This YouTuber Is Spreading Change Through Sign Language

Catherine D. Martinez is a New York based beauty guru who has gained a significant following by posting makeup tutorials using American Sign Language.

Our editors caught up with Catherine for an interview and here’s what we learned…

When did you start using makeup as a form of expression?

Well I would have to say that I started using makeup as an expressive gateway about three years ago, and at the same time I implemented it in my social media.

You use ASL in your YouTube tutorials, what sparked your interest in doing that?

What really sparked my interest is my career in audiology. While I was at NYU I was in the communicative sciences and disorders program. It’s speech language pathology and audiology based, and I geared myself more towards being passionate in the audiology field and that’s kind of the career path I chose. Within that program they offer American Sign Language and multiple other languages, since it is a very language-based program/career.

Did you plan on becoming an advocate for the deaf community or did this just kind of happen for you?

While I was in my courses, learning more about audiological rehab as well as learning more sign language, I got more intrigued with deaf culture. I tried to educate myself more and more about it, learning the identity aspect of deaf culture as well as signing. That’s when I really kind of noticed more and more of my surroundings and my day-to-day activities, and how certain things could impede or block communication for the culture as well as any community as a whole.

Who are your biggest sources of inspiration? Do you get inspired by other influencers?

I would have to say it’s the people who I come in contact with in my field, as well as who I come in contact with through my social media platforms. As far as influencers, I do get a lot of inspiration from them but I would have to say the number one people who inspire me and push me to do more of what I’m doing are deaf or hard of hearing individuals. The people who have reached out to me and expressed that what I do is something that’s extremely helpful for them in order to be able to learn certain techniques, trends or any looks that they would’ve always wanted to experiment with. That’s honestly what makes me feel really rewarded at the end of the day, like I’m doing a good job.

What is one beauty trend you will never get tired of?

Monochromatic looks, or strobing and highlighting, since it does accentuate certain areas of the face and gives your physical features more luminosity, bringing them out more. It’s about accentuating the natural beauty you already have and as expressive as it is, you can add your own twist to it. Makeup has no rules… It’s all about your facial structure, your appearance and just trying to implement something that you feel is your style.

What are you top 3 makeup essentials?

I would have to say that my top makeup essential happens to be a non-comedogenic hypoallergenic moisturizer that’s good for the skin. Based on what type of skin you have, it’s a very important factor since it is the base for the makeup application. Then of course a makeup tool, such as a Beauty Blender or a specific brush designed for a specific need. I usually go for very densely packed brushes if I want more of a full coverage look, since I tend to do that a lot. Or, if not, a stipple brush to keep it more natural, depending on what type of look or finish I’m going for. I definitely love illuminator kits because they’re very versatile. The undertone as well as the color finish can be played with — you can do eye looks with it, as well as highlight your face, implement it into your lip looks… the whole 9 yards.


What advice do you have for aspiring beauty influencers?

Well, the advice that I would give to them is, number one, to be themselves and not think that they have to do specific makeup trends or looks, and edit their pictures in a certain way in order to fit in. Because the industry is large, and we see an oversaturation of the same things, sometimes people are searching for somebody who stands out and is different, somebody who they feel is bringing their own style and doesn’t gear away from who they are.

One final question, if you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

Haha, well that’s quite difficult, I don’t know what specific power I’d want to have. I guess the power that I technically have — to a small degree — is being able to transmit positivity to others or, how do I say it…  if with the snap of a finger, I could change an individual’s mentality for a better society, like, having awareness, being understanding, just for there to be a kumbaya, for there to be love, I would love to have that ability. ‘Cause in the society we live in there’s so much negativity, so much war, so many issues, and so many social factors that affect people as a whole. Sometimes I just wish that we could have, like, a large group of people in every state, in every country being able to slowly and gradually make a lot of changes to the things that we see in society. I know it sounds like it’s very unrealistic, but if that qualifies as a superpower, I would love that.

We think spreading good vibes is definitely a superpower needed in this day and age. Huge thanks to Catherine for answering all of our questions.

Check out Catherine’s YouTube channel and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram!


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