So You Want a Career in Beauty? Part 3

Beauty Role Model
Sarah Brown
Beauty Director, Vogue
Years in the industry: 10+

Her two cents: “I grew up wanting to work at a fashion magazine. I interned one summer in college at Elle and ended up in the beauty department—I loved it! Now, I oversee all of the beauty content in Vogue and on I run the beauty department and generate, assign, write, and edit content—I’m so happy and proud to be working here! We’re always excited about a new runway trend or a breakthrough skin care ingredient—the fashion and beauty world is always changing and constantly evolving. You need to be a hard worker in this industry. I didn’t study journalism in college and don’t necessarily think you need that kind of background to thrive. If you want to work at a magazine, choose carefully. If you want to work for Vogue, you should be obsessed with Vogue. When I interview people, I look for someone who really understands and loves the magazine—the people, the photographers, and the artists. You need to be interesting, inspired, hardworking, and motivated. That’s what Vogue looks for.”

Beauty Role Model
Janet Pardo.
Senior Vice President Product Development, Clinique Worldwide
Years in the industry: 20+

Her two cents: “I remember working part-time at the Macy’s cosmetic counter in college. That’s when I first realized how empowering makeup is—the power a product has over the psyche is extraordinary. A lot of people don’t even know what product development is. We understand the consumer and anticipate their needs—what do they want and how can we create products that satisfy that craving? I’m in love with the whole big-picture process in my department—concept, creation, manufacturing, and distribution. It’s a left-brained, right-brained job—you’re a creative and analytical person, but you get to put on your marketing and finance hat sometimes. Some days I’m approving 300 eye shadow colors, and other days I’m dealing with hard-core acne science. I work closely with our chemists and R&D department. You have to talk science—it’s in the DNA of Clinique. If you’re interested in this sector, get an internship or find a mentor! Product development requires more hands-on experience than classroom training. Ask a professional to shadow them for a day. When interviewing, I look for candidates who are passionate for product. I can get over the lack of experience if it’s clear you have an obsession for skin care, color cosmetics, or fragrance. Once you get into the field, you’ll never want to leave. We have very little turnover—it’s a very satisfying experience to go to the lab and shade-match 20 lipsticks.”

Beauty Role Model
Guido Palau
Hairstylist and Redken Creative Consultant
Years in the industry: 29

His two cents: "I was always intrigued by fashion and beauty magazines. In the ’80s, the New Wave, Indie, and Goth subculture movements initially sparked my interest in creative hairstyling. So in the early ’90s, I began training at Vidal Sassoon in London, then eventually began collaborating with a fashion photographer—that's when I discovered an eye and love for hair in fashion. I love working with creatives—I draw a lot of inspiration from the designers I work with. When I'm on set, I've got to have all of my tools and products organized. It's important to stay focused at all times—during Fashion Week, I'm running to shows back-to-back. To be a successful stylist, it's paramount to hone your hairdressing skills, but a good work ethic and open-minded attitude are essential to thrive in the industry. You've got to challenge yourself and develop your people skills. Humility helps—be willing to learn from designers and photographers and hide your ego if you've got it!"

Beauty Role Model
Jaklin Idris
Spa Executive and author, “By Word of Mouth”
Years in the industry: 20

Her two cents: “I immigrated to America 20 years ago from Bulgaria. I got my degree in journalism in eastern Europe, but I was always interested in beauty. Since it was hard to be a journalist in a new country, I decided to switch gears and get my aesthetician’s license in New York. Eventually, I was working as a spa training manager. That’s when I got interested in the education side of the profession. I wanted to incorporate my writing skills into hands-on work, and eventually ended up as a director of education for a high-end skin care line. I created education programs for customers and internal staff, and worked with the sales and marketing departments to grow and support existing accounts. It’s a very rewarding career. You learn a lot and meet so many amazing people travelling. It’s a career that supports wellness of the mind and body. You have to present and teach well, and have the confidence that’s needed for an educator. You must also have the generosity to share your experience and knowledge with others. And most importantly, you need a nurturing spirit.”

Beauty Role Model
Rebecca James Gadberry
Cosmetic Chemist and CEO, YG Labs
Years in the industry: 47

Her two cents: “When I was 10, my mom became one of the first Mary Kay distributors and I was very involved in her business. But when I went to college, I wanted to try something new—Anthropology. I graduated in the ’70s and couldn’t find a job, so I went to work for my mom’s new cosmetic company, YG Labs. I became a licensed aesthetician and slowly started working on formulations in the lab. My science background isn’t traditional. I learned organic and inorganic chemistry on my own through reading and tutoring. Many say that my knowledge is at a Ph.D level—I teach cosmetic chemistry at UCLA and I’ve written over 600 scientific articles in 35 years. I now own the company my mom started 38 years ago. I work with our R&D group to develop next-generation products and come up with ingredient stories that brands can create for their market—I was one of the first to introduce the anti-wrinkle peptide Matryxl! You need to be persistent and creative in this industry, and you need to keep up! I’m always reading—if you don’t follow the latest news in raw materials, packaging, and marketing activities, you fall behind. It takes a lot of work—I can work up to 80 hours a week. But when you slave for months or years on a product, there’s a sense of accomplishment and pride when you see that product on the shelf. If you’re thinking of heading this route, attend industry events, start networking, and meet professionals in the business. People in this industry are very supportive of newcomers. Always keep your doors open.”

  • How would your friends describe you?
    • Curious and excited.
    • Generous and loving.
    • Inspired and motivated.
    • Creative and passionate.
    • Persistent and hard-working.
  • Which subject interests you most?
    • Sociology.
    • Chemistry.
    • Art history.
    • Design.
    • Business.
  • Why do you love beauty?
    • The products.
    • The innovation.
    • The creativity.
    • The trends.
    • The community.
  • What's your current beauty must-have?
    • Mason Pearson hair brush—expensive, but I use it every day.
    • Bath oil—it helps me unwind.
    • The newest anti-aging eye cream!
    • My bright lipstick—it's sold out everywhere!
    • My new rainbow eye shadow palette!!
  • Which celebrity's beauty do you most emulate?
    • Blake Lively—such a young fashion icon.
    • Rihanna—she's a hair chameleon!
    • Cate Blanchett—her skin is ridiculous!
    • Drew Barrymore—she's not afraid to push the limits.
    • Christy Turlington—a zen beauty.
  • What's your favorite TV show?
    • Project Runway.
    • How It's Made.
    • Shear Genius.
    • The Doctors.
    • NOVA.
  • You're part of a wedding—how do you help the bride on her big day?
    • I make sure every strand of her updo stays put.
    • I help the event planner with last-minute details.
    • I make sure her skin glows.
    • I help calm any pre-wedding jitters.
    • I pack her beauty survival kit.
Score it!
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Missed the first two parts of "So You Want a Career in Beauty?" Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series and explore more careers in the beauty biz!

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