With a penchant for creating luxurious, voluminous hair styles and perfecting glowing skin tones, Andrea Claire has made a well-deserved reputation for herself in the hair and makeup industry. Her aesthetic, which has been described "contemporary", has paved a path for her working with Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Style, Sports Illustrated and Marie Claire. In an exclusive interview with Moments with Meera, Ms. Claire reveals her top tips for aspiring makeup artists and the highlights of her incredible career.
1. How did your career as a makeup artist begin?
Funny story. I blame the 80s. I actually had volunteered to do hair and makeup for school productions long before receiving professional training. As of 1993 I became a licensed hairstylist and certified makeup artist (from Canada) so I do both hair & makeup.
2. If you could give any advice to aspiring makeup artists, what would it be?
Live and breathe beauty. Practice on your friends, family and yourself. Take lots of photos – and don’t Instagram your work with filters as that won’t teach you anything. Use natural light and flash to get a since of how the makeup reacts – don’t worry - you aren’t shooting your portfolio but it gives you an idea of what looks like what. Constantly play with new products. Get to know the global key artists and the top artists in various markets - it's important to know who your peers are. Never stop learning and keep your ego in check. It's ok to know you have talent but the minute you think you are the top guru is the minute your career ends. You should always have at least one person to look up to. Don’t gossip – it can ruin your reputation.
3. Which editorial or other piece of work that you have done is your absolute favorite?
I have a 23 year career so I do have many highlights, including:
- Co-starring on 2 makeover shows - the most rewarding part of my career was working on real women and empowering them without scalpels and I got to be on tv for 7 seasons while doing it – Canadian shows but aired in the UK, Singapore, Malaysia and of course Canada.
- Landing a contract with L'Oreal Paris as the lead hairstylist for Canada's fashion week (3 seasons) and Canadian Idol (2 seasons)
- Working with Seal and Lady Antebellum.
- Guest appearance on Asia's Next Top Model giving the models of cycle 1 hair tips with TRESemme on episode
4. Are there any downsides to your job?
Dealing with egos can be a real pain in the ass. And money - freelancing sounds glamorous and looks lucrative on paper but clients pay on average of every 45 days - it is referred to as 'feast or famine'. You tend to get slammed with all your cheques at once and then you can go 2-3 months of having nothing coming in. Learning money management early on is important. I had a job where the production company in Toronto went bankrupt and they owed me a few thousand dollars – I was a single mother then with only one income. Needless to say I was a little stressed but then a fab contract fell on my lap with L’Oreal Paris and I was off and running again.
5. How is being a makeup artist in Singapore different from the rest of the world?
Well, I can't say the rest of the world as my experience aside from location shoots is from living in both Toronto and Singapore. Yes there is a difference. I find that there is more respect for the art and seniority in the craft back in Toronto.
6. According to you, what are the best reasons for choosing your career?
Adventure. Everyday is different and your office is in a box that can take you places. I have worked all over Canada, LA, Paris, New York, Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand.
7. What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
Hanging my toes in the ocean somewhere exotic while touching up some model on set.