Q&A with Bobbi Brown
by Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard
Her empire began with 10 lipsticks. Now, close to two decades later, makeup mogul Bobbi Brown’s products are distributed in more than 400 stores and 20 countries worldwide. In 1991, Bobbi debuted at Bergdorf Goodman, selling 100 lipsticks the fi rst day; four years later her line was purchased by cosmetics giant Esteé Lauder, making her one of the world’s foremost names in beauty. Bobbi has gone on to become a New York Times best-selling author and a television personality with regular appearances on Oprah and NBC’s Today.
STEPHANIE SAYFIE AAGAARD: What is your definition of beauty?
BOBBI BROWN: Beauty is something that pleases you, whether it’s a face or your child or an amazing piece of jewelry.
Go through your morning regimen.
I usually put on an SPF 25 balm and then an eye cream. And truth be known, I put my makeup on in the car on the way to work. I have to work hard to realize I have to put makeup on every day.
What’s your advice for buying makeup?
Only buy what you have to have. Don’t ever be talked into anything. When someone says, “I love this lipstick on you,” don’t buy it. You will not like it. Don’t buy makeup as an impulse item.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about makeup?
People don’t realize how much makeup you actually need to look like you’re not wearing any. The most beautifully made-up person looks like they are not wearing foundation or concealer or bronzer or powder. That’s how I know someone’s done a good job: when they just look like they have great skin.
The heat of summer is coming. What to do?
I believe in safe sun. Everyone looks great with a bit of color in the skin. Instead of a normal foundation, wear tinted eye brightener, which is pretty sheer, a tinted moisturizer, a waterproof gel liner and tons of waterproof mascara.
Tell me about your “real women” campaign.
I happen to be really good at looking at women and knowing what the right makeup will do for them. So instead of using models for our campaign, I honestly just looked at the amazing women around me, and even picked a few up on the street. I thought how modern and timely this could be. The Pretty Powerful campaign is so inspiring. This will be in the Bobbi Brown DNA forever.
Did your mother really tell you to have your nose done?
She told me that I was really pretty, but I would be gorgeous if I had my nose done. When I sold my company, she asked for a face-lift, and I said, “You are not getting a face-lift, you are getting a condo.” To this day, she looks like a normal person and has a condo.
STEPH SEZ: Bobbi Brown is Pretty Powerful.
BOBBI SEZ: Be happy and healthy and present.
PHOTOGRAPH BY HENRY LEUTWYLER FOR BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS