Make Up Artist Turned Creative Director | MISSBISH Celina Rodriguez

Author: Monica Kran / Photos: Christina Choi
11.21 / MB Series

Make-up artist turned creative director, Celina Rodriguez tells us how she got started in the entertainment industry. She's worked with big artists including; Zoe Kravitz, Kehlani, and Tyga. Rodriguez speaks about her life experiences, from graduating from homeschool at age 16 to building a career, to now. Scroll down to read more.

How did you get started in artistry?
I’ve been an artist all of my life. I was definitely a lone wolf as a child (still am) and preferred to spend my time outdoors and making things, reading, painting, I was always creating something. I was a theater kid and grew up acting, performing, and dancing until I was 18. Music has always been a huge influence in my life, and I also played guitar and would read/write music too, so once I started doing makeup I naturally fell into the music industry, and with my background in acting, I already knew how to do character work and stage/camera makeup. I started doing makeup in San Diego, quickly went into music video world, worked on a few feature films throughout Nevada and Arizona, then went back to music and fashion, commercials, and now, I just work as a personal MUA when I’m doing makeup. I can do everything from character work, special fx, to clean complexions and super glam looks but I’m definitely most happy working with musicians/artists and doing more creative beauty, so that’s the lane I’ve been in the last few years.  

Aside from working as a personal makeup artist I also creatively direct and curate content. We are living in a time where we are being celebrated and encouraged to be multi-hyphenated artists and I really love that. I’ve always had difficulty explaining to people what it is I do because as an artist I pay my bills and express myself through multiple mediums of art.

Describe your first job experience and the last job you had.
I started working when I was fifteen and a half, so my first job experience was as a nanny. Which makes so much sense now because everyone, everywhere, calls me ‘Mom’. Lol. I enrolled at a homeschool program and graduated high school when I was 16, and since I was on a different schedule than most of my peers I instantly just went into working any job I could, aside from performing, which happened to be nannying. I actually loved it and worked with a few families in Vegas and San Diego before I started my makeup career.

The last job experience I had was in LA working with two of my favorite personal clients, Melina Matsoukas and Beth Gibbs. Working as a personal MUA, my days are very random and vary based upon what city I’m in or client I’m with and what their needs are that day. Melina is a director and had to get ready for an award show and Beth aka BEPHIE as most of you probably know her, was shooting her new collection at UNION LA for her collab with No Sesso. I love having the freedom to bounce around and create different vibes all in one day.

What is it like as a Latina woman in the industry?
Being a Latina working in this industry really just feels like being a woman of color living in America. Regardless of what my job title may be on a set or in the studio, all industries (much like the country and most of the world) are male dominant, so the hardships I’ve faced have been felt more as a woman rather than just being a Latina woman. Thankfully, I’ve personally experienced very minimal racism in this industry and that’s probably because of my clientele, however as a woman it’s a constant battle of weeding through the BS and trying to decide who’s really wanting to work with you and who just wants to take advantage of you and waste your time.

I think you’ve set some pretty high bars on face artistry. What gets your juices flowing? Whose faces have you blessed?
Thank you! If I have a big gig coming up and I need to feel a spark or a sense of direction, I usually go to an art gallery or listen to music that is similar to whatever time period or aesthetic I’m working on. I relate most things to music. I like to let my mind create it’s own idea of whatever my subject should be or whatever I think it should look like and then let my hands execute it. I don’t like mood boards or examples of other artists work because then I feel like I’m subconsciously pulling from that or trying to recreate that in my own way, and that’s not me. In the past (almost) 8 years I’ve worked with so many people, some being: Zoe Kravitz, Evan Rachel Wood, Kehlani, Tommy Genesis, Aluna George, Snow Tha Product, Tyga, Machine Gun Kelly, Q Tip, Lil Wayne, Afrojack, and Carnage. I could keep listing people for days.

What are we going to see next from Celina Rodriguez? Any upcoming projects you can tease?
SO MUCH. Nothing that I can really speak about right now, but I can say I have a few things in development, and some new brand partnerships I’m excited about. I’ll be working festival season with a few artists. I’m also creative directing a lot more, and I’ll be dropping my first project of the year within the next month or so (it’s in post-edit world).

As a hustling freelancer, can you give any advice to others that want to quit their 9-5? How do you stay productive?

Figure out what you really love, what you’re really good at, and if you apply passion to it, then you’ll always make a profit. I started working as an artist before I could legally buy alcohol, so I never really had a 9-5 and I didn’t start off financially stable, which fueled my hustle off the top. For anyone quitting their 9-5, I suggest being financially secure first if you have that luxury. Honestly, there’s no way to prepare for this, you just have to do it. Never limit yourself or allow others to put you in a box. Do the work but don’t be too prideful to ask for help when you need it. Find a mentor and keep your circle small. As amazing as this industry is, it’ll eat you alive if you let it. I definitely stay productive by not limiting my talents and always expanding my knowledge. The more you know, the more valuable you are. Thousands of people can have your job titles but they can’t execute them the way you can, and they don’t have the energy that you do. And that’s your power.

Where are you from? What are 3 hidden gems in that city?
Ah, I never like this question. I’m one of those people that grew up in multiple places, so I claim a few cities as home. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, moved to Las Vegas as a teenager, moved to San Diego for a few years when I was 18, moved back to Las Vegas for a bit, came home to Los Angeles, and now I’ve been bi-coastal for almost two years. There are so many hidden gems in all these cities but I think the most underrated place is Nevada and how beautiful it actually is as a state. 30 minutes outside of the strip you have Mt. Charleston, Red Rock Canyon, the desert, etc. There’s something so incredible about the desert and that balance of city and nature.

What does MISSBISH mean to you and who is your MISSBISH?
I really can’t narrow down just one person because I have so many amazing women in my life. From my mother, my circle of friends, work colleagues, women that have just been a part of my life and loved and supported me when I needed it. My beloved dog bean. They’re all women that would fall into that category for me.

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