Often times, influencers are granted the liberty of creating content and building a platform without speaking out on the issues facing society. But given the current state of the country and world, with injustices being amplified on a larger scale, silence is no longer an option. And for influencer Mariale Marrero, it's never been an option.
The Venezuelan immigrant and beauty influencer, with over 5 million Instagram followers and 13.2 million YouTube subscribers, has a personal story that staunchly contrasts the glamorous aesthetic of her grid. "I don't have this platform just to talk about beauty and the things that are positive in my life, I also have it to spread awareness," the 29-year-old tells TZR during a Zoom interview in late Sept. "Growing up, we had no freedom, we didn't really have running water, we didn't have electricity. These are just a few of the things that people often take for granted here in the United States."
That's why, for Marrero, 2020 has been far more about social activism than it has been about beauty products, and she's not making any apologies for it. Ahead, find out about her exciting new collaboration with Too Faced, how her grandmother has impacted her beauty routine, how she learned to love her body, and why voting in the 2020 election is more important than ever.
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Mariale Marrero On Her Collaboration With Too Faced
"Too Faced has always been so playful in how they create their products, always including such happy colors," she tells TZR. "That's the approach I take with my beauty routine as well." That said, it's no surprise that Marrero's palette is filled to the brim with feminine, energetic hues. "Everything I've done has always been very pink," she says. "I always say that it's a girl's world and I feel like pink is a color that embodies that phrase."
As a makeup expert, Marrero knew the importance of shades that even the makeup novice could master. "I wanted to have some of the fun of bright colors, but I also knew it was important to have everyday and wearable neutrals," she says. "That's why some have shimmers and others are matte. I truly wanted this palette to be something that spoke to everyone, to the everyday person that wears makeup." But perhaps the most important aspect of the palette was the packaging, which Marrero explains was designed to reflect her personality. "It was crucial for me to not just bring gorgeous shades, but to also have my culture be part of the palette," she says. "I'm really happy that people can see that when they have the palette in their hands."
Mariale Marrero On Why She Believes In Always Looking Her Best
"Much of my love for beauty comes from my Venezuelan culture," she says. "I feel like every woman there loves to get done up, even if it's just to go to the supermarket, they will have makeup on. So that was something that I always grew up seeing. Beauty has never really been about the products themselves, it was about how it could enhance the person on the inside. It gives you so much courage to face the day. Even the smallest bit of shimmer on your eyes can transform the way you feel and could give you the power to take on the world." Marrero credits her grandmother as her greatest beauty influence. "Whenever you see her, no matter the circumstances, she always looks so flawless and her skin is absolutely amazing."
Mariale Marrero On Body Positivity
"In the past, I've had a lot of issues with my body," she says. "I used to think that I wasn't skinny enough and wonder why my boobs were so big and why my butt was so big, it was horrible. I always felt very bad about my body. I didn't have what I thought was supposed to be the ideal body. So I was hard on myself and so unhappy."
However, as she got older, her views changed. "I feel like it had to do a lot with the world changing," she says. "There was suddenly a lot more representation of women who looked like me. It helped me accept myself for who I am. That's why representation and diversity is so important because the way I look at myself has changed so much just knowing that there are other women that also look like me, and that we're all beautiful. Women come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and it's something that we really have to embrace."
Mariale Marrero On The Struggles Facing Immigrants
As an immigrant, Marrero only made her arrival to the United States six years ago. "Being an immigrant is not easy," she says. "But I like to talk about those challenges because I feel that there's still a lot of ignorance surrounding immigration. When I talk to people about my experience they always tell me that they feel like they're being educated by me, that's most important." That's why Marrero makes it a point to spread knowledge through her platform. "I'm very lucky to have the reach to inform so many people about immigration, about my country, and the struggles that we face."
With the growing social justice concerns and issues surrounding immigrants in the US, Marrero says that taking part in the 2020 election is a decision that impacts her directly. "Anyone that is legally able to vote, vote," she says. "Especially for young people. Now more than ever, you need to take this opportunity to make your voice heard." Because Marrero is not a US citizen, she is unable to vote — making it that much more important to her. "I live in this country, I work really hard in this country, I've paid taxes for years. Every day I dream of one day being able to call myself a citizen and be able to vote because as of now, that's a right I don't have. I can't really have my voice heard. So if you have the opportunity to vote, don't take that for granted."
Something else Marrero has experienced during her time in this country, is tokenism in the beauty industry. "I've seen brands work with Latinx influencers just to tick off a box," she says. "But it's easy for us to spot that inauthenticity, it's obvious." She also says that the tokenism is increasingly bothersome because the opportunities are few and far between to begin with. "Even though we really represent part of the population that has the largest buying power in the country in this country, we're still overlooked."
She also says that being a Spanish-speaking influencer has presented its own set of challenges. "I know so many amazing creators that I can call my friends who are also Hispanic but don't necessarily create content in Spanish," she says. "But since I also create content in Spanish, I sometimes get paid even less because I'm 'too Hispanic.' In 2020 there's still layers of how Hispanic you can be within the Latinx community. It's so wrong and it needs to change."