Transgender Pinay lands dream job doing makeup for celebrities

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2019 06:03 AM | Updated as of Aug 25 2019 07:09 AM

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NEW YORK CITY—Ally Castillo never thought that her passion for makeup would take her places she never even imagined.

Formerly known as Alvin Castillo in the theater world, the former Kundirana singer who was also a professional actor at Repertory Philippines, moved to the US after graduating from college in 2000.

Castillo's love for musical theater eventually brought her to this city in 2013.

While waiting for that big break on Broadway, Castillo landed a job as a mak-up artist for Christian Dior at Saks Fifth Avenue.

"What’s another field where I can still be creative, that I won’t be judged by the way I look, but with my abilities, that’s the reason why I went to makeup," she said. 

Castillo who was still coming to grips with her sexuality at that time, said that for 10 years she went to work dressed as a man.

"I presented myself then as a boy. The VP of the company even asked me, 'Are you just going to come to work one day as Ally and then, when you don’t feel like coming as Ally, you’re just going to come to work as Alvin?' " she said.

Dior, a progressive French company, allowed Alvin to transition as Ally with the help of her trans sister Angel, who transitioned a year earlier.

"It was a bit hard then, especially pre-Caitlyn Jenner time. But seeing my sister transitioned, and she being a registered nurse and a professional actress in Los Angeles, she became my inspiration," she said.

Working for another French makeup company, Nars, gave her the chance to work with some celebrities such as Naomi Osaka, the reigning champion in women's singles at the Australian and the US Open.

After taking her allegiance to the US flag, she legally changed her name to Ally Alvin Castillo, a name that embraced her past and present self.

Today, she works as a full-time personal makeup artist for award-winning anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News, Nora O'Donnel.

Traveling the world where the news coverage takes her, she even had a chance to do former Vice-President Joe Biden's makeup during a "CBS This Morning" guesting last October.

"For me, just to do makeup, it doesn't matter who, is very rewarding cause at the end of the day, you're making someone look and feel good about themselves, and that's really what I love about my job," she said.

From a department store counter makeup stand to the studios of CBS and sets around the world, Castillo's face canvasses tell different stories. But it's her story of transition and acceptance of her true self that is inspiring others.

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