In honor of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career, we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honor of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the beauty industry.
Anastasia Soare has always been ahead of her time. Even before the bold-brow renaissance began, Soare knew the power of a good set of arches and pioneered a patented method that’s become a widely popular point of reference: The Golden Ratio. Using this method, Soare is able to calculate the best brow shape for every face to create the perfect balance. Soare’s methodology proved to be a hit among consumers, as she soon went on to create an empire of face makeup to further balance and perfect the complexion—a line so popular that it has 20 million Instagram followers.
But Soare didn’t just fall into a depths of a wildly successful cosmetic line by chance—her extensive education in engineering and architecture proved to be the unconventional set of tools Soare needed to disrupt the world of beauty with a more technical approach to applying makeup. Below, you’ll find Soare’s no-nonsense advice for working your way up the corporate ladder and making your dreams a reality.
“I’m at the helm of a busy cosmetics company as CEO of Anastasia Beverly Hills. I’m a leader, motivator, and creator who manages people, develops new products, and sets the strategy and direction for the growth of the company.”
“People are sometimes surprised to discover that I am equal parts artist and businesswoman. While I am responsible for things like capital allocation, financial projections, and the overall success of the company, I’m also an artist steering the creative vision of the brand. I’m both left- and right-brained and have my hand on everything company-wide.”
“I wore a slim-fitting houndstooth skirt and blazer, a black top, black boots, and vintage Chanel earrings, all things I brought with me from Romania. It was an interview at a Melrose Place salon. I got the job!”
“How about a 30-minute conference with Kevin Systrom, Zaha Hadid, Oprah Winfrey, and Jack Welch? All incredibly fascinating people from different disciplines who could definitely cover my favorite areas of interest.”
“Women’s Wear Daily is my homepage—it’s my bible for industry news. And Instagram, of course. I scan it for beauty news and updates constantly.”
“I’ve been blessed and don’t have much time for regrets, but I’ve often thought of how great it would have been to be born in the U.S. When I emigrated from Romania in the ’90s, I could not speak the language, and it was a constant struggle—I played catch-up for years.”
“I’ve always trusted my instincts when hiring people, but specifically, I look for people who share my vision: hard workers who are dedicated, creative, organized, and passionate—people with big ideas who aren’t afraid to execute them.”
“Everyone knows that I love fashion and have a passion for fine tailoring, fabrics, and accessories. I dress for myself, not for others, and I don’t mind if what I’m wearing is over the top. So, I’m at my best when I can express myself this way—and this usually means I’m decked from head to toe!”
“I asked him. He said, ‘Intensely hardworking, difficult, a perfectionist, loving, and loyal. Anastasia’s a crazy-creative genius and a freaking blast!’ I’ll take it!”
“I travel frequently and derive much inspiration from my surroundings. When I return from a trip, I have a million new ideas and a fresh perspective. But if I’m home and feeling a little stuck, I head to an art gallery—the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is a favorite—meet up with other creative professionals, or simply stop at a newsstand and buy as many international fashion magazines I can carry. Then I’ll spend an afternoon flipping through them—and usually Snapchatting along the way—to get that creative energy back.”
“With grace, humility, and gratitude. When I left my first salon job, I sent my bosses a $250 bouquet and a note to thank them for the opportunity they gave me. I learned so much from that job, and I’m still grateful for the opportunity. So leave with grace and gratitude and remember that every experience helps you get to the next level.”
“Le Pain Quotidien is a lunch favorite. Their quinoa salad with grilled chicken breast is delicious. I also love the chicken soup on cooler days. For business lunches, I like the Ivy or Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. On weekends, when I have more time, I cook. I prefer fresh, Mediterranean food with lots of seafood and grilled veggies. I do my shopping at the local farmers market.”
“Young people starting out in their careers can sometimes overlook the importance of learning from others. They want to prove themselves or be original thinkers, which is wonderful, but the experience of those around you can’t be underestimated. When I first started out, I knew nothing. I tried to absorb and learn from people who had experience, and I still consider it one of life’s greatest lessons. As far as my peers, I’m not going to judge their mistakes. I’m too busy running my business to worry about them!”
“I wake up early and have coffee, first thing. I make it fresh every day in my Pasquini Livia machine. I chat with my mother (she lives with me) and catch up on my emails and Instagram feeds, responding to as many comments as I can. I read WWD to check in on all the beauty and fashion news. Then I choose my outfit—a task that I love—and prepare for events of the day.
“In the evenings, I like to experiment with all my different products and pamper myself a bit. Then I check my email and Instagram accounts before heading off to bed.
“I love my work, and it is very much integrated into my overall life, but my morning and evening rituals are relaxed—anchors that naturally contribute to productivity.”
“My schoolteachers in Romania always had great advice that stuck with me, even years later. My math teacher maintained that if you weren’t naturally good at something, hours of practice could change that—she made me solve 400 problems every weekend to prove it! My literature teacher advised me to strive for perfection in everything. At the time, I hated all that work, but I’m grateful now to have had such demanding mentors. I still use everything they taught me.”
“The company is growing quickly, and it’s a very exciting time—our full color line is expanding into 800 doors this year! I also have many personal appearances planned in the coming months, which is wonderful for me because I get to meet my clients in far-flung locations, which is still a favorite part of my job. And personally, I’m in mid-construction on a new home, which is a source of pure excitement!”