BeautyView: Sabrina F. B. Hougaard, Director Spa Operations, Serena Spa & Managing Director, Serena Vocational Training Institute

I met Sabrina at a Global Spa Summit a couple of years ago. I immediately felt a bond with her, I was fascinated by her aura and energy, so calm, so at peace, so very zen. I thought – how does she do it and can she teach me her secrets?! We only see each other once or twice a year maximum, either at Global Spa Summit, or at the International Spa Association Conference – at both, if I am lucky. I loved her answers to my questions below, and indeed did learn a few of her secrets… my favorite of course being that she sometimes enjoys a glass of champagne in the middle of the day. Maybe we will share one at ISPA later this fall…

AP: What city were you born in? SFBH: I was born In Udupi, a village about 50 km north of where I live now. Although a village then, it is home to a famous Lord Krishna temple and  is a famous pilgrimage destination.

AP: What city to do you live in? SFBH: I live in Mangalore, a typical south-Indian coastal city, about 350 km straight west of the more famous Bangalore (IT city). Mangalore has grown very fast over the past decade and is famous for fishing, education and some of the best hospitals in India. With about a million people, the city still maintains its village feel.

AP: What is your middle name? SFBH: Flora, Named after my paternal Grandma.

AP: What is your astrological sign? SFBH: I am a cusp of Leo and Virgo. What can one called this?

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? SFBH: I find this industry a great gateway to connect to many people – not just for the beauty elements, but for what lies beyond. It is very true that beauty is not only skin-deep and most of the reasons for lack of beauty is interconnected with body, mind and soul. When reaching a balance, beauty comes naturally and although our industry focus is on the top layer of beauty, there are many things happening to explore how the underlying factors can be changed in a positive way.

AP: What is your most prized possession? SFBH: Jesper (my husband) and I have been gifted as Indian epic The Ramayana etched on plam leaves.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? SFBH: Most people do not know that I do not own a TV or microwave, and that I never eat precooked food. When I entertain all the food is cooked at home and Indian masala are hand ground by me on stone.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? SFBH: I very seldom wear a watch.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? SFBH: I prefer diamonds, especially antique uncut diamonds set in traditional Indian jewelry.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? SFBH: My parents and my husband.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? SFBH: The blessings of my parents, the support from my husband and boss (same guy!), the encouragement of my colleagues and the appreciation of my friends. On the practical side, we never discuss work at home unless unavoidable and we very rarely go to work on Sundays. Both Jesper and I keep alternative interests so we don’t always spend time working, but put our brains to use in other fields. Also, the joy of being with my nephews  and friends.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? SFBH: 1. Travel light. 2. Eat local food wherever you go. 3. Try not to always stay in 5-star hotels of international chains.

AP: What is your favorite book? SFBH: Loving living and Learning by Leo F  Buscalgia.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? SFBH: At sun down, it can be a Whiskey Sour, in the middle of the day, when it is so hot, a Gin and Tonic. And I do I love champagne anytime of the day.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? SFBH: I am sure I am not authorized to answer this question! All I use is green gram powder and coffee. I did once enjoy one of your Alchimie face creams! And a  massage from my  Prince Perfect.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? SFBH: A variety, I like the note to complement my energy of the day.

AP: Botox or not? SFBH: Not. Actually, surely never, I like to age gracefully. Signs of age are  very comforting to those who stand before you.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? SFBH: Forever natural. My salt and pepper has taken me a long way…

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. SFBH: Difficult question, I am a  romantic  and need my music to play  a happy note. I must admit a song which constantly offers courage is, “Let it be.”

AP: Quote to live by. SFBH: “God helps those who help themselves.”

AP: Who is your mentor? SFBH: Clement D’souza and MM Alex.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. SFBH: You must do that which you like, find your strength and work on that. When you strengthen your strength you have nullified your weakness.

BeautyView: Cordelia Guajardo, Managing Partner, Hela Spa Mexico

It is thanks to Cordelia Guajardo, Managing Partner of Hela Spa Mexico, that I am little by little discovering Mexico City, a dynamic, busy, active city that right now is gorgeously gray and green (it’s the rainy season). It is thanks to her also that I am learning my spa words in Spanish… Her spa, Hela Spa Mexico, in the Intercontinental Hotel in Polanco, is my first client in Mexico, and the only spa in Mexico City that carries Alchimie Forever. I find this somewhat ironic, given that Hela Spa in Georgetown was one of my very first partners in DC when I launched Alchimie Forever in 2004… I love that symmetry!

AP: What city were you born in? CG: I was born in Monterrey, in the North of Mexico, just south of Texas.

AP: What city to do you live in? CG: I live in Mexico City, Mexico.

AP: What is your middle name? CG: I have none. Cordelia is enough!

