Sitting in front of his mirror, his left hand reaches out for the small tube of concealer and the other goes for a soft brush. He starts off by applying dots of concealer on his face, carefully blending it in.
Junior Eric Pacheco gained inspiration to explore the world of makeup from YouTubers like James Charles and Jeffree Star. He started small, wearing only concealer at first; slowly, his confidence grew and he began experimenting with eyeshadows.
“[I started wearing makeup] this year,” Pacheco said. “I used to not be out [as gay] to my parents and then I came out [as gay] to her and she supported me. I told her I wanted to wear makeup and she was like ‘Oh that’s fine.’”
Pacheco started his makeup journey after coming out to his family and friends; they were all supportive of his decision to begin wearing makeup and accepted his sexuality. One of his significant supporters who taught him how to improve his makeup skills was his sister.
“My first memory with makeup is with my sister,” Pacheco said. “She always knew I was a part of the [LGBTQ+] community so she helped me be comfortable with who I was. She would tell me about makeup and show me [its different types].”
Despite the support he receives from his loved ones, people who don’t know Pacheco personally make assumptions from his appearance. However, he refuses to acknowledge their negative comments.
“People think I want to turn into a girl, that I’m transgender,” Pacheco said. “A gay guy can wear makeup. Just because a guy wears makeup doesn’t mean they want to become a girl. Some guys don’t talk to me because they assume I’m trying to get with them and I’m like ‘No honey, let’s just be friends.’”
Pacheco’s friends admire his confidence and they’re glad to know he’s finding his true identity. They continue to support him by playing an active role in their friendship.
“I would say [Eric wearing makeup is] extremely empowering,” junior Yobany Pizano said. “In a place like Texas, I’d say it’s admirable to step out of your comfort zone and step out of societal norms. Not a lot of people can say they do that and I love him for that.”
Junior Maria Navarro is extremely proud and supportive of Pacheco wearing makeup. She didn’t see anything wrong with guys applying makeup and wanted to let Pacheco know she would be there to support him.
“I was really happy when he first wore makeup,” Navarro said. “It’s a normal thing for a lot of people. I think Eric wearing makeup is a sign of [him] becoming someone he wants to be now. He’s expressing himself very well.”
Makeup isn’t the only trait about Pacheco that makes him stand out. He is loved for his easy-going personality and his ability to make friends. Pizano not only sees him as a best friend, but also as a brother.
“Eric has a vibrant soul,” Pizano said. “That’s something that always stood out. He’s aware, he’s kind and supportive of all my choices as well. Nowadays, not many people have those character traits. I love Eric and he loves me, that won’t ever change”
Since Pacheco began wearing makeup, he’s become increasingly comfortable with himself and has felt confident with creating intricate eyeshadow looks. He continues to improve his makeup abilities and has thought about becoming a makeup guru.
“Makeup helps me express myself by showing my inner artist, creating these amazing eyeshadow looks and showing who I truly am,” Pacheco said. “I enjoy doing my makeup a lot because I love being able to show the world anyone can wear makeup and it’s OK if the world doesn’t accept you. It’s OK to be different.”
This story was originally published on Farmers’ Harvest on April 25, 2019.