Andra ManeaFrom: Bucharest Born on: 7 November 1983 Occupation: Make-up Artist
Andra Manea is above all “the biggest claimed female supporter”. And this is reflected in her profession, where she highlights the most beautiful sides of female characters. I think Andra is a complete make-up artist, not necessarily through the 15 years of experience in the field, but through her goal of putting the woman first and not the makeup. To manage to identify the particularities of each individual and to brighten those areas, I find it quite difficult. And yet she manages to create a harmony between the personality, style, and customer physiognomy.
Because she wants to share the knowledge accumulated over time she has thought and planned a bridal make-up workshop. She knows how demanding is for a make-up artist to meet the expectations of a woman on the most important day of her life. I have greatly appreciated the quality of the information that she sends to her students, given that the present training programs sometimes repeat the same theory available at a few keywords away. Andra teaches based on the real situations she faced with enough experience to address even the bride’s psychology.
I tend to think she really has psychological background because, after our discussion, I stayed all day with a smile on my face and whole state of well-being. I have not met for a long time a person so serene and positive like Andra.
I interrupted the last minutes of the workshop to talk and every gesture she had made had the pearly shades of hand-tested make-up. Below you will also find the shades of her personality.
MS: I think many people know who Andra Manea is, but what do they not know about you?
Perhaps it is not known that I am a perfectionist, an extremely serious and hard-working person. I can say that in my life, both personally and professionally, spontaneity does not exist. Behind everything I do is a lot of work and analysis, because I need to know in advance what I have to do and a detailed plan of how things will happen. And I consider that things that are very studied are those that seem natural, both shooting and filming.
I do not accept things not working out well. If I know that I’m not able to do something perfect I rather will not do it. And this thing starts from how I make the bed, how I wipe the dust, how I make up. From my point of view, you can not be impeccable just in your job and in your life to do superficial things. Everything should be done as well as you can and somehow I grew up with this idea, because my mother being very religious told me from the Bible: God said to do things like for God. And I think that this statement fitted to my personality as well. Whatever I do, I try to give all my best.
MS: I know you are from Sinaia; how was to live there?
I can say that I was lucky to live in a small town where everybody knows everybody. For example, when I forgot my bicycle at the grocery store, the vendor brought it home. The downside was that you could not do stupid things. Surely someone saw you and told your parents. And another positive part of the fact that I grew up in a city like Sinaia is that besides the fresh air, the beautiful landscape, the nature I miss very much here, I was also part of an animated city, even if only in summer and winter when was the tourist season.
MS: What would the little girl you once was say about what you are doing now?
First of all she could not believe it.
When I was young, I always waited at the newsstand for the only magazine on the market – Elle. And there I searched the small backstage picture where Alex (Alexandru Abagiu) was doing a make-up for a personality that you saw only on TV, for example Mihaela Rădulescu. And I was trying to study that picture and identify what products or brushes he had in his hands. He was a set point for me, an idol, and in fact everything that was signed by he represented for me an example. And somehow my first make-up school consisted in studying magazines, where I always tried to figure out how make-up is done and reproduce it.
I say that I am the same person, and people who have known me for a long time tell me that I have not changed. I know I stayed the same, but the fact that they are also telling is a confirmation.
MS: Did you have a female model in your life?
Yes! As for any child, my mother was my female model. Both she and my father are artists from my point of view.
MS: How so?
My dad is a certified photographer and architect. He has exhibitions, but he also writes books about the mountains Sinaia being already one of the subjects he approached. And my mother has always been passionate about fashion design. She always bought Burda magazine and used the patterns. She also adapted them. For example, all my ballet dresses were made by her. My mother has always been modern. I remember that she took me to her aerobics classes every time she had the opportunity. Everything I know I learned from her. My only regret is that she left her job for us, the children.
I did not want to do this and I will not do it.
MS: But you do not want now or you will never do it?
I already have a little boy and I did not give up work either during pregnancy or after I give birth. It seems to me that work keeps you alive and anchored in present.
