Jay Manuel is a Canadian-American make-up artist. He is most recognizable as the director of photo shoots on the popular reality television show America's Next Top Model. Manuel is also the host and lead judge of the second and third cycle of Canada's Next Top Model, a spin-off to the original.
Manuel was born in Springfield, Illinois to a mother of Italian and Czech descent and a South African father of Cape-Malay descent. He was raised by adoptive parents in Toronto where he attended Dr Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute and York University. Before entering the fashion industry, Manuel was a pre-med student and also studied opera, which included working for the Metropolitan Opera at one point.
Eventually, he became a makeup artist, working for clients such as Tyra Banks and Iman. Manuel and friend J. Alexander, also an America's Next Top Model personality, often appear on E!: Entertainment Television's Fashion Police episodes with Debbie Matenopoulos, which air the day after E!'s Live From the Red Carpet coverage of major awards shows such as The Academy Awards, The Grammys, The Golden Globes and The Primetime Emmy Awards. Manuel also hosts his own show, Style Her Famous, on the Style Network. In September 2006, he introduced his own make-up line, Manuel Override, on QVC. He is the personal make-up artist of supermodel Tyra Banks. On America's Next Top Model, Manuel is also known as "Mister Jay", a counterpart to J. Alexander's "Miss J." He also made a cameo appearance in Degrassi Takes Manhattan, as well as playing himself in a season 3 episode of the comedy-drama television series Being Erica. In 2011, Jay Manuel released a clothing line for Sears by the name of Attitude. On April 20, 2012, Jay Manuel was fired from America's Next Top Model reality show by Tyra Banks after 18 seasons due to the show's plummeting ratings. Jay Manuel was fired together with Nigel Barker, and J. Alexander.