Irina and Alina are about 2000 km apart, but they are united by their passion and talent for make-up. Irina lives in Italy, where she fights every day to make her dream come true, while Alina has built her own beauty corner in Moldova and comes to Italy whenever she is invited. In April I met our Moldovans, whom I talked to and about whom I want to tell you in this article.
When Irina wrote to me and proposed a collaboration for an evening makeover, I didn’t take long to think about it. I chose a day off, set the schedule and showed up for the appointment in the most natural way, un-masked and with dark circles under my eyes, but sure that Irina would make a wonderful change. Irina lives in a small town in the Province of Monza, about 5 minutes by car from the Afori FN stop in Milan, where she waited for me.
He greeted me with a lagging and friendly smile, as if we had known each other forever. At Irina’s house I met Alina Pereteanu, an exceptional make-up professional from Ungheni county. The girls welcomed me with fruit, sweets and a bottle of Martini, as any hospitable Moldovan is used to. But before opening the Martini bottle, we got down to business. Irina explained what kind of make-up she was planning to do to me and asked me what my main requirements were, and the whole experience would keep me still for a couple of hours. During all this time I talked a lot with her and Alina, and I thought it would be interesting to share with you a bit of their experiences and how they embraced the profession of make-up artist in Milan.
Irina Siscanu: “I didn’t fully integrate because I was a stranger to them”
Moldovan Irina Siscanu arrived in Italy in 2003, when she was just nine years old. Her mother was already working in the Peninsula, but that was when she managed to reunite with her family back home. Arriving in Milan at an early age, Irina felt early on that being away from home and friends was not easy.
“My mother had worked here for many years, and when I turned nine she brought me here. At first I didn’t like it, I didn’t fit in at school because I was a stranger to them and my classmates were very cold”, Irina remembers her time at elementary school in Italy.
During her teenage years, the Moldovan from Ungheni discovered her passion for make-up, and in 2009 she attended the “Il Metodo” Institute, obtaining a diploma as a beautician.
However, he did not take up a profession immediately after graduation. The desire to become financially independent sooner pushed Irina to work from the age of 17. Her own independence was achieved with great effort and over a long period of time. She accepted unskilled jobs or as she says “I worked like all Moldovans who are starting out in Italy: cleaning, bars, carers and whatever I could get. I was more developed and seemed more mature, so I declared that I was 18 years old, so they would accept me for work.” Irina says of her first experiences on the job market.
But Irina’s luck has been on her side: she fell in love with a Romanian man from Iasi, to whom she is married and they have a beautiful daughter. After becoming a mum, Irina Siscanu, who was in trouble with her husband, decided it was time to devote herself to her teenage dream, for which she studied: make-up. The inspiration also came to her thanks to Alina Pereteanu, whom she met during a summer holiday in her hometown, Ungheni.
Alina Pereteanu:“I love what I do and I do it with a lot of heart”
In contrast to Irina’s story, who grew up in Milan and for years had to face the hardships of foreign countries in order to make it, Alina Pereteanu is one of the Moldovans who, despite poverty and hardships, chose to stay and fight for her dream in her country.
Alina Pereteanu is currently a well-known make-up artist in Ungheni, having won numerous diplomas and awards at international competitions and a nearly ten-year experience, which has helped her to build a clientele and open her own business in the city on the border with Romania and Europe;
“I had this passion as a child. I remember as a teenager, with the little money I got on my birthday, I would buy myself mascara or different cosmetics. However, at the insistence of my parents, I attended medical college in Ungheni and after graduation I was employed at the Polyclinic as a nurse in the oncology department. But I didn’t like medicine, I didn’t get any satisfaction from a financial point of view either. That’s how I worked for 10 years. When I heard about a make-up course organized in Chisinau, without thinking much about it, I signed up for the course. I resigned from the Polyclinic so that I could devote myself entirely to my passion. It wasn’t easy for me at the beginning, my parents and relatives didn’t understand me and judged me for giving up a stable job to do make-up, a profession that at that time was not so widespread and taken into consideration. But that’s how I started. Other courses, further training and master classes followed. I have around 40-45 diplomas. Now I’ve been a make-up artist for 10 years, and I’ve had my own studio for 10 years. I love what I do and I do it with a lot of heart”, this is how Alina Pereteanu describes her first steps in the world of make-up.
For several years, Alina Pereteanu has been organizing make-up courses, where, with a lot of patience and positivity, she reveals her secrets to other young women who want to embrace the profession of make-up artist. “I started teaching classes at the request of my clients.”
A course brought her to Milan
The meeting between Irina Siscau and Alina Pereteanu was only auspicious. Irina convinced Alina to take a make-up course in Milan at a time when she needed a refresher course. “I’m in Milan for the second time. Irina organised a group of girls who wanted to do a make-up course. And I said why not?”
Alina Pereteanu‘s courses in Milan consist of a lot of daily work: practice and theory are assimilated together, and in just four weeks of course Alina reveals to the students all the secrets of a perfect day and evening make-up, so that any student can achieve very well a professional make-up, either for themselves or to develop a small business from home. Under the guidance of Alina Pereteanu, Irina Siscanu managed in a short time to build up a small clientele of Romanian-Moldovan women in the Monza-Milan area, who want professional make-up for a special moment in their lives.
We asked Irina Siscanu what her impressions of Italy are now and if she has any plans to return to her country…About Moldova she says that only the emotions and memories of her childhood remain, while in Italy she feels at home, however, sometimes she thinks about leaving Italy and moving with her family somewhere else.
While Alina Pereteanu, who is in Milan for the second time, says that she likes life in Italy very much, and professionally she has noticed more prospects than Moldova offers at the moment, but there is her family and home there, which she could not part with.