Saucy Santana on How to Be a Material Girl

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Thread Beauty

Saucy Santana knows how to keep the internet’s attention. It all began in 2019 with his breakout track, “Walk ’Em Like a Dog.” The next year, he followed that hit up with “Here We Go,” “Walk,” and “Material Girl.” All of them quickly climbed the ranks of the Billboard charts.

“I look a mess right now; I’ll get glam later,” he tells me as soon as our conversation begins. Santana entered the industry as a celebrity makeup artist. This year, he returned to his roots, securing a beauty campaign as the first-ever face of Thread Beauty, a color cosmetics brand.

“It’s a proud moment for me being a Black, heavyset gay boy representing a beauty brand,” he says. “Especially for the feminine boys like me.”

What was your first introduction to beauty?
My mama was a party girl, always in a new wig, a face beat, and new clothes. Growing up, I used to run around trying on her clothes when she was gone, trying out her clothes, playing in her heels. My mom was a Mary Kay beauty consultant, so I hit the jackpot because she had all the foundation colors, concealers, and lipsticks. When I was in high school, I used to be in the bathroom beating my face down when she was at work. After I graduated high school, I started practicing makeup on my family members. And it was so funny because everybody laughed at me at first, but once I got good, I couldn’t stop my phone from ringing.

Before your music career, you were a celebrity makeup-artist friend. What are your rules around makeup?
Highlight, highlight, highlight. You have to wake the face up, so highlight under your eyes with concealer. I like Threads’ foundation stick, concealer, and they have the best clear lip gloss in the world. At the very end, you have to highlight again. I always like to have a little glow and sparkle on my cheeks to make the boys notice me.

Your nails are always so well manicured. What are your rules for a fresh set? 
Your nails have to be long. If you have short nails, you can’t ask the man you’re with for money. You can’t even hear the nails clicking. I have short nails right now, so I’m devastated.

Speaking of men, what are your rules around dating? 
Definitely take your time with dating; don’t rush into it. I feel like nowadays, people date and just start being so serious. You still have to figure yourself out and figure out what the person brings to the table. I like to take time to date people and get to know the person. And you have to date around. Get in the field and see what’s going on.

What are your rules for being a Material Girl? 
You got to be in the new shit and you have to look expensive. And you have to look the part. Somebody has to look at you and be like, “Oh, that’s a rich bitch.” The rest just comes naturally.

How do you approach fashion? 
You always have to have a cute bag to finish your look. I remember that was a big thing for my friends and me when we were younger. All of my homegirls used to ask me for a purse to wear, and I used to be like, “Y’all just get dressed and walk outside with an ID in your bra. So dirty.” And if you’re a woman you have to go out in heels; don’t ever go out in flats.

It’s all in the accessories. What are your favorite bags right now? 
Hermès and Chanel bags are my top two right now. I like Dior saddlebags too; they’re really cute, but you just can’t fit anything in them.

From Yung Miami (Caresha of City Girls) to Sukihana, you keep a strong girl group around you. What are your rules for being a really good friend? 
I always tell people Libras are so loyal to their friends. You know how sometimes you have friends you feel uncomfortable telling certain things to because you’ll be embarrassed? My friends and I have an open line of communication, so we can tell each other everything without worrying about being judged. You have to be sensitive and vulnerable and just there for each other. I can call my friends about anything. Those are the main keys to holding down the friendship. I don’t have new friends. I probably got like five new friends after fame. Other than that, I keep a very tight circle and I’m observant. People want to be your friend for the wrong reasons. But I’m good at picking out the bad vibe.

You are the king of getting your girls out of the house and having a good time. What are your party rules? 
The rules are in the rider. The 1942 gotta be on flow and the Red Bull. I gotta hear the dinging of the Casa Azul bottle. That’s how we know it’s ready to go. Period. And you have to come out with a good attitude ready to have fun. Bring your coins outside because we’re going to four or five clubs, and we drink at every last one of them. We ain’t sharing no hookah, and we are always getting a driver because you don’t want to drink and drive.

Everyone loves your song “One Margarita Saucy Remix.” What are your rules for making a really good cocktail? 
I like a lemon drop with Don Julio Reposado and a sugar rim. Not no vodka, baby.

When you’re not going out, how do you like to unwind? 
I hate the spa and massages. It’s a lot being a bad bitch with a busy schedule. My way to unwind is just being in the house alone, on the phone, laughing with my friends, and being lazy. My hair ain’t cut. I ain’t got on no lashes. I need a pedicure. I’m just ugly and ashy in the house, watching TV, and laughing with my friends.

Do you ever host dinner parties for your friends at your house? 
No, because I can’t cook. But my rules would be whatever dish you’re supposed to bring, make sure you know how to cook it and it ain’t nasty. And make enough food, because I love leftovers.

You’re known for going viral on the internet; do you ever read comments? 
Sometimes, but I’ve always had thick skin. I’ve been dressing real feminine since I was like 17, so I’m just used to people saying crazy stuff to me. I don’t follow blogs because I don’t like the negativity. People overstep their boundaries with me on social media sometimes. But don’t play with me like that because you don’t know me. We are going to laugh and joke, but people just go off the walls sometimes and I have to check shit.

You speak openly about being a gay rapper, challenging homophobia in hip-hop and growing up in a female-dominated environment. How has that shaped who you are today? 
I don’t want anyone putting me in an LGBQT box. I love empowering femininity and rapping from a female’s standpoint because it’s more relatable for me. From men, women, and little girls, they all want to be Material Girls and recite the lyrics. I love that my music reaches the masses. I’m just being myself — you go so much farther in life being authentic to who you are.

Saucy Santana on How to Be a Material Girl