When I was 16 years old, I went to a small makeup boutique in my hometown of Chicago and asked for a makeover. I loved makeup and wanted to look better. I remember being so excited to look in the mirror—but when I did, I looked nothing like myself. The owner had “corrected” what she saw as my flaws. She had shaded my nose to make it smaller, contoured my eyes to create the illusion of eyelids and drawn-in fuller-looking lips. I couldn’t wait to get home to wash off my face.
That moment helped shape my belief that makeup should enhance, not cover up your features. And years later, it influenced my work as a freelance makeup artist. While everyone else was doing the Eighties look—white skin, red lips, contoured cheeks—I did what felt right to me. Rather than painting in features that didn’t exist, I used makeup to enhance what was naturally there (which in my opinion was most beautiful). I remember a famous makeup artist saying to me, “This makeup isn’t going to work. If you want to stay in the industry, you better stop doing natural, healthy-looking makeup.” Thankfully, I didn’t take his advice.
When I created my first lipstick, I wasn’t thinking about starting a company. I just wanted a lipstick that didn’t exist at the time—something that looked like lips. That lipstick turned into a collection of 10 lipsticks and in 1991 (without a business plan or a grand scheme), I launched Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
A lot has changed in the 25 years since the start of my company—from my countless hair styles to my three babies who are now men to the explosion of social media.What hasn’t changed is my belief that beauty is about being who you are and making the best of what you have. To celebrate this milestone, I’m proud to announce Be Who You Are—our largest campaign to-date featuring women of all ages, races and walks of life. Some of the women are my friends and co-workers. Others are entrepreneurs who I admire. There are also photographers, artists, students, writers, and a few who I spotted on the street and invited to be a part of the campaign.
All the women in the campaign have their own unique look and story to tell. They’re confident and comfortable in their own skin—and that, to me, is what matters most.
To be beautiful it’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel. Check out the campaign at BobbiBrown.com and let me know what you think. I hope it inspires you to #Be Who You Are.