Alumna Rea Ann Silva Built the Beautyblender Empire
One of the first makeup artists to work on a high-definition television show, Rea Ann Silva desperately needed a makeup sponge that could meet the challenge. The FIDM Alumna began hand-cutting her own sponges, which were promptly stolen by actors who loved the tool, and that's when she knew there was a retail possibility for the product. Rea founded Beautyblender in 2002, and the company is projected to do $215 million in retail sales this year alone.
The Original Beautyblender is the recipient of 10 Allure Best of Beauty Awards, and everyone from Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez to Emma Roberts and Meghan Markle uses the lightweight, edgeless makeup sponge. Rea, who initially came to FIDM because she was drawn to fashion illustration, never imagined working in the beauty world.
She recently told NBC News that an unexpected breakup, which led to her becoming a single parent, is what changed her life's course. "I didn't dream that big," she said. "I dreamt, like, how am I going to support myself, pay rent, and have food and gas." She pursued makeup artistry to make a living; gigs on music video, television, and film sets soon followed.
Thanks to her own diverse background as someone of Mexican, Spanish, Native American, Portuguese, and Irish descent, Rea became known for being a go-to expert when it came to working with women of color. She said doing her own family members' makeup was a "great launching board" for her career.
Beautyblender's colossal success enabled Rea to launch her own inclusive foundation line, Bounce, which comes in 40 different shades. “The biggest fail for makeup applications for many years is that there weren’t enough shades for women of color to actually look natural with makeup on, so you had to learn to become like a mixologist,” she told NBC News.
“Being Latina gave me the vision and understanding about the nuances in skin tone, which directly correlated to my hands and my eyes mixing colors that made people feel comfortable in their own skin,” she added. "I always try to do the most and not the least. We are a very colorful people. We are not afraid of color. We embrace color. And we celebrate color."
Learn more at beautyblender.com.