Hey Dolls, Here’s introducing our “Interview Section” Feature inspiring and talented people from across the globe. Sherrie Williams, is a well known personality for her amazing “Maybelline Book” Where she shares all the untold stories of the Maybelline Dynasty.
What was your inspiration behind this book?
I’ve had the desire to tell my family’s story since I was in Jr. High School. It all started when I had to give a speech, for my speech class and I didn’t know what to talk about. My grandmother suggested I tell the story, how Maybelline got started. She told me the story and when I gave my speech everyone wanted to know more. Years later, after she died, I decided to write a book before the family story was lost forever.
What was it like growing up in the Maybelline Dynasty?
I think the best part of growing up in the Maybelline family was the fact that my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, owner of the Maybelline Company, lived near us, and we grew up having him in our lives. When I was 17, I drove my 1957 Blue and White, Bel Air, Chevy, filled with my best girlfriends, up to see him at his estate in Bel Air California. His Butler, Milford, brought us ice cold bottles of Coke, (with straws sticking out the top,) on a big silver tray and treated us like Queens. We sat in his ultra-modern living room, overlooking Los Angeles, while he asked us questions about Maybelline’s new Ultra Lash mascara. When it was time to go, Milford brought out a big box filled with Maybelline products and told us to enjoy! It wasn’t about the money in those days. It was about being a close knit family making priceless memories.
How did “Maybelline” begin?
My great auntie Mabel, the namesake of the Maybelline Company mixed some coal dust with Vaseline and dabbed it on her eye lashes and brows to make them grow and darken them. Her 19 year old brother, Tom Lyle Williams, was amazed at the difference it made in her looks and decided to formulate it and sell it in the classifieds of movie magazines. He named his new product Maybelline in her honor. There is so much more, but you’ll have to read the book for the full story.
Who did you idolize the most growing up?
I compared myself with the latest Cover girl on fashion magazines. I was always up on the latest fashion, makeup trick and popular fad. So I must have idolized Fashion Models, especially because I hoped to be the face of Maybelline someday. You’ll have to read my book to find out what happened with that dream.
What are your personal favorite beauty secrets from the book?
My favorite beauty secret is my grandmother’s formula for beautiful skin. I call it “Nana’s Mud.” She would mix a little plain yogurt with enough rice or oat flour to make a paste and then add a capsule of Vitamin E, I have used this mud as a face mask since I was 15, and it actually feeds the skin, plumps it and makes it supple and less prone to wrinkle. It’s amazing and it works.
What is the most noteworthy incident in the book that people didn’t know about Maybelline?
In the early days, between, 1915 and 1930, the word mascara had not been coined yet; the only eye beautifier on the market was Maybelline. So, Ladies would say, I need to get some more Maybelline, whereas today, they say I need to get some more mascara. In the 1940’s Maybelline was represented by Hollywood’s biggest Movie Stars, because Tom Lyle was gay and had to keep his relationship a secret. The Government didn’t want gay men having any influence in the good women in America. Also, Maybelline was almost destroyed when the Government called it was a monopoly, but, Tom Lyle out smarted them by dividing the company among his family to keep it safe and intact. More of these subjects come alive in my book.
What where your biggest fears when you started writing the book?
After living a very private life, I was worried about going public with my family’s story. In fact, over the years, I stopped the project and didn’t have the courage to continue for a long time. I just wanted to live my life and not be disturbed. However, in time, I mustered the courage to finish the book and had it published. My family loved the way the story was presented and I’m glad I didn’t let fear stop me from sharing it with the world, because The Maybelline Story is part of Americana, the American Dream.
Was your family supportive? Did they feel comfortable sharing secrets of the house?
My father, (Tom Lyle’s nephew and Heir,) was worried about his uncle’s private life being exposed. In fact all of his generation of Maybelline cousins didn’t want in known Tom Lyle was gay. We never discussed it in the family, and respected his privacy and wish to be obscure. As it turns out, my father passed away a few years before the book was published and my generations of cousins have no problem with the story now being told. It’s a different era of course. I wrote the book with the ultimate respect for my great uncle and his partner Emery Shaver. They were both great men, completely devoted to their families and the Maybelline Company.
What was it like exploring every memory and family member from Tom Lyle to everyone else involved?
It was extremely rewarding to spend time with all of the older generation, who helped build the Maybelline Company, beyond everyone’s imagination. My grandmother, my father, Tom Lyle, Mabel, Eva and so many more wonderful aunts and uncles, gave me stories, pictures and vintage Maybelline Ad’s, so that I could bring the era back to life. It’s been very sad to lose them one at a time over the years and I’m so grateful their memories live on in my book.
What would your advice be for people who want to achieve something?
When you read my book, you will see that the main theme is to never give up on your dream. Life will challenge and test you to the point of sabotaging your work. Finances will get in the way, relationships will become more pressing, fear will ultimately tear you apart and you will want to give up. At that point, know, you are almost there,…keep going and keep believing in yourself and your project. Dreams take years, mine was in process for over 30 years and though it was a slow uphill battle, it survived… just like the Maybelline Company survived, through the ups and down’s of economic depression, War, Political pressure and personal trials and tribulations. Remember, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” It takes great commitment, courage and fortitude to finish your work and be rewarded with the delicious satisfaction of accomplishment and reward.
What is your beauty routine like?
Sleep is the most important part of my beauty routine. So, to quiet my mind and get a good 8 to 9 hours sleep a night, I meditate and do yoga most every day. After sleep comes what I eat, that is 75% raw food, with a little salmon or free range chicken for dinner sometimes. I don’t expose sun on my face and I use a product that keeps the top layer of my skin constantly exfoliating and evens out my skin tone. I never ever, ever, sleep with my makeup on or forget to wash and moisturize my face at night and in the morning and I use sun screen religiously. I’ve gone through many skin peals, because my skin is the first thing people notice and my grandmother taught me first impressions are priceless.
Do you believe in diet affecting your skin?
I have been a vegetarian for the last 35 years, but, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve added a little more protein to my diet. Fruits and vegetables, big salads, fresh squeezed carrot, apple, celery juice and very little sugar, keeps my skin clear and radiant. Like the Maybelline slogan says, “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.” I prefer to look like I was born with it… also drinking two quarts of water a day and not throwing constant junk, coffee and white flour in my system, is mandatory for radiant, healthy skin.
What is your daily routine?
I’m a night Owl, and sleep until at least 9 am. Once up, I check my email and return messages. I’m in yoga by noon, and afterwards, enjoy a protein smoothie. Blogging takes several hours in the afternoon as well as phone calls and appointments. By 6:00 I’m hungry for a good clean dinner at home or with friends. I love the night because it’s quiet and I can think about my projects and what needs to get done next.
You’ve published a book, write a wonderful blog. What next?
Speaking engagements have been my main focus the last several years and I love telling the Maybelline Story, in a Power Pont Presentation, with vintage Maybelline ads and family photos. After one of my “One Woman Shows,” Ladies tell me the book must be a movie. I agree that the story is made for a 5 part mini-series and I have my fingers crossed that soon, the book will come alive on the screen and my dream, (since I was 15,) will come full circle.
Be sure to check my blog at www.maybellinebook.com
my website www.sharriewilliamsauthor.com
Facebook, Sharrie Williams
Thank you so much Sharrie, for sharing such beautiful message and the amazing history with all of us. We wish you All the Best for all your future ventures. Lots of Love!