Have you ever encountered a true Jack (or Jill) of all trades? You know, the person that you're certain is capable of taking on any task and doing it well?
Rachel Weiss—VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at L’Oréal—is just such a person. In addition to being on the cutting edge of emerging tech and beauty, Weiss is also a standup comic with a penchant for punk rock.
In our latest installment of BeautyMakers—a new series of interviews with the beauty industry’s top makers—we caught up with Weiss for an exclusive look at the innovative programs at L’Oreal, including the Women in Digital initiative. Check out what Weiss had to say about mentorship, virtual reality and the future of beauty.
You’ve worn many hats through the course of your career, including standup comic. What’s the throughline that connects all of your experiences?
Rachel Weiss: I’ve always been interested in the concept of storytelling. As a child, my mother gave me a small tape recorder that I used to record mock interviews with friends and family. And then later, as a master’s student at NYU film school, I caught the technology bug and immediately recognized the power of the internet to tell stories. After college, I gained new media skills in my roles at Sony Entertainment and then Broadway Video, but it was really through launching my own site to promote my stand-up act that I started experimenting with digital technology and building things.
As far as my stint as a standup comic, I think comedy is the best breeding ground for corporate training because you have to think on your feet, engage people and know your audience.
Tell us about the Women in Digital initiative.
RW: Through the Women in Digital initiative, we’ve formed a community of women who work in digital marketing and technology to revolutionize the beauty industry. The program also includes a tech incubator that seeds business ideas and digital innovations. There are currently 2,000 women in the pipeline, all with the shared goal of advancing the beauty industry through tech.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the beauty industry?
RW: I’ve always loved beauty. I love to experiment with my personal style, and makeup is an extension of that expression. Beauty products make women feel beautiful and confident.
What’s the most exciting thing about the beauty industry? Where do you see it going?
RW: What I find most exciting right now are the lightening-fast advancements in technology. Virtual reality is the next frontier in beauty, allowing people to imagine themselves as their own canvas.
Who’s had the greatest influence on you professionally?
RW: I’ve never had one particular mentor but rather many along the way. The mentors I have now are vastly different from the ones I had in my 20s. I’ve been fortunate to build a network of people that have allowed me to fail, experiment and then share in my successes, too.
Which social media platform is your favorite and why?
RW: I was an early advocate of Snapchat at L’Oréal. Facebook is a great public messaging tool, but Snapchat is like a personal TV show where everyone has an opportunity to express themselves and create content.
What are the must-have beauty products that you cannot live without?
RW: I will not leave the house without washing and blowdrying hair. I’m also a lipstick junkie—I love bright colors.
Who’s been a major beauty and/or style inspiration for you?
RW: Debbie Harry of Blondie! I love her style.
If we were to go through your purse right now, what would we find?
RW: Two smartphones—one for work and one for personal use—a phone charger, seven lipsticks and a metro card.
Walk us through your morning beauty routine. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
RW: It takes me approximately 18 minutes to get ready in the morning, including my blowdry. I’ve got it timed!
Tell us about some of your personal goals/aspirations?
RW: Focusing on my health is really important to me. Health is a part of beauty—I’ve started working out and making it a priority.
Who's been a major beauty inspiration to YOU? Let us know in the comments below!