Catherine Martinez’s beauty tutorials started the same way that most vloggers’ do, as a hobby. The videos were straightforward, Martinez teaching her viewers how to put on makeup with little talking. But once she started studying communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, all that started to change. 

Through her program, Martinez, now 24, started taking American Sign Language and had the idea to start incorporating ASL into her videos. “It just occurred to me that when you watch media in general, sometimes [there’s] not a lot of communicative resources depending on where the person is or what channels they may watch,” she said.

American Sign Language @anastasiabeverlyhills Liquid Lipstick swatches  Hudson  Dazed Bittersweet #anastasiabeverlyhills @norvina  @patchology hydrating lip gels  Honestly great to prep the lips for liquid lipstick swatches because mine tend to get a bit chapped. I loved the cool feeling and it’s a plus that it contains hylaronic acid. It’s essential since it helps mantain moisture in the skin. All opinion is 100% my own and thank you @octolyus @patchology For letting me try these out ❤️ #gifted #octolyfamily #honestreview  Did you guys check out my ASL @anastasiabeverlyhills SUGAR GLOW KIT & RADIANT BLUSH KIT TUTORIAL? These products from both tutorials are from the holiday launch.  @norvina  @monakattan #asl #americansignlanguage #benefit  #hudabeauty #norvina *Hearing and learning ASL-* eyes: @glowdupcosmetics into the sun palette use code catthe1st for a discount on this bomb palette | brows: @benefitcosmetics ka brow gel in 5 & gimme brow to set #benebabe #benefitclubpink | cardigan: @fashionnovacurve use code catthe1st

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Though she was just beginning to learn ASL, Martinez says she decided to let her guard down and just go for it. She wanted to reach communities that aren’t always involved in beauty tutorials because of the communication barrier. At one point she had a friend at school approach her and ask what a certain YouTuber was saying. “I noticed right then and there, imagine somebody from the [deaf] community trying to watch [videos] and the subtitles probably are not available or the subtitles are misleading. That’s what really pushed me even more to want to continue to do it.” 

Even though Martinez is still learning ASL, she says she’s been able to have a positive impact through her videos. “It was overwhelming for me when I had a lot of people tell me they were from the community, and they appreciate it from the bottom of their hearts…” she said. “It’s like, wow, I have this impact with the little resources I have and the little that I know… So imagine if I further my studies, if I continue practicing, if I continue learning sign language. I can help more and more people.” 

And the beauty community has also taken notice; Martinez has worked with brands like e.l.f. Cosmetics, theBalm and Wet N Wild, most recently announcing she’s part of Wet N Wild’s Breaking Beauty campaign:

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But Martinez isn’t stopping at ASL. She’s started writing out some of her Instagram captions in both English and Spanish (both of which she’s fluent in) to connect with an even wider audience.

ASL simple nighttime skincare routine using: 1. Bestseller! @glowrecipe BLUEBERRY BOUNCE GENTLE CLEANSER  2. @elfcosmetics MASSAGING FACIAL CLEANSER  3. Bestseller! @glowrecipe WATERMELON GLOW SLEEPING MASK  I love this routine because the facial cleanser is great on the skin. It exfoliates since it has an AHA which helps removes dead skin cells. This gives the complexion smoother texture and brightens it. I used the massaging facial wand to help the face wash really get deep into my pores to remove as much dirt as possible. Plus it is very sanitary and better than a spin brush since it can be easily disinfected with alcohol and it doesn’t scrape the skin. I finished off with the famous watermelon glow sleeping mask which provides amazing hydration to the face since it contains hylaronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is actually a natural structural component of skin, and, in fact, is present in connective tissue throughout the human body. It’s considered to have a greater capacity to hold moisture than any other natural or synthetic polymer.  Spanish ????: Me encanta esta rutina porque el limpiador facial es excelente para la piel. Te exfolia la piel porque contiene un AHA que ayuda a eliminar las células muertas de la piel. Esto te cambie la textura de piel hacer más suave y la ilumina. Utilicé la varita facial de masaje para ayudar a que la limpiadora realmente penetre mis poros y elimine la mayor cantidad de suciedad posible. Además, es muy higiénico y mejor que un cepillo, ya que se puede desinfectar fácilmente con alcohol y no raspa la piel. Terminé con la famosa mascarilla de dormir con brillo de sandía que te da una hidratación increíble ya que contiene ácido hialuronico. El ácido hialurónico es en realidad un componente estructural natural de la piel y, de hecho, está presente en el tejido conectivo en todo el cuerpo humano. Se considera que tiene una mayor capacidad para contener la humedad que cualquier otro polimero natural o sintético.  #glowrecipe #asl #skincare #americansignlanguage #tutorial @shimycatsmua @hudabeauty @monakattan #hudabeauty @danichain @say.wu

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“I feel like at this point, our platforms should be, if not bilingual, then multilingual. If we have the advantage where we know more than one language, use it.” Above, watch Martinez explain how she started creating her videos and why she’s passionate about making tutorials for all communities.