Emily Weiss: From Intern on a Reality Show to CEO of a Multimillion Dollar Company

December 19 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Makeup Madness

The other day, I was thinking about my signature look as a teenager: blazin’ blueberry glitter eyeshadow. It was blue. It was glittery. It made my eyelids a tad stiff. To this day, I believe that everyone looks a little better with something sparkly on; heck, even décor looks better. If a Christmas ornament doesn’t have glitter on it, I’m out. It got me wondering…why do I shy away from glittery or shimmery makeup now? Because some beauty expert says it’s hackneyed? Maybe it’s time to get back to who I am and for you to get back to who you are, not who we’re trying to be.


Granted, as I’ve gotten older, my makeup criteria have become a bit more stringent. There’s no doubt whatever was in that glitter roller probably didn’t help my teenage pores. Women are into makeup now more than ever, with 1 in 3 saying they wouldn’t leave the house without it. Let’s get one thing clear: Being a Rouge-level insider at Sephora doesn’t mean you hate the way you look. Trying out new products and perfecting your cat eye can be fun for plenty of bombshells out there.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Emily Weiss, Founder & CEO of Glossier

If my fave glitter go-to existed in 2018, chances are there’d be hella video reviews out there critiquing its unyielding charms. Beauty has become next-level now that social media and the Internet’s connecting us all. If you’ve bought something after seeing it on Instagram, raise your hand. Yep, that’s pretty much everyone. Glossier is one of the brands you’ve probably seen during your scroll, and today’s Woman to Watch, Emily Weiss, is the company’s founder and CEO.

Glossier is a digital beauty company backed by a crazy $87 million in capital. That’s a long way from Emily’s times as a Teen Vogue intern on the popular MTV show The Hills. I’m sure when Emily was a fashion assistant at Conde Nast and later at Vogue, she never knew her biz would be on everyone’s radar. One day, when Emily was on the sidelines of a photo shoot one warm afternoon in Miami, she took note of the model’s effortless tan. Emily procured some self-tanner and later asked Vogue’s beauty director if she could review the product for the mag.

Thus began a love affair with writing about beauty. She started a blog called Into the Gloss and has been dubbed “The Millennials’ Estee Lauder” by New York Magazine. It’s been four years since Emily has turned her blog into the beauty business Glossier. Emily unveiled Glossier with only four products, but now there are dozens and dozens.

The message that so many women are attracted to is one of everyday simplicity: Most women want effortless makeup as they jet off to work or tackle the day with their kiddo. They also like to try new things, so dropping a hundred bucks on a new product is a gamble many aren’t going to take.

Emily has stuck with the mantra that skin is first, makeup is second. Instead of using the latter to cover up the former, get the former right: That means fresh, dewy looking skin thanks to Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser and buildable hydrating crème.

She says that if you want to disrupt an industry or make significant change with a product or service, you have to think about the whole experience; you have to talk to your customer. You have to reimagine something from the ground up rather than taking what’s already been done and tweaking it a smidge. Originality is key, so don’t be afraid to dream big and dream different.


It is no easy feat to build something at ground zero. Take businesswoman Alexandra Chong’s advice, who said:

"Build something you're passionate about. As an entrepreneur, you have to have the passion and drive to stay the course."

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