Makeup Is The New Power Suit — & These Women Are Proof

Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
When Marianna Hewitt flew to San Francisco to pitch Sephora on her skin-care brand Summer Fridays and its first product, the Jet Lag Mask, she felt the uncertainty and jitters that come with any major life-changing career move. She had the beauty background and social media savvy, but there was one more thing that helped her walk into that meeting room feeling especially calm, cool, and collected. "When my makeup and skin look good, I feel confident," she tells Refinery29.
Hewitt's story is far from unusual: Like a power suit, the right slick of lipstick or eyeliner can give you the extra push you need to channel your confidence, conquer an interview, and make a lasting first impression. We spoke to eight influential women about the makeup they wore (or didn't wear) when they landed their dream jobs — from a newsroom anchor to a tech titan. They share their best advice and product picks, ahead.
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Ana Cabrera, CNN Newsroom Anchor

The Emmy award-winning journalist and television news anchor started her career at local stations in Washington. After her thoughtful and in-depth reporting on major stories, like the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the network promoted her to weekend primetime anchor in New York.

On air nine hours a day, the anchor covers breaking news stories, which have included Hurricane Maria and the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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"The day I got the job I was wearing black mascara to feel feminine and confident," says Cabrera. "My eyes are a facial feature I want to highlight; [they're] crucial to connect face to face and through the camera."
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"This has been my go-to lip product since college. It has a subtle hint of color, it’s versatile, and it stays on through multiple cups of coffee."
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Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
Amber Grimes, Artist & Label Marketing at Spotify

This young creative didn't know what her future had in store for her when she dropped out of college, but with determination and hustle, Grimes went on to become an executive assistant for the former VP of Def Jam Records. Later, she landed a job at Spotify as Senior Manager and now she handles Artist & Label Marketing for the digital music service.

When interviewing with Spotify, she didn't stray from her usual glam look. "Unapologetically me, that's who I planned to be in my interview and on the job," she says.
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"This is a foundation that actually fits me and doesn't make me lighter or gray," says Grimes. "Black Opal amplifies my rich dark-chocolate complexion [and] red undertone, so I always look like me."
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"If all else failed, I was just going to kill them with my smile," says Grimes, who chose this berry blush to emphasize her cheekbones.
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Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Marianna Hewitt, Cofounder of Summer Fridays

When Marianna Hewitt was working her day job as a TV host, interviewing celebs like Kim Kardashian and Megan Fox, she was also posting how-tos of her looks to her personal YouTube channel. That side-hustle turned into a full-on career, with almost one million people following the blogger on Instagram for her tips and recommendations.

This year, Hewitt tapped into that massive fan base to launch Summer Fridays with co-founder Lauren Gores. She pitched the skin-care line to Sephora execs who, realizing they were sitting on a goldmine, upped the initial production by six times what Hewitt initially intended. It was a smart choice, considering her Jet Lag mask sold out in two weeks, and earned accolades from Jessica Alba, Kim Kardashian, and Jen Atkin.
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"My go-to mascara — it looks almost as good as a pair of fake lashes," says Hewitt. "I was crying after we left [the Sephora meeting] and my mascara held up after the good news!"
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"I wore Armani Beauty luminous silk foundation because it makes my skin look perfect without feeling cakey or heavy or like I was wearing too much makeup," says Hewitt.
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Genevieve Lee Aronson, Vice President of Communications at Nielsen

From account supervisor to director at Alison Brod Marketing + Communications, Lee Aronson built up her skill set in strategic partnerships while also launching the firm's first multicultural division, leading its Hispanic and Asian communications strategies. She took that experience to the leading global information & measurement company, Nielsen. There, she measures retail and consumer packaged goods across various categories including food, health, and beauty.
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"Now, I know a lot of people say a bold red lipstick is an interview must, but I lean more toward a subtle red tint," says Aronson. "It gives me the pop of energizing red without being too overpowering, allowing my words to shine more than just my lip color."
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"Don’t underestimate the power of a mascara. It instantly awakens your eyes and makes you look and feel more polished and finished," she says.
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Sarah Sheldon, Director of eCommerce at Rebecca Minkoff

Making her mark in the world of fashion, Sheldon has worked her way up through companies like Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., and now, Rebecca Minkoff. Under her role at RM, she was placed on the 2018 Women2Watch list, recognizing her as one of the "pioneers and thinkers who are solving different business challenges in retail and finance."
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"For an interview, I don't want to distract with my makeup," says Sheldon. "It's the less-is- more effect. I use these bright, neutral shades to add a highlight under the brow or dab on the corner of my eye."
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"I pick products that will help me feel fresh and confident. To this day, there is no better mascara formula for me," she says.
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Annie Chen, Director of Marketing at Mass Appeal

The fact that hip-hop is a male-dominated industry didn't stop Chen from pushing her way to the top. The marketing guru worked under Snoop Dogg's Cashmere Agency before becoming director at Mass Appeal media group. Now she works with artists like Nas, N.O.R.E., and Dave East.
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"I used it to even out my skin tone; It made me confident knowing that I went into the room with my best face forward," she says.
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"When I get anxious or excited, I sweat," says Chen. "So, to prevent my face from looking shiny, I used translucent setting powder to keep my face matte."
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"For me, a simple eyeliner helps me look energized and ready to tackle the day," says Chen.
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Lili Gil Valletta, Cofounder and CEO of CulturIntel

When Latina entrepreneurs were invited to the White House to discuss minority business issues in April, Valletta was among them. The Colombian immigrant flew to NY with a suitcase, a student visa, and a pocket translator, and quickly climbed the ranks of corporate communication. She became the Director of Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson before leaving to start her own consulting firm.
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"It's the perfect shade and easy to have in your pocket to touch up fast. You want them to pay attention to your brain, not your red lipstick," says Valletta.
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"I wore a soft smoky eye in brown and terracotta tones," says Valletta. "Makeup should enhance your features, making you look fresh and confident."
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Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images.
Dawoon Kang, Cofounder of Coffee Meets Bagel

Kang was working in Hong Kong as an investor at J.P. Morgan when she decided to take an entrepenurial risk with her two sisters and create the online matchmaking service Coffee Meets Bagel. Since its launch in 2012, Kang and her sisters have turned down a $30 million offer on the popular CNBC investor-reality show Shark Tank and raised nearly $20 million on their own, as reported by Business Insider.

When taking their business to their first investor, Kang opted to stay true to herself and go au naturale. "The day we pitched to our investor, I actually wasn't wearing any makeup," she says. "That made me feel natural and like myself."
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