He’s the brains behind Disco Heaven, one of the most memorable photoshoots of 2022.
All artists go through a creative burnout at some point which is completely normal. Others unwind by disappearing for a while, going on a hiatus with their craft, some just decide to move on. Not for makeup artist Jelly Eugenio though who’s known for his tenacity and passion in the local beauty world (for now) by creating trends unknowingly that are most often duplicated, and other times goes uncredited.
Ever seen the now viral photos of some of the fiercest women in the industry bathed in blood over Halloweekend? Well, it’s all Jelly’s doing—the beauty behind the madness that is Disco Heaven. Catriona Gray, Nadine Lustre, Ivana Alawi, Kylie Verzosa, Siobhan Moylan, and Nicole Cordoves: all his long-time muses and friends in one frame. Feels like a fever dream doesn’t it? Nope, it took blood (well, corn syrup), sweat and tears just to make one of the biggest shoots of 2022 happen and we were able to do a quick catch up with the artist himself below on how Disco Heaven came to life. Get to know more about Jelly Eugenio’s process and his advice for those feeling conflicted about creative and commercial paths below.
1. How long have you been in the industry? At what age did your journey as a makeup artist begin?
I’ve been in the local showbiz industry for eight years now. But technically I would consider mga 10 as a makeup artist. I think in general, it’s 15 years. I started at 15 or 16 years old. I was really, really young and I was still in school but I’ve been doing makeup since high school and college.
2. What made you decide on putting together all your muses in one shoot?
I think it’s always a dream for an artist to have his muses all together. What made me decide to put this together is not really for me but I think it’s a really cool idea for the girls. I don’t only see it as something that could promote me. I’m always inspired by my muses and I think it’s one of the coolest shoots that they’ll ever do in their lives. That’s what I had in mind more than me being in it.
3. Tell us the story/concept behind Disco Heaven.
Basically it’s inspired by the song by Lady Gaga I heard. One day I was just walking on a treadmill. Then I heard this song and I closed my eyes and imagined. You know, randomly it came out of my head that it would be nice if it’s Nadine with big hair or like Catriona and they are performing this song. I think it was exactly one year ago. I thought, the ending should be blood ‘cause it’s Halloween, you know? And it only happened a year later which is crazy cause it really took a while.
It was also inspired by a shoot that BJ, Eldzs and Fold Canela did when they were starting. I saw it and it was a collection for a designer and it was really cool. There was beauty, there was darkness there was blood in there. We talked about this in BJ’s vlog but it was heavily inspired by that. It’s the heart of the shoot. It’s really a nice compilation of beauty looks. I just wanted this shoot to be beauty, beauty, beauty overload. Big hair, glamour, makeup, fashion, sparkle, glitter and I think we achieved all of that.
4. What were the challenges in mounting the shoot? Feel free to share funny or crucial moments
I think the biggest challenge is really getting everybody all together in two days. This is crazy, this shoot didn’t even happen in a day. It took two days to create it. Nobody thought it would be this huge. The production value and all the work put in this shoot is just so much. Maybe the crucial part is getting the schedule right cause these are the biggest celebrities and we don’t have all day for them. But of course they were all so nice and said yes instantly. I’m really thankful for that. To have them free for all day and not have any schedule or other appointment is just nerve-wrecking. To bathe them in blood is another crazy thing. Thinking of the deck and the creative direction flows naturally to me and everybody in the shoot. But to make it happen in real life and see it exactly how I drew it or imagined it to be is just crazy.
5. How do you challenge yourself to go against the stereotypical beauty standards?
I guess I was really just born this way (laughs). I don’t think I would choose to do regular beauty. Even when I do makeup, there’s always a twist that is mine. Maybe because there’s this style that I have. Just a mix of everything and to have knowledge of so much fashion also is what makes me not limit myself to just beauty. There’s so much types of beauty in the world. To me, what some people consider as ugly is beautiful to me. For example, the no eye brows, tooth gaps, freckles. They’re all beautiful. The little things like that matter and that’s what makes me feel that I should not limit myself in a box. Also, it’s always fun to do makeup!
6. Why is it important to feed your creative spirit despite being in the industry for years?
This is so important. As an artist with a crazy mind that goes on and on when I close my eyes, I have to make things happen, especially nowadays everybody is just up and ready to create content. To do something this big that leveled up so much is what I never imagined. But I think it’s what feeds my soul and keeps me going. It’s like a milestone that you look forward to. Even when you’re making your own path, it’s one of the best stops or highlights in life. Despite working everyday, these are the moments that I live for. It makes me come alive.
7. Any advice to a young creative struggling between doing commercial and creative beauty?
I love this question because I don’t think you have to choose. I think you do commercial beauty to earn money (this is more on the business side). You do commercials and do bridal to earn. But the creativeness, you really have to challenge yourself. You will discover things and you don’t have to choose. You can do beauty for work and then you also have to work for yourself in creating beautiful unorthodox, out of the box makeup. It would be nice to just discover new techniques. You re-discover yourself, your limits, that you can do even better than what you were thinking.
8. Given the chance, what would you tell your 18-year old self?
This is the first time I’m thinking about it. Maybe I would tell my 18-year old self to just keep going and keep being you. Thinking now about where I’m at, I don’t think there’s anybody there like me, who thinks like me. Eto Beyoncé song naman, unique. You are unique and all of the things you’re dancing to or being inspired with, all your craziness, the makeup, the music videos of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Rihanna, it will all happen soon. You will be in it and six of your favorite people will be in it. You will be working with the best people around you, and you will create the most epic content of a generation. It’s not even about the year, it’s the timing or probably this decade if I could say. There are so many epic moments in magazine covers before. Mga panahon nila Judy Anne, Claudine, Gretchen Barretto, they were in covers together. And this is that 2022 moment. This is our generation’s moment for that and you will make that happen. So just keep going and be true to who you are.