Alexa Rodulfo began her career as a makeup artist in Mexico until 2006 when she decided to move to New York City with the hopes of expanding her career internationally. After a lot of hard work, she built enough of a reputation to begin being hired to work with celebrities, such as Carolina Herrera, Margherita Missoni and Ivanka Trump. Today, she has conquered the fashion and beauty industries far beyond her hometown of Mexico City. In addition to her large beauty client portfolio, she has also become an entrepreneur with her own candle brand sold in top retailers worldwide.
Considered one of the most important makeup artists today, Rodulfo frequently travels around the world, oftentimes to fashion capitals like Paris, to provide services. FashionUnited had the opportunity to speak with the artist to find out what it is like working as a makeup artist today, where the beauty and fashion industries are going, and what her future goals are.
What are the current challenges in the industry?
Predicting consumer trends is the biggest challenge. Not only is it about what is the consumer is buying, but what is it that moves them, why are they buying it. Fast-fashion presents another challenge, the concepts is driving the retail industry to move quickly overall, everything changes at the drop of a hat.
On the other hand, which do you consider are the new opportunities for makeup artists?
Social media is definitely the big opportunity that should be taken advantage of. The exposure that it can give an artist, when the platforms are properly used, is very important. New artists can now gain visibility they wouldn’t have without a social outlet. This is important because it doesn’t matter where are you in the world, you can create your own channel right from your phone, to share your ideas, and tips, and this way reach a global audience. It’s important to use social media with a vision, and with goals order for the strategy to work.
Tell us the story of how you conquered markets outside of Mexico
It was a big challenge for me breaking into the US market; even though I knew the language, in regards to, my profession I had no idea where to begin. I arrived to New York without a contact in the industry, and I had to learn everything through one small lesson at a time. Some of them were very hard lessons to learn, however, today I am very thankful for both the good and bad. I believe that the preparation, dedication, love and respect I have for my profession were key to move forward. Everyday in my career, and whenever a new opportunity comes up, the first thing I do is show gratitude.
It hasn’t been easy to grow professionally in a country where I didn’t grow up, but it has been a wonderful road to take, with memorable experiences, many of which I could only dream of having. However, now that I’ve lived it I can only feel proud and think: “I did not do so bad for a Mexican immigrant who arrived to New York full of dreams”.
What do makeup artists need nowadays in order to stand out?
You must not see this as a hobby, or just a fun past time. This is a profession that deserves respect while at the same time allowing you to be free to create. You must be aware that with your hands you have the power to make people feel good about themselves, and help improve self esteem and security. Who doesn’t like to look and feel good?
What would you say to a Latin-American makeup artist who wants to work abroad?
Patience, patience, patience! I’ve spoken with many friends who have already made a name for themselves in their own countries and with work has already published in top magazines in Latin America. But when they move to a new country they expect to be successful very fast. It’s not like that, and they shouldn’t feel discouraged because it takes time. You have to pay the price for moving to a new place, it takes a lot of work, time and dedication, but once you get it, it’s like magic.
What do you consider as your sweetest moments of success?
I remember I used to flip through magazines and see Carolina Herrera in them and dreaming of meeting her one day. It’s been 13 years since I began working with Ms. Herrera, and I’ve also been honored to create the image of her two daughters, Carolina and Patricia. They are a wonderful family.
Another of my successes has been becoming the first Mexican to work with the store Colette in Paris.
In regards to my candle company, I worked with Ricky Martín creating a candle for the benefit of his foundation RMF, which was a marvelous experience. On the same page, the fact that my candle collection The Candle by Alexa Rodulfo can now be found in some of the top stores in the world, such as Bergdorf Goodman, Liberty London and JOYCE in Hong Kong, gives me great satisfaction.
Finally, I’d like to highlight the work I’ve done with photographers I admire and respect, such as Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino, and Norman Jean Roy. Also, having the opportunity to create the image for magazines like VOGUE, TIME, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE.
My biggest satisfaction, however, is having the affection of my clients. The admiration goes both ways.
What are your future plans?
Never stop dreaming, working on projects and goals. One on them will take me to the next one, as long as I’m always creating something new.
This article was originally written for FashionUnited.MX by Christin Parcerisa
Images: Instagram Alexa Rodulfo