Diseño 1


Many of you may have discovered me through Instagram, but understanding the complexities in my creative works can be challenging. This blog offers an opportunity to connect and reveal the intricate details behind my creations.

I’m thrilled to debut ‘Shahada,’ the opening episode in the ’11:11 Beautiful Patience’ series digitally! This exciting moment emerges from my artistic journey at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design.

In sequence from left to right, the videos ‘Anguish,’ ‘Roots,’ and ‘Truth’ are from Saenz’s five-part video series titled ’11:11 Beautiful Patience,’ created during and for Saenz’s residency at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design.

’11:11 Beautiful Patience’ isn’t just a title; it embodies my life’s essence and the profound experiences shaping it. In this blog post, we’ll delve into my creative process for this video and unveil its symbolic meanings.

This digital experience invites profound connection, transcending the limits of the screen. I encourage you to set a personal intention before watching: explore its meaning, identify your emotions while viewing, and rewatch the video after reading the blog to align your interpretation with its original message.

Ready? Let’s watch it together!

“SHAHADA” – Part of the 11:11 Beautiful Patience Series (2023)

What are your thoughts? How did it resonate with you emotionally? Did the music and visuals guide your emotions? Now that you’ve viewed it, let’s delve into how the concept for this video emerged during my residency at the museum.

Feel to Heal

Actively seeking inspiration for my theme, I explored numerous sources. Although one particular piece of art on the wall captured my attention, the challenge was the lack of available information to base my entire work on it.

However, what truly ignited my creative spark were the lesser-known narratives about Doris Duke and the devoted individuals laboring within the museum’s walls. Their personal journeys and unwavering commitment to infusing life into this space profoundly fascinated me. These elements formed the foundational pillars of the video’s concept and narrative.

Finally, I had a starting point. As I structured my residency concept, the narrative emerged that even in moments of disconnection, we can find a sense of connection. The pandemic had left many emotionally numb as we shielded ourselves from its impact, blocking our ability to empathize with others. I remembered the times when I had to deliberately disconnect to truly connect, and it was these moments that became the heart of my storytelling journey. My aim is that, as you watch the video, you not only feel something but also connect with yourself through the transformative power of art. You’ve got to feel to heal.

Colorful Self-Discovery

A brainstorming note: A fearless Muslim woman embraces vibrant colors, using her body as a canvas, affirming her identity and self-acceptance. Amid societal norms, she explores her inner self, history, faith, and transformation through art. Her message: Embrace authenticity, even when unconventional.

My journey to understanding Islam wasn’t tainted by negativity or media distortion; I had simply never given it much thought. I respected diverse perspectives.

It all began when I forged deep connections with Muslims who became integral to my life. Through these bonds, I explored and learned about Islam more deeply. But it was an impactful dream that truly solidified my path. In this dream, two angels questioned my desire to embrace Islam, and my simple reply was, ‘Because Allah will take care of me.’ Remarkably, I had this dream before I even began studying or caring about Islam, let alone considering becoming a Muslim. It was only after that dream that I started reading, searching, and taking it as a sign. In 2013, on a Friday, after much soul-searching, reading the Quran during lunch breaks, and spending Ramadan with Muslims, I recited my shahada.

The day of my Shahada at the Islamic Center of Irving in Texas (circa 2013). The “shahada” represents the Islamic declaration of faith, signifying a person’s acceptance of and commitment to the Islamic belief system. This declaration signifies belief in the oneness of Allah (God) and acknowledges Prophet Muhammad as His final messenger.

Parallel Narratives

Drowning in Paint: Symbolism and Struggles

In the video, you’ll notice that the act of “drowning” in paint was intentional. As an artist, I exposed myself to this experience deliberately as part of the performance. This immersion was designed to convey a sense of suffocation and anxiety to viewers, especially as the paint started to resemble a potential hazard. It was a way to evoke intense emotions and highlight the challenges and risks that can come with pursuing a career in the beauty industry, especially as a hijabi. This video tells a parallel story, mirroring my professional path and my spiritual journey as a Muslim convert.

Becoming One with Colors: A Journey of Identity

Just as the Shahada marks the initiation into becoming a Muslim, the dripping paint symbolizes the artist becoming one with colors. In the video, you see me almost immersed in the paint, which mirrors my relationship with makeup artistry—it’s my art, something I figuratively immerse myself in; it’s an essential part of me. However, it can also become suffocating and toxic, especially in the beauty industry, which is not for the faint of heart. It’s a landscape where resilience is paramount, and the video aims to shed light on this parallel journey.

