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Image via Ana Cruzalegui
False eyelashes are set to flutter this week when the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival kicks off. The event sees the likes of industry big names such as Pam Hogg and Amanda Harlech share their fashion insights, and show their latest collections. And the lady behind the beauty looks for the catwalk is none other than Glasgow-based makeup artist Ana Cruzalegui, pictured above in the middle.
Born in Peru and raised in California, the youngest of seven, Ana has spent the past 13 years building up an impressive portfolio. It’s seen her work appear in glossy mags such as Vanity Fair and on shows by Giles Deacon and Oscar De La Renta. And now, 33-year-old Ana is set to take the False Eyelash industry by storm with her company WE ARE FAUX. Ana says,
“I was buying so many lashes and customising them for clients so I suppose it sort of made sense to come up with my own brand. But it was actually my dad, Augusto, who suggested that I set up a false lash company. And my family has helped me so much along the way, from my dad checking through my business plans to my brothers advising me on the financial side of things. My family have been so supportive and given me so much advice. It’s been almost 14 years hard work and there were times I wondered what I was doing but, now, I’ve got my own company, it’s been worth it.”
But the beauty industry wasn’t where Ana had initially wanted to work. In 1999, the glossy-haired brunette was studying Illustration and Print Making at Art School in San Francisco in California. And Ana saw her future somewhere else. She laughs,
“Pixar, I wanted to work for Pixar. But when I was at art school, I started a part-time job in Macys, working on the makeup counter. I’d always liked makeup when I was growing up, I loved the creativity and the way it can change people, creating different looks. So when I started work in the industry, I realised what I could do.”
Securing a full-time job was tricky, but after a lot of perseverance, Ana landed a top slot working with makeup artist Cynthia Moore on FOX TV Breakfast Show in Houston, Texas. Still working for MAC, Ana would get up to start work at 3am, finishing on the breakfast programme at 5am. After a few hours rest, she would then head to work at the MAC Counter. It was hard work but her dedication paid off and in 2000, Ana found herself working for none other than Oscar De La Renta. Ana explains,
“My manager at MAC phoned me up about a job in Houston. It was all a bit vague, all I was told was that it was for a fashion show, I had no idea it was for Oscar De La Renta. It was only when I arrived on the job, that I found out and it was amazing. And it was then that I knew that this was what I wanted to do.”
Heading back to work for MAC in California, Ana knew she needed to build a portfolio as a makeup artist to secure work and set to it, working with the then unknown photographer, Sean Armenta. In her mind, Ana was considering moving to London but all that changed when in 2003, Ana went to a Travis gig in Houston and made a Scottish friend. Ana laughs,
“I was planning to go to London but, made a Scottish friend, came to Glasgow to visit and just fell in love with the place and I loved it so much, I ended up staying. And it’s not like London is far, I can just travel there if I need to.”
Image via Ana Cruzalegui
Soon, after a chance encounter in Glasgow’s House of Fraser’s with music industry indsider Alex Papasimakopoulou, Ana’s work was appearing on music videos for the likes of Sons & Daughters amongst others. It wasn’t long before the British beauty industry noticed Ana’s work and she was working at London Fashion Week. A respected makeup artist in her own right, in 2010, Ana set up the false eyelash company, WE ARE FAUX.
“After my dad suggested it, I went to work on the idea. And with the help of programme, Starter For 6, I got training and help in making my dream a reality. WE ARE FAUX went online in 2011 and this year the brand launched into Superdrug stores.”
Hand-made in Indonesia, from synthetic materials, there's currently some 20 lash types to choose from on the WE ARE FAUX website. Lashes can take up to four months from the design stage to prototype and then there’s the production. Demand for Ana’s work is increasing and combined with her freelance work and her love of coming up with new ideas, Ana is a busy lady.
“It’s an exciting time. As well as the Edinburgh Fashion Festival, I’ve been working with designer Rebecca Torres on a collection as well as building the WE ARE FAUX collection and my work as a freelance makeup artist.
“I would love to see my lashes on M.I.A., she’s so cool so who knows, maybe in the future. There’s always something to look to.”
All images via Ana Cruzalegui.