Illustration by Matt Chessco

    The trajectory of Manny Gutierrez, more widely known by his stage name Manny MUA, is an instructive case study in how to leverage platforms to transform your passion into a legitimate business. The 30-year-old’s ascent began back when he was still working at a MAC Cosmetics store and posting photos of elaborate, innovative looks to his Instagram, at which point enthusiastic followers urged him to start making tutorial videos on YouTube. Since joining in 2014, his channel has garnered 4.85 million subscribers, and he’s earned a reputation as one of the Internet’s premier makeup artists. In 2017, he made history as the first male beauty ambassador for Maybelline. Gutierrez has since parlayed his online clout into several commercial and multimedia opportunities, including Lunar Beauty (his own cosmetics line), a podcast, and an episodic Snapchat series executive-produced by actress Chloë Grace Moretz. The Snapchat is focused on helping LGBTQ+ people come out, and the narrative concept is informed by the vlogger’s own experience. His rising status as a beauty mega-influencer shows no signs of slowing down: In April 2021 he was featured in a virtual town hall with President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, intended to reach younger audiences and curb vaccine hesitancy. He’ll also be a cast member on the upcoming revival of VH1’s iconic reality-TV show The Surreal Life, alongside Stormy Daniels, Frankie Muniz, and Dennis Rodman, marking his foray into episodic television.