Meet Your Miss Derm Artist: RJ Escuadro
Behind every brow masterpiece is a well-trained artist who has an inspiring story of perseverance and love for their craft.
RJ with his client in Miss Derm Centuria
Meet Roque S. Escuadro, senior artist at Miss Derm Beauty Lounge. Often called by his colleagues as RJ, this 30-year old eyebrow artist has been a microblader for 5 years and has now added procedures such as OMBRE/MICROSHADING, lip micropigmentation, top eyeliner, and BB glow under his belt.
RJ’s exceptional artistry is being enjoyed by patrons of Miss Derm’s Makati branch. He is the lounge’s first artist and, in a way, he’s also the reason why Miss Derm stands today.
How It All Started
A true artist since the very beginning, RJ used to be a freelance actor—jumping on extra roles in local films and TV—before he tried to explore a career in the beauty industry.
“It's tiring na kasi ‘yung pag-freelance kaya na-enganyo ako na mag-aral ng panibago naman,” RJ says. “Cause I tried different kinds of job din.”
The first procedure he’s ever learned is eyebrow enhancement.
“Kilay talaga,” RJ says. “Train how to enhance brows, how to hold the pen perfectly, how to measure—lahat ‘yun. Basic muna. Practice nang practice until I perfected it and it became my passion."
Like many artists in the industry, RJ found himself struggling to find a source of living when the pandemic hit in 2020. He’s been transferring from one clinic to another multiple times prior to that, but COVID-19 didn’t make things easier.
Out of desperation, RJ exhausted all ways and connections to get back on his feet. This is when he took his chances and approached Marzen Salazar, owner and found of Miss Derm who’s currently based in Oman, to ask for a job.
“Sa previous kong clinic, I have a partner na artist na nag-introduce sa akin kay Ms. Marzen,” RJ narrates when asked how he and the founder met each other. RJ knew then that Marzen co-owns another Manila-based salon and was hoping he can get a gig in there.
“Since I don't have a job, nag-personal message ako sa kanya. I told her, isa akong artist. Kasi baka hanapan niya ako o baka magtayo sya ng business na pwede niya akong kunin,” RJ recalls.
During this time, RJ had no expectations and was just trying his luck. Little did he know that his courage inspired Marzen to begin a salon venture in the middle of the pandemic. This was when Miss Derm was born.
“At first, I don't know what's the plan and decision ni Ms. Marz,” RJ says. Until one day, he received equipment and tools to practice on. RJ continues, “‘Mag-practice ka. I-enhance mo ‘yung skill mo. Aralin mo ulit ‘yung knowledge mo para ma-refresh,’” he remembers being told during that time.
Feeling pressured and overjoyed at once, RJ started brushing up his skills again and preparing for Miss Derm. Of course, he also felt a little anxious and scared because he understands the risk of the business during the pandemic. But he was more determined to prove himself worthy of the trust given to him.
“I was glad kasi ‘yung boss namin talagang very supportive siya sa aming lahat. So, ako naman, bilang isang tauhan nya, ginagalingan at pinagiigihan ko talaga,” he says. RJ appreciates that even if Marzen is based in Oman, she never fails to ask how they are, remind them to stay safe, and encourage them to continue enhancing their skills as artists.
A Home and Self-Care Lounge in One Place
When asked to describe how his typical day in Miss Derm goes, RJ says he starts his day with his own self-care routine—an important lesson for everyone regardless of the industry you’re in.
“Once I enter the clinic, 1st, I wash my face. Nag-p-prepare ako sa sarili ko bago ko hawakan ‘yung kliyente, me first,” RJ says, emphasizing the importance of the process. “Before ako lumapit sa procedure area, I'll fix my equipment. Para kapag inasikaso ko na si client, prepared na lahat.”
According to RJ, his day almost never stays the same because there are different procedures that clients want every day.
Despite perfecting his routine, RJ knows that the key to consistent work is practice. Even as a senior artist, there are a lot of things he still wants to know in his field.
“[Tuwing] may bagong labas na procedure, we should learn so we know the trend and the new techniques,” he says. “Dapat lagi kaming nakakahabol. Dapat aralin namin ‘yun para makakasabay pa rin kami.”
RJ took master class in machine strokes microblading
To him, Miss Derm is more than just a place of work. As part of the founding members of the salon, he witnessed how Miss Derm continued to thrive in success despite all odds.
“Nu’ng una, nag-start lang kami sa dalawa,” he says, referring to his colleague MJ who is also based in their Makati branch. “Ngayon naging sampo [na kami].”
Microblading done by RJ
“I'm so happy na nag-grow si Miss Derm, na lumalaki nang lumalaki ‘yung family namin,” he continues. Miss Derm has now two branches: one in Makati, one in Las Pinas. And another one in Quezon City is currently in the works. “Hindi ko in-expect kasi sa ganitong field, parang sugal na ang nangyari [simula palang].”
Even if there are times when misunderstandings occur, RJ says they still find a way to communicate with each other. They bond over food and check on each other, just like a family. True enough, when you’re surrounded by people that inspire you, you find joy in what you do and strive to be better.
This is who RJ is—skilled, courageous, reliable, and most of all, a passionate Miss Derm artist.