Visual Symbolism: Navigating Identity and Insecurities

The symbolism conveyed through the video’s visual elements carries profound significance. The white background represents my quest for enlightenment and spiritual growth—an ongoing journey towards the light. Conversely, the presence of black attire mirrors the occasional insecurities that found their way into my thoughts. In a parallel thread, I grappled with profound questions not only concerning my artistic abilities but also regarding my identity as a Muslim woman who wears a hijab. Much like my confrontations with the challenges inherent in the beauty industry, I simultaneously navigated the unique struggles of being a convert in the Muslim community, an environment where judgment often overshadowed support. These intricately intertwined narratives within the video forge a deeply introspective and profoundly meaningful viewing experience.

Shifting perspectives

At the video’s end, you might have noticed a significant change in the story. It marks a crucial point in my journey—a shift away from external influences and towards a more objective perspective. This shift invites you to “IKRA,” which means to read and understand Islam for what it truly is, based on my personal study and reading, rather than relying on others’ interpretations.

Towards the video’s end, you may have noticed the absence of paint—a deliberate reversal symbolizing self-reflection and a fresh start. This element encapsulates my journey—a path free from predefined roles or expectations. In understanding Islam, personal study and reading became key, allowing me to grasp its teachings beyond others’ interpretations or ideals of a perfect Muslim.

In parallel, as a makeup artist, I faced the need to reassess my journey. Did I want to continue emulating renowned artists, or was it vital to forge my unique voice, technique, and aesthetic? This journey wasn’t about filling others’ shoes but discovering and embracing my own path.

In this blend of narratives, my video conveys a profound message: the transformative power of self-discovery and the importance of authenticity in both faith and artistry. It serves as a reminder that true fulfillment arises when we navigate our journeys with self-compassion, dedication, and the courage to be unapologetically ourselves.

Diseño 1

A Glimpse into My World:

Redefining Beauty, Culture, and Creativity

Exploring My Creative Process, the Beauty in Diversity, and the Daily Adventures. 

This blog is your exclusive backstage pass to my life, work, and passions, and I can’t wait to share every aspect with you.

This blog is more than just a window; it’s your exclusive backstage pass to my life, work, and passions, and I can’t wait to share every aspect with you. In this inaugural post, we’ll kick things off with an explosive ‘Mashallah!’ and dive headlong into the key details that define me. But hold onto your hats because this is just the opening act.

In this post, we’ll explore my background, my career as a makeup artist, breaking down barriers in the beauty industry, blending artistry and culture, and the everyday adventures that make up my life. In upcoming posts, expect makeup advice to ignite your inner artist, reviews for inspiration, and a deep dive into my thoughts and creative vibes that’ll take you on a nostalgia trip, all while unveiling the backstage secrets of my artistic process.

So, let’s hit the stage together, fully aware that while this first blog post sets the rhythm, we have a wild playlist of topics and insights to explore in the days ahead. Whether you’re passionate about makeup, culture, or simply curious about life’s adventures, there’s something here for everyone. Grab your makeup brushes and join me; it’s showtime!

The Mexican Muslim Makeup Artist

I’m Sandra Saenz, a proud Mexican by birth and a Muslim by choice. My journey into Islam was deeply personal and spiritual, enriching my life in countless ways. This dual heritage shapes my perspectives, values, and the art I create. I’ve split my life between Mexico (where I was born and raised in Monterrey, Nuevo León) and the USA, residing in various metropolitan cities that have influenced my creative work.

While Dallas, Texas, is now my home, I’ve often felt like a wanderer, too American for Mexico and too foreign for the United States. These experiences inspire many of the work I create.

And let’s not forget my passion for rock and roll and heavy metal. I’m a hardcore fan! My artistry reflects this alternative culture, combined with my Mexican roots. Born in 1984, I grew up in the fantastic ’80s, navigated the ’90s, and even ventured into the wild 2000s. If you’re ready for a journey with a touch of madness and a whole lot of rock and roll, you’re in the right place!

Decoding the Canvas

As a makeup artist for over two decades, I’ve had the privilege of transforming faces into canvases, revealing inner beauty, and enhancing confidence, all while rocking to the rhythm of self-expression and storytelling. My work goes beyond makeup; it’s a wild ride of artistic flair and emotional depth that makeup can convey. For years, I’ve cranked up the volume on the artistry and soul-stirring power of makeup. In my upcoming posts, get ready to dive headfirst into my creative process, the electrifying magic that happens behind the scenes, and how every stroke of a brush carries a piece of my heart.

