We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Velázquez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andrew, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks has been an integral part in my growth both professionally and personally. I have been taking risks all of my life. Transforming and constantly changing is a quality I have embraced. Deciding to break out of adolescence depression and choosing to progress my life and move forward was my first big risk. At 16 I decided to take my GED and chose to move out Of my home and raise myself. I then began Fashion School which led to Cosmetology School and turned into a 15 year career in Corporate Retail Cosmetics. At almost exactly another 16 years later at the age of 32 (the year I got married) I  risked everything all over again and left a steady, 6 figure Corporate Retail Cosmetic senior title to finally go solo and open up a small 100 square foot suite to take personal clients and be independent. Then at the age of 35,  while educating at Cosmetology schools, and freelancing on set, I received an opportunity to send in an audition video for a reality competition show called American Beauty Star on the network Lifetime. I took the biggest risk of all and was quarantined for 3 weeks in a hotel during production, to compete against 11 other talented contestants and be judged for my work. I was forced to be vulnerable, perform the tasks and be a beauty director while showcasing my personality. Not only did I deliver but I discovered strengths I had never tapped into. With the help of meditation, and resorting back to my fundamentals of my passion for art. I made it to the finals as top 3 and that led me into opening up a 1600 square foot salon where we now offer full salon and spa services. That was something I have always wanted and didn’t know I was capable of achieving. Currently I am working on my book to share my story and showcase my body art makeup. This is your only life to discover what your full potential might be. If you don’t get comfortable with being uncomfortable then you will never be able to take the risks that you might see as an opportunity instead of something scary. This will guide you to your true authenticity which will attract the success you deserve to manifest.  

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was introduced to The Los Angeles Music and Art School as a young boy and I fell in love with all mediums of art. I wanted to try it all writing, sculpting, drawing, painting etc. As a teenager the only thing I felt I really had control of was my self expression in my personal fashion, hair and makeup. So I shopped at vintage stores, and experimented often with my hair color/styles, outfits and I was pretty much raised by drag queens who showed me their costumes, and makeup and hair stage ways. This infatuated me so much in the 90’s with music as well. I have always been into fantasy, sci-fi books and I was called Spaceboy because of my obsession with aliens and the universe and galaxy’s. I have always wanted to travel and in 5th grade through school I had had my first taste in it and had an opportunity to travel to the east coast and create art. My final art piece won the winning title to represent my school and to this day it is displayed at Valley Forge. I am first generation Mexican American and have embraced my native culture therefore traveling to Mexico often is a no brainer as well as Spain, Europe and I am really into the caribbean islands. This is where I discover different forms of nature by hiking and through  meditation. Which I then translate into my makeup and hair creation editorials. My book will showcase my body art makeup themed as am homage to my Mexican culture, and will be written in English and Spanish for all ages and races to be able to experience. I believe in sharing light to my clientele in any capacity if its in my salon, on set for a photo shoot or in my classrooms where I educate and mentor young future artists. I believe they take some of my light into their craft and into their careers and lives. 

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
As a native of Los Angeles, I have lived in different areas but I am definitely an east sider at heart. Being raised in East LA and now living in Echo Park for the past 6 years I absolutely love my neighborhood. I would take a visitor new to Southern California first to break a sweat at my favorite hikes in Elysian Canyon, Griffith Park and Brand Park. We would have coffee at Valeries, and eat at the Mohawk Bend for brunch and then go to El Mercadito in East LA for some authentic Mexican food and margaritas for dinner while listening to live Mariachi. We could watch a show at the downtown music center and be inspired at the Broad Museum. We would dance at a rooftop house club for a night time skyline view. And on Sunday we can go to Disneyland or Universal Studios for some amusement park fun. Of course we have to have some beach and sun tanning time at Malibu. And maybe even a quick day trip to Palms Springs or Big Bear depending on the time of the year. 

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh wow my shout out is a combination to my husband (my rock), my four dogs (my fur therapy and tribe), my family (my biggest fans and support). My current favorite self help book author is Matt Kahn, who’s authored “Everything is here to help you” and “ The Universe always has a plan”. My personal therapist is amazing and I am super grateful for his guidance. My spiritual group of buddies who check in with each other weekly on our spiritual journeys. But then also my circle of freelancer friends. Earlier during this quarantine I started a small zoom called “freelancers unite” for my freelance artist friends. An excuse to get dressed up go live on zoom and share inspiration to one another. Well this led us into creating a Facebook group called ” Online Media innovators” where we now have almost 500 subscribers and we host weekly live webinars. We realized this is a great opportunity for not only freelancer artists, but all business owners to rebrand themselves. My cohost and I have strengths in different areas online and social media and we have developed a great system and community, for others in need of guidance and a safe space to learn and share. My goal is to create a hybrid and finally bridge the gap between the Content Creator and the Business Owner. And I realized I can also offer this as a remote service for anyone wanting to grow their online presence. I think humans are lacking human connection so badly right now and since we only have a digital connection, why not get really good at it now so when all goes back to normal we will have mastered our online presence which will coincide with real life scenarios. 

Website: andrewvelazquz.com
Instagram: @andrewvelazquez_
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewvelazquez1
Twitter: @andrewvelazcom
Facebook: @andrewvelazquezcom
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/andrew-velázquez-glendale-2
Youtube: youtube.com/andrewvelazquez
Other: https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlinemediainnovators/

Image Credits
Look Book Agency Gregg Lawson Johnathon Sutton Mark Hill