Apr 21

The beauty industry is the ugliest in the world, THE ugliest. No ifs, ands, or buts!

I may have a biased view on this stance, but working numerous years in the beauty industry has made me realize one thing. If you aren’t attractive, you won’t be getting a job working behind a cosmetics counter or in a Parfumerie. It’s the horrific truth and all applicants are judged on their looks first. I know this because I was recruiting for “appropriate staff” for Chanel and YSL cosmetic counters and conducting interviews with applicants. One day my account manager had been off sick for a while and I had to step in and run the account myself with the leadership skills I had; for example: run figures and everything that comes along with the position.

To me, when recruiting – it was about the skills and final delivery that the person presents, but my manager had different ideas. She called me to ask how everything was going and was specifically adamant that the girls fit a certain description. The “description” was good-looking, (before any of you ask) not average, not plain Jane – the girl hired HAS TO BE IMPERATIVELY ATTRACTIVE. She has to have a face full of makeup, with red lipstick, be willing to have a French manicure 24/7 and preferably has to wear heels.

“…just remember that you’ll be judged on your looks and nothing more…”

This wasn’t surprising, beauty agencies that supply temp staff all over the world are now asked for a picture before they are offered an interview after CV reads.

I distinctly remember one of the bookings managers of an agency saying to me “We can get you lots of work Nadia, but only because you’re beautiful. Not because you have good selling skills, but because people want to see an attractive face behind a counter standing there all model-like with sparkling eyes and gleaming teeth. The cosmetics and perfume sell themselves”. As I was used to this sort of response in modeling itself, i simply asked “Okay, when do i start?” And she happily replied “Tomorrow!”

The Good Things About The Beauty Industry

On the plus side of working in the industry, it has taught me the insider tricks of every single fragrance that floods the market. The prices of any box at first sight, the fakes and how to spot them on first glance, but most importantly: what smells of what and in which bottle! I learnt how to apply full makeup in 10 minutes flat from full face to lushy lashes and striking lips. I learnt what product suits what skin and have saved many a girl from a full on makeup disaster. I take pride in wearing accessories with pristine makeup and smelling like a perfumed diamond. I’ve learnt to take direction from clients, which is amazing and I love making women beautiful!

The Bad Things…

On the not too plus side, I’ve learnt to carry extra painkillers for the headaches i get from the constant spraying of perfume. I’ve learnt to stand in front of the mirror in the morning half dead and attempt to put eye makeup on  sore eyes (from full eye-makeup worn during the week) and bless my eyes – they have adjusted well. I have learnt to carry a colored lip balm for touchups and red lipstick for striking events. I’ve learnt that the job that most girls dream to work in (aside from the famous “I want to be a model!”) is a brutal, cut-throat industry where the older women hate the younger ones for their natural youth. I’ve learnt that some fragrances will not sell no matter how hard you try. I’ve also learnt that every day is different.

Enter this industry if you may, just remember that you’ll be judged on your looks and nothing more. At least with modeling, a girl knows where she stands. With the beauty industry – she doesn’t know where she stands. She sits down and a full face of makeup is applied on her!

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  • JFB1224

    This is a great article Nadia. My grandmom was a model, and she only lasted two years. She quit when one of the managers said that they would have someone following the girls around, and if they were ever caught eating a cheeseburger and fries or anything unhealthy, they’d be fired. This was back in the day, but the same idea seems to apply today.