Beauty Boss: Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey’s Journey to Violet Grey

In our new series, Beauty Boss, we’re highlighting individuals who are owning the beauty space and turning it upside down in new, innovative ways. You’ll be able to get an exclusive look at their very personal journeys to success, as well as hear their advice to anyone wanting to follow in their footsteps.

If you’re ever lucky enough to be at the same beauty event as Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, you’ll notice her star power instantly. She effectively glides across the room, connecting people with grace and ease like the consummate hostess—someone who can confidently introduce person A to B, then recede to the sideline as they fall in love or work or both.

We had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the very private Violet Grey founder in person, at the brick-and-mortar beauty boutique of the same name on Melrose Place, where she seemed completely in her element. If Violet Grey weren’t a stunning three-room parlor that’s part curated shop (lush products from Tom Ford, Bobbi Brown, and Dior line the walls), part application outpost (in an Old Hollywood glam–style room with a big table and mirrors, makeup artists come for exclusive launches and application demos), you would think Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey lived at Violet Grey. Like some kind of fairy princess with a pixie cut (Tinker Bell meets Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s—with all their magnetic, alluring qualities and none of the childlike innocence) who goes to bed nestled among glass-encased shelves of lipstick and wakes up to run a business like a boss.

But more than commerce, the creative component of Violet Grey (known as The Violet Files) has proven itself to be an exciting player in the editorial realm, with imaginative, boundary-breaking spreads featuring actresses like January Jones, Emily Blunt, Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the imagery and beauty of which stick with you for days. In short, Violet Grey is beauty art, with Grey at the artistic helm. Naturally, we couldn’t wait to pick the fascinating founder’s brain, and she did not disappoint. Keep scrolling for career tips, life lessons, and beauty insight from one of the most interesting players in the game today.