MS: Your first make-up, when it happened?
When I was very young, the product used was the green mother’s lipstick that after using become red. And I also saw in magazines that women were blushing in their cheeks, and it seemed to me that they were redder on their forehead. So I put that lipstick on my cheeks and forehead in such a way that my mom was scared by me. Then, after I grew up, I did intense make-ups with everything I found around me. And on Saturday, being the only day when I was allowed to go out to disco, it was dedicated to make-up. That’s what I was doing from morning till evening.
MS: How the journey from the first makeup until present was?
Fifteen years ago I experienced all kinds of make-ups on me. Then I got to college and obviously it seemed to me that I know how to make-up, because everyone told me: What a beautiful make-up you have! Being a student at architecture, I wanted to follow a course of special effects. I already knew how to make-up, so in my mind I did not need make-up classes. I wanted to learn how to make cuts and scars … and so I got to the first special effects course in Bucharest at Krüger Brent. The complete course had two sections: one for make-up and one for special effects. I signed up for the second. But the luck of my life was that Alex Abagiu came to the class where the girls who also attended the makeup course were present. He needed an assistant, and after teaching us a make-up, he put us to reproduce that make-up. From all the girls involved in the process he took me. So it was somehow confirmed that I had a solid enough base to build on. But going with him at shootings I realized that I needed to learn more and what I knew was a small part of what it means and supposes the true makeup. So, I joined the Krüger make-up school. In this way I started with the end and finished with the beginning of the course.
Alex took me with him at events, shooting, filming and taught me. Because Alex does not keep useful information for him, on the contrary, he passes on the knowledge he has gained. He has helped me from all points of view and easily I got experience.
A satisfied customer gives you another satisfied customer, and so we have arrived to our days.
MS: When you realized that your activity is becoming professional?
Quite late, because I had Alex as a reference and I had a lot to learn and fix. First of all, it was hard for me to accept that I would never be the best. And it’s been a while before I felt like I was a professional, that I had accumulated enough and experienced enough.
MS: What was the most important professional meeting you had?
Certainly with Alexandru Abagiu, whom I consider, without any exaggeration, the best make-up artist in the world. He is impeccable in everything he does on professional level.
MS: And if you have to mention another person?
Marius Baragan. The place where I attend my make-up workshop is his photo studio. Among my first shootings with Alex in which I assisted him, they were with Marius Baragan. At that time I woke up in a very good team in a moment when my make-up course still was in progress.
But I went to shooting anytime, no matter if I had an exam the next day. If Alex called me, I accepted no matter what. And I tell this also to my girls: You have to know your priorities. That’s how I felt then. That does not mean to leave college, not be serious, and not go to exams for assisting a make-up artist. But that’s what I did, for me it was number one priority.
MS: Is it a big responsibility to be L’Oreal Paris official make-up artist?
Yes, it is a great responsibility from my point of view. It’s a brand close to me and I identify with it. I use the products in make-up before L’Oreal make-up artist, and their products are always present on the workshop programs. I am extremely glad that it is a good brand and with a great history. In the sense that I can work with their products without any problems in my professional activity. They are also good for photography and video and not for classical ones only. And I’m even happier when I see that the personalities I’ve worked with have in their beauty bag, the foundation, mascara or L’Oreal eyeliner, and they really have access to all the brands, so it’s not about price but quality.
MS: You have a long-lasting experience in the field, how does it seem to have changed the way women make-ups?
At international level, there is clearly a tendency to naturality. It is so obvious that it almost strikes us. For example, the eyebrowns that seem unshaped, but which are actually arranged and stylized with great care. Now the contouring is used much more less. We have non-touring, a contour made by bright products.
And in the country I realized that the women are more open to natural looks. And if they wanted before to have eyebrows as sharp as possible, they now ask for natural eyebrows. They even let them grow on their own initiative. I totally encourage these steps towards naturalness.
MS: What do you think this change says about us as a society?
Sometimes rush is a feature of the times we live. We want everything fast and well if possible, and in make-up these two notions do not come together. You cannot make an impeccable make-up within a quarter of an hour.
