Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor How to Get into Beauty with Estee Lauder!

Monday night was one of those life-changing times when you have an epiphany and just KNOW what you want to do for the rest of your life. If that's not inspiring enough then I don't know what is! The How to Get into Beauty with Estee Lauder evening was a cut above the rest... The previous two Inspire and Mentor sessions I've been to with Marie Claire featured skin-care company founder, Liz Earle, and one half of the power siblings which dreamt up Premier Model Management, Carole White, both of whom I found incredibly inspirational, and yet neither of those seminars compared to this.

Marie Claire's Inspire and Mentor campaign basically encourages women up and down the country to get involved in their dream careers, from publishing and fashion to business and (in this case) beauty. A collection of seminars, lectures, networking opportunities, one-on-one mentoring sessions and frequent updates at have made the campaign a success so far with hundreds of women chasing after their career dreams and testifying that they have Marie Claire to thank for it. I really hope and expect that one day I will be one of them!

As a subscriber to Marie Claire's email newsletter, I received an email about two weeks ago, telling me that I could attend the Estee Lauder Inspire and Mentor session in Manchester for just £10 rather than the usual £35... Knowing how great these seminars have been in the past, I leapt at the opportunity, especially because I obviously have a massive interest in all things beauty. After roping my dad into accompanying me on my first motorway-drive to Manchester, I found myself sitting with a glass of sparkling rose wine in hand in the plush reception of Malmaison hotel at 6.30pm.

I got chatting to a couple of lovely girls including a fellow blogger Jessica Louise (who's blog can be found at as I nibbled at (ie. scarfed down) some of the yummy little smoked salmon and goats cheese canapes and made sure that my lipstick was still intact.

I decided to wear a little pink, black, tan and lavender watercolor-print skirt, (all items can be seen in my Fall Haul video at with the maroon colored sweater, gothic cross necklace, tan brogue heels and camel blazer from Forever 21 and as it was a little chilly out I also threw on my granite-like tights from Delia's. I'd curled my hair then raked my fingers through it for that 70's look and kept my make-up relatively simple with a neutral eye, rosy cheeks and wine-colored matte lips, courtesy of MAC Cosmetics... I felt super-comfy in my outfit yet also felt like I looked good; RESULT!

Anyways enough about that. Once the seminar started we noted the panel of super-chic, beauty royalty... Lisa Oxenham Beauty Director of Marie Claire, Anna Rozelaar Communications Manager for Estee Lauder and Alan Pan Global Make-Up Artist for Estee Lauder. Of course they all had perfect complexions and generally looks super healthy and happy to be there!

Lisa 'I-Want-Her-Job' Oxenham (as I so fondly refer to her) inspired me with her story of how she went from a History of Art student at Manchester University to the most influential beauty guru at one of the top magazines in the country. Initially wishing to become a fashion stylist, work experience at Cosmopolitan and More magazine (amongst others) fueled her interest in journalism, a passion which she initially pursued by working in the Beauty PR industry, writing and styling the odd photo shoot. Now, having worked her way up through More magazine, transferring to InStyle as Beauty Editor then transferring again to her present role, Lisa Oxenham has spent the past four-and-a-half to five years working for Marie Claire and seems to really love her job. Hence the 'I-Want-Her-Job' part :)

With a CV like that, it can't be argued that if there is ever going to be someone to trust regarding this season's beauty trends, it's her! That's why when she told the group about how Full-Bodied Lips (a trend I was already rocking during the seminar... 1 'Cool Point' for gabriellasofia :)), Chrome-Themed Eye Colors, 'Liner Love', Hair Buns, Red Nails and Hair Braids are going to be in for Autumn, I jotted all her tips down! Currently having a bit of a disaster with my camera, but once it's fixed I'll be posting pictures of me working these very same trends, so be sure to check back!

Of course Anna and Alan were very interesting too. Alan in fact was hilariously funny and is obviously very talented at what he does; the models one whom he demonstrated two different smoky eye looks (one natural, one drama for 'boogie nights'... his words, not mine!) looked absolutely beautiful. As for Anna, during these mini-tutorials she told us all about the products Alan was using, describing them in so much detail and with such passion that I now know that I absolutely NEED to try Estee Lauder! When someone refers to a lipstick as something 'Like a chocolate truffle, the outside gives you what you want in color whilst the inside gives you that added moisturizing luxury...' I really stood no chance... Pure Color Sensuous Rouge by Estee Lauder is officially on my Christmas list. Yes, I still write Santa a list. If you don't ask you don't get, right?

After the seminar there was an opportunity to ask questions, but I think everyone found the session so informative that the questions were very basic and there weren't many. And yet once it was all over, each of the speakers was surrounded by a gaggle of girls wanting more... Of course I was one of those girls, but rather than jumping straight into line with the others, I took a moment to write a little note with my details down for Lisa... At the beginning of the seminar she advised anyone interested in Beauty to have cut-outs, clippings, swatches, photographs etc of anything that inspires us to be creative with beauty. The fact that I've been doing that since I was a little girl is neither here nor there, because the nub of the story hinges on her following statement, 'I've still got all of my cut-outs although they really need organizing...' BOOM. Once I'd finished writing down my digits, email address and the title of this blog (Hello Lisa if you're reading :)) I approached her, introduced myself and told her that I would like to organize them for her if she'll let me. Lisa was as lovely in person as she had appeared during her presentation and asked me some questions about myself, my course and my plans for the future.

I explained as simply as I could with all my nerves sending my hearty a-flutter, that I want to be a Beauty Writer because I find a million things to say about every beauty product I use. I feel like I can find a story in every mascara, a culture in shampoo, a history in a vitamin supplement... I know I don't know everything about beauty, but that's what excites me, the fact that the industry is rapidly changing with new science constantly inspiring fresh ideas. All of which culminate in that sexy feeling which millions of women across the world experience when they step out wearing a new truffle-like lipstick (thanks again Anna Rozelaar!)
Anyways, the result of all that? Lisa urged me to keep contact with her which sounds like a good sign :) I am going to forward her a copy of my CV soon and hopefully get some work experience with her at Marie Claire... watch this space and wish me luck, Readers!

The whole point of this blog is for me to share with you the extra sparkle that I had in my smile after the Inspire and Mentor seminar. The panel really pumped me up, educated me on a topic which I adore, and made me realize once and for all that beauty really is for me! Beauty is for everyone. If you don't believe me, just refer back to the one theory which upon the humble beginnings of her company in 1946 inspired Estee Lauder herself; that every woman can be beautiful.

Thanks again Marie Claire, Lisa, Anna and Alan for a fantastic evening. I recommend Marie Claire's Inspire and Mentor seminars to everyone! So what are you waiting for?

gabriellasofia x


  1. What a fab overview! I went to the event last night in London, and I would say, even though you went to a different one, you summed it up nicely. It was a good event, and I felt - like you said - pumped up after leaving because it was so insightful.

    It was money worth spent and I would go again. And like she said, one of the things that sets you out against other interns is if you have a blog - so I think we are one step closer!

  2. Haha thanks Safira! I'm glad you enjoyed the blog and had a great time with the Marie Claire team too :) x