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Meet Creative Santa Monica Makeup Artist and Photographer: Ande Castaneda

Today we’d like to introduce you to artistically brilliant Ande Castaneda.

Ande, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a child, I was surrounded by photography because of my dad and makeup because of my grandma. My dad was a photographer when he was in the Guard, and I always enjoyed looking at his publications and film rolls. At 4 years old my grandma gave me a Tinkerbell makeup kit and I fell in love with the colors. It had all the bright pastel colored eyeshadows and bright pink lipstick. She loved makeup, costume jewelry, wigs, accessories and anything else that allowed her to express herself. I think she was probably my biggest influence with anything beauty related. I continued playing with makeup like any other little girl does, and in junior high was when I started experimenting with different brands, textures, etc. My mom wasn’t too happy about her little girl wearing makeup, but once she realized it was more than just trying to be pretty, that there was a genuine interest in the art aspect, she was happy to know that I had a hobby to keep me busy.

When I took up photography after high school I started doing makeup for my own photo shoots, where other photographers noticed my makeup. When I kept getting approached by multiple photographers on a regular basis was when I realized that I had a talent for it. After a year or so of doing trade work to build up my portfolio, I knew I could do something with it. That was when I decided to turn it into a business. Now I’m blessed to have a career in something I love. I’ve since been published internationally in magazines, movies, music videos, blogs and art galleries. I’ve watched my makeup on the runway during LA Fashion Week and worked with celebrities like Carlson Young (MTV’s Scream) and Paris Smith (Disney’s Every Witch Way).

Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, but I’m thankful for that. I’ve been given the opportunity to learn from the bumps in the road. When I was ten, my grandma was diagnosed with cancer and passed away soon after. When I was 15, my dad disowned me when I came out to him. The two people who showed me the art I fell in love with were no longer around, but I thankfully had my mom, who has been my biggest fan this whole time.

The most difficult decision I had to make was leaving a full-time job to do my art full time. With that, of course, comes a lot of Top Ramen and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches the first year, but I am so thankful for those struggles.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of being an artist is finding the next job and making sure that I’m going to be able to both pay bills and eat. There have been months where I have to choose if I should pay PG&E and pray I get a job before they turn off the lights or food. Even though it’s difficult, it’s a part of the process. Most people outside of the industry or art world don’t understand why we choose to put so much effort into something they find fruitless. They don’t understand that for those of us who live, eat and breathe our art, the effort is a part of the process. It’s obviously difficult because of the struggle, but that pursuit influences our art even more. When I look back on the months that I’ve had to choose between bills and food, it makes that feeling of success worth even more knowing that the struggle was worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What are you striving for, what criteria or markers have you set as indicators of success?
Success is the joy that is felt during the project, and especially after the project. It’s being fulfilled by your own work, even if it didn’t quite get to where you wanted it to. If the project has a positive outcome, where you, your team and/or your audience has learned from the experience, it’s a success.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans for the future are to continue learning about my art to better myself and my career. Education is a big thing for me. There are always opportunities to grow, learn, and educate. At this point, I’m taking the opportunities I can to work, learn and teach. My biggest goal right now is to go to school for esthiology and/or cosmetology. Otherwise, I’m always planning personal shoots, some for publication and work, others just for fun.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: Personal: @oohande / Makeup and Photography: @andecastaneda
  • Facebook: Personal: / Business:
  • Other: Tumblr/Pinterest/YouTube/Model Mayhem/Twitter: @oohande


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