FIDM Grad Rea Ann Silva Featured in Smithsonian Exhibit
FIDM Grad and Beautyblender Founder, Rea Ann Silva, is one of 8 women currently featured in a new display, “The Only One in the Room: Women Achievers in Business and the Cost of Success," at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. This “New Perspectives” case will be on view in the museum’s business history exhibition, “American Enterprise,” through November 2021.
Spanning three centuries of American history, the displays tells the stories of 8 strong women who made it to the top of their industries. While illustrating the remarkable achievements of women in business, this display also examines how much work remains to remove these obstacles, not only due to gender, but also to race, class and ethnicity.
"Getting to the top in business is always tough, and for women tougher yet. While women are inventive, driven, and great managers they often face discrimination and cultural boulders blocking their path. For the few women that do get to the highest levels, on arrival they often find themselves alone—the only one in the room," states the Smithsonian website.
Rea Ann Silva built the Beautyblender empire. One of the first makeup artists to work on a high-definition television show, she desperately needed a makeup sponge that could meet the challenge. She 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.
The other 7 women featured in the Smithsonian exhibit are: Rebecca Lukens (President of Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory), Maggie Lena Walker (Bank Founder), Lena Richard (Chef and Entrepreneur), Tillie Lewis (Food Industry Entrepreneur), Lillian Vernon (Fashion Businesswoman), Sara Sunshine (Co-founded the nation’s first Latino ad agency), and Mary-Dell Chilton (Agricultural Molecular Biologist).
Rea Ann Silva is the guest judge on FIDM's 2021 National Scholarship Competition, and was recently the keynote speaker at our Fall Virtual Open House event.
View the Smithsonian exhibit, “The Only One in the Room: Women Achievers in Business and the Cost of Success," online here.