Artist Interview: Angela Ivana

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> How did you get started in the industry?
I got into the makeup business haphazardly! I was actually working 2 jobs within the financial services industry when I decided to take on a 3rd job at a spa on the weekends. I was hired as the receptionist there. One of my duties was to sell makeup! It was that job that sparked my interest in makeup artistry. I had to suddenly start wearing makeup every weekend and everyone kept asking me questions about how I did my makeup looks! When I would help people with products I began practicing applying makeup for other people at the spa. Then I began purchasing makeup books and studying about makeup artistry. When I realized it was so closely associated to art, I fell in love with it!

See, I had taken art classes all my life and my hobby was photography at the time. I actually spent my last semester in college over in Italy studying artist history and photography! I would’ve never guessed that color theory, lighting, angles and perspective all played a part in makeup. It just never dawned on me, how artistic you had to be to take on this profession until I started that job at the spa.

I also knew for the longest time that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know what type of business I wanted to own. So, I actually ended up loosing both my financial services jobs. Then I got fired from the spa because I lost my health insurance and my migraines were kicking my butt at that time. I couldn’t function and lets face it, those 60 hour work weeks I had just gone through weren’t helping! Though my resume was padded (I had worked for a few of the top financial firms in the industry) I couldn’t find another job!

While it appeared everything was falling apart? It was actually all falling right into place! So, what seemed like a big mess with 3 job losses, actually turned out to be my biggest blessing ever! I felt my time was freed up so I could turn my love for art into a business! My new found passion for makeup artistry became my business. I changed my website from a photography hobby site to a makeup services website!

My first makeup job was doing makeup for a wedding in London! Then I met someone releasing a clothing line in Boston and she hired me to do the makeup. Once I had those photos from that wedding and catalogue shoot, things took off! I began freelancing for Givenchy and now 3 years later I’m working full-time as a makeup artist in NYC on a Broadway production!

> What do you specialize in?
I’m still growing as an artist so I do a bit of everything from print work to bridal, to film and now theater! I’m working on a broadway musical right now during the evenings and still doing my makeup for print in the areas of editorial, commercial, catalogue etc. during the day. I’d have to say my favorite is doing beauty makeup though.

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> What do you love most about your work?
I love that I can transform people. Just taking something from point A to point B is a fascinating process to me. Transformations can be subtle or dramatic. and they come in so many different forms from makeup application, to remodeling a house and so much more! Transformations of all kinds speak to me. I also love that I’m free! I can book the jobs I want and I really have control over the direction of my career.

> What is your favorite product or tool you can’t live without?
Oh! Such a tough question. I’m stumped on this one. I’d have to say, I do have some tried and true products, but I feel the beauty of what I do is being creative! I have a chance to be resourceful and use 1 product in many different ways or repurpose tools. So, I honestly can’t say I’m attached to anything 1 thing in my kit right now.

> What was your biggest challenge in getting started?
Assisting! While I have built a nice path for myself, I’m still waiting for the opportunity to assist another artist. I have never assisted anyone and I’m waiting for that opportunity. When I first started reaching out to people in the former city I lived in, I got some negative responses in regards to assisting. People thought you were trying to steel their clients or didn’t want competition. I’m in NY now and know that artist and agencies here are more open to it though! I’m ready to play a supporting role and learn all I can from someone who’s been doing this longer than I have.

> How do you stay inspired or motivated?
My passion for transformations as well as deep seeded belief in entrepreneurship keep me inspired and motivated. See entrepreneurship helped me get on the right track in life. After struggling academically in high school, someone educated me on business ownership and began to excel and even made the front page of the Boston Business Journal for a business I operated in high school.

Where I come from, people think that “reality” is working a 9 to 5. I know that I was blessed to see beyond that limited view and realize that someone owns the office most people are sitting in from the hours of 9 to 5. That person is passionate, they’re a risk taker and probably a resourceful or creative soul just like me. So, this all keeps me motivated. See, I know many people don’t get to live their dreams. So, I stay inspired because of them, hoping that one day I can inspire them!

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> What advice or words of wisdom would you like to share with someone
who is just getting started?
Learn the business side of things and learn to do things for yourself; be resourceful! I propelled in this industry so quickly because I applied business principles to my art form. Many artist end up working office jobs they hate because they know their art may be valuable, but they don’t know how to calculate its value by doing a cost of goods sold analysis or breaking down their monthly operating expenses. Learning to write down what your goals are in the form of a simple business plan will help you gain clarity. Also, paying someone else to do things takes money out of your pocket. If you’re creative, then you can be resourceful too! Buy a book, actually I’ll tell you which one helped me: Crystal Wrights Hair, Makeup, Manicurist and Stylist Career Guide! it’s ALL in there!

Angela Ivana
Makeup Artist

Bridal By Ivana
Owner & Makeup Artist

Instagram: @ivanaMUA

3 thoughts on “Artist Interview: Angela Ivana

  1. Hi! I have a question, i have been struggling with building a porfolio. I went to beauty schools, learned thr basis on special effects, glamour makeup, bridal and more, i have an estheticians lisence and i have being working at major beuty store as a makeup artist BUT i dont have a porfolio!!!! I am good at what i do but i dont know how to get clients without a portfolio since they always ask to see my work… Help!!

    • First get the book I mentioned. It’s all in there!! Visit for classes that will help you as a business person and makeup artist.
      To build a portfolio you must get photographers to test with you. Find photographers starting out and ask to test shoot with them. (*people call these TFP trade for print shoota but the industry never uses those terms. We call it testing.) get creative looking for photographers. Where do they get educated? Where do the network or have get togethers? Go and meet them and get test work so you can get the photos! Research them and their work before contacting them. The next steps are in the book. After reading it if you have questions be sure to attend the class. Don’t waste money on artistry classes from random artist, invest in learning business and them keep testing as an artist to build your skills.

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