So You Want a Career in Beauty? Part 1

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Beauty Role Model
Kate Somerville
Celebrity Aesthetician and Founder, Kate Somerville Skin Care
Years in the industry: 20

Her two cents: “Our skin is a reflection of our deepest selves. Since it is the largest organ that’s visible to the eye, our skin is a reflection of what’s going on in our heads, our bodies, and our hearts. Our skin speaks of our present, tells tales of our past, and foreshadows our future. So, while some people read the lines on palms, I read the lines on faces. The act of helping women and men discover their best selves, starting with a focus on their skin, is truly the most inspiring work of my life. I enjoy educating and offering straightforward advice for real people with real concerns.”

Beauty Role Model
Angela Levin
Chanel Celebrity Makeup Artist
Years in the industry: 30

Her two cents: “You have to be comfortable being around people. I love the social side of what I do. This field attracts somewhat interesting people, and that’s what excites me. I started in special effects makeup and wigs, but I always knew how to do beauty makeup. Slowly my career shifted from theater makeup to film, fashion, red carpet, and celebrity—jobs evolve. If you don’t have a basic primer in makeup, take a local course at a community college. Get experience, apprentice, or become a first or second assistant. Observe other artists and learn their practices and trade tips! Put yourself out there and be receptive to everything. The life of a makeup artist is demanding and there can be massive opportunities. Everything is changing and evolving, so you must always adapt. This job requires time and devotion, and you have to work extra hard to maintain a work/life balance.”

Beauty Role Model
Alexis Rodriguez
Executive Director, Public Relations for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and founder of the thePRcloset.com
Years in the industry: 12

Her two cents: “I never knew that I wanted to go into PR, but I knew my strengths: public speaking and writing. When I was interning at PR companies, I immersed myself in the position day and night and felt really comfortable. Now, I oversee the PR strategy for Bobbi Brown product launches, store openings, and Bobbi Brown’s personal appearances in North America. There’s some structure to my day, but no work day is truly the same. We’re launching something new every month, so you always have a project to work on. I’ve worked at Givenchy and with Diane von Furstenberg before Bobbi, so I always found myself connected to a personality or a brand. I work 24-7—I like the fast pace, but I still set boundaries. It works for me, and helps to keep me creative. I get inspired by my colleagues—networking is absolutely essential in my industry. A lot of people think that beauty or fashion PR is all glamour, but there’s a whole other side to the story. People underestimate how on-point and creative a publicist has to be. We also manage budgets and put together comprehensive plans—it’s very business-oriented as well. You have to be a great writer, public speaker, strategist, number-cruncher, and event planner. It’s an incredibly rewarding career, but it takes a very unique personality to survive.”

Beauty Role Model
Patrice Yursik
founder of Afrobella.com
Years in the industry: 8

Her two cents: “My background began with writing—I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I got my undergrad degree in script writing and my master’s in creative writing. I worked at a newspaper interviewing a wide variety of people—everyone from Damien Marley to Bob Saget! It made me figure out what I did and didn’t like. I always loved beauty as a child, and realized that it was my calling after writing some beauty features for the paper. I started testing and blogging about products as a personal writing outlet, and I saw that there was a void online for women of color who weren’t skinny. The site got more popular than I had ever imagined. I work for myself, and it’s easy to get swept up in the freedom of a structureless environment. I have to set daily goals for myself to stay on task. I try to write something for the blog every day. My professional writing background has definitely contributed to the success of Afrobella, but there are many ways to express yourself. If you’re a makeup artist, you can focus your content on tutorials, vlogs, or step-by-step photos. Regardless, it can’t hurt to keep improving your writing skills and learn as much as you can about the beauty industry. People think all beauty bloggers sit around all day playing with makeup. While some parts hold true, this is a full-time career that takes work, dedication, and lots of late nights.”

Beauty Role Model
Indie Lee
Founder of Indie Lee All Natural Beauty Products
Years in the industry: 2

Her two cents: “I don’t have an extensive background in beauty—in fact, I used to be an accountant! After a life-altering brain tumor in 2009, I decided to change my life and create a line of all-natural beauty products, free of toxins. But it’s not all greenhouses and gardens. Running a business takes serious know-how and time, and I’m so thankful for my background in finance. No day is the same—one day I’m in legal and finance meetings, another day I’m meeting with our scientists and researching ingredients. Because we’re a small company, the work/life balance is really hard. I have a lot of different responsibilities, and it’s hard to get everything done when you can’t create more hours in a day. But all this is worth it to me—I want to spread the word about green beauty. My biggest advice? Don’t be afraid to be honest. Know what’s going on in the industry and do your research. Admit your weaknesses and surround yourself with the best team—you can’t do it all on your own! Also, stay to true to your values. I send all of my products for extra testing—not because it’s required, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

  • What's your favorite part of beauty?
    • No question—the colors!
    • Just about everything! As long as I can write about it.
    • The skin care! I love trying the latest and greatest.
    • Anything I can chat with my friends about.
    • The eco-friendly stuff—bring on the organic!
  • What do you like most about your personality?
    • I'm a wordsmith. I love communicating through writing.
    • I'm a healer. I love honoring the earth.
    • I’m a giver. I love helping people.
    • I'm a conversationalist. I love networking.
    • I’m an artist. I love the transformation.
  • What do you love most about your job?
    • The creative freedom.
    • The ethical culture.
    • The people and opportunities.
    • The client connections.
    • The passionate community.
  • Which area of the world would you like to go most?
    • New York City—so metropolitan!
    • London—to see Shakespeare's Globe Theatre!
    • South America—to collect exotic plants!
    • Iceland—anywhere with healing waters!
    • Thailand—the bright colors are stunning!
  • What's your ideal workplace setting?
    • Tranquil and serene—a zen retreat, a day spa, or a wellness center.
    • Fabulous and frantic—at a fashion show, a red carpet event, or anywhere my headset works.
    • Fresh and uplifting—a spa, a a greenhouse, or my garden.
    • Creative and chaotic—at a photo shoot, backstage, or surrounded by celebrities.
    • Cozy and quiet—a coffee shop, the library, or my kitchen table.
  • What's your favorite beverage?
    • Herbal tea or water—the simpler the better.
    • Energy drink—have to keep going!
    • Champagne—always toasting!
    • Coffee—anything with caffeine.
    • Green smoothie—get your 5 servings a day!
  • Describe your perfect shoe:
    • YSL Tribute Stilettos—crazy high, but the platform saves you.
    • Madewell Sandstorm Booties—a short heel you can stand in all day.
    • Toms Shoes—do good, look good!
    • Havaiana Flip Flops—your pedicure's not dry yet.
    • Kate Spade Kiki Wedges—stylish yet surprisingly comfy.
Score it!
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Itching to find your niche in the beauty biz? Read Part 2 and Part 3 of our series, "So You Want a Career in Beauty," and discover your career calling in the beauty industry!