Daniel Martin on embracing his roots and empowering women through makeup

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Celebrated makeup artist Daniel Martin, known for his work with Hollywood stars like Michelle Yeoh, Jessica Alba and Meghan Markle, appeared on “CBS Mornings” to discuss his rise in the beauty industry and the significance of his roots. 

Martin — who crafted Markle’s iconic 2018 royal wedding day makeup look — has been honored for his contributions to the industry as part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. CBS News partnered with Gold House, an organization that champions AAPI creators, to celebrate its A100 list that recognizes the most impactful AAPI leaders this year.

“To be recognized by your community for your creative contributions to culture is massive,” he said. “I never thought someone like me would be able to do that. So yeah, it’s such an honor.”

Martin, who has been in the beauty industry for 25 years, expressed his gratitude for being recognized by his community, especially during a time when anti-Asian hate has seen a rise. Martin said he has experienced micro-aggressions, such as instances when he would arrive on a set and people would assume he was an assistant or a nail technician.

“Daniel Martin is such a white name. My father’s White, my mother’s Vietnamese, and they just made this assumption,” said Martin. 

Martin’s treatment led to feelings of imposter syndrome, which he now addresses by encouraging others to communicate to avoid confusion.

“If you need to understand how to pronounce someone’s name, just ask them,” he said.

Martin is known for using makeup to enhance women’s features, particularly Asian-American women and other women of color. He said there is power in embracing features and bringing confidence.

“Historically, people wore makeup for adornment,” he said. “To be able to use makeup to really understand your symmetry, enhance what you have, rather than cover everything up, and then bringing that all out is something that I think for me, personally, I’ve always wanted to do. I suffered with horrible acne growing up. And I just wanted to cover up my face. So when you have something that you’re proud of, you have to pull it out. That’s where confidence comes from.”



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