Andrea Claire Interview – The TransAtlantic Celebrity Fashion Manicurist
Website & Places you can find me online
Website: www.judyinc.com/andreaclaire [Canadian agent]
www.aclairebeauty.com [website – I need a new one…its old]
Facebook: Andrea Claire
Ok… so that is a sign of the times! LOL – you can find me everywhere online and at Starbucks. 😉
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I am Canadian. I am a licenced hairstylist, makeup artist and fashion manicurist.
Where are you located?
I am currently based in Singapore.
How long have you been in the industry and what inspired you to do nails?
I’ve been in the industry for 20+ years now. I’m… young at heart. When I did my hairstyling licence part of our licencing was in nails. So to be clear: I don’t do ‘nail art’ or acrylics/gels or any permanent type of extensions. I started off doing nails on my sets as many models really neglect their hands and you can’t have a beautiful shoot without all aspects coming together and then leave the hands out. What are you going to do? Gloves don’t work in every shot!
I guess what inspired me to do nails was my attention to detail.
Truly an international nail artist, you are a native of Ontario who relocated to Singapore in 2007. Is there a story behind that extreme move?
When I was dating my now husband he proposed to me and then 2 days later his company asked if he would relocate to Singapore. I was a single mother of 2 pre-teen girls at the time in Toronto. My career was booming; on my second makeover show, shooting every day, supportive agent and circle of friends and along came Mr Perfect…
My husband is lawyer. We moved to Singapore for his work. I’m lucky that my ‘office’ fits into a ‘box’; I have a ZUCA, best for whizzing your kit around the world as it fits in the overhead. [I bought my ZUCA after AA lost my kit on my way to do hair & makeup for Lady Antebellum. BTW: I MINXed Hillary which was still on for her InStyle shoot!]
You are back in North America now, how does Austin compare to Singapore?
And… I was in North America and now I am back in Singapore. LOL. Yes. Our entire household contents were shipped overseas three times.
The comparison… it’s all the same. I get asked this a lot. I feel anticlimactic when I say that but being on set here is no different, except they don’t cater for meals.
I’m used to the food spreads that we would have in Canada. Here you come to set and there’s pretty much no food. Some sets don’t even take a lunch. Relocating to Singapore was a challenge. You leave a market where you are well-known and requested on set weekly to entering a market where the culture is different and no one knows you. I wish I could say it was humbling but I would say it has been more frustrating than humbling. Thankfully the beauty PR people in NYC/LA and Canada know me so I’ve asked them to connect me with an intro to their brands here. MAC Cosmetics has been a huge supporter.
Although there were some difficult moments to start I’m pretty established in Singapore now. Since moving here in 2007 I have shot with Bazaar, Designare, ELLE, Seventeen, Alexis, Amica, Women’s Weekly, Her World etc. [Singapore editions]… I did a great spread for Bazaar December 2010 using the Silver and Gold Lightning Minx and due out next week a 4-page makeup/nail story for Alexis magazine and I just appeared on a celebrity charity episode of Cash Cab, Asia!
And it’s hard to beat all the exotic travel for work and pleasure! [I was just in Hong Kong for a weekend and by fluke, ran into Dawn and Janice from Minx Nails who were also in HK!]
You’ve worked in the celebrity world in a variety of areas including film, music videos and magazine shoots. Where is the most bizarre place you’ve given a manicure?
Hm… I’ve been given closets to work in on set. Not kidding. And always funny to hear the PM/client/A&R… whoever say “This is ok for you right?” Um… for what? Way to make someone feel validated on set… but sometimes the locations really don’t have space so you need to make do with what you have. [The ability to be adaptable is to carry your own lights too – I bought the Glamcor lights – amazing whether you need light for hair, makeup or nails!]
I’ve done beauty on the side of the road, in a proper film vehicle for makeup, in a closet, in a restaurant, on the fly in a moving vehicle… really the world of being on set is also being adaptable to various situations and just going with it. You have to be a ‘Yes! Can do!’ person.
Obviously you love Minx, do you have a favourite design?
For my personal wear I’m partial to the Gold Stud and the python… but I do become a kid in the candy store when I look at the styles available.
What makes Minx such a desirable product?
The versatility and how fast you can do it for sets and celebrities; and of course the zero drying time! Huge plus! When I did Hillary Scott’s Minx it was 30 minutes before she was jumping on a plane. When the last Minx was on, she was out the door in 2 seconds.
What other nail products do you endorse professionally?
I use OPI, Zoya, Sally Hansen, RMK, Chanel… Minx has been very supportive and with me being in Singapore they have still managed to get Minx to me with short timelines for shoots.
Your career has taken you in front of the camera as well. Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or behind the scenes?
I love both. I’ve always loved to entertain [I think I’m entertaining…]; when I was a teen I was heavily involved with the drama club at my High School and often said I would be an actress. I also did hair and makeup for productions in school as early as Grade 6! I guess becoming a hair & makeup artist / fashion manicurist and with my drama club years, it’s allowed me to do both.
I can walk and chew gum at the same time! [Just not in Singapore. Gum’s illegal]
But, I know when it’s not about me. I show up with my ‘set style’ – barefaced, ponytail and gear ready to beautify whoever is in my hot seat. I never jump in for celeb photos because I think their time is with me, not another photo-op… although I am curious what my peers think? Agree or not? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.
Which nail products do you use on your own nails at home?
EVERYTHING. Anything I use in my kit I try first on myself and my teen daughters; friends too if they are lucky. 😉
How do you feel about nail products that are tested on animals?
I do my best to have a clean, ethical and morally friendly kit – how I feel is like asking someone about their religion or their political stance, it’s a can of worms that is not a win-win.
Be a good person, do your best and then some, be sweet to everyone without ulterior motives … I truly believe and live this way and I am totally ok with sounding cliché.
What are the benefits of salon care versus caring for your nails at home?
Details. Sure, it’s always good to upkeep and DIY at home but with all the facial anti-aging tricks women forget their hands and your hands, my friends, will reveal your true age if you aren’t careful, so both at-home care and salon care is important.
Any superstar tips for those who like to do their own nails at home?
Don’t soak them. Madge was so 80s, [for those who know the old Palmolive ads].
Use cream and cuticle oils every time you wash your hands and sunscreen whenever you go outside.
Out of everyone in the world (regardless of era) whose nails would you like to do and why?
Bradley Cooper because then I have an excuse to hold his hand; although, I’d probably fumble and drop all my tools and look like an idiot. [Husband read: Megan Fox so I can tell you that I worked on Megan Fox.]
All nails aside, what else gets you out of bed in the morning?
Responsibility and a Triple Tall Dry Cappuccino from Starbucks…
If you could have a superpower what would it be?
The power to read minds. It would help on a daily basis. But then I would need to be able to shut it down…
Thanks to Andrea for answering our questions and sharing a little more about her amazing career. To learn more about her and her work be sure to visit their website www.aclairebeauty.com.
Stay tuned for more interesting interviews with other fun & fearless members of the nail industry.