After he received his first award in 1997, everyone knew that the world is yet to hear about Dragan Vurdelja. Very quickly he became recognized as one of the most successful make-up artists in the region. As a beauty expert, he collaborated with many different celebrities, worked on many projects, campaigns and manifestations.
But the story of Dragan Vurdelja didn’t end up there. He opened “Dragan Vurdelja Makeup School” in Belgrade and started working with his sister Cecilija. Cecilija Vurdelja became a “talk of the town” as a perspective makeup-artist and today the brother-sister duo is a very strong brand.
Dragan and Cecilija talk about their work, family, London, DV Cosmetics and much more.
Both of you have very successful careers and obviously family is something that you stand for, but when was that point where you have understood that brother and sister are also the best business partners?
Cecilija: At first, I have thought that something like that was impossible. I was torn between my personal life and work. Eventually, I have changed as a person and as a businesswoman and my brother also understood how professional I have become. Today, we trust each other a lot. Working with my brother has completely changed me – personally and professionally and today we work together very successfully.
Dragan: For me, it was after coming back from London. With new ideas and new work-space, our cooperation came very naturally. I am in this business for more than 20 years and I have opened the makeup school in 2006. I remember that I have told Cecilija to finish the course and to learn as much as possible. She worked really hard and she did it! And not just that, but she became a hardcore professional.
You have an image of a strong, successful and serious artist whose name is a brand of its own. Is this a thing you always wanted to create or is this something that just came naturally?
Dragan: In the beginning, all I wanted was to be a makeup artist. After few years, it was clear to me that this is a job like every other and in order to have a successful business, you have to have clear goals, ambition and persistence. A lot of things have come naturally and they still do, but if you want to grow and develop in any business – whatever comes naturally is sometimes just not enough.
When people talk about your great work and about the experience they had with you on certain projects, what is that one thing you appreciate hearing about yourself?
Cecilija: To me, the most important thing is; when I hear people talking about how quickly I am growing as a makeup artist as well as how precise I am, balanced and with my feet on the ground.
If you could describe each other in three words – what would you say?
Cecilija: Three words: Dragan. Vurdelja. Brother.
Dragan: Sister. Mother. Queen.
How is working in London different from working in the Balkan region?
Dragan: The competition is higher but so are the possibilities. London is the city where trends are created and they are spread further through the world. London is also the home to some of the greatest make-up artists of today. For me, being in London feels like I am constantly at the source of inspiration and creativity.
What was your favourite project to work on by now?
Cecilija: Every project is very meaningful to me, but one of the most interesting ones were: “Dancing with the Stars” and “Your Face Sounds Familiar”
You have many students going to your School. What is the most precious advice you give them when they are entering the Fashion/Beauty/Makeup industry?
Cecilija: I always tell them to have their own personal “seal”, so that they could separate themselves from other makeup artists, to learn, learn and learn as much as possible and to work on their personal growth.
Dragan: I advise them to take advantage of every opportunity in life, to educate themselves as much as they can, to travel and to share their experiences with other colleagues, but to remain authentic.
How would you describe your personal style?
Dragan: Minimal and I prefer wearing black.
Do you advise your children to go through the same business-path as you did, or do you completely support their free will?
Cecilija: Being a single parent of three children is a very difficult task. Although they are very different from each other, they all show this artistic side in a way. My task as a mother is to direct them with bits of advice, but I let them decide what they want to be when they grow up.
Both of you are also known as an attractive people. Do you think that this is also very important when building a personal brand in Fashion Industry?
Cecilija: God yes!
Dragan: Appearance is more important in the fashion industry than it is in other industries. I have to say that fashion industry is often a frustrated bitch, but good looks are NOT the most important thing in the world at the end of a day.
You have presented your own skincare line. What are your next ideas and projects when it comes to DV Cosmetics?
Dragan: The DV Skin Care Collection was created in cooperation with experts from the Aromtea workshop. That is just the first step of what DV Cosmetics should represent in the future. I always emphasize how nursing your skin is essential, so it is logical that my first collection of products is – skin care.