Allure published a list of their beauty innovators a while ago and that got me thinking: just who are my beauty industry icons? Allure named Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, Bobbi Brown, and Charles Revson (founder of Revlon) as their beauty innovators since combined these five transformed the face of American beauty (or should we say faces?). While of these entrepreneurs have made lasting and important contributions to the American beauty industry I decided that my beauty icons were a little different (except I do agree about one of the people mentioned above). I’ve been thinking about this post for some time and finally decided that it was time to publish it even if, at the moment, only four people came to mind whom I wanted to highlight at this point. I have a feeling there will be a part two to this post in the future.
The four people I want to talk about in this post are: Bobbi Brown – make-up artist and mogul, Jane Wurwand – founder of Dermalogica and advocate for women everywhere, Linda Wells – editor-in-chief of Allure magazine, and RuPaul – drag superstar and role model. I know it is a diverse crowd, but why leave anyone out?
Bobbi Brown began her make-up empire because she saw a hole in the beauty industry for make-up that real women wanted and needed. Allure explained it best in their piece about Brown:
As a makeup artist in the high-artifice times of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bobbi Brown sensed that something was missing from the marketplace. She wanted to wear makeup that enhanced rather than transformed, that celebrated uniqueness and was easy to apply. So she made it herself, starting with a pinkish brown lipstick that instantly took off. But as much as women loved Brown’s colors, it was her underlying philosophy of self-acceptance that really struck a chord. “Beauty isn’t about looking perfect,” she said. “It’s about celebrating your individuality.”
Reading The New York Times‘ recent article about Brown, The Mogul Next Door, made me admire her even more. Brown seems down to earth and approachable and is really committed to helping others . She very actively supports Dress for Success which helps women from disadvantaged backgrounds find, prepare for, and keep professional jobs. Not only does Brown really does want all women to feel great about how they look she gives them the tools to do so. I have Brown’s book Makeup Manual which I really love. This book really helps someone learn to apply make-up beautifully – for daytime or nighttime looks and for all ethnicities. I learned how to do a smoky eye from this book. I feel that Bobbi Brown sets a great example for anyone looking to succeed in the beauty industry. She also shows that nice girls can finish first.
I am sure that unlike Bobbi Brown few people outside of the spa industry have heard of Jane Wurwand, founder and owner of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute (which offers post-graduate education for estheticians). In my opinion, the fact that Wurwand isn’t as well-known as Brown is a shame. As an esthetician I find Wurwand to be a great role model. Wurwand’s online bio from Dermalogica explains her key beliefs and causes:
Two core concepts guide the growth of the brand, as embodied by Jane herself: the transcendent power of human touch, and the far-reaching effects of education. These dual qualities have not only shaped the success of Dermalogica, but also provided a social blueprint for women’s financial success in every country and economy.
As a passionate advocate for mentoring and entrepreneurship, Jane writes and speaks frequently about the specific financial needs of women, especially in the developing world. Within the context of the skin care profession itself, comparatively modest licensing requirements and initial capital investments costs offer many women unusual access to financial independence. This experience is further enriched, socially, culturally and politically, by the fact that 98% of all professional skin therapists are women, and that these professionals attract a clientele which is 92% female—literally creating more woman entrepreneurs than any other industry in the world.
Through her work in many areas of philanthropy, education and women’s business development, Jane now champions her brand, via The Dermalogica Foundation, to create and support similar opportunities for women in other professions through a hand up, not a hand out. Jane shares the view that the future for world-economy depends upon the ability for women, especially marginalized women, to financially support themselves and their children. In January 2011, through her foundation and in partnership with Kiva.org, Jane launched a global initiative to empower women worldwide called FITE – Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship. The first microlending Web site that solely focuses on women entrepreneurs, FITE will help a minimum of 25,000 women to start or grow a business in over 57 countries around the world.
I think that it is great that estheticians have such a strong advocate for estheticians’ continuing education and success. I really admire Wurwand’s committment to helping women everywhere achieve financial independence. If you want to know more of what Wurwand thinks of a whole range of subjects be sure to read her blog. She’s feisty and opinionated, and I love it.
Anyone who has read my blog with any consistency knows that I love Allure magazine (of course I even began this post by mentioning the magazine). I love Allure for the make-up tips and tricks and for the up-to-date, excellent skincare information. Yet another reason why I am a devoted reader of Allure is because of its editor-in-chief Linda Wells. I wish Wells could be my friend since I feel like I know her just from reading her monthly letter from the editor in the magazine. There is a realness to Wells’ attitude about beauty and celebrities that is refreshing and a pleasure to read. Ok while I may be a die-hard Allure fan I feel like most people can really find something of value in this magazine in order to enhance their beauty routine. Wells always seems to find the right balance between trying to look good and youthful without going overboard and being fake. Lastly, unlike some beauty magazine editor-in-chiefs she really seems far from aloof which makes me like her even more. And Allure almost never has articles about how to land a guy and what the newest sex position is. It’s a magazine for intelligent women who just want to look good.
Coming in as a close second for my favorite editor-in-chief of a beauty magazine is Joanna Coles of Marie Claire magazine. I “discovered” Coles while watching Project Runway All Stars where she was the mentor for the contestants. I love the fact that Coles is straight-forward without being mean, that she’s intelligent, and a great advocate for women, especially working women. I just wish I liked the magazine she edits more. And by the way, am I the only one out there that develops “crushes” on magazine editors? It must be a side effect on my life long fascination/addiction to glossy beauty and fashion magazines.
I know that my inclusion of RuPaul in this list of my beauty business icons may seem odd to many and quite a stretch given the category, but here’s a fact about me – I love drag queens. And I really love RuPaul. Yes, sometimes RuPaul can be over-the-top and outrageous, but I also think that she is very beautiful and glamorous. I also believe that RuPaul is a great role model and not just for gays or aspiring drag queens. I think everyone can learn more than a few self-esteem lessons from this drag superstar. Though RuPaul is really an entertainer above all and not a beauty maven, in the past RuPaul has been a cosmetic spokesperson (as the first face for MAC’s Viva Glam make-up whose sales support HIV/AIDS awareness), as well as a music star, and now a mentor to other drag queens on his show RuPaul’s Drag Race (and yes, I have watched the show, well I watched one season all the way through). If you read any of RuPaul’s books or bio you’ll see that RuPaul has struggled with finding his place in the world, low self-esteem, and substance abuse issues. Having overcome all of these I really believe that RuPaul serves as a gorgeous role model for anyone looking to express themselves without shame or embarrassment. Lastly, RuPaul proves that true beauty knows no boundaries.
I would love to hear who you admire in the beauty industry. Please share below.
image from papermag.com