Bruno Mars' Grammy Performance Makeup is More Than an Homage -- It's a Movement

As part of his Prince tribute at last night's Grammy Awards (Feb. 12), Bruno Mars sported a done-up eye that paid homage to the late singer while also nodding to today's "beauty boy" movement -- a movement artists like makeup-embracing Prince, David Bowie and Adam Lambert, among others, helped spawn.

Along with the makeup-wearing legends, makeup artist Angel Merino, a.k.a. Mac Daddy (who has worked with Ariana Grande, Tinashe and Christina Milian) is one of those movement members. The 26-year-old chatted with Billboard about what being a "beauty boy" means today and why Justin Bieber might one day do a "double-stacked lash and a highlight contour."

When did you start wearing makeup?

I was around a lot of Hispanic women growing up — my mom, my aunts, my cousins — and they’re into hair and makeup and looking great. I remember going to the makeup counter and being in awe of how shiny and stunning and regal everything looked. When I was 16, I started wearing a little makeup, but I did it secretly. Then I got a job at the MAC counter at Nordstrom. The whole ethos was about celebrating individuality. It was the first place I could be one thousand percent myself. So, I started wearing more and more.

And how did people react to that?

People weren’t used to it. But I just had this confidence. I didn’t care if people were staring at me. Women were encouraging. Heterosexual males didn’t get it.

Musicians like Boy George and Adam Lambert have been wearing makeup forever. At the Grammys last night, Bruno Mars wore eyeliner in his Prince tribute and Mike Posner had on foundation and cat-eye liner. Is that an influence?

Musicians find makeup as a means of self-expression, and that’s exactly how I found it, too. Even if you’re a man and you don’t want to wear makeup yourself, if you’re different, and you see me wearing makeup, you might find that inspirational. Looking at something untraditional, something that isn’t supposed to happen or make sense—people find hope in that. And that’s where I think the male makeup movement really gains its power.

Will there come a day when all men will wear makeup?

Seeing Justin Bieber in a double-stacked lash and a highlight contour? I don’t know. But that would be amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised. I think men will find makeup if it serves their art and their sense of self. Men have been wearing makeup in drag culture and outsider culture forever. It just hasn’t been in the forefront. But these things do always make their way into the mainstream.

2017 Grammys