeup-as-self-expression movement, all while delivering some intensely flawless makeup inspiration along the way.
Now he’s joining the ranks of other elite influencers to make the jump from artist to entrepreneur with his new makeup line Lunar Beauty. “I’ve always been consumed by things that are out of this world, like space and moons,” he tells Glamour. “That’s what I wanted this brand to be—out-of-this-world beauty.” Finally after months of teases and sneak peeks, Lunar Beauty is celebrating its first launch: A colorful makeup palette called Life’s A Drag that’s been a work in progress for over two years. It’s just as gone-with-the-wind fabulous as the creator himself, and with Pride month around the corner, its release comes at the perfect time.
Manny also teamed up with influencer Alissa Ashley and former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Shea Couleé and Farrah Moan to shoot a campaign for the palette. “I really wanted to show not only is it for me—a man—and Alissa—a woman—but it’s also for anyone who views themselves as a drag queen or who sees themselves somewhere in between,” he says.
Glamour caught up with Manny to get an exclusive first look at the new palette, plus talk more about why it was so important to him that his inaugural product paid homage to the community that inspired his love for makeup.
Glamour: There are so many places you could start when launching a makeup line. Why a palette—and why this palette?
Manny Gutierrez: I wanted my first launch to come out with a bang—something exciting and creative—and eyeshadow is just such a fun color product. Plus, I love to do dramatic eye looks. I have throughout my whole entire career. So it’s a reflection on me being able to create not only a pretty neutral eye but also having pops of color. As for the name, Life’s a Drag, I started as Manny MUA in drag. I did a makeup look for Halloween. I had such an amazing experience, and that’s kind of what kicked it off for me. Being able to be expressive with makeup was everything.
Glamour: Do you have any tips on how to wear the colors—specifically the brighter ones, for someone who might be more intimidated by mint green and hot pink?
MG: I really wanted this palette to be for everyone. So that’s why the whole left side is neutral—with eight tonal colors in total—and then the six shades on the right are for pops of color. For example, if you have blue eyes and want to incorporate a warmer shade to make your eyes pop, you can dip into the right side and get more warmth because the pinks and the purples. The purple is also good for bringing out green eyes. It’s great if your everyday look is more neutral, but you also want to have a little fun here and there.
Glamour: What’s your favorite color in it?
MG: Ooh, that’s so hard. Probably “Beat,” which is the champagne glitter pink. It’s my favorite because it’s the one I wear most often on my lid. It’s the perfect peach shade for the lid, and then I also did a gold version of it for deeper complexions. I wanted to do a really vast range of colors for all skin tones.
Glamour: How else will inclusion play a role in Lunar Beauty?
MG: There have been so many doors opened for better inclusivity in beauty recently. I feel like there’s no excuse for brands to skip over deeper complexions or super light complexions now. I think people—and especially influencers—need to continue to have the conversation and make it known that that’s something we want. That’s why it’s really important for me to have a range of colors that I feel like any skin tone could wear.
Glamour: We know your brother accidentally leaked a first look at the palette. Were you freaking out?
MG: I was shocked at first, but then I realized that it was literally only two shades that were shown. Plus, the packaging was ripped in half. I was kind of like, ugh, that’s frustrating, but at the same time, he’s my little brother. He was on set with me and excited for me, so I wasn’t devastated or mad—just like, damnit, I wanted to show it first. It’s actually really funny how so many people screenshotted it. He only had [the photo of it] up for about 20 seconds!
Glamour: With Pride month coming up what does this launch mean to you in particular?
MG: I’m a member of the LGBTQ community, and I feel like we need more representation. In the makeup world, especially, it’s always been really, really hard for men in beauty to kind of be seen in a way beyond being a “fad.” That’s why I timed the launch to Pride month: not only to bring awareness to my brand and who I am, but also to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community as a whole.
Glamour: You spoke with us a year ago for our America, the Beautiful series about how society’s attitude toward men in makeup was starting to evolve. Has anything changed since then?
MG: I feel like as a whole the world has shifted a bit. People are much more accepting and are willing to go to bat for you nowadays. If someone is making fun of you, commenters are so much more eager to chime in and say that it’s wrong to make fun of people for who they are. I think that’s a big thing we’re headed toward now. [Men in makeup] is much more normalized now. The conversation is no longer, “OMG, that’s so f-cking weird.” Now it’s, “OMG, that’s really different and unique.”
Glamour: Do you have any advice for boys into beauty who may be feeling discouraged?
MG: You know, honestly, I get it. When I was starting off in the beauty world, it wasn’t easy. My family wasn’t the most forthcoming. My friends didn’t understand what I was doing or why I liked doing it. Especially four years ago, it was much less of a “normal” thing for men to be wearing makeup. I would just say continue to do it if you love it. That’s what I always tell men who ask me how I continue to do what I do. It’s just because I love it. It makes me happy, and I feel like people will come around eventually. Time heals all wounds and if you’re having a hard time in that moment, just remember that it becomes so much better. The more confident you become in yourself—which will happen—you’ll start to care less and less about what people think.
Glamour: Are there any juicy teasers you can give us for what’s next in Lunar Beauty?
MG: The next product you can probably expect will be for your face and not for your eyes specifically. More of a complexion product. Stay tuned!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
–America, the Beautiful: Meet 39 People Who Are Redefining Beauty Standards
–Vlogger Manny Gutierrez on When He Felt Most Beautiful: ‘The First Time I Kissed a Boy’
–Manny Gutierrez Had a Poignant Response to a Blogger Who Said Dads Should Teach Boys to Be “Real Men”