Few can utter this sentence: “Doing Beyoncé’s makeup changed my life.” But Mexican-Salvadoran makeup artist extraordinaire Rokael Lizama can, and the rest is an immigrant tale of rags to riches.  

One of the best Latino makeup artists in a highly competitive market, Lizama started his career working with artists such as Drake and Kanye West, ensuring they looked their best on stage. 

But, he made his name transforming beautiful women into gorgeous ones.

When feminine beauty is the best canvas

Rokael Lizama has worked on the faces of artists such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Cassie, and Arianna Grande, to name just a few, and celebrities like the Kardashians.  

To say he has come a long way is to underrepresent how hard it is to be successful as an immigrant in the United States. It’s hard work, conviction, and courage. 

Lizama was born in Durango, Mexico, to Mexican and Salvadoran parents. 

When he was only four, he immigrated to the United States and began working at 17 as a busboy in a restaurant and janitor. 

At 24, he finally found his happy place as a makeup artist at MAC Cosmetics. 

In a recent interview, Lizama talked about what inspired him to become a makeup artist and the hoops he had to go through to get his talent recognized. 

“I’ve always loved fashion and beauty since I was a kid. I would try to recreate music videos with my little sisters as the models,” he said in an interview with Lina Zuniga Makeup. “But, because I was an immigrant, I couldn’t get my cosmetology license.” 

Once he got his residency in the US, he applied and got into a beauty school. 

Rokael Lizama knew it was his calling and what he wanted to do for the rest of his life

“There were definitely times that I wanted to quit but deep down inside, I knew that God had called me to this industry, so that would keep me going,” he said in the interview. 

“The most pivotal moment for me was when I got the call to work with Beyoncé. My friend Lala Anthony connected me with Kelly Rowland, and I did makeup for her and her mom Tina Knowles and two days later, I got the call to work with Bey, and the rest is HIStory :),” he said. 

Rokael Lizama’s name got around, and he soon worked his magic on campaigns for beauty brands such as Anastasia, KKW, Urban Decay, Dose of Colors, and Kylie Cosmetics. 

The experience with different looks and campaigns helped him develop a unique skill that led to curating his beauty brand — Rokael Beauty. 

Today, Lizama is known for his luxury faux mink lashes with fabulous names like Paradeyes, Moon-Cat Eyelashes, and a favorite of mine — Forever Susana. 

Taking Latino talent even further

Last year, Haus Labs by Lady Gaga announced a partnership with Lizama. They appointed him as its new Complexion Consultant — working with the brand’s teams to fashion looks that can go from day to night.  

On his website, Lizama spells out what has guided his rise to the fashion glitterati on his website:

“No matter where you come from and how hard it may seem, things can turn around in a second. You just don’t know what could be right around the corner.”

Yet, life has only sometimes been glamorous for Rokael Lizama. 

In 2021, in five months, Lizama lost both his parents, but his faith pulled him through.

“My Mama and Papa are now up in Heaven together. I lost both my parents in less than five months, but the Lord is keeping me together,” he said, as quoted by the “Daily Mail.”

And following his advice, Rokael Lizama aims to turn tragedy into triumph, creating a perfume in his mother’s name, honoring the woman who always believed he would make it.