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Meet Trailblazer Michelle Sandoval

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Sandoval.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Make-Up Artistry has always been an interest of mine ever since I was “allowed” to start wearing it. Actually, I was never really allowed. I remember going to the store with my mom and telling her I was going to go look at the CD’s section but I actually went to the make-up aisle and browsed through all the make-up brands. I used a bit of my allowance to purchase my first makeup product ever, eyeliner.

Once I had gone to purchase it, of course, I had hidden it from my mom, and I went back to find her in the store. As soon as we got home, I went to my aunt’s house, and I asked her to please show me how to put it on. I was intrigued by how a little bit of eyeliner, mascara, and a touch of lip gloss could change your look. That was my look for eighth grade. After that, I started researching and exploring more and more make-up. I will look everywhere; magazines, television, fashion shows, even the way people did their own make-up. As I started to play with it more and more, I just knew playing with make-up was something that I wanted to do my whole life.

As I reached senior year, I applied to colleges. I never really looked into a make-up school because I didn’t know that was a thing, and pretty much you always get told to go to college. I got accepted and started school at Cal State University San Marcos. I wasn’t happy there. Yes, it is a great school, I just was not happy because deep down I wasn’t pursuing what I love, I was pursuing what others thought was right to do. I went and talked to my professor, and now lifelong friend Silverio, that I was not happy. I took that leap of faith and dropped out of college and enrolled in beauty school, where I obtained my Make-Up Artistry certificate and Cosmetology license. One of the best decisions of my life. I am so passionate about the Make-Up Artistry industry that I took every and any opportunity I will get, whether it was paid or not. Those experiences got me to where I am today. I built a great resume to get offered a Make-Up Artistry Educator position at the school I personally attended, Bellus Academy. I absolutely love teaching and am thankful I was able to meet and educate many amazing artists. I kept working outside of being a makeup educator, gaining more and more experience. An opportunity popped up and I went for it and applied and I can proudly say, I am now a part of Pat McGrath Labs freelance artistry team. Who would have known, my makeup idol, I looked up to since enrolling in make-up school, I would be working for her. Anything is possible with hard work and dedication, but most importantly passion.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
That one saying is right, “Nothing in life comes easy”. No, the road hasn’t been smooth. And honestly, I don’t think it will ever be smooth. Being in the industry, you have to stay on your toes. Always learning about the new trends. Being able to freelance, yes you can make your own schedule, but it’s never a steady one. I can get booked for a job at 11:00 pm, for a job the following day at 5:00 am call time or it can go the other way and get canceled last minute. Or being busy with an 8:30-4:30 job then going to work a retail job 6-9 and freelancing weekends, pretty much being busy every day. My advice to people just starting their journey, whether it is in beauty or whatever it is in, will be to always remember why you started. What was your vision to make you decide to do what you do? Yes, life happens, times get rough, but that passion in you of why you love what you do will keep you going. Don’t ever lose your passion.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about your business – what should we know?
I love to do it all. Beauty, fashion, spfx, airbrush, bridal, mature, male, avant-garde. Especially, clean beauty looks. Making skin look like skin if that makes sense. My colleague once told me, “I can tell when an image is yours, you just have that touch to your make up looks. The skin always looks amazing”. The proudest milestones of my journey have been being a Make-Up Educator, working behind the scenes in production and photo shoots, and being a part of Pat McGrath Labs.

What sets me apart from others is listening to my clients’ needs. Always having a good personality.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Find a mentor who you look up to, but most importantly, find someone who will push you to be better.
A big mentor in my life was my Make-Up educator, Kristina Monique. Not only did she help me grow as an artist but she told me she believed in me. That’s something that I will always remember and always have in my mind. I am where I am today because I had a mentor that believed in me. I can reach anything I set my mind to with hard work, dedication, and passion. Something that has worked for me is having and writing down my goals. It’s great to have goals, that way you have a vision for what you want to achieve in your career.

As far as networking, social media! Take advantage of it, post on Instagram! Have a website as well. Surround yourself with like-minded people with the same career or goals as you. I have had great colleagues, who are also friends, guide me along the way as well.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 760-402-4469
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @_michellesandoval

Image Credit:

Photographers: Jonathan Sevilla, Natasha Gerschon, Models: Alexandra Hensler, Liana Kealoha, Ceb Zaitz, Hannah Olguin, Amanda Franklin, Hairstylist: Michelle Sandoval, Lilly Gonzalez, Bryden Mugleston

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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