Thanks to Rea Ann Silva and her beautyblender, the application of makeup has changed forever – there is no more getting hands messy or shirts stained when putting on foundation or concealer. The Latina CEO, whose mom is Mexican and dad is Portuguese revolutionized the beauty industry with that spongey hot pink egg that also happens to be one of our Best in Beauty 2018 winners. The Angelino credits being able to travel in her early adult life and being around the entertainment industry for sharing her career as a makeup artist and ultimately as the founder of the multi-million-dollar business.
“Beautyblender is a category creator so, yes, we definitely have shaken up the beauty industry,” Rea Ann, whose product has been used by everyone from Kim Kardashian to Olivia Culpo, tells HOLA! USA! “It’s a true entrepreneurial story about a product that was literally born out of a necessity.” Now, the company has expanded and launched BOUNCE foundation over the summer.
Rea Ann with family, including CEO-in-training Erica
HOLA!: Do you feel that beautyblender has rocked the beauty industry?
Rea Ann Silva: “What makes us different is that everything we create at beautyblender comes from a place of true innovation. We have a saying here: ‘Minimal effort, maximum results.’ I make sure that every product we create is truly unique, comes from a place of need and makes customers’ lives easier. With beautyblender, it was making makeup application effortless. With BOUNCE, the innovation didn’t just lie within the velveteen formula – the packaging had to be useful as well.”
Were you always interested in the beauty/makeup industry?
“I had actually gone to design school so I thought initially my interest was in fashion. But it took me working at a makeup counter to learn my real love and talent was in beauty.”
How did you come up with the beautyblender concept?
“When I became department head of one of the first shows shot in high definition [Girlfriends starring Tracee Ellis Ross], I knew I needed a way to apply and touch up makeup on set that didn’t leave the actresses looking cakey. I had some experience with special effects makeup, and we would cut sponges into little egg shapes and press onto the skin after prosthetics to give the material a skin-like finish. I also knew that setting makeup with water gave it a more life-like finish, so I combined those two techniques. Then every makeup artist that was on set began stealing them, and THAT’S when I knew I had something special.”
Did you ever envision your brand getting so popular?
“Not at all - I really thought it would be a Pro tool! But as luck would have it, social media and the YouTube generation were both simultaneously picking up speed and everyone loved beautyblender. At the same time, makeup artists couldn’t stop talking about it – it was the perfect storm.
Let’s talk diversity in beauty, do you think brands are becoming more inclusive?
“I think some brands have always been inclusive/diverse (MAC, Makeup Forever, Estee Lauder) but in recent years there has definitely been a light shown on brands to push them for more diversity. I think that movement has helped market to a more diverse audience for sure. For instance, a brand may have had over 40 shades of foundation, but their marketing and advertising never featured that diversity. I think the pressure is on now to ensure that everyone is equally represented. It’s a great time for the beauty industry now.
Are stereotypes in the beauty industry changing?
“I think we are working hard as an industry to break stereotypes. Beauty doesn’t come in one color or gender. Campaigns are now really impactful and inclusive, which is amazing to see.”
What’s your advice for anyone wanting to start their own businesses?
“My biggest piece of advice is to not listen to ‘no’. If you have an idea and a dream, put the work in and never give up. People along the way, even those who may be smarter or more experienced than you, will always give you reasons why you should quit, cut your losses and move on. I have a completely self-funded business – as a single mom and working makeup artist I bet everything on my idea, and 15 years later it has paid off.
For the complete winners list, head here or pick up the October issue of HOLA! USA on newsstands now.
-- Interview by Mariana Cornejo