Rea Ann Silva created beautyblender almost 20 years ago, when she was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. As a rising make-up artist, she began working on the hit TV show “Girlfriends,” starring Tracee Ellis Ross. “Girlfriends” was one of the first to be shot in high-definition, and Rea Ann was challenged with having to create a flawless finish. Little did she know then that the sponge she started to custom cut to make her job easier would become one of the most iconic and most beloved beauty tools of all time.
I chatted with Rea Ann on Zoom one morning as she helped me get ready for the day. She shared her entrepreneurial story and her focus on innovation in the beauty category, she gave me business AND beauty advice – along with the scoop on some of her favorite products that keep this “Glamma” looking flawless. We also chatted about the new normal in our world right now, the moments she and her husband had as empty nesters for the first time (before the pandemic hit!) and how she continues to run a thriving, global brand and manages to make time for herself and her family amidst COVID-19.
A partial transcript of our chat is below – make sure to watch the video to see her beautyblender pro tips in action!
Lolita Carrico: Hi, everyone, I’m Lolita Carrico the co-founder of All Ageless and I am so excited today to be talking to Rea Ann Silva, who is the founder of beautyblender. She has always been so inspirational not only as an entrepreneur who created an iconic beauty tool that everybody uses, but also her story of how she lives a passionate life with as a mom, wife, grandmother and entrepreneur. So thank you for joining us, Rea Ann!
Rea Ann Silva: Oh, thank you for having me Lolita. It’s great to see you again even though we’re doing this in the same city but through Zoom.
LC: So I know that so I already showed you before, but I have all my lovely Beautyblender favorite products here. And I’m makeup free and wanted to go through one of your amazing tutorials, but first – how are you all doing? I’ve been so loving your videos. Especially the one you did with Jerrod (Blandino of Too Faced) where you were baking!
RS: Where we almost burned my house down? Yeah, you know, that was my first live ever and it couldn’t have been more eventful. I mean, the alarm went off. Girl! But it was good and yeah, all is good. All is good.
LC: Good well, so again as you know we focus on women and men over the age of 45. And your products have transformed my skin. I have been a fan of beautyblender forever. But you recently, you launched a whole slew of other products and ever since you gave me the Beautyblender foundation, I can’t use anything else. So I thought we could do a tutorial but of course, I would love for you to share your story.
RS: Sure. So you know Beautyblender has been now on the market for about 17 years. My background is that I’m a professional makeup artist – I’m local 706, the film and television makeup union – and I was department heading a show called “Girlfriends.” And it was the first show being shot in and broadcast in high definition and so I was you know, tasked with the job of transforming makeup from what used to be kind of heavier into something that looked like someone was not wearing makeup, and look really natural and the end result of many, you know, different challenges and trying to figure that out – was Beautyblender. The reason why Beauty Blender was the tool that I landed on was because I was trying to recreate the look of airbrush makeup on on camera, but using an airbrush machine is totally impractical.
So Beautyblender mimicked what airbrushing did. And it really became popular tool… And when those sponges that we used to hand cut would end up disappearing at the end of the night, I knew that I was going to have to find a way to manufacture them. And I originally thought that I would only manufacture them with other makeup artists in mind, because I didn’t think a consumer would really be interested in this kind of technology. But I was wrong. I was really wrong. And pretty soon I started getting a lot of requests from people who weren’t actors or makeup artists. So on that end of the season, that year, I ended up figuring out how to mass manufacture them, and the rest is kind of history.
And, I think the last count we had was that we sell 17 Beautyblenders a minute.
It’s a lot – it’s definitely more than my wildest dreams. You know, the fact of the matter is, is as a makeup artist, I never really expected myself to do something that was going to be memorable, life changing historic, however you want to position beauty blender, you know, I never thought that I would get the notoriety for creating a sponge, right?
You know if anything with all of my 25 years of experience in film and television, I thought it would have something to do with actual makeup. So a few years ago, when the Beautyblender business finally got to a good rhythm and I had the right team in place and you know, all the stars aligned..I was able to kind of re-envision my dream of launching into the color category. So what you were talking about to me a few minutes ago was the result of all of my efforts and creating the perfect foundation to go with the perfect foundation applicator which is Beautyblender and my foundation is called Bounce.
Watch the rest of our tutorial and chat above!
As co-founder and CMO of All Ageless, Lolita has been on the forefront of publishing and building communities since launching ModernMom.com in 2000.
One of the first major online destinations focused on mothers, ModernMom offered advice, a vibrant community, large events, and local meet-ups. ModernMom pioneered many successful and non-traditional marketing strategies, including influencer networks and subscription boxes, and it was among the first platforms to offer engaging and interactive video content and live streams – nearly 20 years ago! Brand partners included Ford, Procter & Gamble, Estee Lauder, General Mills, Got Milk and many others.
Lolita has been featured on dozens of news programs discussing the balancing act of motherhood and entrepreneurship, and has also been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Business Insider among other leading news outlets, podcasts and blogs.
A single mom, Lolita lives beachside in Los Angeles with her teen sons. She’s perfected the art of crafting delicious keto cocktails (and meals to go with them).