Today we’d like to introduce you to Cici Andersen.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Cici. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
In 2003 I was struggling to keep my job at the army-navy surplus store where I worked and needed to find more cash to pay my way through community college. I was standing in line at a Quiznos and mentioned to my friend that I might want to try my hand at hairdressing. The guy in front of us just happened to work at a hair salon. He told me they were hiring, and I should come in and fill out an application.
I did, and I didn’t hear from them for weeks. I had literally moved on from the idea to the point that I had left the country! Plus, college just wasn’t working out for me. I remember calling my mother from a payphone (we still used those then) to let her know my “big plan” to serve coffee and work under the table in France until I figured my life out. She told me someone from a hair salon had called to offered me a job. I knew in my gut I had to go home and take the gig. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and couldn’t sleep that night from excitement. I came back to the States, and suddenly, I was working part-time as an apprentice while finishing what would be my last semester at college. I quit and started at a proper hair school (Graham Webb Academy of Hair in Virginia) full time and took an opportunity as an apprentice at a high-end salon in DC. Six years later, I found myself working on a creative team and becoming an educator for a chain salon in Baltimore, MD.
The first time I saw my work on a billboard was magical. It was assurance I was on the right path.
I moved to LA a year after that. Since then, I’ve gotten to work on television shows, webseries, advertisements, and been published in several magazines. It’s a dream come true.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has DEFINITELY not been easy. There were times, especially in the beginning, where I could hardly make my rent or car note. I ate peanut butter for breakfast and top ramen for dinner–for months straight! I couldn’t even go out for a beer because I was saving money for better brushes and better items for my professional makeup kit.
Plus, no one really teaches you how to run a business in hair OR makeup school. You get taken advantage of a lot, but if you’re savvy, you learn and try not to repeat the same mistakes.
In hindsight, I am not sure how I survived those times– it was scary and still is sometimes. What I can say is that people can be super kind and very supportive when they see you busting your butt for something you want. I try to pay that forward when I can.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Most people know me by my cruelty-free artist status, and for building and managing teams to execute the beauty for different events and shows.
When I first started in the industry, it was all about the new HD cameras and and 4k technology. After some time, (and some unfortunate HD-powder flashback)I started to realize how saturated with product and bad information the industry had become. My perception of what “good makeup” was seemed skewed by all the marketing so I started doing my own research.
I feel that as a professional, you have a responsibility to know what’s in your beauty products, why they work, and what or who you are supporting when you purchase. My makeup kit is now 99.9% cruelty-free. I say “99.9%” because I also feel that being wasteful is not helpful to the environment or your wallet. I’m still working on using up a few products and am replacing as I go.
This year I’ve started getting requests for “vegan-only” makeups. You’d be surprised to learn that cruelty-free does not always mean vegan! I am always happy to try to meet special requests, and it’s been fun to learn along with my team and my clients. Going cruelty free has been a lifestyle change for sure, but it’s really not about being perfect, it’s just about being mindful.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was a loner, shy, and painfully uncool. I had one friend at school, literally. In my teens, I was a terrible rebel, very into punk rock, and gave my mother a heart attack on a weekly basis. I was definitely in the theatre and art group, which probably informed my choice of career.
- Website: ciciandersen.com
- Instagram: @ciciandersen