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Pretty Powerful – BOBBI BROWN

 “The most important piece of advice I can give is to have a vision and a point of difference.”  

She may have built her career in cosmetics, but Bobbi Brown is very aware that beauty is much more than skin deep.

This is why the founder and CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has launched “Pretty Powerful”, a campaign that aspires to make all women realize that true beauty starts from within.

“Pretty powerful to me is my belief that all women are pretty without makeup, and with the right makeup, can be pretty powerful,” Brown explains. “It’s about feeling good in your skin and having confidence.”

This is easier said than done in Los Angeles, where women are first and foremost judged on their external appearances. However, Brown is aware of this problem, and is confident that she can conquer it. “We need to not pick ourselves apart,” she states firmly. “Regardless of who you are, be it a stay-athome mom or a supermodel or an actress, we are all the same in the sense that we always see our flaws. We need to focus on the good things and try to be our best selves.”

This strategy has worked in her favor thus far. Brown’s best self has helped her to create one of the most lucrative cosmetic companies in the world and a level of success that she herself still marvels at.

“I started off as a freelance makeup artist and it took me seven years to get a “Vogue” cover. I never really envisioned myself as a businesswoman or the head of an empire,” she says now, adding, “I always thought I’d be a wife and mother.”

But as any truly powerful woman knows, you really can have it all. The 55-year-old CEO is the wife of Steven Plofker and a mother of three sons. She has recently announced a collaboration with Katie Holmes as her first ever celebrity spokeswoman and will release her empowering makeup manual “Pretty Powerful” on September 26th.

That said, Brown is leading the life she always envisioned for herself…and also the one she barely dared to imagine. As a woman who is living out all of her dreams, she is only too happy to share what she’s learned with others.

“The most important piece of advice I can give is to have a vision and a point of difference,” she says. “You don’t want to be a ‘Me Too.’ Constantly think about how you can be your best and how you can better yourself. Hire people that do what you’re not good at, because you can’t create a successful business alone. Don’t forget about taking time for yourself and your personal life.”

Brown’s personal life also includes her involvement with several charities. The entrepreneur has been working with the Broome Street Academy— a high school that serves disadvantaged teens—for the past year. She has also been a board member of the Dress For Success organization for over ten years.

Of the latter charity, she says: “This organization really helps women that go from welfare to work, women that can’t go into a department store and buy makeup. It teaches them how to get and keep a job, how to write resumes, how to look and feel good.” It is in that one respect, at least, that Brown believes all women are alike. “There is not anyone alive who believes that they’re beautiful all the time,”

she maintains. “It’s so easy to look at images of young stars in magazines and see perfection. I’ve never seen a bad picture of Jennifer Aniston, who’s my beauty role model. She always looks good. But many women who are in the public eye talk about their problems with self-esteem.”

She pauses thoughtfully, and her words are a revelation. “Basically,” she says, “we’re all the same.”

A-list beauties like Jennifer Aniston and Katie Holmes are just like the rest of the world? That notion is pretty powerful indeed.

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New York February / March 2014
New York February / March 2014