We had the good fortune of connecting with Antonella Annibale and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Antonella, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve never really considered myself a risk taker until this very moment. Being asked this question is making me so aware of how every move I’ve made in my life and in my career have been based on taking a risk. When I was 19 I left the small town I grew up in to move to a major city to go to college with the hope of starting a career in Fashion & Cosmetics. I had no idea what to expect but I showed up everyday. I finished school and was hired by one of the most prestigious Cosmetic brands at the time. These were very coveted positions working alongside with some of the top Makeup artists in the city of Toronto. My fear of failure made me feel that I wasn’t ready for this but I applied and interviewed anyway and I got the job. Every major city I moved to was a risk, having to start over and build a new network. After nine years with one company I decided to go out on my own as a freelance artist. I built my business from the ground up and have maintained great professional relationships with many loyal clients over the past fifteen years in San Diego. Being self employed and working freelance requires you to constantly reinvent yourself and have the guts to take chances. You never really get used to the uncertainty but it definitely keeps things fresh and exciting.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been doing makeup now for 25 years. I’ve lived and worked in three major cities including, Toronto, New York and San Diego. My experience spans across a variety of different parts of the industry. My background was in Fashion Print & Editorial. My current work is now focused on Commercial, Corporate/Industrial and Lifestyle video & print projects. I also work one on one with clients for special events, weddings and lessons. I love to teach! I host group workshops and events, as well as private client lessons. I have a studio space in La Mesa Village that I share with three photographers. Its a beautiful space where I can work privately with my clients and collaborate with other creatives. We offer full day branding photo shoots as well as mini branding sessions. I’m an advocate for safer, clean beauty products. The brand that I most believe in and have chosen to represent independently is Beautycounter. They are of the highest quality and integrity and their whole mission is to educate and create laws to band unnecessary harsh and harmful chemicals from our beauty products. This is a movement I truly believe in. There are a few things I’ve been told over the years by a variety of clients that I believe sets me apart from others in my industry, I feel that one of my biggest gifts is my ability to connect with others. A film production client of mine, a director, once told me “Yes, you are a great makeup artist, no question but that’s not the only reason I always hire you on my projects. You have this incredible ability to help people get comfortable and grounded before going on camera. When they get on set, they are ready”. I’ve been his go-to makeup artist now for 14 years. Now that’s a compliment! One of the most important things you must do as a makeup artist is to be a good listener. When you are working on a commercial set with dozens of other crew members, there are so many little moving parts and you are just one of the pieces contributing to the final outcome. It’s an imperative part of my job to listen and understand the overall creative vision for the project and to be aware of all the other pieces as well. Such as, lighting, camera angles and wardrobe. It’s definitely not about you! We are all part of one big team working together. When working one on one with a client, this is where you have more space to express creativity. Really listening to what your clients needs are, their insecurities and what they envision. My job is to give advice and guidance and to bring their vision to life in a way that will best suit their look and personality. It is also a combined effort. Building and maintaining a career as a freelance makeup artist is not easy! It takes a lot of hard work, true grit and an enormous amount of energy. It is a daily hustle to network and attract new clients. Constant communication to keep and maintain existing clients. Being consistent with Social Media (which I will admit, I really suck at) and continually reinventing yourself to stay relevant and up to date. These are some of the reasons why I’ve been successful in my industry for so many years now. The main reason is that I simply still really love what I do. I love to connect with new people on a daily basis. I love that I have long standing relationships with so many people that trust me and believe in my work, Most of all, I love that I have a constant and stable avenue for creative expression that has provided me with such a beautiful and rich life. I am truly grateful and look forward to more. Coming soon…. My Blog. Finally, I am taking the time to share the other creative parts of myself and my life. I will focus on Lifestyle and Beauty of course:)
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
There are so many great things to do and see in this beautiful city. I have several friends and family members visit each year from the East coast and I do have a few favorite go to spots. The beaches are a given! La Jolla is my #1. The first time I came to San Diego as a young girl to visit my family that lives here, they took us to La Jolla shores and I instantly fell in love. This seems to happen to anyone that visits there for the first time. La Jolla is a magical place for me because it has so many different little beaches and communities within the area. My preference is Wind and Sea. Great little beaches and coves to explore with just a short walk into the village with lots of shops and restaurants to choose from. Growing up in a very Italian home (Sicilian actually) I love the European vibe that’s so familiar to me. One of my favorite restaurants is Piazza 1909. It’s very authentic Italian with a full menu featuring pasta made in house with lots of vegan options as well. Some of my favorite hikes are Torrey Pines being #1 for me. Its a great workout with some of the most breathtaking ocean views this city has to offer. I live in East County, not far from Mission Trails which offers several different hiking trails and walking paths right in my own neighborhood. I love the Zoo! I am a yearly member so I can go as often as I want and it includes extra passes for guests as well. It’s like a little escape into an oasis right in the middle of the city. Little Italy Mercato on a Saturday is the best for the most variety in a Farmers Market. Shop around for fresh produce, baked goods, arts & crafts as well as artisan jewelry. Have some lunch and then stop by Cafe Zucchero for a coffee and the most authentic Sicilian Cannoli. In my Sicilian opinion, they are the best in the city! My favorite place to visit in North County is Encinitas. I often drive up there and take myself on a little date:) I start off at the Meditation Gardens. It’s such a beautiful place to just sit and spend time alone. I take a walk through the village, grab a bite to eat and then visit one of my favorite shops, Soulscape before heading back home. My closest girlfriends came to visit me last fall from Toronto and one of the best days we had was when I took them to Coronado. Just the drive over is breathtaking and a memory on its own. We spent half the day at Hotel Del Coronado (of course). We walked the beach, had a fabulous lunch in one of the ocean view restaurants and then drinks on the terrace, where we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. It’s definitely a place that holds it’s own magic in our great city. It was a perfect ending to an amazing weekend with some of my oldest and dearest friends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very grateful for the people that I have been so fortunate to collaborate with and work with over the span of my career so far. Having the support of other creatives is absolutely essential. I have so many supporters in all areas of my life that have definitely contributed to my success over the past 25 years. My sister Teresa and my brother Alfonso who I will always mention because they have been my biggest fans no matter what! I know I can always count on them. To my studio partners, CeCe Canton, Terri Rippi and Beth Ross Buckley. I love sharing a creative space with you and the energy we create together. Monique Feil who is one of my closest friends and amazing photographer that has taught me so much. Our collaborations are always magical. Donna Casali, my mentor with Beautycounter. It has been such a pleasure to be guided by such a strong and empowering woman. There are many people in my production world but the two that stand out are Mark and Susan Lyon of Lyon & Associates. Thank you for your loyalty for so many years and for making me a part of the family. My personal clients, who trust and believe in me and my work, I so appreciate their loyalty.
Robin Dayley Vincent Knakal Jeffrey Brown Monique Feil Aly Bucholz Neely