It’s rare to have the word “founder” appear twice on your résumé along with “chief” followed or preceded by any other word. In fact, simply having only one of those titles is something many of us strive for. One woman who’s reached this level of résumé magic? Linda Wells, the mastermind behind Flesh Beauty, oh, and a small magazine called Allure.
After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Wells headed straight to Vogue. Following this stint, she climbed the ladder, continuing to work for places that need no introduction. Pre-Allure she wrote and edited for The Times, and The Times’ magazine. Post-Allure she created killer content for The Cut. Close to a year after, she became the chief creative officer of Revlon and started Flesh Beauty—the addictive cosmetic brand that you wish existed sooner.
She is a powerhouse. While she stated herself that she’s not someone who can yell or get angry, she still can command any room and does so with a relatable outlook on life, sage advice, and a witty sense of humor.
So, while we’re making introductions, I’d also like to welcome you to the first installation of CF’s latest series Five Minutes with… We’ll be sitting down for a few hot minutes with the people you admire most and getting as many details as we can. This means you’re going to find out your idol’s Starbucks order and how she built her own empire. Pretty cool, huh? If there are certain people you’d love to see featured, leave us a comment down below. But without further ado: here’s five minutes with none other than Linda Wells.
To start off, what’s your personal elevator pitch? Who do you see yourself as in a few sentences?
I create, communicate, and collaborate. Really what I like to do is challenge the status quo of beauty and think about ways that beauty can be more meaningful and connect that to women and try to bring a positivity to that as well.
How do you like your coffee?
I love a soy latte from Starbucks, which is kind of basic but the soy milk is kind of sweet so it’s like the best dessert ever.
Best beauty hack you’ve ever learned?
For Flesh Beauty we made these foundation sticks that work as a concealer and contour. You can actually take two sticks with you and you can do your makeup. I love that idea of multi-purpose, easy, packable put-it-in-your-pocket kind of makeup.
Three makeup products you’ll never leave the house without?
Brows, mascara, and concealer.
If you could only use one filter for the rest of your life on your photos which one would it be?
No filter. I’m not a filter. I believe in truth.
What’s more important to you, morning or night routine?
Morning. I love to have a really slow routine morning. I listen to a podcast and I put on my makeup, and I’m just so happy. I make lunch for myself, which is super old fashion. But I love the idea of having something I know is good and feels good. I have this whole drawn out routine. I wake up at 5:30 and drag it out as long as possible.
You’re stuck with a 12-hour layover between flights, what are your must-haves?
I must have earpods, my phone, and a charger, and a loaded up audiobook and podcast. And actually, I kinda like it. Don’t tell anybody, but to me the worst words are “prepare for landing.” I’m always like “no! I really like being on a plane.”
What’s your go-to outfit when you’re in a pinch?
I love a dumb dress. I love a dress you can just throw on. Usually I wear something by Phoebe Philo for Céline in that area. Those dresses just make me happy.
What’s one thing you wish you would’ve known leaving college and going into career?
I wish I would’ve known at least a little tiny bit about business or finance. I knew nothing about those things and I thought they would get in the way of my creativity and that’s wrong.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve found was true about this industry?
You have to reinvent every second. It’s new new new. Everything is brand new. I think new is great, but if you make something that’s good then sometimes you also have to resist that urge to throw away and move on. There’s value in everything and we don’t want to be wasteful in our creativity. There’s some really amazing things that were developed 20, 30, 40 years ago and they’re still good. Just because they’re new doesn’t mean they’re not valid.
What’s your best piece of advice for facing failures and working towards success?
I think that it’s really important that failure is a temporary condition and not a life sentence. So you sort of have to say, “okay, that happened.” Then I believe in grieving a little bit for it. Give yourself 24 hours to deal with it, process it, and be sad and feel bad. Then after that 24 hours, stop. Let it go; stop dwelling on it; and figure out what you can learn from it. Because inevitably you’ll learn something and it won’t happen again.”
Who do you want to see featured on our Five Minutes with… series? Let us know in the comments below!