Hailing from opposite sides of the country — California and Florida, to be exact — Manny Gutierrez and Patrick Simondac came together thanks to makeup. It started as a reluctant friendship (but more on that later), but has blossomed into a long-standing relationship based on beauty, humor, and most recently, breaking boundaries.
If you follow either member of this duo on social media, or have seen any of their beauty videos on YouTube, the latter probably doesn't surprise you. The fact is, their ascendence to online-beauty fame is indicative of a large shift within the industry — one toward gender no longer being indicative of the kind of role one can hold.
From the emergence of mainstream drag-makeup tutorials to gender-fluid and androgynous models landing huge campaigns, beauty is no longer a girl's world. Gutierrez and Simondac personify this shift — they each recently hit 1 million followers on their respective YouTube channels, adding to their collective 4 million followers across all social platforms. But they also happen to be all-around rad beauty insiders, making this the perfect time to become better acquainted with them.
Although the two makeup artists refer to themselves as everything from "brothers" to "best friends" to "married" (in the work-wife sort of way), their friendship didn't start out that way. In fact, when Gutierrez first met Simondac at a makeup convention two years ago, Simondac had no desire to pursue a friendship with the budding beauty blogger. He had his friend circle nailed down and wasn't looking to expand it. "[But] Manny is very genuine...and such a go-getter. I was such a biotch to him [at first]."
Two years later, after some persistence on Gutierrez's part, the makeup mavens are attached at the hip. An average outing includes a beauty event in L.A. (Manny, who lives in San Diego, stays at Patrick's L.A. pad and Manny drives), and sometimes even a trip to LAX: They just came back from two consecutive trips to Hawaii with Tarte and Benefit. They even film videos with each other as guest experts (most of the time, with hilarious results). Separately, they run their numerous social media channels; film, edit, and publish videos to YouTube; and collaborate with brands. Most recently, Simondac collaborated with Sephora Formula X and created three nail-polish shades (aptly named She Better Werk, Lucky Starrr, and Yazzz) that promptly sold out. Just a few weeks later, Gutierrez announced the eyeshadow palette he created with Makeup Geek Cosmetics — which generated so much buzz, it crashed the site's servers.
I feel like the minority of minorities — I'm gay, I'm plus-sized, I'm Filipino, I do makeup.
But getting there wasn't so easy. Being a makeup-obsessed boy in a girl's world is no walk in the park — especially when you're starting out. "I feel like the minority of minorities — I'm gay, I'm plus-sized, I'm Filipino, I do makeup," says Simondac. "I really had to prove to my family [that I could do this]; they wanted me to go into health and nursing." Gutierrez overcame similar obstacles during the formative years of his beauty career. "In the beginning, it was really confusing; my parents didn't know what was going on," he says. "They thought I was trying to become a woman, and they didn't understand." But as Simondac and Gutierrez have pushed on, their parents have become some of their biggest supporters. A few months ago, Simondac and Gutierrez were in San Francisco doing a meet-and-greet when a young boy and his father walked in. "He was 12 or 14 [with] a full face of makeup and his dad was there, this macho man with blue jeans and a cowboy hat," says Gutierrez. "He was so proud of his son. It felt like the world was changing in that moment."
Moments like these are some of the reasons Simondac and Gutierrez pour their hearts and souls into creating content every single day — to inspire men and women to embrace what they love and never let anyone tell them otherwise. "Men want to feel the same way that women feel [and be] empowered in that way," says Gutierrez. Clearly the rest of the world is catching on. When Gutierrez and Simondac were starting out, male beauty gurus were few and far between on YouTube and Instagram — which is far from the case now. But despite the positive demeanours, when your career involves baring your soul to millions of people, trolls inevitably come out of the woodwork. "I get hate every single day, saying I'm gay [and] going to hell, or that I don't know what I'm doing or that I need help," says Gutierrez. "Now that I have this platform, it makes me want to fight even harder." In fact, in the beginning of nearly every Manny MUA video, Gutierriez says what has become his cheeky mantra: "If you guys don't like this video, if you guys don't like me, don't fucking watch it." On the opposite end of the spectrum, Simondac's approach is to pay no mind to online haters. "Even before social media I was already dealing with negativity, so translating that to online wasn't hard because walking through the mall, going to work, people would talk about me as I passed by," he says. "But I'm a brother, a son, a friend, a human being. I don't pay attention to negativity." And it's a good thing they push past the haters, because Gutierrez and Simondac are at the helm of an enormous online movement through which young girls and boys are going to them for their beauty educations. Only time will tell what they'll do next, but both are positive they'll continue making content for as long as they can. In fact, they'll be hosting a meet-and-greet in Times Square later this month to meet some of their New York-based fans.
When asked about the pressures and competitive nature of working in the same industry, Gutierrez puts it best: "Patrick is my best friend, and that's truly all that matters," he says. "Why should I feel competitive toward him when...he's succeeding and I want him to feel happy? He pushes me to be better." All we can say is, keep slayin', boys.