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Meet North Hollywood Makeup Artist: Drea Ruiz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Drea Ruiz.

Drea, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had my own unique style even as a little kid. When I was in Pre-K I would take my Mom’s red Maybelline eyebrow pencil, and put freckles on my cheeks to mimic the Punky Brewster look. Every day I did that and wore my hair in pigtails with ripped jeans and a bandana on one of the knees with a jean jacket vest. I never wanted to do what everyone else was doing or dress like anyone else. I danced to my own beat, and thankfully my parents allowed me to express myself. I was born and raised in a small town on the Central Coast. Growing up in a beach town, the majority of my girlfriends would wear short shorts, and crop tops. Being half Cuban and half Mexican, I was always more developed or “thicker” than my girlfriends. I was constantly being told you have such a pretty face, but you should lose some weight. I’ve always been fascinated with makeup and fashion and I was obsessed with the MAC Girls. I would just stare at them thinking they are so pretty and their makeup, their clothes! I would spend hours in my room sitting in front of this full-length mirror practicing and trying different makeup looks. I couldn’t wear the clothes that my friends could wear, so I showcased my face!

The summer going into High School I worked for our neighbors. I made about $700 dollars that summer, and my mom took my Sister and I to Santa Barbara for school shopping. I spent all the money I made that summer and bought all MAC makeup. I knew my parents were going to get me school clothes, and I wanted to turn heads the 1st day of school with my makeup. Within time I was doing my friends’ makeup for dances, and even my sister’s friends who were 3 years older than me. Everyone always wanted me to do their makeup or ask me to show them how I did my eyes, or where did I get glitter lipstick. I remember one year my Aunt asked me if I could do her makeup for her 30th birthday. it was a 70’s theme. I ended up doing her makeup and some of her friend’s makeup. Here I am this 14-year-old girl giving a full face beat on these women. Makeup always makes me feel happy. I love it! It gave me the confidence and boost I needed at a young age. I’ve always known from a young age that I wanted to be a MAC artist and that I was going to do something great with my life in the makeup industry.

It has taken me a very long time to get to where I’m at today, and moving from 1 big City (San Diego) to another big city (Los Angeles) starting all over again. I had no clue where to start and how to start I just knew I believed in myself. 8 years ago I was very unhappy with my career, and I knew I was the only one that could change that. I started focusing only on makeup. In 2010 I made the move to Los Angeles. I left everything I knew and my life in San Diego (Moved to SD after High School). I had less than $300 dollars and my car. I slept on my friend’s couch the first 3 months I moved to LA and lived out of my car. I started freelancing for MAC Cosmetics ( still freelancing for MAC) and, I got my first Hollywood gig after 3 months of living in LA. I reached out to a makeup artist named Kristina Cardwell that my friend knew. I messaged her on Facebook and introduced myself. I Asked her if she needed an assistant and I was willing to work for free. I wanted to learn the ropes and how “Hollywood” worked. She responded to me, and asked me are you available tomorrow? I need an assistant for the CBS Press Tour. In my head, I was thinking OMG!! Is she serious right now? Finally, someone responded to me! I couldn’t even control my excitement! Of course, I responded with a YES! She gave me her address and phone number. I couldn’t even sleep that night. The next day we met face to face and really hit it off. She has been my biggest mentor, and I’ve learned so much from her, and I continue to learn from her. Since establishing our friend/work relationship I’ve done some really cool things. She’s introduced me to photographers, models and other makeup artists she works with. Some of my highlights of my career are the CBS Press Tour, Mark Zunino Fashion week, LA Fashion week, Stylehaus Coachella Fashion Show, Max Fowles Stylehaus Fashion Show, and World Championship of Performing Arts.

Has it been a smooth road?
YES! Every now and then I still hit some road blocks and bumps it’s part of the industry and life. Some of my struggles were working all day with no pay, and trying to find a paying gig just to have enough gas to go to a non-paying gig. Someone not giving me a chance, or not getting booked on a job because I didn’t have 15k IG followers. I’ve never understood that and still don’t. Having that many followers doesn’t define that you are the best! Thankfully I’m a tough girl, and I’ve learned that I have to go through the motions of everything. The good and the bad. I strive every day to be better than I was the day before. Someone is always going to be better than you, but no one can do what you do. You get what you put out, and only you know what you are capable of. My goal is to be happy, successful and to get paid for doing something I love and I’m passionate about.

Have you ever felt like giving up?
There were lots of moments of discouragement, but not to the point of quitting. I’ve been faced with lots of tough moments. How I overcame them was telling myself it was temporary. In moments that “temporary” feeling would last for months. The hardest thing to deal with was being happy and supportive of my friends who were landing big makeup gigs or working on a really cool production that would open lots of doors for them. I overcame those times by being happy and supportive of them, spending more time in perfecting my art. Going to classes for makeup artists to learn different techniques and to network. Preparing myself for my “big break”. Continue to motivate myself and encourage myself that God has a bigger plan for me.

Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
Never give up & show up! Everyone is “makeup artist” these days, especially with YouTube. You’re constantly in competition. Have confidence and always believe in yourself, and when things get tough and you feel like quitting! Don’t!!! You’ll lose friends, but trust me it just means that your big break is nearing! Never give up!

What are you looking forward to?
I’m most excited by the unknown. I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know I’m heading in the right direction to make my dreams a reality. The future holds great things for me if I continue to work hard and grow as an artist. I want to have my work on everything (celebrities, Fashion week, film, print, movies TV), and one day have a small makeup and skincare line.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: (213) 507-1041
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @drearuizmakeup
  • Facebook:


Fashion Week 2012 - Mark Zunino March 24, 2012

Fashion Week 2012 – Mark Zunino
March 24, 2012

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