Beauty is for everyone, and if there’s one industry coming to understand this well, it’s the internet’s saturated beauty blogging sphere. With popular beauty bloggers like Michelle Phan, Dulce Candy and Jackie Aina racking up millions of views per video blog and dominating the space, there’s no doubt the beauty arena of Youtube is becoming a space that represents all women and men. Still, amongst the sea of beauty bloggers publishing makeup and fashion tutorials, Catherine Martinez is one who stands outs. Through hundreds of tutorials that incorporate the use of American Sign Language (ASL), the New York City-based Latina blogger is catering to an audience frequently left behind by the media space.
Fall looks and smokey eyes are just a few of the beauty tips, Martinez tackles in her videos while incorporating the use of sign language.
Martinez’s interest in makeup originally stemmed from her passion for creating and pursuing art. “I always loved art as a child and it was the class where I was able to escape and I felt like I was not judged for expressing myself with colors shapes and thinking outside the box,” Martinez tells FIERCE.
The recent graduate is of hearing herself, but fell in love with sign language while taking part in New York University’s Communicative Sciences and Disorders program.
Eyeliner Tutorial in American Sign Language Products used: @thebalm_cosmetics schwing liner @tartecosmetics tarteist lash paint mascara #thebalm #tarteist #tarte #hudabeauty #peachyqueenblog #universalhairandmakeup #wshh #theellenshow @shimycatsmua #genbeauty #bretmansvanity *I am hearing and still learning Sign* @leighmix
By the time Martinez graduated college her love for creating makeup tutorials and doing her own makeup was full force. In her first year, the blogger became entranced by the creativity of makeup application and the videos that showed her how to do her own makeup. It was a skill that many of the deaf and hard of hearing peers in her program of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at the college quickly complimented her on. Eventually she clued into a gap in the industry when her peers started coming up to her for translations on what bloggers were saying.
“There were at times media I watched that had no closed captioning and of course no interpretation,” Martinez says. “It’s like imagine just putting the television on mute and having to figure out what the person is saying. It is frustrating and nobody wants to go through that.”
Martinez’s motivation to use her talent and privilege to advocate for more representation in the beauty industry is already inspiring other brands.
American Sign Language @anastasiabeverlyhills New! Matte Lipstick swatch tutorial I am swatching 6 lipsticks from their new matte lipsticks that are super pigmented and long lasting. Colors swatched: Staunch Dead roses Stevie Spice Rogue Cool brown Would you like to see me swatch more of their matte lipsticks? Let me know in the comments ? @anastasiabeverlyhills @norvina @hudabeauty *glow is from @anastasiabeverlyhills aurora glow kit , @glowdupcosmetics lashes in show stopper . heart necklace: @foxs_designer, foundation: @makeupforeverus #ultrahd foundation in Y455 *I am hearing and still learning Sign* @brian_champagne @danichain
Brand names like Anastasia Beverly Hills, e.l.f. Cosmetics, and Luxie Beauty have tuned into her videos and even recruited her for collaboration. From Snapchat profiles to Instagram pages, the brands have brought on Martinez to take over their social platforms and engage ASL audiences and teach them how to use their products.
There are gigs that Martinez particularly loves because of how they allow her to encourage the inclusion of people who are deaf, hearing impaired, or otherwise disabled. The first time she discovered her content had been reposted by Anastasia, Martinez felt relief. “I was very happy because I thought well finally a brand wants to show inclusiveness,” she says.
According to her, it’s just a first step on her agenda toward turning the beauty realm into a more encompassing space.
Just a galactic gal chilling on earth ?@anastasiabeverlyhills gradient & radiant blush kits @anastasiabeverlyhills aurora glow kit @grandecosmetics grandelips HydraPlump Matte Liquid Lipstick in razzle berry @anastasiabeverlyhills prism palette eyeshadows | Osiris & dimension on top @nyxcosmetics vivid brights liner in vivid violet @accosmetics_ no shine translucent powder @numestyle 19mm wand #anastasiabeverlyhills #nyxcosmetics #blushkit *the crescent took me so long because i did it from scratch and glued the crystals on one by one*
“My hope is that little by little brands take notice in including closed captioning as well as even interpretation in media they make,” she says. “It makes a huge difference and will really help those from the community stay in the loop. I also want to see that what I’m doing pushes those in the community to chase their dreams and if they want to become artists, freelancers, work in retail or with brands , they most definitely can do it. ”
For Martinez, her ASL beauty tutorial videos are an opportunity to spread the inclusion of deaf culture into the beauty world. Her efforts also work to elevate Spanish speaking followers as well.
American Sign Language @ofracosmetics Espresso Trio Set lipstick swatches Shades: Mocha Amsterdam Milan The formula is comfortable on the lips and doesn't crumble. The best part is that it's a long lasting formula and after eating and drinking it stayed put, with very little worn off. I believe these shades are perfect for the fall season. You have a mauve nude, a cool toned plum mauve and a deep cherry red that I absolutely love! What is your favorite shade? • • • • • • • • • • Do you guys see that highlight? That's the new @anastasiabeverlyhills sweets glow kit in gumdrop , starburst & butterscotch | necklace from @pinkheartattack #ofracosmetics #americansignlanguage #deafculture #fentybeauty #undiscovered_muas #hudabeauty #monakattan *I am hearing and still learning Sign* @j3nand3rson @say.wu #shimycatsmua @brian_champagne @danichain
Martinez’s videos aren’t just limited to ASL translation and awareness, she’s also been known to explain and translate the benefits of certain products for Spanish-language speakers too. “My hope is that I can help those from all over the world and even in the US whom are native Spanish speakers to be able to understand the information I’m conveying to them about a review, product or tutorial because that is my next step,” Martinez explains. “I really want to focus on my platforms being multilingual. We live in a society where so many languages exist and I want to help contribute with the languages I know.”
Check out one of Catherine’s videos below: