Interview
Sarah Brown F

Sarah Brown

If you’ve ever walked by a city newsstand, chances are you’ve spotted the glamorous covers of Vogue magazine. Maybe those covers have even caught your interest, made you stop, inspired you to read. For the past fifteen years, all the sparkle and style of Vogue has been due to the hard work of past Beauty Editor Sarah Brown, and she’s left an unforgettable legacy.

Daughter of an art gallery owner and native to downtown Manhattan, Sarah was exposed to fashion and art from quite a young age. At first, beauty editing was never on her radar. Over time, however, as she pursued a career in journalism, her experience (and a little bit of luck) landed her the position as Beauty Editor at Vogue. Her work was exquisite, innovative, interactive and, well, effective. We know we will all miss her.

Now that she is onto the next phase of her life, we wanted to ask Sarah about her experience, her inspiration, and what creative plans she has for the future.

YOUR INSPIRATION

For starting your new business…
This is such an exciting time in the media, fashion, and beauty industries, and I wanted to be part of that change. It felt like the right moment for a new adventure.

Change your scenery as much as you can – see new things, meet new people, and take risks. Inspiration can come from strange and unexpected places.

For being an effective leader as Beauty Director of Vogue…
In my experience, the best and most rewarding ways to lead a team are to single out the reasons why people are special, show them how much you value them, and encourage them to soar. Also, laugh a lot. Our jobs are FUN!
Change your scenery as much as you can – see new things, meet new people, and take risks. Inspiration can come from strange and unexpected places.

Follow us on Instagram @beautyandwb
YOUR CITY

What you love most…
My rooftop patio: I can garden there by day, and have candle-lit cocktails by night.

Favorite afternoon café…
Gemma, Sant Ambroeus SoHo, and The Coffee Shop.

Go-to lunch place…
Fred’s—uptown and downtown – ABC Kitchen, and Odeon.

A night on the town…
Indochine, La Sirena, and The Carlyle. But usually, we just end up back on our roof.

I currently love to exfoliate and wash with Aurelia’s Refine & Polish Miracle Balm. It’s a gritty yet gentle unguent that smells divine and leaves skin feeling hydrated instead of stripped.

YOUR DAY

Morning beauty routine…
The list is long and changes all the time as I am always falling in love with new products. I currently love to exfoliate and wash with Aurelia’s Refine & Polish Miracle Balm. It’s a gritty yet gentle unguent that smells divine and leaves skin feeling hydrated instead of stripped. Next, I take a shot of Vitamin C with Lancer Advanced C Radiance Cream, and follow with Skin Medica’s HA5, a silky, straightforward hyaluronic acid cream that immediately plumps and smoothens out your face. I use a simple moisturizer (Lancer’s Nourish is a good one), and of course sunscreen; Prevage City Smart SPF 50 slips seamlessly under makeup.

Perfect outfit…
Anything with an Ann Demeulemeester blazer thrown on top – the tailoring is impeccable. I also always go for heels, never flats.

Go-to wellness places…
For fitness, I might do thirty minutes on the elliptical and twenty minutes of mat work at the deeply unglam gym a block from my apartment. That, or I will book a court at Midtown Tennis, or take a class at Chaise Fitness. I also like taking boxing sessions or doing dance-offs with the fabulous Adelino da Costa at Punch Fitness. And then there are always Pilates.

For years I had a standing lesson once a week at Power Pilates on 23rd Street, which always left me feeling graceful, strong, wildly elastic, and tall; however, since the studio closed I have been out in the wilderness, wandering around aimlessly and Pilates-less. But now, after a week at Amanyara in the Turks & Caicos this summer, where there is an outpost of Erika Bloom’s method, I am back on track. And I hear she may be opening a new studio downtown soon… Yay!

I love to get a facial with Tammy Fender, including, if you’re lucky, simultaneous reflexology with her guru, Helia, when they are in town from Palm Beach. It’s a magical, meditative experience, way beyond the realm of a conventional facial. I’m the least New Age person you will ever meet, but I guarantee: Your skin, and your soul, will look and feel transformed. Tammy’s products (her Milky Cleanser, the Epi Peel) are amazing, too.

YOUR BEAUTY

Must-have skincare/makeup product…
I could go on and on forever:

  • Retin-A is the least glamorous, most effective beauty product ever invented.
  • Biologique Recherche P-50 is a toner and pH-balancer, while lightly exfoliating. It smells sort of awful, but it guarantees smooth skin.
  • Aquareveal’s Water Peel. There are separate versions for face and body. For those who like to see immediate results, this is extremely gratifying. As you massage in the clear gel, dead surface cells bead off before your eyes and fall into the sink. The body peel was my obsession this summer. It gave me baby-soft arms, shoulders, back, and chest in about two seconds. My pro tip: smooth the gel on dry skin, and then jump in the shower (without the water running) to avoid the mess.
  • Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara, which creates little tubes around each lash, and creates no clumps, smudges, or flakes, ever.
  • I shamelessly stockpile Stila Kitten eye shadow. I’ve been using it since Sofia Coppola recommended it to me during an interview sometime in the late nineties. The sandy rose gold is my everything. It’s super-flattering, super-blendable, and works with any liner.

A beauty tradition you’ve used your whole life…
I’ve always done my own nails, ever since my first summer at sailing camp, when I knew I’d be barefoot pretty much all day every day (and around cute boys), so naturally I wanted to make sure I had consistently perfect red toes.

Favorite Perfume…
I adore Lys Mediterranée by Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle. It’s perfectly me, and has become another facet of my personality, part of my skin, so much so I can no longer smell it on myself. But others can: Over the years I’ve been chased down the street and followed into elevators by people asking the name of my scent. I’ve had taxi drivers, both male and female, pass little scraps of paper over the divider and ask me to write down its name. One driver asked, out of the blue, if he could take me to another state. When I asked why, he said, “So I can keep smelling your perfume.”

I am working with a number of companies, helping emerging businesses with everything from brand positioning and product development to collaborations and partnerships in beauty, fashion, and lifestyle.

YOUR WORK

Tell us more about your new business…
I named my business Sarah Brown Advisory because I just can’t take the word consultant; it seems sort of soulless and corporate, rather than creative. I am working with a number of companies, helping emerging businesses with everything from brand positioning and product development to collaborations and partnerships in beauty, fashion, and lifestyle.

People who have inspired you in your work…
Jean Godfrey-June, Liz Tilberis, Anna Wintour, and my mom.

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