While some actors and actresses use their acceptance speeches as opportunities to make social or political statements, others don’t wait to see if they win to make their point. They use their red carpet moment as a chance to put it all out there and spark conversations. At last night’s Primetime Emmys, Ryan Jamaal Swain’s magical red carpet look was more than just fabulous makeup on a pretty face.

“My beauty look, in collaboration with my girl Amber Amos, is to honor those youth who choose their happiness and truth over their safety,” he said. “By merging masculine and feminine energies together you get what I think is the perfect renaissance specimen: one of class, grace, and power. I wanted that.”

The pose star gave a lewk that was an elegant ode to dualities. His glowing flawless foundation and bold blue eyeshadow came together with a neatly groomed five o’clock shadow for the most handsome beat. He looked both pretty and handsome, and though the makeup was bold nothing felt unnecessarily over the top. If the category is Mx non-binary chic, he certainly got tens across the board.

Makeup artist Amber Amos, who has worked with clients such as Marcus Scribner and Lakieth Stanfield, executed a skincare and makeup routine on the star to give him this finished and polished look that wowed on the carpet. And she gave ESSENCE the scoop, and behind the scenes view, on how it all came together.

“Me and Ryan have had a special connection from the first day we met; one like family. Since we no longer live on the same coast we don’t get to work together as often. It’s both of our first Emmys. So this look is special for me,” said Amos. “It brings both my grooming and beauty worlds together in a beautiful way, and it is somewhat of a reunion.”

“My vision for tonight’s look was one of duality. Ryan is super masculine but has soft velvety feminine ways about him. I wanted to play off of that, with soft and glowy skin, but also bold and edgy eyes, with full scruff.”

Courtesy Amber Amos
Courtesy Amber Amos

“I think the blue doesn’t even have to be mentioned as that would be an obvious choice as [my favorite], but my real favorite is the skin. I’m obsessed with glowing dewy skin.”

Amos used a handful of Dr. Barbara Strum products to prep Ryan’s face before makeup application, including the Hydrating Mist, Hyaluronic Serum, and Balancing Toner.

Then she used the Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick and Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder for his face, Glossier Boy Brow in clear on his brows, and Laneige Lip Glowy Balm on his lips.

Courtesy Amber Amos

“For the ladies and gents recreating at home, I’d say give yourself at least 40 to 45 minutes to do it. I used a very pigmented blue eyeshadow, so to be safe give yourself some time to deal with any fallen shadow, etc.”

The special layered blue eye makeup was achieved with products from different brands, including Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Midnight Blue, and Pat McGrath Mothership I Subliminal Palette in the hues Blitz Blue & Depth.

Courtesy Amber Amos
Courtesy Amber Amos

“What drives me to create my art is helping others see the beauty in themselves that they may not have seen or envisioned otherwise.”

Courtesy Amber Amos

“I’m also driven by the thought of inspiring people who look like me, to create and express themselves, without fear or judgement of others,” Amos concluded.

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