When I first met Anna, I liked her in an instance, not just because we had the same ‘Sex and the City’ ringtone, but aside from the obvious, I found Anna to be a natural, high-spirited independent woman with a flair for creativity. It was inevitable that she just HAD to do my Hair and Makeup for my wedding!
Anna De Leon is a freelance Make Up Artist, full-time Mom and proud Pinay based in Dubai. I could have just easily selected photos from her vast portfolio and let the work speak for itself, but I wanted to give her a more personal introduction and put the woman who is usually behind the scenes in the spotlight.
Like many people who have bid adieu to their home country, wandered through cultural avenues on their many travels, and have settled North of the Equator in sandy UAE, tell me about your own journey from the Philippine tropics to the cosmopolitan city of Dubai?
It has been an exciting journey so far, though I have nothing heart-wrenching to share, which might make my story rather boring…hehe. I was not really culturally shocked when I arrived in Dubai, however, was a little disappointed because even though Dubai is cosmopolitan, there are so many things that a lot of women are not aware of.
Kids grow up with dreams of one day becoming a Doctor, a Pilot, or a Fashion Designer, and for some girls dreams are simple, to grow up to be just old enough to start putting on makeup as they’ve seen their mothers do countless times, has it been your lifelong dream to be a Makeup Artist?
You know what, I have always known that I would be a Make Up Artist. I grew up in a family where all the women loved making themselves as beautiful and polished as possible. The way my grandmama looked and my aunts kind of gave me standards for myself and what I hope for other women too. My battle call is that I will make ‘Women Rule the World’! People will be infatuated with our beauty and fall madly in love with our intelligence and strength.
How many years have you been in the business and when did you get your big break that paved the way to your career as a Makeup Artist?
In Manila since 1996 and in Dubai since 2008. I want to think of all my jobs as ‘my big break’ so I don’t fall complacent. Its like every job out there is another way to prove myself and my skills.
You have an portfolio, but like any other professional in the creative industry, there are always memorable projects that challenged you the most but brought you success, what is that one memorable project for you?
My mall tours with an international brand has proven to be the most challenging because I talk about make up, skin care and do makeovers for 8 hours for 3 to 4 days. My workshop is also challenging but both projects are so fulfilling. 🙂
The great thing about my job is the amount of interaction that I have with women, I hear their stories, their problems and though it is not rocket science, I can make them feel great about themselves, rediscover the beauty that they never thought they had. My desire to educate and empower women has made these challenging projects easy.
Where do you pick up makeup inspirations and latest trends? And how do you stay current and fashion forward?
I take inspirations from everywhere, really. I love to watch people. I also love revisiting the past and taking something cringe-worthy like crimped hair and make it modern. For looks, I really try to see all the RTW (ready-to-wear) shows and pick my own beauty trends for the season. However, for clothes, I tend to be more of a classic dresser than a trendy one. I do take key pieces from each season and pair it with my classic pieces.
What tips would you give to amateur makeup artists who are hoping to build up a career?
Practice Practice Practice. Rome was not built in a day. Just because you have brushes and makeup does not make you a Make Up Artist. Never assume that you know everything. Even the great MUAs are still learning. It is great to learn. 🙂 Do not let a few paid jobs get to your head or you might just fall flat on your face.
When building your portfolio, choose your models and photographers well. Develop a look that can easily be identified as yours.
What is a typical day like for Anna De Leon from work time to play time?
A typical day starts early for me, about 6 or 7 am. I hate being in a hurry because of my tendency to forget stuff. As much as possible I do client meetings, trials in the morning, so it gives me the afternoon to run errands.
If errands and meetings are done by 12 or 1 pm, I like to go around and see new products. Then perhaps attend events at night, for about 15 to 20 minutes then call it a night.
Recently, I haven’t had much time for play! I need a holiday! LOL! Private time is spent catching up with my lil’ girl, sneak in some ‘me’ time to attend to my guilty pleasures like a long, hot bath.
What advice do you have on beauty and style for the everyday woman?
Wow! Where do I even begin?!
1. There is nothing more important to me than HYGIENE! The women who have attended my workshops would know how much emphasis I put on this. There is nothing more attractive than a woman who looks and smells clean.
2. Your skin is your most powerful beauty ally. Treat it well and it will love you! 🙂
3. Too much peroxide will fry your brain. LOL! Seriously, don’t dye your hair blond! Take your skin tone into consideration before dying your hair.
4. Looking polished anywhere you go is not vanity, it is self respect.
5. There is a fine line between sexy and skanky. Master it.
6. VPLs (visible panty lines) and showing your thongs to the entire world is never sexy.
7. Check the stitches of your clothes and buttons. These details maketh the woman.
8. Please remove the price tag from the bottom of your shoes.
9. And try not to use the word Fashionista. Hehehe. 🙂
Thank you Anna for taking time out to share your insights and experience with us. More power to you!
P.S. Some ladies doth protest about your point on the use of ‘Fashionista‘ in their vocabulary, as it is a popular term used in modern lingo (I use the word myself but just sparingly), and you know how buzz words always cause an epidemic. 🙂
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And without further ado, let’s take a look at Anna De Leon’s remarkable work.
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Anna has been holding makeup workshops for the past two years and her third season is coming up! In association with Inglot and Dermalogica, three lucky winners will receive a make over and professional photo shoot, skin beautifying facial packages from Dermalogica and a special prize (she has yet to disclose).
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Photo credit: Arian Marcos, Mahryska, Tinayums, Danabelle Gutierrez, Konan Lim, Gabby Yap and Mike Velasco. Know more about Anna De Leon’s collaborations with A-list photographers and view her complete portfolio on her Blog or Multiply page, and for recent updates follow her on Twitter.