#WhatDrivesYou: Andrea Claire
November 17, 2016
With extensive print, runway and on-air makeover experience, Andrea Claire's work has taken her across the globe from Toronto to Singapore. Now based in Asia, we connected with Andrea via email to learn more about this talented beauty expert and busy mom of three.
Tell us about yourself – what makes you, you?
I'm glad that you started with an easy question.
There are so many ways to answer this.
Not in any particular order: I'm an artist, a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a peer, a mentor, and a mentee.
I love that I can go to work to play. I have three daughters (8, 19 and 22). My husband whisked us to Asia in 2007; my hb, youngest and myself are still living in Singapore. My eldest is now a Chef and a junior food stylist and my middle child is a floral artist.
I am blessed with many friends and most definitely have a small, tight inner circle.
I'm honest, probably to a fault.
I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I have a very sarcastic sense of humour. Lately Chelsea Handler is my spirit animal.
How did you get started?
There's no short answer here. I took makeup artistry in 1985 at ITM in Kitchener-Waterloo, taught by Goldie. I spent the 80s wearing many colours, crimping and shaving parts of my head. I coiffed and painted friends before going out, and also when we were just playing around. I know many who cringe at their 80s style, but I remember it fondly and would do it all over again... minus the shoulder pads.
From that I went on to apprenticing in a salon which brought me to Toronto for trade school. I landed a job as a junior tech at Civello Salon & Spa when Ray only had the Rosedale location. I worked under an amazing hairstylist, Andy, whom we sadly lost to AIDS.
Ana Karzis took over as the head technician (she's still there) and became my colour mentor. We are still in touch today and her occasional 'good job, baby girl' comments on my Instagram brighten my day.
As hair & makeup artists we spend many days making others feel great so it's nice when artists can do that for each other. (Yes, I AM this cheesy)
My career has brought me many amazing opportunities and I've worked hard at it.
You may have seen me on Stylin' Gypsies, So Chic with Steven and Chris (rest in peace Christopher), Canadian Idol, Asia's Next Top Model, Sephora APAC, to name a few. I've shot with many celebs, editorials, ad campaigns, been a spokesperson for various brands, etc etc blah blah blah. I've been riding this wave for 26 years. I'm 45, but act 18 - that's the secret of youth. That and a good Dermalogica eye cream.
What drives you out of bed in the morning?
I don't want my muscles to atrophy. Lol. Some days it's that simple (read: ridiculous). I feel that as artists, we don't work everyday, we give a lot of our energy, some days we have low energy and some days we can take on the world. I'm a Pisces, a ginger and an a artist. I'm doomed, right? Lol. I feel that sounds cryptic and maybe only artists will understand me.
What do you love about your career?
I love that everyday is different. I love that women message me saying that I've made them feel beautiful. I love that my job can be challenging when a director tosses out a last minute change and I have three minutes to solve and produce it. I love that my job allows me to travel the world. I love that my job introduces me to so many people with various life stories.
What else would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your current position and why?
I thought I'd become an actress. I loved acting in school. I was often a part of theatre clubs and productions. I had also done hair and makeup with the productions, as early as grade six and onwards; maybe my destiny was written. I joke that I've played a hair & makeup artist on TV. (10 seasons of various TV shows and appearances)
What is a memorable challenge or moment that’s stuck with you so far?
Oy. I have had many. What doesn't kill you... Some that have helped me learn and grow as an artist and person; others that have left me wondering what my takeaway was supposed to be.
The one that sticks out the most was being on set with Asia's NTM. I was on camera doing a guest appearance for a beauty brand and a crew member just had a bee in her bonnet about it. She made this incredible scene (not on camera). It was truly bizarre and so out of left field. Half way through the day she sent her first assistant to apologize for her behaviour. The director, producer, myself and my assistant didn't get it; and I'm sure the jaw-dropped bystanders didn't get it either. Even today, I still don't get it. Some situations you just need to remind yourself that you have no control over other people's behaviour.
Our industry has a reputation of cattiness towards each other. I don't have time for other people's insecurities that they channel to meanness. This was one of the reasons why I started a closed FB group called: Beauty Collaborators. You can see amazing talent from all over the world who support each other on the growing open Instagram account. I had started the IG to pair with the closed group to share established and up and coming talent for everyone to see. Positive vibes only!
Who is your role model and why?
Stop with these easy questions!
My mother and my aunts; which I would then probably mean my grandmother since her traits were passed on. The women in my family are all strong women with kind hearts. Strength, integrity, empathy, sympathy, acceptance; these are very important to me and I see them in my daughters as well. However, I talk a lot, so I need to work on my listening skills.
What do you do just for you?
Aside from the superficial spa treatments and shopping, I like to give back. Growing up was a little rocky for me and remembering things that I went through has always inspired me to give back. When I was living in Toronto I volunteered for women's shelters' events, doing hair and makeup around holiday seasons. I had also volunteered for the Children's Aid Society's yearly women's executive golf fundraiser where I did touch ups for women post-game before they went to the charity lunch.
Since relocating to Singapore I wanted to continue supporting women of the world.
I started teaching hair & makeup workshops with Riverkids in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to young girls / women (aged 14-25) who were at risk for being sold into human trafficking to share my skills. (Some girls I had taught had already been sold and worked off the debt*. Let that sink in)
Sadly, Riverkids has closed and the help is still very much needed in the community.
*Virginity is sold for $800 USD!!! They work it off before returning home. It's heartbreaking.
I was told that about five girls that I taught did in fact, become hairstylists and makeup artists which is amazing.
It was a life-changing experience that I'll cherish forever and I would embrace with open arms the opportunity to continue this fight by providing my trade education.
I know that the question was what do I do for me, this may sound weird, but I feel I get a lot out of these helping others experiences which makes me feel selfish.
You can read more about my trips to Riverkids here.
Keep up with Andrea on Instagram!