Because my first post about my career in styling and writing got so much feedback [yes, I still owe some of you emails, I will get back to you - promise!], I thought I'd make this a regular thing, especially cos' a lot of you are in the age range where you're trying to figure out what you want to do in life! And hey, it's always fun reading about someone else's days of debauchery, isn't it? In the first When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be... feature, I put my good friend and esteemed colleague [we first met at a Crocs shoot! Oh, the horror!] Andrea Claire on the hot seat. For those who have been reading my blog regularly, Andrea is a regular feature not only because she gives me fabulous hair cuts and colours, but also because of how much she kicks ass - three kids, a palace she calls home and a portfolio that's the envy of many, we find out how this sensational powerhouse became the established international hair and makeup guru that she is today:
Tell us about yourself: I am a hair and makeup artist from Canada who has been gallivanting around the globe with her husband and 3 children, toting my beauty box of wonder. I look younger than I am and act it too! I am insanely honest, loyal, respectful and with a side of a quirky sense of humour -I tend to have deadpan delivery that can get me unintentionally into trouble. I will help anyone out and expect nothing in return. I overthink everything; but I am told this is common in a lot of women so I am normal. I tend to go on and on and on .... :)
You're a hair and makeup artist who has worked in Toronto, New York, Singapore, and a lot of places in between, tell us got started: That's a short question with a very long answer. I started makeup artistry when I was still in high school; it was the early 80s. I was a 'New Waver' -:) the 80s was the perfect time and influence to become a hair & make up artist! I naturally progressed over the years and when I completed high school I apprenticed as a hairstylist too. When I was 22 I got my hairstyling license; by then I was based in Toronto, Canada and working in a salon in Yorkville (the posh area) before transitioning to the freelance world.
Do you consider yourself a hair stylist first or a makeup artist first? Because I am a licensed hairstylist I am considered hair first but I do both equally well.
Is there something you enjoy doing more than the other? In my career I have been on 2 makeover shows, in charge of teams for Canada's Fashion Week (leading a hair team of 15 for 3 seasons), NY Fashion Week (leading a makeup team of 10 for one season) and Canadian Idol (leading a hair team of up to 5 at times for 2 seasons), and had assistants on countless projects!
I love running teams and creative directing looks - this is me saying I am a control freak; but in a good way! I am very particular so if I am only doing hair or makeup then I expect to work with someone who is equally particular. It doesn't mean you can't have fun on set. I have worked often with Bobbi Ng, she is an amazing talented makeup artist and I always look forward to our collaborations.
I think artists thrive off each other as creative minds are always racing and one artist might have a different technique that spurns ideas. If I collaborate with another artist and they do not inspire me in some form I feel that day is missing something. Oh my god - did I even answer your question!
No, you didn't, but it's okay! That was an interesting answer for a question I didn't ask! How important is it to go to school to learn makeup or hair techniques? Is it possible to learn on the job whilst assisting someone? Learning is important throughout life otherwise you will become a boring person. I believe that every artist has their own style but it does need to stem from the basics so, yes, it is very important to go to a reputable school. On the job learning is great too but you need to assist with some basic knowledge already.
How should one go about trying to start a career in hair and makeup?
I think one needs to decide what aspect. Film? TV? or like me Beauty and Fashion. I have worked in Canada, the US and Singapore and it is the same all over- feast or famine. Meaning the industry has it's ups and downs and you need to know how to manage through it.
Plus, get a portfolio started - even if you are just doing friends hair and makeup, take photos. If someone has some work to show me I can tell if they know what they are doing even if they are not working on a supermodel. Find the key players to assist; look in magazine editorials and contact the artists and ask if you can assist. Some jobs you will get a minimum pay and some assisting jobs are non-paying: but if you bust your butt and learn from the senior artists you will make it.
You've been in the industry for twenty years now. Was there a divine intervention of some sort that make you decide this is what you want to do for the rest of your life? How did you know this was something you rocked at when you were 21, for example? Did you ever doubt yourself and thought of switching jobs? It's so weird as I just naturally progressed into this career. It was really as if I had a calling and nothing else held my interest. Except for acting. I did a lot of theatre in school and that certainly helped for my TV shows and guest appearances.
I have been really lucky. I know that I have talent but I also love what I do and I am very passionate about it. I've never had doubt, I have however been surprised at how many people reach out to me and tell me they admire my work. I think: ME? You know my work? So flattering. I had someone email me from the Czech Republic- that was ...in one word to describe: WOW!? They know of me there?
Tell us something funny that happened on a job: Oh - so many things.....The best one: I was shooting a HUGE tv commercial, so many people on set and I was chatting with the wardobe stylist and not paying attention - they started rolling and I noticed the actress chewing gum and yelled 'WAIT" and ran in lecturing the poor girl on how not to chew on camera. She says 'But the Director just gave it to me' Everyone started to laugh and the Director mocked me and then suggested I pay attention [he wanted her character, gossip girl-like teen, to be chewing gum] . I nearly died of embarrassment but SOOO funny!
Now, kiss and tell - we hear you have big wigs under your belt. Who are the famous people you have prettied up? The Veronicas, Miranda Richardson, Kelly Rowan, Malin Ackerman, Lady Antebellum.... um.... always forget - such a bad name dropper! Coco Rocha, Bill Nighy.... there's more.... um... Sarah Slean an amazing singer/songwriter!
Tell us some of your beauty products...And your beauty secrets! I cannot live without... (besides Visa, that is) My Dermalogica skin care, FACEatelier Foundation, L'Oreal Voluminous mascara, Label M Dry shampoo and Label M mousse. My GHD beveled flatiron- and my husband.
Baby Zoie's a hit on thedramadiaries.com - when we grow up, we wanna have babies like yours! Has having kids ever stopped you from taking up a job? I am a workaholic but my children are number one. When I was living in Toronto I was a single mother with 2 pre-teen girls. I was leading the hair team for fashion week when my girls fell ill. I had called my ex who had no job at the time to come help take care of them; he said a flat 'no'. I had to call in and cancel my day! FML - ME the creative director of hair...I missed only one day of the week but, I lost that contract after that season and I think it was because of this.
But, I have no regrets - I led Fashion Week for 3 seasons - not many have that on their resumes.
Another, when I was a single mother story: Good Charlotte had requested me for a music video and I had taken my girls to the cottage, they pleaded with me not to take the shoot, so I declined it. My agent was on one end saying 'are you sure you are declining Good Charlotte?' as my girls are saying 'please mom please we want to stay at the cottage' - what was a mother to do??
I had to call and cancel doing a cover shoot with Amica due to the fact that I was stuck in quarantine with my family in the Hong Kong Swine Flu Hotel...
Makeup artist, hairstylist, writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, (hopefully not grandmother too soon!), videographer, blogger... what else is next in the fabulous life of Andrea Claire? Who knows! I just roll with the punches! My life should become a movie. Know any good ghost writers? (laughs) I continue on with the freelance world. I'd love to involve myself with more fashion weeks - Singapore if they'd have me! I'd have to creative direct though!
Here's the best part: Come June 2010, Andrea Claire will be moving back to Singapore after a year in Austin, so she's available for hair cuts, colours, make up services - plus, twiddle your pretty little thumbs, ladies, she's coming with big beauty news! Watch this space and Andrea's blog for updates.
If you have any questions for Andrea, please feel free to drop a comment here, or to email me. She will take some time but she will answer your queries!