Celebrating 8 years of makeup magic with Danified

Celebrating 8 years of makeup magic with Danified

In Cebu, a young artist is redefining the beauty scene.

Danilo Pepito Jr., a 23-year-old makeup artist, stands in his studio surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors and brushes. His journey from an uncertain teenager with shaky hands to the founder of “Danified by Danilo Pepito Jr.” is a tale of resilience, creativity and transformation.

Danilo, a graduate of the University of San Carlos with a major in Advertising Arts, reminisces about his humble beginnings.

“Back in high school, I was the jack-of-all-trades — dancing, designing, choreographing and snapping photos or making films. But doing makeup? That wasn’t even on my radar,” he recalled.

“Then came my friend’s debut party, and she asked me to do her makeup. I gave it a shot, posted the result online, and bam! Suddenly, I had everyone, even makeup artist friends on Facebook, telling me I had the skills. It was both flattering and eye-opening.” Despite initial hesitations and societal pressures, Danilo’s raw talent and passion for makeup artistry couldn’t be ignored.

The inception of “Danified” in 2016 marked a turning point. Danilo’s sister, during a casual makeup session, planted the seed of an idea that would soon bloom into a full-fledged brand. It wasn’t long before Danilo’s signature style — a blend of subtle brown winged liners and a skin-like glowing finish — began to turn heads.

Danilo’s creative process is as dynamic as his personality.

“It’s about collaboration and communication,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of understanding each client’s unique vision. Working with celebrities like Filipino queer media icon Awra Briguela, Danilo has learned to balance his artistic integrity with the diverse needs of high-profile clients.

“When it comes to my creative process, having pegs and inspirations is like having a roadmap — it sets the tone and direction for the project. Whether it’s a moodboard from the client or stylist for a shoot, having that visual guide helps shape the overall vibe of the hair and makeup look,” Danilo shared.

Building one’s art identity in Cebu

Talking about his early days, Danilo admits that self-doubt was a frequent companion.

“Comparing myself to others, feeling like I was lagging behind was tough,” he confided. But he chose to trust the process, focusing on his goals and the belief that his time would come. This mindset, coupled with unwavering determination, helped him overcome insecurities and eventually led him to open his studio. “Every hurdle made the journey more rewarding.”

The makeup industry in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu, has undergone a significant transformation, and Danilo has been at the forefront of this evolution.

“We’re moving towards versatility and inclusivity,” he noted, highlighting the shift from traditional styles to a more diverse range of aesthetics. “With the rise of technology and social media, we’re constantly bombarded with new trends and techniques... It’s like a never-ending cycle of innovation, and it’s forced us to adapt and expand our skill sets. Gone are the days of sticking to one signature style; now, it’s all about being able to cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences.”

Danilo’s artistic style, characterized by subtle brown winged liners and a skin-like glowing finish, reflects his love for the dramatic yet retains a sense of refined natural beauty.

“Being a drag enthusiast, I’ve always been drawn to that fierce, snatched eye effect. There’s just something about it that brings facial features to life, making them look more awake and dynamic,” he explained.

“Naturally, I’ve incorporated that into my makeup artistry, giving my clients that extra oomph while still keeping things refined and natural-looking. Over the years, my style has definitely evolved, adapting to new trends and techniques while staying true to what I love. It’s a journey of constant growth and exploration, and I’m excited to see where it takes me next.”

Celebrating milestones

Reflecting on his most memorable project, Danilo recalls a high-pressure collaboration with Samsung Philippines and Mega Magazine.

“The shoot took place right here in Cebu, and the pressure was on,” he shared. “The director from Manila challenged us to do makeup on two talents in just 15 minutes. Let me tell you, it felt like the world went into fast-forward mode. The rush was intense, and I could feel every ounce of knowledge and experience I’d gained since 2016 being put to the test in those 15 minutes.” The experience, while challenging, solidified his confidence and reinforced his love for the craft.

As he envisions the next five years, Danilo’s answers ring with ambition and purpose. “Danified is set to become more than a makeup studio,” he shared with a contagious enthusiasm. “It will be a nurturing ground for young talents, a place where they can grow, learn, and start their journeys.” His studio is destined to evolve into a larger, more inclusive space where young makeup artists (MUAs) can not only refine their skills but also find a supportive community.

Reflecting on the legacy he wishes to leave behind, Danilo’s thoughts go beyond his artistic flair. “It’s about how I’ve uplifted others,” he stated. Having been the youngest MUA in Cebu to own a studio, he’s a living testament to what hard work and dedication can achieve. Danilo dreams of being remembered not just for his artistry but for the positive impact he’s had on others, whether through mentorship or spreading kindness.

Danilo’s advice to aspiring makeup artists is straightforward yet profound: “Practice, be open to change, and build a strong portfolio.” He stresses the importance of adaptability and resilience in an ever-changing industry. “And don’t forget about your portfolio. Think of it as the face of your brand. Make sure you’re snapping top-notch photos that showcase your skills and style. After all, first impressions matter,” he added.

Finally, when seeking inspiration, Danilo turns to the world of fashion and design. “Inspiration is everywhere,” he said with a sparkle in his eye. From fashion editorials and runway shows to the glitz of pageantry, he’s constantly on the lookout for fresh ideas to infuse into his art. Each client is an opportunity to translate these inspirations into reality, tailoring each look to their unique persona.

In Danilo’s hands, makeup transcends its physical form, becoming a tool for empowerment, a medium for storytelling and a symbol of the beauty in diversity. As he paints and sculpts, each stroke on a client’s face is not just makeup; it’s a testament to his journey, his dreams and his unwavering dedication to the art of transformation.


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