In an exclusive interview with MEGA Man, content creator Kenn Dayandayan, also known as Kennnnito, shares his thoughts on the transformative power of makeup and how it has shaped him into the man he is today
In the ever-changing landscape of modern masculinity, no one can deny that men who dare to explore the world of makeup are still met with overwhelming obstacles. Despite the prevailing call for inclusivity, the harsh truth persists: online criticism exists and casts a shadow over their courageous journey.
In an enlightening and exclusive interview with MEGA Man, 23-year-old content creator Kenn Dayandayan opens up about his life-changing foray into the realm of cosmetics and the deep impact that it has had on his identity.
Before the spotlight
“Honestly, I was not fond of makeup growing up.” Despite his current status as one of the most prominent content creators for men’s makeup, he openly confessed that he never had much of an inclination towards cosmetics in the past. If anything, he expressed that he once took better care of his skin because he was more preoccupied with establishing a career in modeling.
The makeup venture
He admitted that while he already tried several beauty products in high school since he performed in several plays at his school’s theater, he didn’t really start to acquire an affinity for it until 2020.
The content creator, who refers to himself as a “Pandemic Baby of TikTok,” revealed that his experience auditioning for the Filipino reality show, Pinoy Big Brother, marked what he considers the first time he had ever worn makeup. At the time, he reasoned that if celebrities did it to seem good on television, then there was nothing stopping him.
Interestingly, he also shared that he did not look to YouTube for beauty tips back then. He instead looked to the work of Filipino makeup artists like Jelly Eugenio and Anthea Bueno for ideas. “Basically, they were my references when I did that to myself. From then on, nag-grow na lang siya and I kept on learning and I kept on discovering,” he mentioned.
When faced with the disappointment of not making it to PBB, Kenn channeled his frustration into TikTok. He recalled the day he uploaded a skincare video right in the middle of the holiday season, not knowing it was going to become viral. The next day, he saw a surprising addition of 5,000 followers.
Going to a wedding and got not intentions to look better than the groom.♬ Superstar – MarkTheHerras
He kept filming videos because he knew they would help him connect to more people, but it wasn’t until he released a makeup guide for men to use when attending weddings that he felt he had made it because it gained so much appreciation online. However, he shared that it was completely unplanned. He recalled that as he was getting ready to attend a wedding, he just suddenly realized the need to do some cover-ups since he felt uncomfortable with his skin. In fact, the phone and the makeup he used in that video were both borrowed from his aunt. The support he received caught him off guard, but the experience taught him that this sort of content can help him inspire more people. The rest, as they say, is history.
“I can’t do anything about what other people think, but I can do something about what I think.”
Even with a staggering 300,000 followers in his grasp, the social media influencer revealed his ongoing quest for confidence in his field. Particularly in the realm of men’s makeup, where societal opinions can be rather two-faced. “I knew back then, when I started doing those videos, people were going to say something,” he said. He also mentioned that when it comes to overcoming these negative comments, he simply directs his attention towards the admiration he receives for his artistry. When queried about the significance he places on positive feedback, the content creator expressed, “It meant the world to me because that’s how it got me to where I am right now.”
Trusted tips and tricks
The rising influencer added that, while he values the compliments he receives online, the most flattering feedback he receives is when people actually meet him and tell him how much they enjoy his makeup tips.
He went on to explain that there is a personal reason he values offline support so much. He shared that he was only comfortable and confident in front of the camera, but that he had to work hard to hide that image whenever he left the house before. However, whenever he comes across the genuine admiration of others in person, it inspires him to be more self-assured and unapologetic. “We are pushing boundaries, so we might as well push boundaries sa sarili mo.”
His dynamic bond with makeup
The 23-year-old admitted that he has a deeper connection to cosmetics than what is shown in his internet output. He says it’s like having a best friend by his side, helping him face his fears and feel more confident. “I don’t know why people are still not into it, but makeup really helps build confidence in a way,” he shared.
A man’s mission
“I want my page to be a safe space for everyone. No room for negativity.”
The TikTok star claimed that the people who make negative comments about him are no longer bothersome. His concerns arise, though, when his channel is no longer a safe space for his fans. He expressed that his audience, predominantly consisting of men, simply watches his makeup tutorials for references. With a keen sense of responsibility, he strives to ensure that his content and platform remain a haven of comfort and ease. He worried that some male audiences would be put off by the negative remarks and would stop feeling comfortable wearing cosmetics themselves.
The glam game
@kennnnito I grew up being taught that pink is a symbol of vulnerability which is a word often associated with femininity. I hung loosely to that thread while constantly evading the color and the feeling of weakness. 1 knew I was different from the rest of the guys in my class. I wasn't very interested with sports, but I played chess. I'm not good at dribbling, but I use my hands in writing for journalism while serving as our publication's editor-in-chief. I'm not the tough acting, but l've always been the leader of the class. I've lived with so much fear that showing vulnerability will shred off the little masculine that I have in me. It took me a while to embrace what l'm made of. I knew there are only two ways to overcome my feelings – to stand against the current or drown without trying to swim. Wowzie, I'm probably writing too much, but hey this is what my career is made of hehe. Bye #mensmakeup #makeupformen #celebrityphbeauty ♬ Boy's a Liar Pt. 2 – PinkPantheress & Ice Spice
With a firm determination, he sets his sights on elevating the presence of men in the world of beauty. Feeling the weight of the opportunity he has worked hard to achieve, he confessed, “Medyo pressured din. Back then, medyo mema lang ‘yung mga pinopost ko. But ngayon, I have to be critical because people are watching and taking notes.”
Kenn admitted that he, too, was once intimidated by the makeup aisle, but now understands the scope of the cosmetics market and why men should feel comfortable browsing it. “Always keep in mind to do whatever you think is something you need.”
The content creator continued by arguing that men should view wearing makeup in the same way as grooming. As an example, he used the practice of brushing one’s teeth when one feels their breath is foul or of applying perfume when one feels they already stink. When it comes to beauty, he believes we should use the same approach. He explained, “If you want to hide your redness, put on concealer. If you want to mattify your oiliness, you can put on some powder.”
Kenn cleverly wrapped off our discussion by noting, “I am not totally encouraging. But if ever you need, if ever a moment comes in your life that you need to step up your grooming needs or the way you present yourself to people, my TikTok page will always be here for you.”
Photography: RAYMOND CAUILAN