Interview with Brow Guru Manda Norstrand

Interview with Brow Guru Manda Norstrand

Today’s interview is someone who truly inspires me, her work ethic, determination, & ambition is amazing. She is a Makeup artist & Microblading artist, whom I’ve even trusted to microblade my own brows. She is the beautiful & talented, Manda Nordstand. Manda is makeup artist who works on various photo shoots for brands like San Lorenzo, provides makeup services for artist’s such as Eli Mac, also does bridal party makeup, & is a microblading specialist who is booked out MONTHS in advance! (among many other fabulous things) I asked her for an inside look into her journey & as a successful small business owner to inspire & motivate other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to turn their passions into their paychecks.

What’s your entrepreneur story?

Well, my story is so long. But I’ll try to summarize it as much as I can.

It all began with talking about the world ending lol. I think it was 2012 when it was “supposed” to happen…even though I didn’t believe it, it became a topic of discussion about “what would you do if you knew you only had a year left”. My answer was “move to LA, go to the best makeup school and become a makeup artist”. At the time I was going to community college in my hometown with no clue of what I wanted to do. But after I answered that question, I had that “aha” moment…that’s what Oprah likes to call it at least. That same day I was googling the best school in the US for makeup, came across Make-Up Designory and called for the information packet. After talking to them I found out it was $20,000…for 3 months. I signed up to take the class for the following year, and told myself I have one year to get that money. Plus I signed a paper stating I had the money, so I had no choice but to make it happen.

I did it, but I honestly don’t know how…I worked four jobs and stayed away from shopping or going out that year…just worked my ass off. Fortunately I didn’t have to pay my part of rent with my mom that year because she knew what I was trying to do, that was her way of helping me. I remember when it was coming closer to time and I would cry because I didn’t think I was going to make it financially…but I just prayed, and somehow I had the money by the time it was time to go.

I went to the school, graduated and started assisting/apprenticing for a well known makeup artist in LA while working at a restaurant. In between those I starting working with photographers and models in the industry, everyone working for free to get our work out there and build a portfolio. I stayed in Cali for 2 years trying to make something out of myself, while financially taking care of myself too…and sending my mom money as much as I could at the same time. I eventually had a full website and a lot of experience with assisting and working on projects/shoots before I left…and let me tell you, it was a lot of time and effort for 0 pay.

I came back to Hawaii, started working at MAC while doing as much side projects and gigs as I could, paid or not. I was just trying to build my name from scratch in another state again. On top of doing that I starting going back to school to finish the Associate’s degree that I started, while taking on more side jobs in the cocktail industry…which I would go straight to after my day jobs, working till 3am and starting the cycle again.

But I eventually became known for my brows, some girls I worked with at MAC even called me “The Brow Guru”. I figured I’d take it to another level since I loved doing brows so much. I took out a loan to take a microblading class and my life changed to a whole other level after that.

I was blessed to become so busy so fast. It wasn’t even a month after starting and ladies from all over loved my work and wanted to make appointments with me. I was able to leave MAC and all my cocktail jobs.

Now, its been about 6 months and I rent my own space in a salon for microblading while still doing makeup for weddings, photoshoots, etc.

My schedule is completely crazy, but it’s a good thing. I’ve worked with a lot of companies and people, and was part of amazing projects and gigs that I would have never thought I would do when I was younger.

God know’s how hard I’ve been praying and working to financially be stable and take care of me and my mom. He knows my drive to buy a house for us. I Tithed 10% of everything I made since I moved to California on my own, even when I was broke…and he has blessed me more times then I deserve.

Sometimes I’m so focused on what’s next for me to do, I forget to realize how far I’ve come. I still have so much more I want to go with my career, I don’t think I’ll ever come to a point where I’m satisfied and stop pushing to be bigger and better. I’m blessed with the struggles I had in my life to motivate me. But all credit goes to God.

What is the most difficult aspect of being an entrepreneur & self established business owner, in your opinion?

Everything is up to you, literally. You don’t have a boss to tell you what to do and how to do it…you have to figure out everything yourself. It’s half talent and half business. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t put yourself out there it goes nowhere. I would definitely say the struggle is having both jobs, behind the scenes and up front.

How to do you juggle being a MAC artist, freelance makeup artist, brow microbladist, & student and work in the restaurant industry? What’s the secret to your sanity while simultaneously managing everything?

GIIIIIIIIRLLLLLL. I don’t know. I think when your forced to do something (as much as you would say you could never) you surprise yourself. I had such an urge and almost obsession with making money so I can make something out of myself. I knew in my situation it’s only up to me to financially be stable…I don’t want to have to worry about anything I did growing up. I don’t want to, but i NEED to buy a house to put over my moms head before she retires. I feel BLESSED of my struggles and turn it into the biggest motivation ever.

How do you handle “failure” or push through “set backs”?

GOD. Period point-blank. I have had A LOT of bumps in my road, and I still do…but I pray and count on god thru every new unfortunate situation. I look back and realize he was there even when I was at the lowest of my lows…and every set back only helped me get to where I am today. I call it GODFIDENCE.

Do you have any motto’s, mantra’s, or rituals that help contribute to your productivity & success?

I love me some motivational quotes, I can read them all night and realize I was supposed to go to bed hours ago. There’s too many that I love, I wouldn’t even know which one is my favorite or “motto”. BTW Cara Alwill Leyba’s “Girl Code” book is amazing if you’re a female entrepreneur who wants some motivation.

Who inspires you/what’s currently inspiring you?

The image of the future me. Doing something I love, that I can be proud of, and being able to take care of the people I love in my life.

And man I can’t help but say all the awesome people in my life that support me or mention their proud of me when I see them. It’s awesome to realize people actually are watching you and experiencing the love from everyone. That’s definitely motivating.

How would you describe your work ethic?

Can I say Boss Betch?? Cause I mean, if there was a time where I can put my humbleness to the side…I would do it in this question. Growing up my mom was that Boss Betch too, she still is…she worked her ass off as a single mother going above and beyond at every job she had, while being the man fixing stuff around the house, doing the yard work etc. (not to mention killing all the spiders and bugs for me) while being able to always raise me in a good environment, with class, in all the situations and struggles she had. And let me tell you, this woman has had a lot of struggles and set backs, but her inner Boss Betch always made it.  She doesn’t always like to think so, but to me, she accomplished everything and is as successful and any millionaire would be. Definitely take after her.

What’s your advice to young inspiring self-made business owners or entrepreneurs?

Dream big, everything is possible if your willing to put in the work.

Where can we find & connect with you on social media?


IG: @mua.manda

FB: MUA manda

Let's chat,

%d bloggers like this: