Self-taught makeup artist finds healing in her art

Chicago's Very Own
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CHICAGO — We’ve all watched YouTube tutorials on DIY projects or makeup and marveled at their talent. Some of us may have even tried do it ourselves to no avail concluding that these tutorials are entertaining but not helpful.

However, Alicia Soto not only learned a lot from those tutorials but she credits them with her success as a professional makeup artist.

Soto has been a professional makeup artist for the last three and half years.

“My first FX make up I did one of my clients it was a zombie with her mouth blown out and she won $500 that’s when I realized maybe I could do this,” she said.

Soto said she learned to be a makeup artist by watching tutorial videos on YouTube and spending hours practicing on herself.

“I watch, I become obsessed with it and I fall asleep and I wake up to it,” she said.

Soto is well known for her bridal make up which you can see on her social media accounts.

But perhaps the most impactful and significant makeup picture she has posted depicts one of the most painful moments in her life. With her makeup, Soto recreated how she looked after one of the many beatings by her ex-husband and father of her two children, Mathew and Shanty. She said he busted her lip and her nose.

“When I posted that picture I thought, ‘Man I’m making myself very vulnerable. What are people going to say?’” she said. “But you know, I survived this and it’s OK to say, I survived that.”

Alicia spent 10 years in that abusive relationship, from age 16 to 26. She said she stayed for her children’s sake.

Back then, she said there was no time for makeup, or art.

“You couldn’t think about anything else but survival. Don’t make him mad,” she said. “There was no room to tap on my creativity.”

Eventually, when her daughter was 2 and her son was 5, she realized this was not the life she wanted for her kids. After securing a job and a place to live, she grabbed what she could, grabbed her children, and left. She said she never looked back.

“Sometimes when you are in an abusive relationship you think, ‘This is it,’ but walk away and your life could be amazing,” she said.

Soto worked hard as an office manager to make sure her children had everything they needed. She also found love again and had another daughter.

She also found art which she said is her go-to therapy.

“I can get into my art and I can zone out and I’m just happy. Art just makes me really happy,” she said,

Soto’s art doesn’t limit itself to just makeup, all around her condo are pieces of art from thrift store and dollar store finds.

She said her kids are really proud of her.


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