At the risk of not sounding like a true Trini, I have a confession to make. I haven’t been home for Carnival in a decade. TEN YEARS! What can I tell you? College, then the workplace, then financial constrictions always seem to conspire against me. I must admit, I feel very left out and more than a little depressed when I visit sites like Trinidad Carnival Diary, which is all about the fun of Trini mas.
Even though I haven’t been home for the highly anticipated annual event in ages, that doesn’t mean I don’t love Carnival. I always have. Ask mama bella — as a little one I couldn’t miss Viey la Cou (an annual celebration of traditional carnival), and I used to even collect the abandoned masks and standards left by masqueraders in the street after the parade of people passed on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
I’ve always loved the pageantry and spectacle of mas. And just because I won’t be there this year doesn’t mean I am not looking out for you bellas who will! I wanted to do a post all about Carnival makeup, because it is an art form in itself. Creating a lasting, stunning look that will survive buckets of sweat and the relentless Caribbean sun isn’t easy. So I reached out to one of Trinidad’s leading makeup artists, the talented and beautiful Sandra Hordatt, with questions about creating that perfect Carnival day look. (this is her brand-new MySpace page, but you’ll learn a lot more about her from this profile in the Trinidad Express).
Sandra made her name in modeling, make up. and mas. She is an artist and a costume designer for Island People Mas. For this year’s Animal Instincts band, she’s designed two sections (scroll down to see them) — the hot to death Dragon Lizard, and the resplendent Kingfisher Bird. (Sandra’s costumes range in price from $433 to $1916 USD. And they’re all sold out).
To give you an idea of the kind of looks Sandra comes up with, check out Trinidad’s 2006 Miss Universe delegate Kenisha Thom in the beautiful butterfly costume Sandra designed for her to wear at the pageant. Besides designing amazing Carnival costumes, Sandra’s got a reputation as one of THE premiere makeup artists in Trinidad right now. Her strong suit is covering blemishes and creating a flawless canvas without a heavily plastered on look. I caught up with her for all of fifteen minutes, as she raced from making up a client to her designing duties at the mas camp, to put the finishing touches before the impending Carnival madness.
Afrobella — How many faces do you do on average for Carnival Monday and Tuesday? Or are you out yourself, playing mas in a costume you designed?
Sandra Hordatt — I try not to work on Carnival, I like to be out on the road to see the costumes. I don’t take any bookings. I just do makeup for myself and my friends on Monday and Tuesday.
Afrobella — I think the biggest concern for Carnival is getting your makeup to stay on. You glue on all these face jewels and glitter and then you’re jumping and waving in the blazing hot sun for hours. How do you make your look last through the sweat and the heat?
Sandra — I say focus on your eyes. Obviously you’ll be sweating a lot, so your foundation will probably melt. Make sure you wear sun block, and just do a really dramatic eye and it should last all day. So your first layer should definitely be sun block, then use a good cream to powder foundation. Set that with a loose powder. Then go out with your compact for touch-ups, those oil absorbing sheets, and a nice lip gloss. Good to go.
Afrobella — What’s your favorite brand of makeup and why? Do you use any local stuff, like Sacha?
Sandra — I just love MAC. I love their bronzers and shadows. And I also love L’Oreal HIP, their eyeshadows are vibrant and intense. And I do use Sacha, I like their blushes and they have a great fix it spray.
Afrobella — Is there any one look you’re really loving for this Carnival season, or does your inspiration come strictly from the costume the person is wearing? What’s the hottest makeup trend in Trinidad these days?
Sandra — Each costume inspires a different look in terms of color and theme. But I know, me personally — for Carnival Monday and Tuesday, I love glitter on the eyes. MAC and NYX have some fantastic glitter liners that are really easy to use.
At this point, we go off on a tangent because Sandra hasn’t ever heard of Urban Decay! Urban Decay’s glitter liners are practically made for Carnival. And so is their eyeshadow primer potion. So I gush about them for a while. Then back to the interview.
Afrobella — Do you do airbrush makeup? I realize that’s become increasingly popular in Trinidad, among women who want to cover scars and stretch marks. What are your thoughts on that?
Sandra –I do airbrush makeup… I think it’s excellent for covering up scars. But on older skin it can be very… turkey-like. With the airbrushing you have to pull the skin taut. I don’t know if you can visualize what I’m talking about. Half the time you’d be better off with a good cream to powder foundation and a sponge.
Afrobella — For the ladies who can’t afford to get their makeup done professionally, what’s the best advice you’ve got to give?
Sandra — You definitely don’t need to hire a professional to go out and look beautiful on Carnival day. I would say look through a magazine to find a look you like, go for something dramatic in terms of eye makeup. And then practice your look beforehand so you can figure out your technique. Don’t wait until Carnival Monday morning to try something new. Find a look you like and figure it out first.
For even more Carnival makeup tips, of course Trinidad Carnival Diary should be your first port of call. Enjoy the celebration and stay safe, bellas!