Modern Women Making Waves: Jeanne Chavez
Impossibly chic. On-trend. Sassy-sweet. The same headlines that have been used to describe the beauty brand Smith & Cult are also applicable to my friend Jeanne Chavez, co-founder of the brand. I’ve known Jeanne since she was a stunning teenager with flawless skin and it’s no surprise that she has grown into a bonafide beauty expert. A decades-long career — from the Orlane Institute to luxury brand La Prairie to her current gig: president and co-founder of Smith & Cult — took Jeanne from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where in 1994 a serendipitous meeting with Dineh Mohajer led to the creation of Hard Candy (do you remember the mass hysteria for the Hard Candy polishes and matching jelly rings?). Their partnership — and success — is a testament to respect, creativity, inspiration and #GirlBossGoals. Mom to three girls, Jeanne lives in Pasadena with her husband, and when she’s not working can be found traveling, hiking, playing tennis, shopping … and making the best kind of waves!
Good advice is a gift — what is the best advice you’ve been given?
I read many years ago: “become my consumer”. This concept has helped me understand how important it is to stay on top of everything as it relates to the health and beauty industry, to live the life, remain curious and become immersed in it. This is the only way I see maintaining success in such a fickle business, to stay where I started, which is maintaining my love affair with all things in the beauty biz.
What is on the top of your bucket list?
I'd like to go back to Istanbul some day. I haven’t been to Morocco yet, and it’s sitting at the top of my bucket list right now, and I definitely have a running list!
Who would you invite to your ideal Girl’s Night?
There are so many people I'd like to host, but I’m partial to girls who are carefree, uninhibited, and make me laugh. Currently I am obsessed with Celeste Barber, a genius comedian I found on Instagram who has such a great sense of humor about the climate of reality star celebrities — every post is better than the last. I would fly myself to Australia to have dinner with her.
What is your go-to piece of clothing?
That is a revolving door, as my go-to piece often changes. Right now I am all about my sneakers. All of my beloved boots have been moved to the back of my closet to make room for my collection of sneakers. I love the high end designers making sneakers — I wear all styles from Golden Goose Deluxe Brand and I still love the limited edition retro Nikes. Current favorites are the Nike Blazer & Cortez. It almost feels wrong to be calling them sneakers.
What do you sing when you are alone in your car?
I do not. sing. in. the. car. I have such a terrible voice that I don’t even sing Happy Birthday, let alone belt it out in my car by myself! I blame all the concerts I went to back in the day!
What was the best compliment you have received?
I would say that when people tell me I have been a good mentor to them in the beauty industry. I take that as the highest compliment. What I do comes naturally to me, it doesn’t feel like a “career” and for someone starting their career in the beauty industry to feel that I provided either inspiration or information is a huge compliment.
How has your life been different than you imagined?
Strangely enough my life is almost exactly the way I imagined it, the only difference is I always imagined myself having three boys, not three girls ... but NOW I cannot imagine it any other way.
What is your most-used word? (And what word do you wish everyone would stop using?)
Being a beauty junkie it is no surprise that my most-used word is “stunning”. I would be happy if I never heard the words “totally” and “like” again.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Jeff Daniels. His role in Dumb & Dumber goes along with my “make me laugh” theme. And John Krasinski is a “10” in my book!
What is your favorite indulgence?
Soul Cycle or a hike followed by a facial and massage.
What is your favorite museum?
In the US I love The Met and try to visit multiple times throughout the year. Internationally, I love the The Acropolis Museum in Athens.
What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?
The first thing I notice is eyes — and if they are standing, I note height — but a person’s eyes are the most important to me.
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