The Ball Scene Protégé Sacrificing Scent For Skincare


The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

“Hi! I’m Michael Andres (@michaelndres). I’m currently living in the Upper West Side-slash-Harlem area (and if you’re ever up there, my favorite restaurant is Indian Summer). But I was born and raised in the Bronx. From elementary to middle school, I had a real sense of community there. But my high school was in midtown, and as I became exposed to different communities, I also grew detached from the Bronx and no longer felt supported or seen. I found a new community when I went to Parsons for college—there were around 60 of us in my program, and we would all meet and critique one another. It was really exciting to have that support and source of criticism to help me become a better artist. The one thing is, not many people in my class were queer or people of color—a lot of them were international, and cis-hetero. I always had a dream of creating a community with people whose backgrounds I could relate to.

The Angelito Collective initially started off as a party. My partner Demi and I threw our first Valentine’s Day party in February 2020, right before the pandemic. We were able to gather so many people that it felt like we should use that skill for something more. What we ended up building is a creative agency for people to find queer artists—you can come to our platform to find photographers, models, videographers, or community organizers. We also hold mutual aid events to support one another in the community. Last year we had an event to support trans women in Colombia during the pandemic. I was working at the jewelry store Foundrae at the time, and Beth [Bugdaycay] offered to raffle off one of her necklaces. The event raised $17,000, which allowed the women to put down a deposit on a house. Through the Collective, I’ve been able to connect with other individuals just as excited as I am to create and write queer history—to document it, share it with the world, and inspire the younger generation to follow their dreams.

My involvement in ballroom started in the summer of 2019. I was introduced to Jason Rodriguez, who plays Lemar on “Pose,” and he invited me to a ball called OTA Weekly. It’s produced by Leggoh JohVera, and it’s open to everyone as basically a practice ball. The bigger, mainstream balls are popular because of “Pose,” and you can pay for a ticket and check them out. But OTA is a bit more personal—it’s a place for growth. It happens every Monday. The first time I went I tried to walk the Face category, and they cut the music. I was so nervous—like, oh God, what did I do? Leggoh got on the mic and said, ‘If you did not do your research before you came to this ball, please do your research,’ and someone whispered in my ear, ‘You need to smile.’ I got a second chance to walk, which never happens in the ballroom scene, and I ended up winning Grand Prize. OTA is coming back on July 19th, and if you want to learn more about the ballroom scene you should check it out.

Being that I do community work, I like to show up to as many mutual aid events, parties, and raves as I can. This past weekend, I went to a queer party my friend Kenny throws called Dick Appointment… by the name you can tell I wore something sexy. On Thursday, I’ll go to Stonewall protests, and the girls who lead those usually wear big gowns. I don’t drink alcohol, but I do get excited to put together a look. The first time I ever wore makeup was for my high school prom—my older sister Arleen gave me skin and contour, and I thought I looked really beautiful. I got my own makeup bag when I got to college, but now Arleen is a professional makeup artist, so I take most of my products from her stash! If I’m going out I set aside two or three hours to get ready.

After I moisturize, I’ll start off with the Milk Hydro Grip Primer. I love that it feels tacky. I usually conceal with the Too Faced Born This Way Concealer in Warm Beige before I apply foundation because it looks more natural—I’ll use it under my eyes, my nose, above my mustache, and around where my beard grows in. I started doing laser hair removal on my neck, but I don’t want to do it on my face just in case I want to grow a beard at some point. Right now I’m using the Too Faced Born This Way Undetectable Foundation in Sand. For contour I go for either the Black Opal Stick Foundation, which is from the drugstore, or the Fenty Cream Bronzer, and then I set it with the Black Radiance Pressed Powder. I set everything else with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which gives a really nice finish. For highlighter, I like the Fenty’s Trophy Wife and Becca Champagne Pop. I don’t even know if they still make that stuff, but I live for it. [Ed note: They do! But it’ll be gone for good in September.]

After putting on a base, my eyebrows, mustache, and beard get really pale. I’ll usually use one coat of Milk’s Kush Mascara on all of those areas to darken them, and brush it through with a clean spoolie. I tweeze my eyebrows myself, and I also cut the ends because it helps feminize my face and give me more space for eye makeup. No free promo for James Charles, but I do like his Morphe palette. I also like the Pat McGrath Subversive Eye Ecstasy Mini Palette. Honestly, wearing a protective face mask has been positive for me in some ways, because I’m able to hide behind it. If I’m dressing feminine and there’s something about me that looks masculine, it makes me feel insecure and like I could possibly be in danger on the streets. But if you can just see my hair, eyes, and brows, guys usually read me as a girl. When I’m not wearing a mask, I use my favorite lip concoction: first I moisturize my lips with Burt’s Bees or an EOS tube. Then I’ll tap on just a little of the MAC Matte Lipstick in Diva. If I shave my beard, I’ll use lip liner—I like MAC’s Cork. And then I finish it with Morphe Lip Gloss in Pixie. It’s brown, so it kind of brings everything together.

I get my nails done about every three or four weeks, and this time I’m going to do acrylics. It’s Pride month and I’ve been out here! I like to look at Nails by Mei on Instagram for inspiration, and then I go all the way to Green Nails in Brooklyn for my manicure. If I don’t care about designs, I’ll go to Soho Nails on Prince. My younger cousin braids my hair, but it’s actually not hard for me to wear my hair out and curly. I really like using Carol’s Daughter—I worked on a campaign with them and they sent me a bunch of products, which felt very full circle for me because I actually used to… steal them. They were so expensive!

When I come home from partying I’ll wash my face. I apply The Ordinary’s Squalane cleanser dry, and because it has an oil base it removes makeup really well. The Ole Henriksen Wonderfeel Double Cleanser almost feels like a lotion, and that melts away makeup too. If I don’t feel like doing my entire makeup routine, the one thing I’ll always use is my Shiseido eye cream. But if I’m not too lazy I’ll add the Fenty Fat Water toner and this Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Yogurt Pressed Serum Moisturizer. I like to wake up hydrated. In the morning I’ll use the Fenty cleanser and some SK-II Pitera Essence. It’s really balanced my skin, and my face feels and looks firm when I use it. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution depuffs my undereyes in the mornings—it works really well, but if I don’t use it with another creamy moisturizer it gets clumpy and peels off. Kind of gross. I pair it with the Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Day Cream, and then use a facial roller for a lifted effect. For SPF I have the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, which is transparent so you don’t get a cast. I really like it… but it smells like lube. The Supergoop smells like lube, and the SK-II smells like feet, but what can I do? They’re both very good!”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author