AP: What is your astrological sign? CG: Libra, October 11, my birthday is coming up soon, it’s a big one, so I’m throwing a big party!

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? CG: I love getting facials and massages as “research,” and learning about and trying all of the product lines.

AP: Least favorite thing? CG: The financial part of owning a spa . I hate the accounting and financial analysis part of my job!

AP: What is your most prized possession? CG: Do I have one? Yes! My contract with the Intercontinental Hotel Polanco, which enabled me to open my spa! It took me a year and a half to get it… I have never worked so hard for anything in my life!

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? CG: I sleep with a blanket that I have had since I was born… and I always travel with it.

AP: Do you wear a watch? CG: No, never ever. I don’t want to be stressed about the time.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? CG: Diamonds, but I can only afford pearls… right now anyway!

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? CG: Bono. He is the coolest guy ever!

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? CG: I love the beauty industry and love owning a spa. Even though I work all the time, since I love what I do it doesn’t feel like work (except the accounting part!).

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? CG: 1. Always travel with a change of clothes in your carry on, in case the airline loses your luggage. 2. Wherever I go, I check out Tripadvisor first. 3. I never wear makeup when I travel, I feel my skin looks worse when I do.

AP: What is your favorite book? CG: La Fiesta del Chivo by Mario Vargas Llosa.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? CG: Tequila and diet coke. Or margaritas. I am a tequila fan. I like Jose Cuervo Traditional the best!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? CG: I have a facial ever month. Religiously, no matter what else is going on in my life.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? CG: Jo Malone, Vetyver.

AP: Botox or not? CG: Not. Not yet…

AP: Hair color: natural or not? CG: I have been getting blond highlights for the last 10 years. I love Jacques Dessange’s colorist Armando. He is the best.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. CG: “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye. “What’s my name?” by Rhinanna. And my all-time favorite, “Sleeping with a broken heart” by Alicia Keys.

AP: Quote to live by. CG: “You can only be young once, but you can be young at heart indefinitely.”

AP: Who is your mentor? CG: I don´t have one. Maybe I need one…

AP:
Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. CG: Do what you love. The world needs people doing things that they are passionate about. If you love what you do, you will succeed.

BeautyView: Diana Mestre, Owner & Director, Mestre & Mestre Spa Consulting

Even before meeting Diana, I admired her. Not only had we been introduced by email by a close common friend and spa industry expert, but I knew she worked with her daughter. And I love any mother that works with her daughter! Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Diana more closely. She is a spa industry leader in Mexico (where you can now find Alchimie Forever!), responsible for the design and creation of many of the country’s top resort spas. Her projects are imbued with her conviction that the beauty of our industry is to integrate body, mind and spirit for a healthier, more fulfilled life. Indeed, daily meditation is her secret to work.life balance. I should perhaps try that…

AP: What city to do you live in? DM: Mexico City, Mexico.

AP: What is your middle name? DM: I don’t have one, it’s just Diana.

AP: What is your astrological sign? DM: Gemini.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? DM: The integration of body, mind & Spirit that reveals the inner beauty.

AP: Least favorite thing? DM: The raw commercial side of the business.

AP: What is your most prized possession? DM: My  family.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? DM: I love horseback riding and I love yoga.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? DM: Yes, always. I wear an old Cartier model.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? DM: My Mom gave me pearls that I never wear!!!

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? DM: Deepak Chopra.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? DM: I meditate every day.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? DM: 1. Pack light. 2. Do research or at least Google the place prior to your trip. 3. Travel with an open mind!

AP: What is your favorite book? DM: Synchronicity by Deepak Chopra.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? DM: A strawberry Margarita!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? DM: Positive thoughts about yourself!!!

AP: What fragrance do you wear? DM: Nile from Hermes.

AP: Botox or not? DM: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? DM: Brown with colored lighter highlights. I have too much gray hair now to go with my natural color, unfortunately!

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. DM: 1. Buddha Bar,  2. Cat Stevens, 3. Tania Libertad.

AP: Quote to live by. DM: “One day at a time, enjoy the present moment!”

AP: Who is your mentor? DM: Sounds cliché but my Mother!!!

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. DM: Whatever you do find passion love and commitment and you will succeed.

BeautyView: Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO and Co-Founder, Bluemercury Inc., Founder, M-61 Anti-aging Skincare

One of my first meetings when I started Alchimie Forever was with Marla Malcolm Beck of Bluemercury. I was fascinated by her, by the fact that there she owned a DC-based beauty company, by the fact that we had a Harvard connection. I had dreams of Bluemercury being the flagship retailer of Alchimie Forever. Today, while Alchimie Forever is still not (not yet?) in her beauty boutiques, we still run into each other at social functions and industry events. And I am still fascinated by her, by her blonde hair (now I know how she gets it), by how she has been able to grow her business and even launch a skin care line, by her tenacity and endurance. Indeed, her favorite quote is a favorite of mine, perhaps a favorite of all entrepreneurs….

