Don Raúl: This 60-year-old Truck Driver Just Quit His Job To Become a Makeup Artist
Photo and story via Proyecto Puente
"Me voy a bajar del tráiler para maquillar"
"I'm getting out of the truck to do makeup," says 60-year-old Raúl Santiago, father and grandfather, who just earned his professional makeup artist diploma.
The first day, Raúl was too nervous to touch any of the models, worried he would hurt them with his large, rough hands. By the third day, he was bragging about his blending skills.
"I'm not afraid of challenges," says Don Raúl Santiago, a 60-year-old trucker who has been driving tractor-trailers across the country for decades. "I throw myself into the water and learn to swim."
Ten years ago, Raúl, who has three daughters and lives in Arizona, started selling makeup to cashiers in the restaurants and stores along his routes to make a little extra cash.
"Whenever I pass a place, I know I can convince the girls [to buy makeup]," says Raúl. His strategy is mostly charm. "I'll compliment her eyebrows," he says...and eventually offer a few "cremitas." "Within five minutes of chatting, they've bought something."
Photos via Facebook/Deysbel Olachea
Recently, Raúl started following the work of Deysbel Olachea, a Sonoran makeup artist who offers her own course in professional makeup artistry. He decided that taking her course would give him an edge in the makeup biz, since he would learn about the products he sells and how to apply them.
So, he jumped in, called Deysbel to find out the dates of her next course, and took off to Sonora, Mexico to join the class.
Deysbel and her all-female class were surprised when Don Raúl showed up with his mustache and trucker hat. "I thought he was going to be younger," says Deysbel, who had never had a male student before.
The first day, Raúl was too nervous to touch any of the models, worried he would hurt them with his large, rough hands. But, by the third day, he was bragging about his blending skills.
On the last day of the course, Raúl brought fruit and aguas frescas for the class - and, hustler that he is, the case of cosmetics he sells.
Deysbel says that she's received many messages from prospective male students who said they wouldn't have considered taking the course before "because they're men, because of their age, because they're married...but now they say that if he can do it, so can they."
Raúl, who plans to pursue makeup full-time now, has received many messages of support, and even requests from Ford and as far as Colombia to speak about his experience. But one message in particular got to him, from a man who confided that he'd been thinking about trying his hand at makeup for a long time, "pero como es hombre..."
So Raúl replied:
"I told him to get to work. We live in society, not for it. I'm not afraid of being stereotyped, I live without prejudices. I respect people because of who they are and because of their work; if you do something well, keep doing it."