“I grew up in Romania studying art and architecture. But as child, I had always wanted to come to America. I thought, that’s the only place I’d be free to express myself. In Romania, during the communist regime, we were very culturally suppressed. At 18 years old, I wasn’t allowed to wear bell-bottom jeans and eyeliner. I couldn’t understand why! When I finally came to the United States, I was forced to get a job right away. I spoke no English—none. I started working as an aesthetician in this beautiful boutique salon in Beverly Hills. Being an aesthetician didn’t require an elaborate vocabulary in English. My first client was Cindy Crawford! I swear. I didn’t know even who she was, but she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
After Cindy, it was Naomi Campbell and then all the supermodels. I began asking them, 'Do you want me to do your eyebrows, too?' No one considered eyebrows back then! I went to my boss, the owner of the salon, and I said, ‘Look, in art school, I studied the golden ratio and Leonardo da Vinci’s theory of how our body is one great proportion.’ I start explaining to my boss that when we wanted to change an emotion of someone you’re drawing in a portrait, you just change the eyebrow s. My boss refused to allow me to do clients’ eyebrows, so I decided to rent a room at a salon and start my own business. Everybody thought I was out of my mind. Number one, I don’t speak the language. Number two, there are people who are born in this country that don’t have their own businesses, and I here I try to open my own business. 'I don’t care,' I told myself. I have to do it. I came here to be relevant, to be significant, and I wanted to do more than I did in Romania. I worked seven days a week in the salon from 9am to 10pm every day. By '94, Vogue wrote the first article about this woman ‘Anastasia’ who does eyebrows—and, in the same issue, there was an article about Kevyn Aucoin’s book, Making Faces. He talked about eyebrows and how important they were. Everything exploded after that. By '96, I was so busy doing eyebrows, I couldn’t do anything else. Eyebrows are the most difficult beauty feature to master—we all have different bone structure, brow texture, and coloring. It’s so challenging, but I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and I am still enjoying it. In my mind, Anastasia Beverly Hills is still very small. The team I work with exudes so much passion that everybody catches it—it’s like a virus.
My daughter was the one actually who believed in social media—she pushed me to get into Instagram, Snapchat and everything else. I love Instagram the most, but we keep it kind of professional because with over four million people following the account, there's not a ton you want to say that's super personal. Snapchat let’s me put up more about my life—my exercise routines, my cooking, my knitting, my fashion—everyday things. I’m starting a blog right now on our website, and it’s all about having a full, beautiful lifestyle. My key to making products for my customers—and this is why social media works so well for us—is that I listen to her. I pay attention to what she posts about—what she likes, what she doesn’t like, what she would like to see. My goal is to make her happy and sometimes to surprise her, to come with things that she doesn’t even expect but that she’s going to love it. My customers are so savvy. When I started 25 years ago, I had to teach them—this is the toner, this is cleanser, and so on. They needed to take notes. Now, they know everything! They’ve tried everything out–they saw it on YouTube first, and I have to keep up.
My mother taught me all of my beauty tricks. I used to go out with her every Sunday to the beauty salon because it was the only day when she didn’t work. She would get her hair done weekly, facials done once a month, and manicures often. She thought by taking me to the salon, we were spending precious time together—bonding. [Laughs] She taught me well. I’m obsessed with skincare. I use so many products. Daily, I use Epicuren's Colostrum Cream, SkinCeuticals' Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, and really anything from Clé de Peau Beauté…I like to alternate because it’s good to surprise the skin. I clean my skin every night with cleansing sheets and La Prairie Cellular Refining Lotion. I like that tone the most because of the smell. To remove eye makeup, I use Lancôme Bi-Facil Double- Action Eye Makeup Remover because it’s made with oil, and most of the mascara and eyeliner products I use right now are waterproof. It’s the only one that takes it off. In the morning, I use vitamin C serums—but only in the morning. If you use them too often, you might break out. At night, I will use a heavier cream. The best advice I could give to anyone is don’t ever go to bed without taking off your makeup. You’ll ruin your skin.
I constantly try new products. I love the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. I still use, believe it or not, loose powder. It's Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder. Then, I love Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils—ah, the colors! Beautiful, beautiful! I like using makeup from Tom Ford, MAC, and Shiseido a lot, but I like to diversify. We all have the ability to decide what we like and don’t like. If I were stranded on a desert island, I would bring my tweezers and my Liquid Lipstick— it’s the best. When I use lipstick, in 20 minutes it’s gone. But my liquid lipstick—oh, just try it, you’ll love it. I would also bring the deep brow powder to fill my eyebrows. Even if I don’t have any make-up on, the eyebrows have to be done. My full makeup line will launch in the spring. My makeup is already out in Japan, the Middle East, and Europe, but we want to expand even more—we want to be everywhere.
I love makeup, obviously, but nails are important, too. For my nails, I have a place around the corner from the salon in Beverly Hills that I go to. It’s open late, which is the only time I can do a manicure. Luckily, I have enough energy to get my nails done at the end of the day. I was blessed with high energy. I do eat very healthy, and I work out, too. But my energy is probably genetic, I think. My mother was like that, I’m like that, and my daughter is too.
What do I use for hair? Oh my god, my answer is so short. My hair is like naturally dark—very dark, actually. I dye it to be lighter. I’ve tried everything—all of the different shampoos, but I swear by the entire Kérastase line—shampoo, conditioner, masks, and treatments. For color, though—I only use L’Oréal Professional Color. That’s it!
Beauty and fashion inspire each other. They both have trends. In both industries, professionals have to come with different colors, different textures, and you have to make women more aware of what’s new. My parents were tailors, so I grew up between sewing machines. My mother told me, ‘To keep the business, you have to help me.’ I’m like, ‘Mom, I’m 12, I don’t know anything.’ She told me, 'I know you are smart, I’m going to teach you!' I grew up with a sense of what is good and how the fabric should feel and how the cut should be. There are a lot of other clothes that I admire and I like, but I won’t buy them because they are not good for me. I know what type of dresses would look good on me. Oh, but I love designers! I love Alaïa and Tom Ford, Chanel, Prada, Givenchy... I buy only designer clothes because, at this stage in my life, I know exactly what is good for my body. I always tell my daughter, you have to invest in a good piece of clothing, because you’ll spend less money in the long run. And you know what? Investing in things of good quality applies to everything in life—not just fashion.”
—as told to ITG
Now that we're on the topic of brows, stop on over at our Brow Month hub for more. Cindy Crawford talks about her generation being the last supermodels to do their own makeup. Former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, swears by eyebrow threading. Read about it in her Top Shelf. Read about how Josie Maran became that Josie Maran, of argan oil fame.
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