Twenty-five years working as a cosmetics development expert in the beauty industry has taught me a thing or two about beauty. Is it a look? A trend? A style?  Ask anyone their definition of beauty and you will hear a vast array of answers prompting even more questions. Everyone has an opinion, but nearly all agree that beauty, although typically seen from an exterior point of view, is about what’s happening on the inside. Beauty has to come from the inside out to be both authentic and sustained.

Today, one of the fastest growing segments of the beauty industry is skincare. Generally, the premise of some of the top brands is that they will cleanse, lift, protect, enhance and make you look and feel more beautiful. But for the worried individual with the wrinkles to show for it or the gorgeous girl behaving in an ugly way, behavior and stress will never be masked by any of the most fabulous products or their claims.

I have never considered myself as someone who “looks” beautiful, but there are some things I do to “feel” beautiful and it all starts with an overall assessment of what’s happening on the inside that’s showing up on the outside.


I created skincare line Sudden Youth, a cutting-edge apple stem cell-based program; and I can tell you that not a day goes by that I don’t use my glycolic exfoliating scrub, stem cell serum and daily light moisturizer with SPF. I’ve been using these products for years and recently added botanical stem cells and important peptide ingredients to enhance their penetration and effects. However, it is a “thick skin” mindset I use every day to keep the stress and worry lines away. In other words, I know my mood will affect how I look, so I try to keep toxic things, energy vampires and pettiness out of my life. It started as a 30-day lifestyle/cleanse program I designed for myself and have lived by ever since. Check out these products at www.suddenyouth.com


When I put on a few pounds and my clothes start feeling tight, I get myself active with Pilates at Sanctuary 7 or jump into my home routine. If it’s more than a few, I visit the Cardella Wellness Center, where I do a medically supervised diet regiment that in the past has given me amazing results. It’s typically less than a half hour per visit. In addition to Dr. Anthony Cardella being a great Ob-Gyn – he delivered RJ 10 years ago –  he has a segmentation body fat machine that can truly target and pinpoint problem areas for permanent weight loss. A few pounds lighter, I feel and look better and the instant gratification of feeling more fit and lean makes up for the chocolate, cake or sweets that put me there in the first place.  In fact, I find I am never hungry and the weight stays off because his plan resets the body metabolism. Get more information at www.cardellawellness.com


When you are feeling crummy on the inside, doing something wonderful for someone else is the surest way to feel better about yourself. My husband always says I look my best when I am working on the charity and with The Consequences Foundation. I believe in giving the teens we work with a second chance and helping them have other opportunities in lieu of jail if they fix their behavior. For more information on these charities, visit www.theconsequencesfoundation.com. for more information on The Blacks Annual Gala, visit www.theblacksannualgala.com. As for beauty, your face is going to reflect your inner beauty and you get to choose whether you get to have smile lines or frown lines every day.

Lea’s Picks

The Claus Porto Red Poppy Bath Soap, available at www.lafco.com or 800.362-3677, retail $18 (I get mine at Thread Count in the Miami Design District located at 125 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137)

MB Trainers for posture – wear them all over your house and take the stairs 5X! Order on line as soon as you can…they are amazing! MBT Mahuta in violet. Retail price is $250.00 and can be purchased on www.shopmbt.com

Minus-Sol Facial Sun Protection is available at your local skin care professional, high-end spa and through various web sites. Retails: $18.00-$32.00

Sudden Youth available exclusively through www.suddenyouth.com, Total Devotion kit including non-surgical facelift retails for $165.00