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Mally Roncal Exclusive on Hollywoods top makeup maven


New York's prime destination for high-end makeup was transformed into "Mally's World" for a full week in April.

"Mally" is Mally Roncal, the Filipino-American behind the famous "J. Lo Glow," the smoldering makeup of superstar Jennifer Lopez. Roncal is also the artist behind the best looks of Beyonce and Mariah Carey.

At Mally's World at Henri Bendel, there were a floor-to-ceiling window display of Roncal's esteemed makeup line; a 10-foot poster of her; and a TV showing all her appearances on "Oprah" (thrice), "The View," "The Today Show" and "Access Hollywood."

Roncal's makeup launches are the kinds we only see in our dreams or on "Sex and the City." That must be why Lauren Ezersky of "Behind the Velvet Ropes" was there at Henri Bendel; she was seen congratulating Roncal.

Roncal's makeup team, clad in pink and black jackets reminiscent of "Grease's" Pink Ladies, with pink bandannas 'round their necks, made up the ladies who walked into

Bendel to check out the goods, meet Roncal, and receive star treatment with makeup like Shimmer, Shape and Glow, City Chick Eye Shadow Kit, and Life, Love and Really Great lip gloss.

Roncal's trade and tips have been captivating magazine beauty editors and the buying public since 2000. If you picked up a copy of In Style Magazine last February, you would have seen her quoted all over the pages.

Even celebrities such as Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Angelina Jolie seek Roncal for their most nerve-racking, pimple-causing moments. They enlist her magic wand, or hand, to transform them into confident and beautiful women who feel like they can conquer the world. Roncal also makes them cover-girl worthy for magazines like Glamour, In Style, Rolling Stone, Elle and Cosmo.

Roncal herself has been written about on such magazines as Allure, Marie Claire, Self, Harper's Bazaar, People, US Weekly and Entertainment Weekly.

Business success

Her business success (Mally Beauty on QVC) has also been featured in the New York Times and business magazines.

If she could walk into your dressing room and show you exactly how to use her makeup, she would. But being incapable of that, she thought of the next best thing: debuting her collection on QVC, America's No. 1 Home Shopping Network, in March 2005.

"I chose to sell my makeup on direct TV because I wanted to be the one to share the message with the customer," said Roncal. "It's important to me that they hear it from me how to use the product, and how they will feel after they use the product. It may not change their life, but maybe make their day a little bit brighter."

True enough, Mally Beauty broke launch records on QVC, selling out its entire stock of 20,000 units within an hour of the launch.

For Roncal, the live 24/7 TV department store through qvc.com has been the perfect medium, allowing her girls' night-out enthusiasm to come through in instructional demonstrations using live models.

"I'm very much a girl's girl," she said. "I love being a girl and love hanging out with my girls. What makes us different is what makes us beautiful. I want you to forget all that negative stuff you may have heard and realize that we are not all beauty clones. Beauty is about projecting positive energy. Love yourself."

Tribute

Last March, a year after her debut on QVC, Roncal was given a special honor by the channel: her Six-Piece On-the-Go-Girl Kit was chosen as Today's Special Value. It was featured every hour for an entire day. The marathon worked; she sold out the entire run of close to 25,000 kits, with a waiting list for more.

When she is not on TV, Roncal is aboard the private jets of Beyonce, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey en route to their concerts, music video tapings and fashion shoots all over the world. "I live in an airplane," she jokes.

Mom's girl

She said she has always had a positive attitude because of her parents: Rogelio Roncal, a psychiatrist originally from Bataan, and Pilar Roncal, a gynecologist.

"My mom called me her miracle baby," the makeup maven said.

Pilar had Mally even if doctors had told her she would never get pregnant. Later diagnosed with breast cancer, Pilar was told she would only live for six more months when Mally was 2.

"She lived till I was 17," said Roncal, remembering the times when she and her mom would just hop on a plane to Europe the moment they thought about going. "She was living like everyday was the last day of her life," Roncal said.

Her mom was very glamorous"the hair, makeup and the diamonds and clothes she loved. She was glamorous, but at the same time, she was a lover. She loved everybody and loved everything about life. She was beautiful."

"We were very naughty," Roncal added. "We would go shopping, do makeup and have lots of fun. She was my inspiration, and I became a makeup artist because I would sit in her dressing room and watch her making up her face. I was fascinated."

But Roncal never had formal training in makeup. The skill and talent were natural to her. She just started working on fashion shoots and models, and then somehow extended her reach to celebrities.

Before she came to her own, Roncal was spokesperson for Sephora, Revlon, MAC, Almay and Maybelline for years. "Then one day I thought, instead of selling other people's stuff, I should be selling my own stuff!"

Proud to be Pinoy

More than anything, however, she is the spokesperson for the Filipina.

"In honor of my fellow Filipinas, I'm going to name a lipstick Maganda!" said Roncal, who regards herself as "very Filipino. Like, very. Like, crazy. I eat Filipino food all the time. I'm very passionate about my Filipino upbringing." She would often talk to Beyonce about pansit and adobo and how Filipino food is the best in the world!

"Not to be biased but really, Filipinas are the most beautiful women in the world. Just look at the skin!" said Roncal. "Also, there's something about a Filipina as opposed to any other ethnicity: very feminine, very delicate, and we really take pride in our appearance, you know. You never see a Filipino woman who isn't well-groomed."

Roncal said she is saddened whenever an Asian girl would ask how to make her eyes rounder.

"I believe everyone is beautiful and all of our characteristics really lend to celebrating what our nationality is and we should work with that," she said. "I've always tried to find fun new ways to enhance my Asian look rather than try to mask it. My parents have always taught me that whatever makes you different is what makes you beautiful. That has become my mantra."

Roncal said she wanted to launch Mally Beauty in the Philippines. "I want to be even more connected to my fellow Filipinas. Maybe even have my own show," she said. "I never once felt embarrassed that I was Filipino. I never once felt ashamed of my culture. This will be the theme of the talk show."