AP: What city were you born in? MMB: I was born in Oakland, CA and went to the University of California, Berkeley. I am a California girl at heart – an entrepreneur with the Go West to the Frontier mentality. I don’t believe barriers are walls to anything.

AP: What city to do you live in? MMB: I live in Bethesda, MD with my husband, business partner and best friend, and my three children, age 9, 7, and 5.

AP: What is your middle name? MMB: Malcolm. It’s my maiden name.

AP: What is your astrological sign? MMB: Gemini.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MMB: The number of creative, innovative people there are in the industry.

AP: Least favorite thing? MMB: How marketing driven it is and how sometimes the marketers are so very far removed from the consumers and what is important to them.

AP: What is your most prized possession? MMB: My family.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MMB: I have been a vegetarian since I was 22. I have not eaten a single piece of meat in 20 years. I have been experimenting with eating Raw Vegan. My skin has never looked better and my energy level is off the charts.

AP: Do you wear a watch? MMB: Yes, a solid gold Cartier Tank Francaise in Medium.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? MMB: Both.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? MMB: Ben Franklin. He was an amazing innovator, conversationalist and succeeded at creating something new within everything he touched.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MMB: I give all of my time to work and family. I always have three priorities at work, and I focus on achieving them. Once I achieve one of the priorities, another one gets added. On the other hand, to unwind I do the following: 1) I love cooking. I find it very relaxing and have been really perfecting my vegan cooking and baking; 2) Our whole family bikes together – there is nothing like the wind blowing through your hair on a bike as your whole family surrounds you and chit chats; 3) My husband and I take a walk at 10pm every night and talk through the day and talk about the next day.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MMB: 1. Pack light so that you are extremely mobile. I try to travel in jeans, a nice blouse and a sweater. I bring one day to evening dress, and 1 set of workout clothes and that is it! 2. Pack 3 -4  skincare products that you need, no need to overdo it. I always bring a DIY peel – there is nothing like doing a glycolic peel at night to remove all of the grime and travel residue and bring out glowing skin. 3. Pack a good book. Airplane time is a great time to disconnect, clear your head, and devour something that has nothing to do with what you do.

AP: What is your favorite book? MMB: I love historical fiction and my favorite series of all time is Colleen McCollough’s series on Caesar. The series basically goes through the rise and fall of the Roman Republic. The Romans did so many interesting things right – division of power in government, food provision for the poor, infrastructure building. And so many things wrong – corruption, vanity, murder. It’s better than a soap opera and you learn something about history, also!

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MMB: I am not a drinker at all. I will take a sip of a good wine or champagne, but that is it.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MMB: Glowing skin can be had. I use Vitamin C every night. I use a home glycolic peel 3x per week. I use sunscreen every day. This is the perfect recipe for great skin for most of our clients, also.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? MMB: Acqua di Parma Colonia has been my scent for 13 years. Fresh citrus with a touch of rose bulgara, created in the 1930s – a total classic.

AP: Botox or not? MMB: Not. I have not done anything and have only been to a dermatologist for skin cancer checks. But I am an absolute sunscreen junkie and have dozens of different kinds that I wear for different occasions.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? MMB: I have been going to Kathleen and Kao of Salon AKS (or they have been coming to me in Washington DC!) for over 10 years now. I won’t let anyone touch my hair other than this dynamic duo. They come to Georgetown every six weeks and I cannot live without them. Kathleen knows how to do the perfect blonde. Everyone thinks I am still a natural blonde and I have given her number to countless people.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now.  MMB: Jackson Brown, Stay. The Grateful Dead, They Love Eachother.  Extreme, More than Words.  [I am dating myself!]

AP: Quote to live by. MMB: “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”  Thomas Edison

AP: Who is your mentor? MMB: Leonard Lauder has been an amazing mentor. He is so very supportive of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. He is the best at helping us think 10 years, 20 years out. We need this, because it is so easy to focus on what’s here and now.

AP:
Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MMB: Everything is possible. The hardest part is figuring out what you want. Once you know that, getting there is just a matter of having a plan and flexibility.

BeautyView: Melisse Gelula, Co-Founder, Well+Good

If you haven’t spent hours on Well+Good, you should. It is an endless source of serious, well researched information on all things wellness, ranging from skin care to food to exercise. I have often gotten lost in Melisse’s articles, only to realize 45 minutes had gone by. My favorites columns are the Refrigerator Look Book and the 5 Beauty Obsessions. Of course, I love this site all the more that it is the brainchild of Melisse Gelula (and her business partner Alexia Brue), whom I have known since her days at SpaFinder Magazine. As is often the case, our friendship blossomed over cocktails and debates about the latest ingredient trends and Apartment Therapy

AP: What city were you born in? MG: New York, but we moved to Canada not long after.

