Most people have impressions about cities and the people who occupy them. Admittedly, for the most part, I tend to assume that the women in Portland are quirky, the ones in New York have some pluck, and the ones from the Lone Star State have a penchant for cowboy hats and boots. Sandra Saenz, is a Dallas-based Latina who plays a stark contrast to that Texan image as well as the cities conservative culture. The Mexican- born woman is a Muslim convert and instead of a “ten-gallon,” she wears a hijab.
She also has mad eyeshadow skills and wields a makeup brush with such mastery that even Oprah’s former makeup artist has noticed.
Saenz was recently on Instagram when she received a message from Winfrey’s former makeup artist.
? Happy 33rd #birthday to me! ? 11/11/1984 Huge thanks to everyone for the lovely bday wishes, WhatsApp messages , texts (not sure if I’m getting all iPhone texts while I’m in Jordan, but if you sent one, thank you!). To my Jordanian family, thank you sooooo very much for my cake and fab-tastic food! Last, but not least… thanks for the insta dms & fb posts ❤️ I had an amazing day with family and my two loves! Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day! ❤️❤️❤️ #alhamdulillah #mashallah #happyBDAY #thankfull #slayingat33 #incrediblyblessed #thesandrasaenz #hijabimakeupartist #felizcumpleaños #33andlovingit #newyearnewgoals #happybdaytome #scorpio #turban #turbanation @hudabeauty
“He, out of nowhere, just messaged me. He’s like, ‘I just want to tell you how beautiful your work is,'” Saenz tells D Magazine in a profile about her work as a makeup artist and the day artist Reggie Wells sent her a direct message. “I just started crying. He’s like, ‘No, don’t give up. Things are going to happen. Somebody has to look at you and say, well, she’s kind of interesting.'” Wells’s reassurance came just at the right time.
Though she’s done well for herself so far in her career, Saenz says certain things have seemed to unfairly keep her back from progress. Like, the fact that she’s a Latina who wears a hijab. “I’m Mexican and a Muslim. I just happen to be one of the most controversial kinds of people in America now,” Saenz explains in the interview. “I’ve had a negative experience before where I could not get hired with an agency because they said my hijab was not marketable for their clients…. someone in the meeting told me later that it was the whole situation with the hijab. Which sucks. I do makeup with my hands, not with my hijab.”
Still, despite a few negative work experiences, Saenz deeply believes in her decision to remain true to herself and religion.
Liking the darker lip and lashes ? Venom 2 from @patmcgrathreal & Samantha #7 lashes from @hudabeauty (Love this lashes! They’re so light) (#throwback to Dec 25th) #venom #saenzskinz #thesandrasaenz #beauty #dallasmakeupartist #hijabimakeupartist #artist #lashes #happyholidaystheysaid #darklips #hijabi #makeup
“When you believe in something, you want people to know,” Saenz says of her decision to wear her hijab. “Where was a point where I took it off after wearing it for so long, and I will never forget, my most liberal friend came up to me and said, ‘Dude, you don’t look like Sandra. You need to put that on again.’ I had no clue who I was. I’m like, you know what, you’re right.”
When it comes to pursuing her career and religion, Saenz remains firm on making both work out for her.
In fact, the Latina with nearly 6K followers on Instagram has her sights on bigger career aspirations that she hopes will help pave the way for Latinas like her. “I have a goal for the year to be the first hijabi Muslim Mexican to be represented by an agency in the U.S,” Saenz said. “I need to do this for my Mexican women that are hijabis; there’s a huge Hispanic community that’s Muslim. You don’t have to just do YouTube videos. You can actually work in a makeup profession, work behind the scenes, work for clients.”