Gabriela Hernandez loves all things beautiful and the second she launched Besame Cosmetics, she fulfilled her dream of creating a makeup line for women, like herself, who lived to feel glamorous. Besame Cosmetics takes the classic old Hollywood approach to beauty and adds a modern touch with new formulations and finishes. As Hernandez continues to forge a new path in the beauty industry for women of color, she's always making sure to pay homage to the past. Our fashionista chats with Hernandez about her favorite icons, beauty tips for the holidays, and how Latinas can make their dreams a reality.
nocheLatina: What inspired you to get into the world of beauty?
Gabriela Hernadez: A desire to make beautiful things and to bring romance to the rituals of makeup.
nocheLatina: What is your first beauty memory?
Gabriela Hernandez: Watching my grandmother and my aunts do their hair and makeup, and wanting to collect the bottles and containers they used.
nocheLatina: Who are some of your beauty icons?
Gabriela Hernandez: I love the classics, like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Dolores Del Rio, Vivian Leigh, Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn.
nocheLatina: Are there specific needs or concerns that Latinas have when it comes to beauty that other women don’t?
Gabriela Hernandez: Matching the skin tone well with foundation that has the right amount of yellow, as well as oliness in parts of the face, adult acne, discoloration, and spots as we age.
nocheLatina: What are you best-selling items?
Gabriela Hernandez: Our Classic Color lipsticks and our Crimson Rouge.
nocheLatina: What are your beauty tips for the holidays?
Gabriela Hernandez: Pick a part of your face to emphasize and concentrate on that, leaving the rest of the face neutral. If you choose the lips, the colors for fall are deep berries and reds, which look amazing on olive skin. Keep the cheeks and eyes simple with a light shadow and two coats of mascara.
nocheLatina: What do you have in store for fans in 2012?
Gabriela Hernandez: We are developing wonderful products for next year. All our items are multi-purpose and concentrated. Our soufflé foundations are coming back, as well as our loose powder, a new 1920s compact, and ‘the brick,’ which is a secret project I will share later in the year.
nocheLatina: What was your first beauty job?
Gabriela Hernandez: I did makeup briefly for still photography, mostly advertising photos and some special effects.
nocheLatina: Where can customers purchase Besame Cosmetics?
Gabriela Hernandez: We are available online at our site, BesameCosmetics.com and many others. There is a store locator on the site that will help you find the store closest to you.
nocheLatina: Which celebs are fans of the brand?
Gabriela Hernandez: Dakota Fanning has bought products from us, but our biggest fans are the makeup artists that work on film and TV. We have worked with ‘Mad Men’ for some time, and recently films, like The Artist and My Week with Marilyn.
nocheLatina: What were some of the obstacles you faced when launching the brand?
Gabriela Hernandez: It was difficult at first to find manufacturing partners. My ideas were too different from what was being done at the time, so it took some convincing to get the first production run off the ground.
nocheLatina: What words of advice do you have for other Latinas who want to enter the beauty industry?
Gabriela Hernandez: Do your research and find the exact customer for your product. Learn as much as you can before investing any capital. Also, be realistic on the amount of money needed to actually get your product sold. Most importantly, really love what you are doing because there are plenty of ups and downs. In the end, it needs to be worth it.