Estheticians, makeup artists, beauty publicists: These are beauty industry jobs most of us have heard of. But beauty is a $445 billion a year business, a complex web of interests and disciplines, so just like you may not realize that there are people in the movie industry whose entire job is to color-correct film scenes or people in science who earn a living making food for lab rats, we've always figured there had to be under-the-radar beauty careers that even we Byrdie editors don't know exist.
But recently, we found some proof. It happened a few weeks ago when an email crossed my inbox with the subject line "My Weird Beauty Job." Enter Cynthia Rowland, CEO of beauty and skincare company Rejenuve, Inc., who introduced herself to me as a "facial fitness expert" and the founder of Facial Magic, a "facial exercise system" dedicated to training people in face muscle workouts that make them look younger and more symmetrical from the neck up. The second I read this, I knew we had to profile Rowland for Byrdie. After all, facialists we've heard of, personal fitness trainers we've heard of, but someone who makes a living combining the two? To say the least, we were intrigued.
Want to learn about what might be the most bizarre beauty job ever? Keep scrolling to read our interview with a woman who trains people to make funny faces in the name of younger-looking skin.
How would you describe your job as a facial fitness trainer?
I train people to give their face and neck a workout to sculpt a toned, lifted, younger-looking, more symmetrical face naturally. As a certified facial fitness expert, I train groups, private individuals, and other fitness experts to perform effective resistance exercises for the 55 muscles of the face and neck.
How did you wind up in that industry?
My story begins more than two decades ago when I was happily working in the lucrative oil business. One day I looked in the mirror and saw a droopy left eyelid sagging onto my eyelashes. What? I was only 40 years old and now I was considering plastic surgery!
After talking with women who had experienced eyelid surgery, I knew it wasn’t for me because it was expensive, painful, invasive, risky, and there were no guarantees. Also, I just couldn't see myself giving a surgeon thousands of dollars when my sons needed sports equipment, shoes, jeans, books, and more.
Instead, a friend suggested that I try facial exercises at a clinic in Colorado run by this wonderful white-haired, 78-year-old French woman named Marcelle. Skeptical, I accepted and changed my life forever. Not only did I fix my eyelid, but I also got rid of a neck wattle that I didn't even realize I'd had. That led me to take the bold step of leaving the oil business behind to immerse myself in this magical world of facial exercise.
Initially, I was a volunteer at the Denver clinic, sitting in on consultations and offering my face for demonstrations. I became a sponge, learning everything I could about muscles, how they work, and, most importantly, how they could reposition to lift the skin.
Marcelle sold me her company about a year after we met when her husband was diagnosed with a debilitating health challenge. I rebranded the program as Facial Magic and moved to Los Angeles because I knew it was most likely the best place to shoot beauty videos, gain distribution, and secure manufacturing.
I actually introduced Facial Magic on a shopping channel based in Minneapolis. Women wanted this product! We then took it to HSN and created an infomercial that ran in the U.S. and 27 other countries in seven different languages.
I began to receive invitations for speaking engagements, personal appearances, and TV segments. My involvement continues to evolve. We’ve gone from a simple video with a pair of exercise gloves to DVD packages, CDs, and a full complement of botanical and natural skincare items. We offer on-demand programs and weekly training sessions where I execute all 18 exercises with women and men following along.
What exactly are the benefits of facial fitness exercises?
First off: Real beauty begins inside, and that includes tiny muscles that are hidden by skin. Those tiny muscles begin to slacken in your 20s, so by the age of 30, there is only one direction for those muscles to go and that’s south. This downward slide creates the rectangular, asymmetrical face. Women flock to estheticians and plastic surgeons hoping that their facials, injections, fillers, and cutting will stop the aging in their faces. This can be an expensive, painful endeavor with an uncertain, sometimes disastrous outcome.
What makes us unique in the beauty space is that our all-natural facial exercise program is the original—based on a 100-year-old French method of proven resistance exercises that actually work, not fad junk science. Facial Magic changes the whole face and neck because the exercises go much deeper than a mere facial, but with no pain, and they’re much safer than injections and surgery. The uniqueness of Facial Magic helps women freeze their youthful faces or transform them to look five, 10, even 15 years younger in just nine to 12 weeks. Men who do Facial Magic exercises look chiseled and boyish. Unlike most procedures, we guarantee our work.
Can you walk me through an average day in your professional life?
My job is most rewarding. Most days are easy simply because I enjoy every aspect of helping women and men freeze time or even reverse the look of aging with Facial Magic facial exercise. Thankfully, I have the most proficient staff that handles the day-to-day operation of Facial Magic. I left Los Angeles to be near my family in Oklahoma on a small farm miles from the nearest city. Now, my main focus is to communicate with customers via email and social media, and I shoot a video training episode once a week. Otherwise, I volunteer on certain days, work out when I can, drink coffee, read news online, work crossword puzzles, and cook. Facial Magic basically sells itself.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.