Meet Marvel Maull, App State’s newest upcoming makeup artist

Emily Broyles, News Editor

Drained from Zoom calls and a packed schedule, an App State student decided to take a nap. When she woke up, Miley Cyrus had commented on her TikTok, inspired by the singer.

“That one sent me into cardiac arrest,” said Marvel Maull, a junior apparel and design major.

It isn’t skits or a trendy dance like “the renegade” that landed Maull attention on the platform and on social media in general: it’s makeup.

As of Nov. 19, Maull had 951 followers on her makeup Instagram account and 6,378 followers on her TikTok account. After her little sister helped create the TikTok account during stay-at-home orders in March, Maull has 339,600 total “likes” on the app.  

“Within the past year, I think I’ve become super serious about (makeup). This is what I want to do, this is something I need to put time into, so I’ve been trying to focus more on it. But I’ve always loved (it),” Maull said.

Maull started practicing makeup her sophomore year of high school, five years ago. Only going off of YouTube tutorials, especially by creator and makeup artist Nikkie Tutorials, she slowly found a new meaning to eyeliner and contour. 

“It had such a negative connotation to me for so long because everybody was like, ‘If you wear makeup you’re trying to be something you’re not – you’re ugly, and you’re trying to hide it’ is kind of the vibe I got up until my sophomore year and then I was like, ‘Who cares? It’s fun to do — it’s so much more than hiding your insecurities,” Maull said.

Now, Maull receives free products from the brand Danessa Myricks Beauty Makeup and is involved with its selective beauty community that shares different techniques and tips. The brand E.l.f. Cosmetics and YouTuber Allana Davison have also noticed her. Maull said brands like Myricks’ have not only doubled her Instagram following — they’ve taught her how to reach more people with every post.

“Before, when I wasn’t in it, it’s kind of hard to motivate yourself because you’re not getting any attention whatsoever,” Maull said. “I’d get like 16 likes on a picture, which is fine but … I’ve put time and effort into this look, and then it goes nowhere, and I really liked it. It’s like a hit to your self-esteem almost, it’s like ‘what am I doing wrong?’”

Maull knew she was doing something right when popular TikTok personality Brittany Broski commented on Maull’s TikTok recreating one of Broski’s makeup looks. She saw Broski’s comment during her usual morning phone check before her 8 a.m class on Sept. 8.

“I was waking up for communication law and I went on my (phone) and I had saw that I had got, I mean like, 30,000 likes overnight. I was like, ‘You’re lying to me,’” Maull said. “I was literally in communication law not paying attention whatsoever, just texting everyone I knew, like ‘no effing way this is happening.’” 

The TikTok where Maull recreated Miley Cyrus’ glitter-punk makeup, blew up Sept. 24, even gaining a comment from the star. One week later, Rihanna’s makeup line Fenty Beauty reposted Maull’s TikTok look inspired by Rihanna on the company’s Instagram account, which had 10.4 million followers as of Nov. 12. 

Jesse Barber

“Every other day there was something,” said Angela Arnold, a sophomore who became friends with Maull this year. “It was really out of nowhere.”

Maull earned a total of 136,119 likes and 616, 623 views from the two posts.

“That was really surreal for me, and Rihanna’s makeup artist followed me on TikTok,” Maull said. “That was when I think it felt like…‘Am I going somewhere?’”

Sarai Maull, Marvel Maull’s mother, said while “it’s nice when other people see what you see in your child,” she’s stunned at how her daughter actually does it.

“To see a platform now that she’s able to put out her product on a daily basis and still maintain good grades in school, and good sleeping hours … things that are important to moms, and also with this new platform …. being recognized, it’s just amazing,” Sarai Maull said. 

One side of Marvel Maull’s dorm serves as a makeup studio with a desk organized with all types of face products, a ring light for picture lighting and a curtain that “takes away the hideousness of a dorm.”

 “Sometimes, I’ll be a little late to a Zoom call because my eyebrows are not finished, but I try to set myself on a schedule,” Marvel Maull said.

Arnold said she met Marvel Maull through virtual resident-assistant training in the summer, first noticing her makeup. Now, they spend nights on duty together and cook dinner every evening.

“I literally was obsessed with her over Zoom, and I had never met her,” Arnold said. “She always had her makeup done really crazy. It just looked really awesome.”

Arnold says she’s excited to see Marvel Maull take off in the makeup industry. When the pair became friends, Maull only had 200 followers on Instagram. She said Maull, “just has some kind of magic to her.”

“I tell her everyday she’s going to be famous. I really am just waiting to see her keep growing,” Arnold said. “I think she’s great, and she’s deserving of everything she has. She’s so kind to everybody, and I think she’s such a unique personality too.”

Sarai Maull said she feels good her daughter is making connections in a career that can be difficult, but is also confident “she has something to say with makeup.” That something is kindness. 

“She’s really just helped me, taught me so many things about acceptance…  political differences, racial differences, everything that we’re going through right now,” Sarai Maull said. “I really see her using her makeup as a neutral ground, as a place where she can talk to anyone. I really like that about it.”

The 20-year-old makeup artist said she’s “tried to be as real as possible” in how she presents herself on social media, juxtaposing today’s “beauty community” that has garnered attention for being toxic for creators. She likes the separation she created for herself between makeup and the outside world.

“I don’t edit any of my pictures. I’m not going in and making something more pigmented, I’m not going in and ‘FaceTuning’ my double chin away,” Marvel Maull said. “ I like when I can go to someone’s page and just get lost for hours because it’s just something that I want to watch. I don’t want to see political opinions … it’s nice to just step away and be blank for a minute.”

Once insecure in high school, she said, “now I’ll walk around with gems on my face, ” crediting makeup for helping mold her into who she is today. As for now, the 20-year-old is “just going with the flow” when it comes to her love for musician Harry Styles and makeup, but the latter is what she sees herself obtaining a real future in. 

“I used makeup at first to hide and not really make myself known. I just (wanted) to cover everything that’s different about me. But now, I’m like, ‘Girl! Just see me, OK? I don’t put this much highlighter on for you to not notice me when I walk by,’” Maull said.