AP: What city to do you live in? MG: New York!

AP: What is your middle name? MG: Joy, which I used to hate, but now I love it as a mantra.

AP: What is your astrological sign? MG: Capricorn.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MG: The creativity and innovation, the passion of founders and formulators, the science and the plants—do I have to pick one?

AP: Least favorite thing? MG: The unnecessary chemicals and beauty companies that make women feel insufficient.

AP: What is your most prized possession? MG: I really value the people in my life. Does that count?

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MG: I trained as a psychoanalyst. I think it makes me a really close reader of ingredient labels!

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? MG: No, but I often want one for running.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? MG: Raw gray diamonds!

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? MG: I’m open—you never know where inspiration is going to come from. I also would love to have dinner with the friends I don’t get to see enough.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MG: I am not a poster child for balance at all. But I say “no, thanks” to way more things now, especially if it cuts into the time I could be on a spin bike.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MG: 1. Pack light/you’ll shop. 2. Look at the map of your destination before you go. 3. Ask locals for their favorite places.

AP: What is your favorite book? MG: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MG: Sancerre!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MG: Eating kale, using facial oils, exfoliation, and monthly facials.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? MG: Musc Botanique.

AP: Botox or not? MG: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? MG: Not.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. MG: Mad Con “Beggin,” Kimbra “Settle Down,” and Depeche Mode “Everything Counts.”

AP: Who is your mentor? MG: I take lessons from a lot of people in my life—I assume everyone has something to teach me. And I’ve really come to believe in the power of collaboration, where lots of great minds weigh in and turn a good idea into an astronomically great one. Also, my brilliant business partner, Alexia Brue, floors me with something every single day.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MG: Be invested in your work, and find someone smart who can teach you things.

BeautyView: Ellie Whalen, Founder & CEO, Sprayology

I met Ellie Whalen, technically Eleanor Connell Whalen, Founder and CEO of Sprayology, at a tradeshow a number of years ago. We immediately clicked, in part because are both beauty company entrepreneurs based in the Mid-Atlantic region (we are a small group…). I am a true admirer, of her personally and of her products – her TravelEase spray has been known to show up in my suitcase. And now I have two more reasons to like her – she worked at Swatch (we now also have a Swiss connection), and she freely admits her to reading Fifty Shades of Grey!

AP: What city were you born in? EW: Red Bank, NJ.

AP: What city to do you live in? EW: Rockville, MD.

AP: What is your middle name?  EW: Louise but I use my maiden name now as middle  Connell.

AP: What is your astrological sign? EW: Capricorn.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry?  EW: The majority of the people you meet are  environmentally considerate and upbeat.

AP: Least favorite thing? EW: Although many want to green the world, this attitude is not trusted when it comes to our own bodies in regards to  medicine.

AP: What is your most prized possession? EW: I know they are not a possession, but truly my family. I have been with my husband for 27 years and I have 3 children. If I was running out of my house because of a fire, I would be grabbing my loved ones and documents. If I was forced to pick I would say my wedding ring as it represents my family.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? EW: I never planned on being an entrepreneur. I liked working for well established companies. I was a hard working, loyal employee. But sometimes, you are lead in unexpected directions. Also, on a more personal note, I gave birth 3 times, all three all-natural, no drugs and I even helped deliver my son Joe as my husband was a Navy Pilot and out to sea when he was born.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? EW: No, which is odd. I worked for Swatch for 10 years and I used to wear 3, 4 even 10 at a time.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? EW: Why choose, but diamonds of course.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? EW: If only considering the living, I would say Dr. Oz, I love him!

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? EW: Prayer.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? EW: I travel a lot. Unfortunately, I have to always check my bags because my product is liquid and I am always packing samples. My basic rules are: 1. Try to avoid Monday and Friday when flying, 2. Make a plan and stick to it, 3. Fly Southwest whenever possible.

AP: What is your favorite book? EW: Whatever I am reading currently, Fifty Shades of Grey.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? EW: Kinda boring: I love white wine.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? EW: Sleep, Rejuvenation Plus and vitamins.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? EW: I rarely wear it, but I like Kai and Channel No. 5

AP: Botox or not? EW: No way

AP: Hair color: natural or not? EW: I have been gray since I was 18 years old. I hope to go natural gray someday but right now, I love color!

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. EW: Somebody that I use to know. Alleluia. Anything Adele is singing.

AP: Quote to live by. EW: “We cannot become who we need to be by remaining who we are”. I also love :The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

AP: Who is your mentor? EW: Lou Faust III.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. EW: Passion, focus and persistence partnered with great advisers and a lawyer you trust – those are the keys to success.