She’s witty, loves to vacation in the Bahamas and her guilty pleasure is watching the ABC comedy “Modern Family“. I sat down with world renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown, who is currently on an aggressive book tour through November, and picked her beautiful brain about her new book, fitness and the industry.
Her book, Pretty Powerful: Beauty Stories to Inspire Confidence, is the go-to guide for lasting beauty. Known for her instructional and engaging beauty and lifestyle advice, Bobbi shares powerful interviews with real women, celebrities and athletes about what beauty means to them, all with interesting and motivational stories to tell. I have read only half way through this book, and let’s just say you feel powerful after only a few pages. The book’s uplifting message is sure to brighten anyones day, along with giving you stellar makeup tips.
Q: The book’s message seems to be about uplifting and empowering women. Can you name a few present and past women who have empowered you?
A: My mother inspired me from the beginning. She taught me that being beautiful isn’t about being flawless. It’s about having self-confidence and playing up the qualities that make you unique. That’s why Pretty Powerful showcases real women, as well as celebrities and athletes, because I wanted to show women that there isn’t just one definition of beauty.
Q: How did you select the women chosen to be in the book?
A: All of the women in the book have inspired me in their own special way. They come from all different backgrounds, are uniquely beautiful and have motivating life stories that are truly empowering. One of my favorite stories in the book is about author and motivational speaker Liz Murray and her power to transform her life, which was just amazing. When I read Liz’s book Breaking Night: From Homeless to Harvard, I couldn’t put it down – I was so moved by her story of growing up with drug-addicted parents, surviving homelessness and making it to Harvard. Despite the tough experiences Liz was handed in life, she has risen above it all and has made an incredible life for herself empowering other women. She has a saying that I know use as my own mantra: “So what, now what?” How powerful is that?
Q: Wow that’s pretty amazing. I need to pick that book up.
A: Yes you should, this is your homework assignment.
Q: What’s the greatest lesson you have learned in being a business woman?
A: Go with your gut, and try not to get overwhelmed. I also learned that you must always be nice. Hard work and niceness come back to you.
Q: Pretty Powerful is your seventh book which is pretty amazing. How is this book different from your other ones?
A: Pretty Powerful is a new kind of makeup guide that starts with who you are, rather than how you look. The book is about conversations and transformations with more than 70 incredible women. It does include my top makeup tips and tricks and personal stories to help women be their best, most authentic selves, but it is also a platform for women to start having honest conversations about beauty and confidence.
Q: What are you hoping women learn from this book?
A: Well this is an easy one, mostly that we are all the same and that no woman thinks she is perfect. So instead of focusing on what you don’t like, celebrate what you do like.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be in this industry?
A: Growing up in Chicago, I was an average student and struggled with algebra and biology. I was good at classes where you used your creativity — art, writing, or history. I went to college not knowing what to study and considered dropping out after one year because I didn’t know what to do with my life. Fortunately, my mom said: “Forget about what you want to do with your life. Pretend it’s your birthday and you can do anything you want today.” I told my mom that I wanted to play with makeup at Marshall Field’s, so she asked, “Why don’t you study cosmetics and get a degree in that?” So I went to Emerson College in Boston, where I majored in theatrical makeup. The rest is history, I guess.
Q: Wow that’s pretty powerful. What advice do you have for women of all ages who are interested in getting into the beauty industry? Any particular path you advice them taking?
A: It depends on what you want to do. There are so many jobs in this industry. I do suggest you work hard, network as much as possible and, if you plan to launch a line, make sure it has a point of difference and fulfills a need.
Q: I read an article where you said your diet is your secret weapon to taking care of your skin. Can you share some tips?
A: In my fridge you’ll always find a lean protein like salmon or chicken, lots of green vegetables (usually kale or asparagus) and healthy protein shakes. One of my favorites that I’m proud to say I invented is blended chocolate protein powder, powdered peanut butter, frozen kale and ice. It doesn’t look or sound so great, but it tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cup. When I am home I love to have the Gigi Salad from one of my favorite restaurant The Palm. It is so important to eat well, and drinking water and exercising are crucial to healthy glowing skin.
Q: What’s your fitness routine?
A: I like to get up early and start my day with exercise. Spinning and running leave me feeling energized and transformed. I like to go spinning several times a week. It’s a great workout that is challenging, exhilarating and most important- fun.
Q: What beauty product are you in love with right now?
A: EXTRA Moisture Balm and Corrector/Concealer will always be my favorites.
Q: There seems to be a lot of bright makeup colors out this season, can older women wear bright makeup?
A: Yes, they can. Light colors lift, so apply a light shadow all over the lid and under your brows. This will also neutralize any redness or discoloration on the lid. Then apply a medium shade like Cement or Taupe that goes from the lashline up to the crease to add definition. You do have to be careful with shimmer because it will make the lines on your face stand out more. The key is to use a hint of shimmer on your eyes or lips. Don’t overdo it, and don’t use frosted formulas as they fall into facial lines and make them more obvious.
Q: If you only have 10 minutes to get ready, should you even bother with makeup?
A: Yes, definitely. Today, women are always busy so it’s important to have an on-the-go makeup routine that’s quick and easy. Begin with moisturizer. It’s the key to fresh looking skin and creates the perfect base for makeup. Then use corrector/concealer to brighten and lighten the under eye area. You’ll look less tired. Use blush for a pop of color and then finish with mascara and lipgloss.
Q: Can you really do that routine in 10 minutes?
A: Yes, Brandy, you can and it makes a huge difference. With or without makeup all women are beautiful, but when you Add makeup you become pretty powerful.
Q: Can you recommend three beauty products women should buy for fall?
A: A bright lipstick (like our new Creamy Matte Lip Colors), your fall foundation (which will be different than the formula you use in the summer) and concealer—always a concealer!
Q: I am glad you mention concealer. I took a makeup class, and everyone says to start with concealer, but when I look at photos it often looks like I have white shadow under my eyes. Any suggestions on how to fix this?
A: Are you using one with yellow undertones? It is important to make sure you get the right color, so go to a counter and get color-matched properly. When you get the right color, application is simple: apply a light eye cream under the eye area – it should absorb quickly and leave your skin feeling smooth. Use a concealer brush or your index finger to apply in thin layers and be sure to blend well. Apply the concealer all the way up to your lash-line and into the inner corner of your eyes (a very important part, not to be missed step.) Use more than you think you need and blend it into the skin, using your fingers in a soft, patting motion. If you still see dark circles, go ahead and apply a second layer of concealer. To lock the concealer in place, apply pale yellow powder over the concealer and on the eyelids with a powder puff.
Q: Wow I think you just fixed my concealer dilemma. Lastly what would you like your legacy to be?
A: My hope is to help women everywhere understand that being who you are is the secret to lasting beauty — and that all of us can be both pretty and powerful.