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Check Out Elia Cantu’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elia Cantu.

Elia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?

I studied theatre at the California Institute of the Arts and Santa Monica College. As I was attending college, I financially supported myself by working as a makeup artist at Macy’s. That is when I realized how much I appreciated the art of makeup and became passionate about learning more. I began my makeup artist journey with the company Erno Laszlo, a luxury skincare line. I learned a lot at Erno Laszlo and later worked with CHANEL cosmetics and MAC cosmetics. After graduating from the California State University of Long Beach with my B.A. in Psychology, my two worlds of acting and makeup collided. I got my first commercial agent and began freelancing for MAC Cosmetics, ultimately leading me to venture out and create my own business, Makeup by Elia. I started working and building my career in the entertainment industry as an actor and makeup artist.

Currently, if I’m not in front of the camera, I’m behind it, and both are very exciting and artistically fulfilling for me. Experience in both has proven very helpful as I can bring different perspectives and balance to the job.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has had its share of potholes, speed bumps, and detours. I experienced a lot of rejection and self-doubt. At first, I struggled to find the balance between makeup artistry and acting, and I feared that one might interfere with the other. I also wondered if people would question my dedication and expertise. I take pride in my craft and give 110% in everything I do; I wanted to ensure that the industry would take me seriously if I continued to pursue both. Like the old saying goes, “jack of all trades, master of none.” I can’t entirely agree with that statement, as our society is in a different time and place where that statement no longer applies. With the increasing presence of social media, accessible technology, and various media platforms available to artists, there has been a major shift. Society now encourages it, and I’d argue that it’s now expected and considered a benefit to be a master of many. Confidence, focus, self-discipline, and consistency are necessary to achieve this. I believe those are the keys to success in any field. Some days are more challenging than others, and it can get overwhelming- that is why I practice daily self-care practices. Yoga, prayer/meditation, and a good dance break help to release stress and keep me grounded and balanced. I also enjoy spending time with my wonderful dog Danny and playing my trumpet.

2020 was the biggest challenge for me as it was an emotionally and mentally draining time (as it was for many others). My career struggled as studios halted filming productions, special events were canceled or delayed, and people were not exactly in a rush to have another person close to their face. During that time, I did what many others did and began making more online content. I was stuck in the house with no bookings, so I took that as an opportunity to start showcasing my ability with makeup and acting skills to create original comedy sketches. I started posting on Tik Tok and Instagram #TransformationTuesdays, where I would transform into different iconic tv/movie characters and real-life people. Some of my top favorite transformations consisted of Prince, Aaliyah, Wendy Williams, Silksonic, Amy Winehouse, Edward Scissorhands, Steve Harvey, and Lucille Ball.

Looking back, I am grateful for the struggles because they challenged me and helped me grow on a personal, artistic, and professional level.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’ve been a makeup artist in the industry for over 12 years and I love meeting new people & creating! My goal is to provide the best experience for my clients. I listen to their specific wants & needs to achieve the perfect look. I specialize in actor headshots, commercial/print, tv/film, private events, & special occasions.

My philosophy: Beauty starts from within. Makeup is a bonus to an individual’s natural & unique features. It magnifies what already exists – like icing on a cake!

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Success to me is loving what you create, having joy in your heart, sharing your gift/passion to uplift others, and being able to financially support yourself with that creative passion – that’s a success!

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Laura Burke Dexter Delfin Conor Romero Mike Ando

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