As fun as it is playing with products, it’s even more fun hanging out with brand founders. And there may not be a bigger personality in the entire beauty biz than Mally Roncal. Before launching her own high-performance makeup line, Mally Beauty, the mother of three worked for 10 years as a makeup artist to megacelebs like Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé. A regular on QVC, she’s known for coining her own vocabulary—like Mallynistas, aka her fan base—and for speaking her mind. If Mally weren’t such a great innovator, she could have a second calling as a life coach—we were buzzing with secondhand energy for days after we spoke to her.
When did you know it was time to launch your own beauty line?
As a celebrity makeup artist, I was really blessed to have a whole lot of amazing clients. I was the spokesperson for Sephora at the time, so I had every single brand that they carried at my fingertips, but I was very unsatisfied with how those brands performed. I wanted to create a line that was really easy to get right. All of my tips and secrets are cooked into each of the products, and they’re bulletproof, so you can put them on in the morning and you don’t have to worry about them after that.
What gave you the confidence to start inventing formulas?
I’m gonna be completely honest: Ignorance is bliss. I was in my late 20s, and my husband was just as much of a dreamer as I am. We said, “Failure is not an option.” You can either say, “Amazing!” or you can say that I’m insane. I’ll take both!
You have such an outgoing personality. Have you always been this way?
Have I always been a drag queen? Yes. From the day that I was born. It’s funny—I had a time when I was one of the only Asian girls in my school. I was bullied: They would call me names and hit me with their book bags. It was really not cute. I remember telling my mom, and she said some words to me that pretty much shaped who I am. She said, “Whatever makes you different makes you beautiful.” Ever since then, I’ve sort of embraced my differences and said, “You know what? That’s who I am.”
What's the best word you ever made up?
I’ve always loved “gorgois.” I think one of my cousins made that up, actually. One day he was making fun of me, and how I’m always so in-your-face and crazy, and he was like, “Whatever! Gorgois!” I was like, “No, you did not just say that!”
What’s one product you’d love to be the first to invent?
A cloning machine. That way you’d be able to do all the things in the world God wanted you to do, and you wouldn’t have to compromise. You could just do it all.
What keeps you going in the face of challenges?
Gratitude rules my life. I’m one of those corny people who says “thank you” for everything. It gets a little exhausting sometimes to be like, “Thank you for my sweatpants,” and “Thank you for this cup of coffee,” but if you do, it puts the whole world in perspective.
What do you do to de-stress and recharge?
That would be eight letters, and they spell out “shopping.” Just kidding. I love any sort of stereotypical girl thing—shopping, massages, manicures, hanging out with my girls. But of course, I also like exercising and meditating. I love anything where I can kind of get out of my brain for a minute.
You switched from a pre-med path to becoming a makeup artist. Are there similarities between medicine and beauty?
Absolutely! I didn’t realize it until a conversation I had with my dad. My dad is a psychiatrist, my mother was an ob-gyn, and my stepmother is an internist, so I’m always surrounded by doctors. One day when I started to get down on myself for being a makeup artist, my dad said to me, “You are healing people in your own way by making them feel beautiful.” It’s true: Makeup is about making yourself look and feel better. It’s not a life or death situation, but it might make you feel better so you can do better for the world.