Anastasia Beverly Hills has become one of the best-known brands in the beauty business – selling millions of brow products each year, thanks, at least in part, to the endorsement of dozens of A-list fans, from Oprah Winfrey to Jennifer Lopez.
As of 2018, the brand was valued at a staggering $3 billion, an impressive achievement for any business owner – but particularly for one who, just 34 years ago, was a Romanian immigrant who found herself in Los Angeles ‘without language skills or financial means’.
How times have changed for Anastasia Beverly Hills founder and CEO Anastasia Soare.
Just this week, the 66-year-old beauty mogul, who is worth an estimated $660 million, marked the 25th anniversary of her brand at a star-studded dinner party attended by some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, from Kris Jenner and her daughter Kim Kardashian to Cindy Crawford and Oprah.
The event, which was also held in celebration of Oprah’s 69th birthday, was the perfect milestone moment for Soare – who, in the past three decades, has cemented her status as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after beauty experts.
But Soare has not always lived such a high-profile lifestyle.
Anastasia Soare, founder and CEO of Anastasia Beverly Hills, has built up her beauty empire into one of the most recognizable global brands
Soare hosted Oprah’s star-studded 69th Beverly Hills bash which counted JLo, Sofia Vergara and Kim Kardashian among its guests
Before she was the go-to beauty guru, the entrepreneur had been living in Romania with daughter Claudia when she decided to emigrate to Los Angeles.
She found work in a beauty salon and soon saw a gap in the market helping women to hone the perfect eyebrows.
Having found her niche, she pounced and has run with it ever since with product lines, TV appearances and even patents on her trusty ‘Golden Ratio’ makeup technique.
And soon celebrities became loyal devotees.
Earlier this week, she hosted Oprah’s star-studded 69th Beverly Hills bash which counted JLo, Sofia Vergara and Kim Kardashian among its guests.
Here, FEMAIL documents her journey from an unknown immigrant to the figurehead of one of the most reputable makeup brands in the world.
Pictured: The beauty guru, 66, alongside Hollywood elite Oprah and JLo
Oprah’s birthday party, hosted at one of Soare’s brow bars, also counted Kim and Kris Jenner among its guests
Soare (left with Sofia Vergara, and right with Heidi Klum) quickly became bosom buddies with the Hollywood elite through her brow business
Anastasia Soare fled from Romania ‘without language skills or financial means’
Soare grew up during the communist era in Romania when the country was experiencing a period of great unrest.
She had studied art and architecture where she learnt the history of the ‘Golden Ratio’ which, little did she know at the time, would go on to become her brand’s signature eyebrow-shaping technique.
‘Growing up I also spent a great deal of time in my mother’s atelier,’ Soare previously told FEMAIL.
‘It was there that I first picked up on the concept of proportion, that different angles and fits hitting at certain parts of unique bodies could be instantly more flattering.
‘She was also my entrepreneurial inspiration.
‘My mother worked tirelessly and made her clients feel their absolute best.
‘It was her I wanted to emulate when I started in business.’
In 1989, Soare immigrated to Los Angeles with young daughter Claudia in tow in search of something more ‘significant.’
‘Without knowing the language or a single other soul,’ the entrepreneur quickly found her feet and got a job as a salon esthetician.
Soare said: ‘I always had an interest in beauty, but I got a job as an esthetician out of necessity.
‘I was an immigrant, and it was work I could do without needing to speak the language.
‘While working, I noticed a glaring gap in the market – no one was paying attention to their eyebrows.
‘I had this stroke of inspiration that maybe the same Golden Ratio I learned about in art school could be applied to shaping brows, bringing balance and proportion to my clients’ faces. The concept took off.
‘And when later I realized that products for brows didn’t exist either, I was excited to fill that niche as well.’
Soare decides to go it alone and launches her flagship salon
Soare’s revolutionary process proved transformative enough to gain a cult following and she decided to break out on her own in 1992.
She rented a small space with the intention of becoming solely devoted to brows and was soon visited by a whole host of famous faces that included Naomi Campbell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Faye Dunaway and Cindy Crawford.
The beauty guru continued to go from strength to strength and opened her Beverly Hills flagship salon in 1997.
‘The landlord didn’t believe I could pay rent with eyebrows. It was only after a very long talk that I convinced him to rent me the space,’ it says on Soare’s site.
The beauty guru went from strength to strength and opened her Beverly Hills flagship salon (pictured) in 1997
Speaking about the store’s (pictured) opening, Soare said: ‘The landlord didn’t believe I could pay rent with eyebrows’
‘The very first week, a line would form even before the store would open – which the landlord was able to see from his office.
‘That was best told-you-so I could imagine.’
The following year the makeup mogul appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to do the host’s eyebrows live on air.
Afterwards, Soare said her phone did not stop ringing for six months and she capitalized by launching the company’s first product line in 2000.
Each weekend, the entrepreneur would visit department stores across the country to promote the company’s brow services and show clients how to use the products.
In 1998, the makeup mogul appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to do the host’s eyebrows live on air
The brand, which launched in Sephora and Ulta soon after, then became an early adopter of Instagram where it used the platform to showcase the diversity of its brow makeup line.
In a grassroots approach to marketing, high-profile individuals were sent products along with a SonyA6 camera – and it paid off.
Soon the brand had secured collaborations with dozens of talented artists, including Amrezy, Nicole Guerriero, and Mario Dedivanovic, which helped continue to grow its presence on the platform where it currently has 19.1 million followers.
The beauty guru continues to make shrewd business decisions and Soare ends up bosom buddies with Hollywood elite
The name Anastasia soon became synonymous with brows, with products in more than 25 countries around the world.
Speaking about her success, Soare said: ‘I spent countless hours working, perfecting my craft, and striving to be the best.
‘My success was a combination of inspiration, innovation, and a great deal of hard work….
The name Anastasia soon became synonymous with brows, and Soare had secured multiple patents on the Golden Ratio Eyebrow Shaping Method by 2015
‘Finding new and innovative ways of giving our customers something of quality has blossomed into a passion that fuels me daily.’
Soare, who has always been an advocate of giving back, set up the Anastasia Brighter Horizon Foundation in 2013 with the aim of providing individuals the opportunity to attend beauty school, build a career and pursue a passion.
She said: ‘The country gave me and my family so many wonderful opportunities, and I wanted to find a way to give back.’
In a shrewd business move, Soare had secured multiple patents on the Golden Ratio Eyebrow Shaping Method by 2015, and began adding more products to its line including a pre-assembled Contour Kit and Liquid Lipstick.
Soare (alongside Priyanka Chopra and Jessica Alba), who now lives in Beverly Hills, continues to count A-list celebrities among her client base
Earlier this week, Oprah held a star-studded 69th Beverly Hills bash at Soare’s (left with Sharon Stone, right with Cindy Crawford) brow bar, which was celebrating its own 25th anniversary
In 2018, the company received an investment from private equity firm TPG that valued it at $3 billion, which helped ‘enhance its operations and growth, with a focus on e-commerce and international expansion.’
Today, the brand continues to thrive.
It launches an average of eight to 10 new products each year and Soare still counts A-list celebrities among her client base.
Earlier this week, Oprah held a star-studded 69th Beverly Hills bash at Soare’s brow bar, which was celebrating its own 25th anniversary.
The likes of JLo, Sofia Vergara and Kim Kardashian were all in attendance as Soare continues to help famous faces create the perfect eyebrows.