I have known Maria for a number of years… She exemplifies what usually happens when I pitch Alchimie Forever to the beauty buyer of one of my target retailers (in this case the CA-based chain Beauty Collection): the sales cycle is long, so we usually go from a cold phonecall (or three), to a few coffee meetings, to cocktails, to being friendly, to being friends. And along the way, we learn about each other, each other’s businesses, our joint passion for the industry, and what we can do to help and support each other.
AP: What city were you born in?
MR: Oxnard, CA.
AP: What city to do you live in?
MR: Chatsworth, CA, right by the mountains. It’s horse country.
AP: What is your middle name?
MR: Anita. I was named after my great grandmother. She used to call me Marianita, “little doll.”
AP: What is your astrological sign?
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know?
MR: That I love to sing. I sing wherever people are not listening. The shower, the car, when I am working at home alone. I guess I really should have been a disco queen!
AP: What is your most prized possession?
MR: My wedding ring. Our 25th anniversary is in a few weeks.
AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be?
MR: My father. He passed away when I was young and I didn’t really get to know him as my parents divorced when I was a toddler. I would love to have the opportunity to get to really know him…
AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum.
MR: Black. Comfortable. Practical.
AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model?
MR: Occasionally, a Movado.
AP: Diamonds or pearls?
MR: Diamonds, of course!
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret?
MR: Nuface. It’s a fantastic tool and has made such a difference in my skin. I use it before a big event (the night before or the morning of). And sometimes I get on a kick and do it daily but it’s hard to maintain the discipline.
AP: What fragrance do you wear?
MR: I wear so many… Juliette has a Gun, Lady with a Vengeance is my current favorite. It’s a rose scent. Everything I have is floral.
AP: Botox or not?
MR: Oh yes. More often than not!
AP: Hair color: natural or not?
MR: Natural. Although that may change this weekend… The grays are coming our around the hairline…
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any?
MR: I don’t have any. I just enjoy eating.
AP: What do you do for exercise?
MR: When I’m really good, the elliptical. When I’m good, hiking. When I’m bad, walking.
AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge?
MR: Flavored coffee creamer, cheese, and salsa.
AP: What is your cocktail of choice?
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance?
MR: Love your work.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average?
MR: Most of the shows I attend I drive to… Maybe 15,000 per year. Some years it’s more…
AP: What are your three top tips for travel?
MR: Have something good to read. Good music. Sleep.
AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now.
MR: I don’t own an iPod. I love Pandora on the TV or on my computer.
AP: What book are you reading right now?
MR: I am in search for one… I just finished I Declare. I usually rotate a personal read, a fun read, and a work read. My next book will be work-related…
AP: Quote to live by.
MR: Love your work. (As said my Mom, who reminded me when I left for college that I would spend the majority of my life working… Don’t worry about the income, worry about loving the work).
AP: What is your worst pet peeve?
MR: Cabinet doors open. I see the at work, in the stores, at home… Really, if you open it, can’t you just close it?
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get?
MR: 6 am, and about 7 hours.
AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry?
MR: The people and the amazing relationships I have developed over the years.
AP: Least favorite thing.
MR: I don’t have a least favorite thing! I love this industry! Maybe the fact that companies rotate through people – the turnover. I guess this is related to my favorite thing… This is the flip side of it.
AP: Who is your mentor?
MR: I have had a few through the years. One that wouldn’t typically be a mentor would be Shawn (CEO) – because he has a vested interest in what I am doing (which a mentor does not usually). But for the last 10 years, he has definitely mentored me. He coaches me to learn and grow. I have always been challenged every time I have felt like I plateaued.
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today.
MR: Have a thirst for knowledge, and always continue to educate yourself. It is not only about going to school and taking a class. It’s about reading, learning new skills, networking, meeting new people, being an active participant in your industry.