Here at Beautyblender, female entrepreneurs are our foundation — figuratively and literally.
Did you know our founder, Rea Ann Silva, started her career at a perfume counter? Or that she created the Beautyblender prototype on the set of Girlfriends? How about that she did it all as a working single mom? It’s true, and some *pretty* impressive people are taking note of her journey from scrappy startup to makeup mogul.
Most recently, that’s the Smithsonian. That’s right, Beauty Babes! Our fearless leader is one of eight inspiring entrepreneurs featured in The National Museum of American History’s celebration of the “Year of the Woman.”
The Only One in the Room
The display is part of the museum’s “American Enterprise” exhibition, and our girl’s section is fittingly titled “The Only One in the Room.” Like so many of our beloved Beautyblender readers, Silva has been the only one in many rooms. Whether it was because she was a woman, a person of color or even just the only person to see things differently, becoming one of the successful women entrepreneurs recognized by the Smithsonian (!!!) wasn’t easy.
“Being a woman of color looking the way I look, people don’t look at me and say, ‘She’s Black, she’s white.’ They look at me and they don’t know what I am,” Silva says. “I was the only one in the room having to defend [that] I am a person of color [who] can do all of these things. It took 25 years of my career to get that across.”
The Evolution of the Beautyblender
You Better Work
Inspiring entrepreneurs — and specifically female entrepreneurs — wasn’t Silva’s original goal. When she started out, she just wanted to create a product that worked so she could work. She pulled together a lookbook, started working in music videos, then in TV, which is where she invented the Beautyblender.
“I never at that moment could have imagined [myself] as CEO and founder of a brand sold globally in the biggest stores in the world,” Silva told Know Your Value. “I didn’t dream that big. I dreamt, like, how am I going to support myself, pay rent, and have food and gas!”
But Silva always knew she had the talent and vision to compete. She needed all of it — especially as she faced harsh critics who asked, "Why would anyone pay $20 for a sponge when they’ve been buying them for $1 or $2 all their lives?"
Obviously, if you’re reading this, you know why: quality!
But some people didn’t think of it that way.
“You will spend money for your brush,” says Silva. “[I had to make people understand they should also] spend money for a tool that works and was created by a makeup artist.”
It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.
“Listen: Don’t say ‘that’s not going to happen to me’ because it can all happen to you,” she says.
A Colorful Person
Silva has always made her own path, from selecting Beautyblender’s iconic pink color to formulating 40 shades of foundation and concealer so every person can find one that works.
“Being Latina gave me the vision and understanding about the nuances in skin tone, which directly correlated to ... mixing colors that made people feel comfortable in their own skin,” she says. “[Latinas] are a very colorful people. We are not afraid of color. We embrace color, and we celebrate color.”
While the Smithsonian honor is *HUGE*, the iconic female entrepreneur has no plans to stop hustling now. And a big part of that hustle is to continue inspiring other successful women entrepreneurs.
“You’re going to go through dips and valleys,” she says, “but if you have the right perspective and you keep passion on your sleeve, that is going to be what carries you from the valley to the peak.”