From aesthetician, to brow artist, to building a brand worth billions, Anastasia Beverly Hills founder Anastasia Soares chats with HELLO! impressive journey, disrupting the beauty industry, and attaining monumental global success.
HELLO!: The world is celebrating 25 years of Anastasia Beverly Hills along with you this year. How does it feel?
Anastasia Soares: “It feels incredible. When people use our products, they are essentially inviting us into their homes, their routines, the way they choose to present themselves to the world. It’s a very intimate experience and I’m so proud that ABH gets to be a part of that for so many people.”
H!: You put ‘brows’ on the map—tell us about your journey from aesthetician to brow artist, to building a beauty empire worth billions...
AS: “I immigrated to the United States from Romania in 1989. I always had an interest in beauty, but I got a job as an aesthetician out of necessity. I was an immigrant, and it was work I could do without needing to speak the language. While working, I noticed a glaring gap in the market—no one was paying attention to their eyebrows! I had this stroke of inspiration that maybe the same golden ratio I learned about in art school could be applied to shaping brows, bringing balance and proportion to my clients’ faces. I developed a three-step technique based on the theory and began to offer brows as a unique service. As demand increased, I went from renting a room in a salon to launching my very own flagship salon in 1997. And later, when I realised that products made specifically for brows didn’t exist, I launched the first of its kind product line, which single- handedly carved out a new category in beauty.”
H!: What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to face as a female entrepreneur?
AS: “No one believed that eyebrows would turn into anything major, which was one of the biggest hurdles of my early career. The owner of the original salon I worked at, said no to my suggestion of offering brows as a separate service, which led to me renting a room on my own in another salon. Then the landlord of what would become my flagship thought there was no way I could afford the rent for the space just by doing eyebrows. I had to stay in his office for over two hours to convince him, and then when I opened, there was a line around the block. It was the best I-told-you-so I could imagine.”
H!: Every major celebrity endorses your brand. Can you share some of the close friendships that have developed over the years?
AS: “I’m lucky to have the support of such incredible women—Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, and more. They are not only my clients, but also dear friends.”
H!: Tell us more about your early years...
AS: “I was born in the historic port city of Constanta, Romania. Growing up in a Macedonian family, everything revolved around food. Quality time spent around the dining table are my best memories from childhood, and I grew up immersed in culture. We studied the classics in school, would listen to operas and concertos during music lessons, and would visit the theatre once a week. I first came to know about the concept of the golden ratio from my art professor in Romania, Asciu. We would study highlight and shadow, balance and proportion as related to art and architecture. I also spent a great deal of time in my mother’s atelier. It was while watching her tailoring that I learned how different angles and fits hitting at certain parts of unique bodies could be more flattering. These two innocuous exposures to balance and ratio would change the course of my entire life, directly leading to the launch of Anastasia Beverly Hills. It was during the 1970s and 80s that the Communist regime became untenable, restrictive. Repression was commonplace; it was a struggle to live there. There weren’t many opportunities to get ahead or grow, and that is what ultimately led to my decision to immigrate.”
H!: Managing a mammoth business, how do you balance it with your family life?
AS: “It’s never been easy. When I started, I was a single mother working these incredibly gruelling hours. I felt such guilt that I couldn’t be at home with my daughter as much as I wanted to, that I had to miss activities to build our life and a business. I think the absence was the reason she started to work with me. She would spend her school vacations at the salon. From a young age, she had an inherent talent for the beauty business. She was the one that got us onto the Instagram platform, which was transformative for the brand. She spearheaded our expansion beyond brows into our colour line. She’s now our President and Creative Director, and absolutely brilliant with product development. I’m so proud of who she has become. Working so closely with my daughter has been incredible, and it brings me such joy that she is in love with what she does. It’s our life.”
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s September 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!