Boss Babes: Myiesha Sewell, Sephora Beauty Director

As a company created by two women, we know how important it is to celebrate women who are trailblazers in their respective fields. That’s why we’ve started our Boss Babes series. Each month we’ll highlight one woman who’s leading the way and is absolutely crushing it, in business and in life. Here, they’ll answer questions on everything from how they started out and advice they think every woman should know, plus their beauty routines and how they take care of themselves. This month: Myiesha Sewell, Beauty Director at Sephora.

For Myiesha Sewell, what started out as a seasonal gig as a cashier blossomed into the the job of a lifetime as a Beauty Director at Sephora. Along with a few other talented makeup pros, she’s the brilliant mind coming up with the looks in Sephora’s beauty ads and identifying the coolest trends and products. It took a lot of hard work, perseverance, and oodles of talent to get her dream gig — not to mention learning how to be a boss when you’re more of the soft-spoken type. 

We sat down with Myiesha to learn how she stays on top of beauty trends, how she makes sure her voice is heard in a room full of big personalities, how she aced her interview by creating a smoky eye with nothing but a cotton swab and some pink lipstick(!), and, of course, her best beauty advice.

How did you get started at Sephora?

Growing up, I didn’t think beauty could be a career — it seemed too good to be true to get paid to do something so thrilling! As soon as I figured out that it was possible, I told myself, “Ok, it’s either this or accounting.”  I was very tempted to choose the latter for its perceived stability but ended up following what was my true passion: beauty.

I started working at Sephora 13 years ago as a seasonal cashier and was determined to stick around long enough to get to the beauty studio. Eventually, I became a Beauty Advisor, but soon realized that I wanted more responsibility and creative freedom. I had heard about the Sephora PRO Artistry team auditions and had no idea what the job entailed, but knew I had to try. Fast forward through a pretty crazy audition process (I had to do a smoky eye with nothing but Q-Tips and pink lipstick!) and I ended up landing the job. I was immediately surrounded by all of these amazing artists that I had so much to learn from. I had the opportunity to travel the world, meet with people I idolize, and learn new tips & tricks along the way. It was a great experience and I grew so much in the process.

From there, I became a Sephora Beauty Director, which was a role created to accommodate the rise of social media and the new ways people like to learn about beauty, along with David Razzano and Jeffrey English. With our combined experience, the three of us have become a tight-knit family of beauty geniuses! As a Beauty Director, I get to hang out with my friends and talk niacinamide and yellow blush on YouTube – it’s awesome.

What were some of the challenges you face as a female leader? 

I’m pretty soft-spoken and I can easily get talked over in group situations. Unfortunately, sometimes the loudest idea gets the most traction, even if it’s not necessarily the best. Important meetings or certain professional settings can be stressful for me, but I don’t let embarrassment or ego keep me from repeating myself – I’ll always restate my idea or adapt to the situation to make sure I’m heard.

Are there any particular instances that stand out as a defining moment for you personally/professionally?

 I had “Keying a show at Fashion Week” on my vision board for a really long time. I was always in the assistant role and that was amazing, but I really wanted a chance to take charge and put myself outside of my comfort zone. That moment finally came at the Fenty x Puma Spring ’17 show. I’ve always been obsessed with the Rococo aesthetic and Rihanna is life, so it was a dream come true. When we were in Paris designing the look, I suggested holographic draped blush to Rih and, long story short…she loved it.

I also have a fuchsia eyeshadow named after me, and that’s pretty epic.

photo via @myieshamua/Instagram

What is your biggest professional passion?

I’m really passionate about financial literacy and normalizing money talk. I think people assume that you have to have lots of money to be good at managing it, but that’s not true. I have a 780 credit score, zero debt, and my six month emergency fund is ready and waiting for me should I need it. I’ve also been working to save half of my income this year in preparation to buy my first home. My next goal is to get more comfortable with investing.

Why do you think it’s important for more women to start their own business, or to lead companies?

Women have such unique stories and perspectives and the world needs to hear them.  I think oftentimes women think they need to find an incredibly unique space to occupy when creating something, but I believe the uniqueness will come once you start creating.  Nowadays consumers are way more into resonating with unique brand stories and supporting people they believe in.

I think oftentimes women think they need to find an incredibly unique space to occupy when creating something, but I believe the uniqueness will come once you start creating.

Myiesha Sewell

What do you do to unwind?

I love cooking and getting lost in a really complicated recipe. Homemade butter and grinding my own spices makes me feel so self-sufficient and extra. Next on my list is making my own bao. 

Also, no relaxing weekend is complete without smothering my dog. I’m obsessed — it’s borderline weird.

photo via @myieshamua/Instagram

What are your best beauty secrets?

Everyone can benefit from hyaluronic acid – it’s plumping, hydrating and naturally occurring in the skin so it works for all skin types. Oftentimes, fine lines and wrinkles are just a result of thirsty skin, and hyaluronic acid is like a topical drink of water. Also, applying skin, hair, and body products while wet allows for better absorption and you won’t need to use as much product.

What are your goals for 2020, both personally and professionally?

In 2020, I want to be less modest. I tend to take my expertise for granted and not bring up the cool things I’ve done because I feel like it would be showing off. I find that so many women minimize themselves or compromise way too much when their internal dialogue is telling them to take charge.  It’s completely acceptable to stand firm in your area of expertise and I want that for everyone.

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