There are still people, and it seems to me that they say something about us as a society, who are starting to accept as they are and they ask me to underline their beauty, as women, through make-up. I like make-ups that make you beautiful. If anybody tells me: What a beautiful make-up you have! for me it’s a blow. It must be said to me: You’re so beautiful! Only then am I happy. And that’s what I teach my girls to get from the client in front of them. For having the guarantee of a thing good done, when looking in the mirror your client must say: I am so beautiful! Make-up does not have to stand out more than the woman wearing it.
There are women who come to me and tell me they want to change. And it’s okay and so. Everyone has gone through moments in which he wanted to feel in a certain way or to enter into a role. We are women and we have make-up as an advantage. Why not use it and change us according to our mood?
MS: Did you work with a lot of famous people and I wanted to ask you if they change their attitude when they have make-up on? Because generally there is more relaxation …
I think that also they feel better even they are so used to make-up. It is a routine for them to have make-up or to be hair styled and dressed by professionals. It’s absolutely natural. I think it’s in women’s DNA: when you look in the mirror and you look better, you feel more confident. This is one of the reasons why I am so glad that I have the opportunity to work with women and to accentuate their beauty. And a woman who trusts her tears down the mountains. I really believe that. And if we just need a little make-up to do that, then let’s wake up 10 minutes earlier and put the foundation.
MS: Do you ever feel the need to get out of the “normal” makeup parameters and want to express yourself artistically?
I do not have moments like this because I have enough occasions in beauty editions where I experience everything I can not do in other conditions. For example, I recently made a summer beauty editorial in the water, in which I used glitter, including on the whole face. Certain things are beautiful only in editorial, but if you are a beginner who does not yet have access to magazines or this kind of shooting, you should do experiments at your home. I always tell the girls: If you do not have someone to make-up, you make-up yourself, take pictures and post on social media channels. That’s how you do.
MS: What is the definition of beauty for you?
Maybe it sounds weird, but a confident woman is beautiful. I also noticed how before I was putting strident looks on my face because I had some problems, not necessarily of accepting, but of trusting, and then I had the feeling that if I put a lot of make-up and change my traits I’m more beautiful. Now it seems to me that I have become more confident in myself. I accept myself as I am, I do not want to change myself through make-up. For example: What do I have? Why do I have to look like Kim Kardashian? I want to be me.
I am convinced that if Kim Kardashian was the ideal of beauty, God made us all by its features. If he did not, it means that we have to mentain our individuality. I recommend highlighting every person’s traits. I have a course called Custom made beauty. We are not like an application that automatically makes you up and does not take your features into consideration. We are professional and we adapt make-up according to each individual physiognomy.
MS: Who is a beauty icon for you and why?
I do not think so far as to say Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and so on. Yes, it is a beauty icon for all mankind and it is also for me. But for me truly a beauty icon is a woman who has two children, she works, has time to make up herself and always has the manicure done. I appreciate the special people next to me, then legendary figures.
MS: What are your aspirations and fears?
My fears, and I’m sorry to start with them, are more since I have a child. Because when you realize that you are responsible for the life of another person, your own child, you also understand that this is activating other areas that have been silent until then. I’m trying to focus on positive things because I really think we are what we think and what we say. Instead, professionally, I’m less afraid. I’m glad I reached this performance. Before, if I had a shot, I was not sleeping all night long being afraid that things would not get out right. Now I say: Why not? All it will be fine! Because no one’s leaving my chair until he’s happy with their make-up. And the projects becomes a success.
Everything depends on your positive attitude and how you set yourself up. Obviously, 15 years of experience gives you enough confidence to get rid of everyday fears.
My aspirations are to raise the standards of the make-up schools in Romania. I started with this workshop, but they will continue to appear: courses for both beginners and advanced level. I have very big aspirations and I want to do a great job on the training side. I want from my school to leave people we’ll hear for many years since now.
Photo: Alex Gâlmeanu (Glamour Romania)