As a company created by two women, we know how important it is to celebrate women who are trailblazers in their respective fields. That’s why we’ve started our Boss Babes series. Each month we’ll highlight one woman who’s leading the way and is absolutely crushing it, in business and in life. Here, they’ll answer questions on everything from how they started out and advice they think every woman should know, plus their beauty routines and how they take care of themselves. This month: Celina Rodriguez, creative director and founder of FM28.
Celina Rodriguez is essentially the definition of a multi-hyphenate. After years spent working as a makeup artist, she recognized that Latinx creatives like herself were in need of more support and visibility. And that’s where the idea for what would become FM28, a creative collective and “art family”, was born. Read on to learn about how she got her start, what it was like to be her own manager, and an unexpected tip for how to feel like your most beautiful self, inside and out.
Tell us a bit about yourself. You have experience across the board as a creative director, makeup artist, and consultant – how have you evolved through your career?
I’ve been in the beauty, music, and fashion industry for ten years. Born and raised in Los Angeles, having lived all over the West Coast, and now bi-costal splitting my time between LA and NYC. I started my career in these industries as a makeup artist full-time, working primarily in music, and a year ago transitioned into art directing and creative directing, still in beauty, music, fashion.
The last four years of my makeup career, I shifted into being a personal makeup artist full time. My primary focus was to work with BIPOC artists, musicians, and creatives, as more often than not there aren’t enough makeup artists with actual color theory education or experience, and that know how to work on BIPOC people. As a Latinx womxn, I took this as my responsibility to take care of BIPOC communities and create more opportunities for BIPOC glam teams and designers on sets and in these spaces, which led to the birth of my collective FM28.
Now that I am art and creative directing full time (among the many other hats that I wear) my intentions are still the same except now it’s focused on the overall visual storytelling and experience.
What were some of the challenges you faced as you launched your career? How did you overcome them?
There’s been so many challenges throughout the last ten years. Everything from teaching myself the business of my industries, to having to fly myself out to physically be in these worlds and learn first-hand until I established my clienteles. I’ve always been my own manager, agent, booker, everything. All while also being creative and maintaining that energy in all of my projects. The only way to overcome any challenge is to stay tenacious and get through it. I had several years of nonstop hustling. And I’m still hustling, it never really stops. You just work smarter.
Are there any particular moments that stand out as a defining moment for you, either personally or professionally?
My first music video, my first feature film, my first NYFW. Really, just all of my first’s. I’m the first in my family to be able to explore and express myself as an artist and call it work. Especially coming from an immigrant family, to be able to create for a living is one of the biggest blessings and best feelings I’ve experienced.
You started FM28, a BIPOC artist collective, a few years ago. How did you start it, and how has it grown?
I started FM28 to create an “art family”, and chose to debut it worldwide on June 3rd 2019, which was, coincidentally, a super full moon. We had our first official collective dinner with Redbull as a kick-off for complexcon weekend in 2019. FM28 has grown so much over the past year, from our members, our work teams, to our youth and community involvement. The best thing about a collective, aside from creating our own community, is that most of us already co-exist in multiple other communities, and because we are so active in our communities and worlds our family keeps growing. We are all artists in our own respects, we all have our own talents and our own dreams. So collectively, we amplify and become stronger together. Seeing how many kids send us their art or their music worldwide has been so inspiring. That’s the real power of energy and that’s the REAL power of community.
Why do you think it’s important for more women to start their own business?
Growing up in the states (and most of the world) as a young girl you were always told to be soft and sweet like a lady, but work hard or hustle like a man. “Think like a man”. “Be strong like a man”. And that’s so problematic. Especially being in the music, fashion, and art industries that are constantly exploiting womxn and appropriating brown and Black cultures. Womxn are the healers, womxn are the creators, womxn are the muses, AND WOMXN CAN ALSO BE THE CEO’S. It’s important that more womxn step into their power and acknowledge what that power really is, and then apply it to whatever their workforce industries are. The youth need to see more womxn CEO’s, business owners, investors, artists, etc.
Any beauty secrets you want to share?
People really do look different when they’re allowing themselves to give and receive love. When you are at peace and acceptance with yourself and your surroundings, you glow differently. YOUR beauty will always shine through from within.
Best skincare advice you’ve ever received?
Less is more! The more natural and organic, the better. No moisturizers or serums can truly reverse aging or preserve your youthful-look forever. The best thing you can do for your skin is to give it exactly what it needs, nothing more, nothing less.