Turn Up the Heat With Urban Decay's Amanda Rodriguez

Meet the punk rock-loving artist who brings Urban Decay's 'Beauty with an edge' motto to life
Reading time 5 minutes

"Beauty with an edge" not only sums up Urban Decay's ethos of makeup but also the creative forces and beauty gurus who form the UD tribe. Case in point: Amanda Rodriguez. She started out an angsty, punk rock-loving teen from upstate New York – fast forward many years later, she's now Urban Decay's International Artist-in-Residence, an enviable position that entails travelling the globe, spreading the gospel of the brand, and working closely with founder and Chief Creative Officer Wende Zomnir to conceptualise kickass new products (Naked eyeshadow palette, anyone?).

But enough backstory and more beauty talk. Below, Amanda reveals what's it like working for one of the world's biggest (and edgiest) beauty brands and gives us a quick makeup how-to using our obsession du jour: the new Naked Heat eyeshadow palette. Watch and learn.

How did you land this sweet gig as Urban Decay's Artist-in-Residence?

After high school, I considered going to business school so that my parents would be proud of me but I discovered that beauty was really my passion. After training to be an aesthetician, I started working in Sephora in New York when I was 19. I was fortunate enough to work with Wende during in-store events and build a close relationship with her. The Urban Decay team invited me to move to L.A. and they created a position for me – doing PR, makeup, and essentially embodying the vibe and lifestyle of Urban Decay. 


What makes working with Urban Decay so rad?

So many things! First of all, I never thought that I would leave New York but moving across the country and living in L.A. has been really cool. The West Coast has become my home now. This job has also given me so many amazing opportunities: getting to work with the legendary Gina Brooke (who has been Madonna’s makeup artist for ten years); travelling the world; meeting so many inspiring people. I never thought I'd be where I am today: starting out as a 19-year-old punk kid and now being part of the Urban Decay family for the past eight years. 


What are your Holy Grail beauty products?

I’m a black eyeliner junkie and I love a cat eye so I'm obsessed with Urban Decay's Razor Sharp Liquid Eyeliner and Perversion Waterproof Fine-Point Eye Pen. Another thing you should know about me? I’m a red lipstick girl and Urban Decay's 714 Vice Lipstick is my perfect red. I have about 15 tubes and I always carry it with me wherever I go. When I travel, I must bring with me the Caudalie Beauty Elixir – it smells amazing and gives me really glowy skin – and Glossier's Coconut Balm Dotcom.


If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would you bring with you?

This is a boring answer but it'd have to be the Urban Decay Brow Beater Brow Pencil and Brush in Dark. I never thought brows would become so important to me. If I had known, I would have never tweezed my bushy brows back when I was 12 years old!

Being an artist means constantly coming up with creative makeup looks. What inspires you?

I pull inspiration from so many different things, whether I’m home or travelling. I love going to museums, galleries and getting inspired by art. One of the reasons why I got into beauty is my love for punk rock and girl groups from the '50s and '60s. Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, and Courtney Love totally represent the Urban Decay woman: unapologetic badasses who give the middle finger to typical beauty standards. 


Which makeup artists do you look up to?

Kevin Aucoin was the first artist I was obsessed with, as well as Way Bandy, who pioneered the contouring look even before people knew what contouring was. As for current makeup artists, I admire Sir John (who does Beyonce’s makeup) and Patrick Ta. He is so inspiring: he started out working at a counter and now, he does everyone’s makeup from Joan Smalls and Chrissy Teigen. He really understands different ethnicities and knows how to make women feel beautiful.

What's trending for Fall/Winter 2017?

I think we’ve all had enough of matte looks and now, metallics, glitters, and jewel tones are coming back. As a colour junkie, I’m really excited. I hope that everyone will fully embrace gloss not only on lips but on lids as well. Watch out: a juicy lip and jewel-toned, metallic eye are going to be really big makeup trends for the rest of the year. 


Watch the video below as Amanda demonstrates a super-easy daytime smokey makeup look using the new Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette. 

Daytime smokey eye using Urban Decay's Naked Heat Palette



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