Breaking Barriers with Beauty

It’s possible to blaze a trail and turn the seemingly impossible into reality. My journey as a Global Makeup Artist and Ambassador for KVD Beauty has been nothing short of epic. It’s been a wild ride, breaking barriers and smashing stereotypes within the beauty industry. What sets this journey on fire is being both Mexican and Muslim, two identities that have amped up my perspective and artistry.

Before earning the title of Global Makeup Artist, I embarked on an unrelenting quest to become the first hijabi makeup artist in the USA to be signed by a makeup agency. For those who might not be familiar, a “hijabi” is a term used to describe a Muslim woman who rocks a headscarf or hijab as part of her religious and cultural identity. This journey kicked off in the heart of the South, specifically in Texas. It was a seismic achievement, especially considering my hijabi identity, and it laid the foundation for my dreams.

I’m happy to have found the perfect fit and established a fantastic partnership with the legendary Cloutier Remix agency in Los Angeles. This isn’t just a career milestone; it’s like hitting the stage with my dream band. Cloutier Remix isn’t just an agency; it’s a blazing symbol of excellence and sublime professionalism. For years, I’ve been cranking up the volume on my dreams, and now that amplifier is blasting full tilt. Imagine the crowd roaring as I stepped into the spotlight. That’s how I felt when I joined their lineup. It’s like headlining the show after years of gritty gigs. Stay tuned for more stories from my wild ride in the industry. I’m here to inspire every rebel carving their path to glory.

 Shaping the Future: Artistry, Culture, and Makeup 

One of the most epic moments in my career was when the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design chose me as their resident artist. For a makeup artist like me, getting that call was akin to winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Such an opportunity not only recognizes the years of hard work and dedication required to stand out among thousands but also marks a transformative milestone in an artist’s journey. It’s worth noting that a museum residency is typically an invitation-only affair, making this achievement even more monumental. Being able to create art and exhibit it in the enchanting setting of Shangri La in Hawaii was a privilege. This electrifying experience allowed me to blend my passion for storytelling with the release of my exhibition. Together, the museum and I crafted something profoundly meaningful, and I can’t wait to share the details in my next blog post.

Image courtesy of the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design, Honolulu, Hawaii (Photograph: Elyse Butler, 2023)

And if you thought that was amazing, let’s fast forward to May 2023 when I had the honor of joining the panel for ‘A Brief History of Makeup Around the World,’ hosted by the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. During this event, we delved into the rich history of makeup worldwide, with a special emphasis on its significance in the Islamic world. I amplified the importance of contemporary artistry within the Muslim community. For me, as a Latina who proudly wears a hijab and works as a makeup artist, this moment marked a significant milestone in my journey. It was about giving a voice to future hijabi artists who are entering the scene, where visibility has been limited. So, being invited to participate in this discussion, as a convert and a professional, felt necessary. I aimed to leave a mark by amplifying the voices of Muslim artists in my field and serve as a pioneer, addressing the underrepresentation of converts in the Islamic world. It wasn’t just about enhancing faces; it was about amplifying the enduring narrative of makeup’s cultural significance and its role in the global beauty landscape.

Life Beyond Makeup

While makeup is a significant part of my life, my days go beyond just brushes and palettes. I’m also a wife, mother, and a curious soul navigating the ups and downs of everyday life. Get ready to immerse yourself in these daily adventures, moments of joy, challenges, and the beautiful chaos that comes with them. It’s not all rosy; while the perspective on social media paints a perfect life, in my blog, I’ll show you that, honestly, it’s not. Glamour and celebrity status pale in comparison to the day-to-day life of a mom trying to balance being present for her family, managing the household, and excelling at work, all without forgetting herself as a person.

Join the Journey

I’m absolutely amped up to kickstart this blogging journey with you. This platform isn’t just about me; it’s about us, our conversations, and the electrifying community we’re forging together. I’m here to learn from you as much as I’m ready to share my own insights. So, crank up the volume and let your voice be heard—drop those comments, fire away with questions, or simply reach out. Let’s transform this space into a haven where we can connect, ignite inspiration, and blaze a trail together.

Stay locked in for more posts that will delve deeper into the realms of makeup artistry, culture, identity, and the magnificent tapestry that is life. Together, we’ll not only embrace creativity but also unleash it, celebrate diversity like a rock anthem, and revel in the magic of being our authentic selves.

With a whole lot of love and a ton of gratitude,