How Wende Zomnir Made Urban Decay the Edgiest Makeup Brand in the World

In our series Beauty Boss, we’re highlighting individuals who are owning the beauty space and turning it upside down in 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.

The makeup landscape today is a Technicolor wheel of swirling colors and textures. Purple lipsticks, green blush, and glitter everything are all considered the norm (and ideal Instagram fodder)—but that wasn’t always the case. There was a time, way back when, when the makeup world was decidedly more muted, scattered solely with pinks and reds. Dark days indeed. So what spurred this dreary, colorless world into an Oz-like paradigm shift? We can’t say just one thing is solely responsible, but a specific makeup brand certainly comes to mind: Urban Decay.

The brand’s tagline, “Beauty with an edge,” sums up both its aesthetic and its overall mind-set toward makeup. With collaborations with boundary-breaking celebs like Gwen Stefani and Ruby Rose, and break-the-internet products like the Naked Palette and the brand’s soon-to-be-released Vice lipsticks (Will there be a vault where you can buy all 100? Will there?!), Urban Decay embraced the edgy, gritty side of beauty when everyone else was tiptoeing around it. And it’s certainly worked in its favor—the brand is one of the most influential makeup brands online, with over 5.2 million followers on Instagram and counting, and is constantly named as a favorite among beauty editors, consumers, and makeup artists alike.

Every (makeup) ship needs a captain, and Urban Decay’s is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Wende Zomnir. As the creative visionary helming the ever-expanding UD empire, Zomnir is responsible for guiding the brand forward and always making sure it’s one step ahead—oh, and did we mention she’s the one conceptualizing all the kickass new products?

We caught up with Zomnir over the phone to chat about her journey turning Urban Decay into the edgiest makeup brand in the world—keep scrolling to get to know this Beauty Boss!

Were you inspired by Zomnir’s words? Check out the rest of the women in our Beauty Boss series!