One of the things I like best about my job is meeting amazing people, mostly amazing women, and having them become friends in addition to being work colleagues or partners. Elena Severin, store manager and buyer for NewBeauty at Fred Segal, is a perfect example. What started out as email exchanges and phone calls about Alchimie Forever has blossomed into fun, more personal meetings whenever I make it to LA , and a plan to have cocktails in Vegas during Cosmoprof later this summer!
AP: What city were you born in? ES: I was born in Teaneck, NJ. I left NJ when I was 7.
AP: What city to do you live in? ES: Santa Monica, CA.
AP: What is your middle name? ES: Paulette. It was going to be my first name, but my grandmother was killed three days before I was born. Her name was Elena, so I was named after her instead.
AP: What is your astrological sign? ES: Aries.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? ES: I am quite chatty, so there is not much people don’t know… I probably tell people more than I should.
AP: What is your most prized possession? ES: My family.
AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? ES: Michelle Obama because I love the way that she has retained her identity whilst standing next to the most powerful man in the world, and also how she contributes to the heart of the White House.
AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. ES: Black, comfortable, girlie.
AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? ES: I don’t; I used to, I had 5 watches, all batteries went dead one after the other, and I never got them replaced. I love the look of watches, if I were to wear one it would be a big chunky men’s watch. Now I have become like my son, and I look at my phone all the time. I miss wearing a watch…
AP: Diamonds or pearls? ES: Pearls.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? ES: A healthy lifestyle.
AP: What fragrance do you wear? ES: Memoire Liquide, specifically a new product I am working on that is called The Blend. The recipe changes daily, as it is a collection of 10 fragrance oils, and the wearer can blend the fragrance oils to his or her taste.
AP: Botox or not? ES: 10 years ago I would have said not. At 42, never say never… I still say not, but who knows for how long. [After asking me if I get Botox (I do), she adds “You are a good advertisement for Botox!”]
AP: Hair color: natural or not? ES: Not, too many grays…
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? ES: I try as much as possible to avoid processed food.
AP: What do you do for exercise? ES: I love to walk, run, Santa Monica stairs, and running after my son.
AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? ES: Still water, yogurt, ingredients for Caprese salads.
AP: What is your cocktail of choice? ES: Red wine or a vodka martini, “perfect,” with sweet and dry vermouth.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? ES: If someone has figured this out, please let me know. I do make it a point to have no gadgets at the table, ever, and after I get home from work, nothing comes on until after my son goes to sleep.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? ES: This year, a lot. I go to Boca a couple of times a year, and I travel for buying, including to Elements, Cosmoprof, and other shows.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? ES: 1. Have a beauty bag packed and always ready to go. Buy duplicates of everything that you use on a daily basis. 2. Fly with the least amount of makeup on. 3. Try to wear closed-toed shoes.
AP: What book are you reading right now? ES: World War Z. Trying to get through it…
AP: Quote to live by. ES: Live every day as if it were your last.
AP: What is your worst pet peeve? ES: Tardiness.
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? ES:I wake up by 6:30 am, and ideally I get 7 hours of sleep.
AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? ES: That feeling of finding a true gem that can make a difference in someone’s day by a simple application.
AP: Least favorite thing. ES: I don’t really have a least favorite… I really love this industry!
AP: Who is your mentor? ES: I have two… Steffanie Attenberg with whom I currently work, and Robin Coe-Hutshing, with whom I have worked in the past.
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. ES: Stand by what you say and trust your instincts.