Bobbi Brown is a professional makeup artist and the founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Along with creating her own line, Brown has written eight books about makeup and beauty along with the Contributing Beauty & Lifestyle Editor of Health magazine
Before she was known as a household name, however, Bobbi Brown was just another student looking to make her mark on the world…
Brown graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in theatrical makeup. In 1980, she moved to New York City to work as a professional makeup artist.
“You know, the old story is I didn’t know anyone, but I picked up a Yellow Pages, and looked up models and agencies, and eventually I figured out how to become a makeup artist in fashion.”
From 1980 to 1991 she became an expert in her craft, becoming known for a makeup style that included moderate and natural tones, which was a stark contrast to the bright colors used at the time.
“My first magazine actually was Vogue Advertising. I met some woman and she asked, ‘Can you do hair and makeup?’ And I said, ‘Oh yes.’ So I went to the store and bought every hair product I could think of—I do not know how to do hair. On the day of the shoot, the model showed up and she had this short hair. I was really lucky, because I would have been screwed! Buying expensive products or buying all the products doesn’t make you an expert. I thought that if you went to Bergdorf Goodman and bought the most expensive products that they would be the best. With the help of my dad—he gave me his credit card—I went and bought all this stuff. I got home, opened up all these beautiful boxes, and it looked awful. At the time, the style was like white skin, red lips, contouring…and I hated the way it looked. I wanted to do more natural-looking makeup. But I couldn’t find makeup that allowed me to do it easily. I would also go to theatrical makeup stores and buy Ben Nye foundation that was yellow and orange and red in order to fix the regular makeup I had. At some point, I discovered a yellow powder that actually fixed everything. To be honest, I wasn’t really a great makeup artist—I wasn’t one of these makeup artists who could transform a face. I just always had shortcuts to make things work because I loved it so much. I did that for seven years until I reached my big goal, which was a Vogue cover.”
In 1991, she and a chemist made a revolution, they released a line of new lipsticks (10 lipsticks on beige pigment) under the brand Bobbi Brown Essentials, which debuted at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. The success of her makeup line led Estée Lauder to buy the company in 1995. Her work has since been featured on the covers of magazines such as Elle, Vogue, Self and Town & Country.
Just because Bobbi sold her company to Estée Lauder doesn’t mean she stopped working. Bobbi continues to play a huge role not only in her cosmetics line, but for women entrepreneurs everywhere.
When was the last time you cried?
When I watched the movie about Billie Jean King, Battle of the Sexes.
Do you remember your dreams?
On occasion, sometimes.
What’s your favorite smell?
Crusty bread baking.
Describe your mood right now in one word.
Favorite quality in a woman?
Favorite quality in a man?
What’s a word your friends would use to describe you?
What’s a word your family would use to describe you?
What are you reading right now?
My flagged emails.
What are you watching right now?
Is there anything you’re really craving at the moment?
What is your greatest fear?
Safety of the people I love.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Elaine from Seinfeld
What is your most marked characteristic?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
Favorite work of art or piece of art that moves you?
Anything Louis Vuitton.
What is your greatest regret?
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
There’s no such thing as failure it’s just an opportunity to do something else.
One thing you’d tell your 9-year-old self?
Just be who you are.
If you could live in any film, which would you choose?
Saturday Night Fever.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Creating products and making content.
What is your least favorite part of your job?
What is one thing you want to overcome/conquer?
Being able to sit still.
What do you do to combat stress?
I walk, talk to my friends and enjoy a nice clean cocktail.
What do you want to do tomorrow you couldn’t do today?
Pack for my trip.
What’s your definition of success?
Being proud of what you’ve accomplished.