We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Belen Manino and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria Belen, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
The true meaning of success goes way beyond the common definition of success. Everyone wants to be successful but everyone has a different definition to what success is. There is no one size fits all answer. I personally classify success to be a decision; the decision to have a goal and to embark on the journey towards that desired goal. Success however, is a decision that requires much more than just a goal, it requires ambition, discipline, consistency and faith. I think of success as a fruit tree, and myself as the gardener. In order for a tree to grow, a seed needs to be buried deep in the ground and it requires a multitude of things including soil, water and sunlight. The desire and determination to plant the seed and grow the tree, is ambition. In order to grow well and reach its highest potential, a seed needs to be buried in a strong foundation of, rich and durable soil, it needs to be watered regularly and it needs to be placed in the right environment. As the gardener, there will be moments where I won’t feel like watering the plant, but I do it anyway- that is discipline. I will water it regularly. That is consistency. When it takes longer to sprout than I imagined, I will keep doing what I have to do with the indomitable belief that it will indeed become the tree that I planted. That is faith. Success is not the goal, success is the process. It is doing what is hard so that life can be easy instead of doing what is easy and making life hard. Success is the tiny efforts that build on each other and create something magnificent. It’s knowing that where I am a year from now, is a direct reflection of the choices I am making today. The process is not perfect, and things may not go the way that I imagined, I may feel like giving up because it’s more than what I think I can handle. Instead, I will take baby steps, persevere, I will be patient and I will grow to be fruitful, much like the seed. Altogether, success to me, is the decision to remind myself daily of one thing: “The day you plant the seed, is not the day you eat the fruit”.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Growing up I was not allowed to wear makeup. Although, for as long as I remember, I have always LOVED makeup. My mom would say “Not until you’re 15, or in high school” Luckily for me, I started high school at the age of 13! This was the era of dial up internet, when Youtube was still relatively new, and it would take HOURS just to load one video. I would get home from school, load a video and then watch the same video repeatedly for a few days while trying to recreate the makeup looks with my moms makeup hand- me- downs that included; a wet and wild eyeshadow quad, a crayon concealer that was 6 shades too light, and an eye liner from the dollar store. I analyzed the few face charts I could find on the internet and slowly taught myself tips and tricks over time, At the age of 15 I had a few paying clients and by 17, now graduated from high school, I had confidently decided that I wanted nothing more than to pursue my career as a makeup artist. Over the last 10 +years, I have faced many challenges but I have learned so much more than I could have ever imagined I would. One of the most difficult things I struggled with as a young artist, was not being taken seriously. People always associated my youth with inexperience and would treat me as such, This definitely contributed to my personal and professional growth because I had to learn to speak up and stand up for myself while proving that I was mature enough to be working in the field. At 23, I quit my full time job as a Legal assistant to pursue a full time career as a makeup artist. Till this day, it has been one of the scariest things I have ever done, but I am so grateful that I took the risk because it got me to where I am today. Experience has by far been my biggest teacher. Throughout my journey I have learned the value of much more than just makeup. I have learned about managing my finances, in a field where income isn’t steady. I have learned that I will always be a student, as makeup has evolved tremendously in the last 10 years, and I have had no choice but to keep up. I have learned a lot about myself and my gifts, my strengths and weaknesses. My brand, stands for so much more than just makeup. I truly believe that beauty is skin deep. You can wear all the makeup you want, but what matters the most, is heart and character and while helping someone look beautiful is nice, helping someone BELIEVE they are beautiful, is life changing.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the area for a week, I would definitely take her to some of my favorite restaurants like Diced, Earls Kitchen + Bar, Cooper’s Hawk, Finka and My Roots Juice Bar + Kitchen. We would take a trip to the Coconut Grove Vegan Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning just so she can try delicious vegan crunch wraps and quesadillas at JD’s Veg Mex. Clearly, we would eat out a lot !! We can burn off the calories by roaming the aisles at Target, after every meal. If we were to go out dancing, without a doubt we would go to El Tucan Miami. It’s probably the best lounges out of the few that I have been to. I would maybe show her around some local malls, like Dadeland Mall ( Sephora is a must). Lastly, I would plan a nice relaxing day at the beach to get some salt water therapy!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I was about 6 years old, my family moved to the U.S from Argentina. Starting school in a new country, while simultaneously having to learn a new language, make new friends and learn how to read, was all a big challenge for me. My mom came home one day and surprised me with a book titled ” The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper. which in summary tells the story of how an old engine is stranded on the side of the mountain and only the little blue engine is willing to try and, help him while repeating the mantra “I think I can, I think I can”, and overcomes a seemingly impossible task. it taught me perseverance and hard work will take me far, as long as believe that I can, It has been nearly 20 years, and that book is still in mint condition and its words are forever engraved in my heart. ( My mom still jokes that it’s the only book I have ever read.) aside from this book, I give ALL glory to God. everything I am and everything that I have, including my talent, my friends and family and my network, I owe to him.

Instagram: @mariabelenmanino
Linkedin: Maria Belen Manino
Facebook: Maria Belen Manino
Other: Tik Tok : @Mariabelenmanino

Image Credits
futura photography video Miami Wedding Studio