Story & photos by Alexandria Eady


For Leila Contreras Cuervo, it’s easy to transform her look through her unique and artistic hobby. Using the power of makeup and her creative talent, she takes the typical makeover to the next level. Leila recreates colorful, fun and surreal looks as a unique pastime and transforms her face and body into the unimaginable.

“I really started getting into face painting last summer,” Leila said. “I’ve always loved makeup and one day I decided to try something more unique.”

As a 20-year-old Junior pursuing a Biotechnology major, Leila strays away from her norm and expresses her artistic side through her unique hobby. Gaining her inspiration from famous YouTubers and makeup gurus, Leila studied the craft of makeup recreation and decided to try it for herself.

She's recreated numerous makeup looks including Mexican sugar skulls, SockMonkey characters and animal designs. Her most famous look is her jeweled skeleton recreation inspired by the tattoos of Rick Genest, also known as “Zombie Boy”.


“I love trying different types of variations with looks and putting my own twist on it,” Leila said. “It helps to get inspiration but it’s always fun to make a look my own.”

Barefaced and bursting with creativity, Leila begins her transformation process by laying out her supplies. Eyeshadow pallets, water based paint pots and brush kits cover her dorm room work space as she prepares for her intense skeleton look.

“I like to look at other photos to give me an idea of what it should look like,” Leila said. “It definitely helps me along in the process.”

With a steady and controlled hand, Leila begins outlining the basis for her skeleton look. Taking occasional breaks to reference her photos of inspiration and rewet her body paints, Leila remains focused on her task. Piece by piece, Leila’s makeup look comes together over the course of two and a half hours. Adding jeweled accents for a pop of color, rhinestone eyelashes and intense colored contacts, Leila brings her own flare to top off the look.

“Doing stuff like this is really fun for me. It gives me an excuse to play in makeup all day and just be creative,” Leila said.

Even more than the transformation process itself, Leila enjoys showing off her unique finished look to others.

“It’s so great to see people’s reactions and see their faces when they see me out,” Leila said. “People are usually shocked and confused at first, but once I explain they’re really impressed. “

The positive feedback from others has encouraged Leila to improve her skill and continue to share her passion with others. Constantly trying new things and exploring new areas of her creativity, Leila hopes to show others that there’s more than meets the eye.

“I think I have a hobby that is pretty unusual and not a lot of people have seen before, but that’s honestly why I love doing it.”