“Have Makeup Kit, Will Travel!”By Lavina Melwani • Sep 5th, 2012 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog
Sanjana Vaswani – Beauty-On-Wheels
Bali. Las Vegas. Hong Kong. Dubai. Miami. Mumbai. Singapore. And the list keeps growing! ‘Have Make-Up Kit, Will Travel!’ This could well be the mantra of Sanjana Vaswani, a traveling cosmetologist in New York who has flown to many cities and driven many miles to transform everyday women into dazzling brides at countless weddings.
It all started many years ago when Sanjana was growing up in Mumbai, a heartbeat away from the fantasy world of Bollywood. It was a thrill to bump into stars at the pubs or the Taj coffee shop. “We’d go crazy!” she recalls. As a teenager she had a chance to visit Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla in the makeup room of a Bollywood film studio, and was hooked into the world of glamor.
The Business of Beauty
Many years later, having trained in the beauty business in Dubai, and after running a salon in Mumbai, she had a chance to do the makeup for stars Pooja Batra, Deepika Pudokone and Priyanka Chopra. Now she loves the challenge of transforming everyday women to their full beauty and potential, making them stars for their big day.
It’s interesting how new careers can be created and willed into being, and now with the ever-burgeoning Indian-American community in the US, the business of beauty is a multi-million dollar industry, part of the Indian-American wedding industry. Along with wedding planners, caterers, decorators, and photographers, you have the make-up artistes…
And that’s where Sanjana Vaswani and SV Bridal Concepts (www.svbridalconcepts.com ) come into the picture. A NY state licensed cosmetologist with training in makeup, facial analysis, rejuvenation method, natural beauty and fashion techniques, she also does corrective makeup for bridal, photo shoots and events.
“Thank God for GPS!”
For Sanjana, her car keys are crucial in the business, and she’s driven from Pennsylvania to Virgina. “Thank God for GPS!” she says. At any given time her car carries her makeover cases of cosmetics and accessories which are geared for any beauty emergency.
Need a fantastic hair-do? Movie-star eye make-up? Out of her mystery bags come anything that a bridal group could need for a stunning transformation in the comfort of their own home or hotel room. “Bridal Make-over-on-wheels is a conceptualized look of makeup, hair and drape services,” she says. “I provide it at the bride’s convenience, location and time! ”
After all, Indian weddings are nothing short of Bollywood extravaganzas and brides want to outdo the superstars on their big day so she works with the bride and her friends in creating the perfect look for the themed event.
Although Sanjana carries all the beauty secrets in her black bag, she insists, “Makeup is not magical. It is an art at the tip of a brush which comes from my inner passion to create perfection.” Over the years she has dressed so many brides and their friends that she has become adept at handling any emergency. With the skill of her hands, creativity and some spray she can quickly sculpt and pin down a dramatic hairdo.
Destination Weddings – Bali to Vegas
Her flying missions for destination weddings from Bali to Miami are of course more fun than the journeys of a traveling salesman or a traveling physician – she meets with new people and interacts with families, guests, event planners and photographers. She has worked with brides from many different communities and says, “Traveling has its pros and cons but it’s an opportunity to discover a new culture and blend it with your own.”
One big advantage is her knowledge of draping sarees from every corner and tradition of India, from North to South. Many brides are wearing the six yard garment for the first time and need help in draping it to perfection.
“Besides creativity and talent with the makeup brush, the job does demand a high level of patience and tolerance in dealing with different personalities, attitudes and views,” says Sanjana.” The pressure of keeping up with every individual’s needs and ideas to achieve an inspired look within a limited timeline is crucial. So for me, creating a level of comfort is very important.”
The Big Fat Indian Wedding
While Sanjana does makeovers for many society and charity events, the Big Indian Wedding is big on her agenda. So what are the trends in 2012? She says, “Lots of multicultural fusion as well as traditional weddings, people using new creative ideas and heading out for destination weddings!”
She loves the excitement and chaos of the weddings, and the highlight when the bedecked and transformed bride walks in to the room, exuding radiance. “Indian weddings are big in New York – the bar has risen,” says Sanjana. “Earlier brides had no concept of beauty and makeup but the last five years there’s been a tremendous change with very quick growth in the industry. There’s so much to offer and so many new concepts.”
She adds, “Brides have changed and they want more – they don’t want a very dolled up look - it’s an Indian wedding and they want to look like an Indian bride, not like a model who’s catwalking. They want a natural, flawless but royal look – they want to look like who they are – they are not trying to look like Kareena Kapoor or Priyanka Chopra.”
Indeed, it’s amazing how in a place like New York, people want to keep their culture alive. Many brides, she says, have never been back to India but want the whole experience – the barat, the ghodi, the henna – nothing must be eliminated.
And Here Comes the Bridegroom!
As a makeup artist, Sanjana is prepared for any emergencies, and carries several bags with everything from every kind of foundation to hair extensions, so nothing fazes her. Brides with scarring or skin problems can be made to look flawless.
And now of course bridegrooms are also jumping on to the beauty bandwagon!
“Grooms are now part of the package!” says Sanjana. ” The bride looked so glam and the groom looked so tired out – so now there’s air-brushing for the guys too, believe it or not! I think people forget that the groom is also part of the show. People are incredulous – they ask, guys do make-up? Of course they do! What do you think, all those celebrities are born handsome? With the unforgiving cameras and strong lighting even the grooms need a little touch up.”
And that is Sanjana’s job, always working behind the scenes, to deliver a royal couple. On the big day, you get to see the glittering venue, the bedecked guests and of course, the ravishing, beautiful bride and groom. The show has just begun and they are the glittering stars. The makeup artist is now invisible; her magic bag is packed away and she may already be in her car, driving away…