Miami-based celebrity makeup artist Leslie Munsell is the fierce force behind the faces of Gabrielle Union and Shakira, as well as her own brand, Beauty for Real.
Shadow STX eye shadow in Ever Starstruck.
Whether she’s touching up Dwyane Wade for his sizzling cover photo for ESPN magazine’s Body Issue (and, last year, Ocean Drive’s Men’s Issue) or prepping supermodel Brooklyn Decker for her latest red carpet appearance, Leslie Munsell lives and breathes beauty. The go-to celebrity makeup guru launched her career in her 20s (“sort of accidentally,” she says) and worked her way up by lending her talents to prominent fashion shows and photo shoots in major cities across the globe—a far cry from the farm she grew up on in Minnesota.
Although Munsell is in high demand among A-listers, it was working with everyday women that inspired the Miami resident to establish Beauty for Real in 2010, a makeup line consisting of affordable, thoughtfully edited palettes designed for the modern woman on the go. “Women just want to look pretty,” says Munsell. “And we’re all so busy, so we need something simple but that really works.”
Among other items, the line includes a sea spray for beach waves, an illuminating body bronzer, and lip and body scrubs that are plant-based and petrochemical-free. “The lip scrub has orange, cinnamon, and vanilla oils,” she says, “and when you put it on your lips, it’s like you’re having dessert.”
Now the body-positive brand Aerie for American Eagle has tapped her to collaborate on a seasonal makeup line. “It was an honor because we share the same standards,” Munsell says. “It’s about embracing natural beauty. It’s why I’m doing it.”