What do Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell, J-Lo and the Kardashians have in common? Killer brows, courtesy of Anastasia Soare.
Without question, Anastasia is the Queen Bee of eyebrows. She's also a mother, business owner, and all-around force to reckoned with. Soare built her beauty empire from the ground up: she developed her own (totally unique) brow shaping method, cultivated an extensive celebrity following, and founded her global cosmetics brand—Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Anastasia Soare not only shapes brows—she helps shape the entire beauty world. (If you don't believe us, just look at how bold brows dominated the runway for fall 2015.) She's also a huge presence on social media, with over 7 million eyes on the ABH Instagram. With the launch of Soare’s highly anticipated Self Made palette, we were beyond excited to sit down with our latest #FemaleFounder and talk beauty, inspiration, and the business of brows.
Many women treat their eyebrows as an afterthought. Why eyebrows for you? What made this the central foundation for your business?
Brows are a central feature on the face! When shaped correctly, they bring an overall sense of balance and symmetry to the rest of your features. With a less than flattering shape, however, they can give you a look of permanent anger or surprise! Think of it this way: If eyes are the windows to your soul, then brows are the inviting window treatments that say, “Please, come in!"
In university, you studied architecture, mathematics, engineering, and drawing. How did you transition these interests to the beauty world?
When I was a student in Romania, I studied many subjects and did hours and hours of homework that greatly influenced my work ethic and drive to succeed. I took specialized art classes after school, where my teacher first introduced me to Leonardo da Vinci’s Golden Ratio and theories of Divine Proportion. I learned that even the slightest change in the brows could completely change a subject’s expression in a portrait or drawing. Later, when I came to America and began my career in the beauty industry as an esthetician, I revisited these classical drawing principles, and they inspired me to develop my scientific method to shaping brows.
You’ve mentioned in past interviews that your mother—and your strong ties to Romanian culture—have influenced your aesthetic. Tell us more about that!
When I was growing up, my mother and father owned a clothing atelier where they created custom designs for a large Romanian clientele. After my father passed away, my mother continued to run their business on her own, and enlisted my help with sewing and all aspects of the business. So, from a very young age, I was always inspired to be an entrepreneur. My mother also worked six days a week, and Sundays were her only day to spend time with me. Since she kept up a very active social life in our community, I would accompany her to the beauty salon on Sundays and watch as she’d get her brows tweezed, facials done, nails polished and hair styled for various dinner parties and engagements. I grew up surrounded by beauty and fashion…that always stuck with me.
What’s one piece of mentoring advice you would give to female entrepreneurs, young girls in school, or women graduating from high school?
Always do your homework and be thorough. Success doesn’t come easily on any level. You must always keep working at it. And to sustain it, you must have a product that is genuinely exceptional and innovative.
How did you build your brand up to the “legendary” status you have achieved?
It certainly didn’t happen overnight! I started two decades ago, and literally built the business from the ground up. When I began, there were no brow products available on the market. I introduced a brand new makeup category and then had to teach women how to use my products. I worked around the clock and traveled every weekend to spend time with my clients one-on-one and show them what an enormous difference beautiful brows could make! Fast-forward to the digital age, where I’m able to evolve that method of clienteling on a global scale. It’s taken years of working non-stop to grow and build my brand. And we’re not slowing down anytime soon!
What does YOUR daily beauty routine look like?
It takes me about two hours to get ready for my day, and I really enjoy the process! I wash, blowdry, and curl my hair, and then spend about 30 minutes putting together my outfits (you can see my outfits of the day on my personal lifestyle blog, Beyond the Brow. Then I apply makeup, which usually includes foundation, concealer, contour, blush, highlighter, eyeshadow, mascara, and Liquid Lipstick. If I have a little extra time, I’ll even wear false lashes!
Let’s talk social media! Your Instagram is super popular, and we consider your account a “must follow”. What makeup artists do you follow for inspiration, and what makes a photo “re-gram worthy”?
Thank you! I have fun with it. Instagram is a great way to communicate directly with my customers all around the world. I love to support and follow influencers large and small in the makeup world. I follow everyone from runway legends like Pat McGrath to YouTube icons like Jaclyn Hill to celebrity makeup artists like Mario Dedivanovic and Hrush Achemyamn. I'm also constantly on the lookout for new and fresh talent. I seek out unknown artists and makeup aficionados and curate their best looks using our hashtags. Our feed has even become a resource for celebrities looking to try out new makeup artists—I was happily surprised when Kim Kardashian told her audience in the recent Master Class with Mario Dedivanocic that she often scrolls through our feed to find new artists to work with! What I really look for are eye-catching, unique looks that inspire lots of creativity. I’m always excited to see how our customers are using our products—I often learn new techniques and tricks from other people! We look for beautiful color combos, angles, and sharp images that mesmerize and inspire.
If you could have a dinner party with 3 female influencers, alive today or not, who would they be and why?
Anna Wintour, Oprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama…with Maria Callas performing. Maria Callas was the most talented, unbelievable soprano. I could listen to her sing Tosca all day and would love to invite her to a private dinner to serenade. Anna Wintour is so smart and inspiring…a real visionary. I really admire the way she’s stayed at the top of her game as the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue for so many years. Oprah Winfrey is just one of the most influential women of our time. I love her energy and powerful presence. Michelle Obama is also extraordinary. She’s a wonderful wife and mother, and incredibly smart and elegant.
What is next for the future of Anastasia Beverly Hills and Anastasia the lady?
Our hope is to continue to see Anastasia Beverly Hills grow. Our core products are available in 1500 stores around the US, and next year, we’ll launch our full range in 800 of those doors. We’re rolling out internationally as well, and will soon be found in Sweden, Finland, and Norway (in addition to the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and France). As for me, I’ve reached the point where I live to work—I enjoy it and I only do what I love. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I want to do! I’m just getting started!