OMGZ. It’s the first edition of my new newsletter! My mind is a complete jumble right now because I have so many sips of tea I want to talk about, but some will have to wait. Trust me when I tell you there will never be a shortage of topics in the world of beauty I’ll want to talk about. Let’s hop to it →
lil’ bit of beauty news
So you may or may not of heard that Sunday Riley — a huge skin care brands carried in Sephora, known for a Very Good exfoliating product called Good Genes — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that they were writing fake reviews on Sephora. Via email (EMAIL!), the CEO instructed employees on how to use a VPN to make themselves undetectable, create new Sephora accounts, and writing shining reviews of their products. This happened over a span of two years.
Doreen St. Felix, writer at The New Yorker, made a good point: sunday riley did not have to lie to kick it. That part! It seems SR knew this too. “We have hundred of thousands of reviews across platforms around the globe and it would be physically impossible for us to have posted even a fraction of these reviews,” they said under an @esteelaundry post. However, their actions didn’t reflect it.
I’ve had lunch with the founder of Sunday Riley a la her publicist who wanted her to meet more writers and beauty editors. Her actual name is Sunday Riley. We sat at the Jean Georges restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills. During a time when I am trying to define for myself some guidelines around how I interact with brands as a journalist in such an excessive industry (because there really aren’t any guidelines), I don’t have issues taking open ended meetings with founders when there is no press guarantee attached. This is how I build contacts, pick their brain, learn more about what makes them tick and what they care about. I also look for bits and takes from them on the current state of the industry.
SR has agreed to stop writing fake reviews. Firstly: I’m sorry, but LOL. Secondly: I wonder if this revelation has opened a can of worms. We shall see, but remember this: it’s not solely about what SR did as a company, but how brands all push each other to act this way.
One thing about writing that I will never forget and always understand: the digital world moves so quickly, and people rarely care about a story you put your blood, sweat and tears into for longer than they’re staring at the images of that story on Instagram. What made the profile I wrote on Tracee Ellis Ross so special was that it not only ran in digital, but as the cover of a special wellness supplement in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I pitched that story as something smaller, and it became something bigger. These are the moments I want more of. Not reinvention, exactly, but trusting my instincts to pitch and write stories that you all enjoy. I didn’t even know Tracee had a hair care line until I reached out to her PR.
At the end of the day, readers carry the stories I publish. I will never forget this. Here is a photo I took on my way to interview Tracee in her Black-ish trailer on the ABC lot in Burbank. I knew it’d be the only memory of the day I’d be able to quickly grab before I stepped into her space.
Tag yourself. I’m the knocked down traffic cone.
You can read more of my work here!
Life is good,