Meet the Expert: Orlando Santiago

DFW Beauty Guide - Orlando Santiago

Sharing his passion for the art of makeup is something Orlando Santiago has felt a drive for since the early days of his career as a freelance make-up artist at Christian Dior, where he quickly advanced to become regional make-up artist. In 1999, Orlando was offered a position as a member of the National Art Team for Toni & Guy, where he traveled nationwide doing platform makeup, educating and demonstrating his make-up talent while launching the newly developed Bed Head makeup line. In 2000, he moved back to New York City to join MAC Cosmetics where he worked as a resident trainer and manager as well as being a member of the pro artist team for Fashion Week. His resume includes commercial, film, and editorial for such Publications as Essence, Esquire, Flaunt and Vibe with Photographers including David LaChapelle, Mike Ruiz, Sean Armenta and Brandon Showers. Orlando has worked on celebrities including Lady Gaga and Sean “Diddy” Combs, has keyed and participated in shows for fashion week in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, has worked in cities in Europe such as Berlin, Barcelona, Moscow, and London, and continues to work as an educator and artist across the globe and in Orlando, Florida at his school, Orlando Supreme Makeup Academy.

Name & Age: 

Orlando Santiago, 38

Professional Title:

Professional Makeup Artist & Makeup Educator

When did you know that you wanted a career in makeu artistry?

Though I assumed that I would only do makeup as a part-time gig while getting my degree in International Trade and Marketing at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC, it turned out to be just the opposite and, instead, I ended up applying my degree toward makeup and cosmetics. I realized that the industry was not just about artistry, but rather influenced by a combination of art, math, texture, color, fashion, music, and self esteem—I was hooked from that point on.

 Photo by: Nadav Havakook (

As an international makeup artist, you must travel a lot, what are your carry on must-haves?

I must travel with:

an you give us some insight into what a typical working day consists for you?

A typical day usually starts off with a one large cup of Bustelo Coffee on the darker side and a quick glance at my news and social media on my phone.  Then an organic shake made in the Nutri-bullet blender with fruits and veggies to give me energy. Depending on what day it is, I’ll either go to the gym first to boost energy level and feel great while heading to work at the academy or, because I wear so many hats, jump right in to running errands, doing a makeup video tutorial with my marketing people, having a conference call for an hour with Estee Lauder executives, and—if I’m in NY—I’d pick up my kids after school and play in the park or have dinner with them while working on a video to promote the next makeup show on imovie on my cell phone. My work is never done and I always need more than an 8 hour day.

What is your favorite beauty trend for F/W 2016 and if there is one product our beauties should purchase this fall, what is it?

I’m loving the use of lashes for both top and bottom whether it's subtle (individuals) or dramatic, like demi-whispies with a flair lifting the eye shape or adding bottom lashes that scream party mode. I prefer Danessa Myricks’s Elevation Lashes which are made in so many different shapes and designs to meet the look and feel of any woman looking for the right pair.  From flirty to F-YOU, lashes are defining women next season!

What do you love most about working with The Makeup Show, what are you most excited about for the Dallas show?

I love the sense of family and dedication that we all put forth into the show. We may not always agree on everything, but that's what makes us unique and diverse and what sparks more ideas and ways to stay relevant and ahead of the curve when it come to makeup education, something that defines and separates us from other shows. Dallas brings BIG to the party, too! They love everything BIGGER, which means they demand more of us to produce bigger and better than most cities for makeup, vendors, education, and presenters. Plus, eating that Dallas BBQ after a show is like having a slice of heaven all worth a long day of teaching!

What do you plan to see while here in the Dallas/Ft.Worth? 

I look forward to the state fair, funnel cakes, deep fried beer, BBQ ribs, and random bars. I’m bringing my boots for sure!

What’s the BEST beauty advice you've ever heard?

The best beauty is flawed in which one can accept starting from within…