A couple of years ago, my mother, Dr. Barbara Polla, had the pleasure of meeting Mathilde Thomas, co-creator of Caudalie, in Paris for an article on women who created beauty brands. I remember feeling a tad envious and wishing I were there to meet the gorgeous Mathilde in person. I have always been fascinated by her, thinking about all of the business questions I wanted to ask her. I only had to wait a year before a beauty conference brought Mathilde and I together. If you don’t know her, you should. She runs Caudalie, a successful beauty brand based on the benefits of grapes (indeed, true to her brand, she loves wine!). She runs the business with her family. She is French in all of the best ways possible. She is kind. And she is humble.
AP: What city were you born in? MT: Grenoble capital of the French alps.
AP: What city to do you live in? MT: New York, NY.
AP: What is your middle name? MT: Julia.
AP: What is your astrological sign? MT: Sagittarius.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MT: I spent 6 years with the French skin team of L’Alpe d’Huez ski resort.
AP: What is your most prized possession? MT: My family and my team.
AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. MT: French.
AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? MT: Yes. A vintage Hermes watch that my mother gave me when I was 18 and graduated with honors.
AP: Diamonds or pearls? MT: Neither. I like jewelry by young creators.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MT: I try to keep it simple: 1. Maintain beautiful and natural skin with my Caudalie skin care. 2. Stay slim and fit at all times. 3. Keep your hair shiny.
AP: What fragrance do you wear? MT: The Des Vignes at night and Zeste de Vigne in the morning. I designed them with the uber-talented Jacques Cavalier and Francis Kurkdjian.
AP: Botox or not? MT: Absolutely not.
AP: Hair color: natural or not? MT: I like the gentle non-drying INOA color.
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? MT: A glass of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte a day.
AP: What do you do for exercise? MT: I run around Central Park, and I run after my three kids all day long.
AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? MT: A bottle of white Smith Haut Lafitte 2010 and home-made yogurt.
AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MT: Red Smith Haut Lafitte 2009.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MT: I aim to spend my time 1/3rd as a lover, 1/3rd as a mother, and 1/3rd as a creator.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? MT: Way too much.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MT: 1. Moisturize your face and body before getting on the plane. 2. Never eat on the plane. 3. Drink plenty of water throughout travel. 4. And one more, change the time on your watch to the time at your destination as you board your flight.
AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. MT: ICU by Lou Doillon, Baby I’m yurs by Breakbot.
AP: What book are you reading right now? MT: I am finishing the Grace Coddington biography.
AP: Quote to live by. MT: “Just do it.”
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? MT: I wake up at 7 am daily, and I try to get eight hours of sleep per night.
AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MT: My love for the industry can be summarized by this Linda Wells quote: “Beauty has started wars and inspired sonnets. It is serious and superficial. Beauty is about a dream of a better self.”
AP: Who is your mentor? MT: My grandmother.
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MT: Focus and keep a balance.