No one knows beauty quite like a beauty publicist particularly one who has spent time as an assistant deep in the bowels of an agency’s beauty closet filling bag upon bag with the latest product launch and pouring over marketing briefs to acquire intimate knowledge of 5-11 product lines at once. It requires not only a lot of physical stamina (try stuffing 60 bags at least once a week, not to mention regular daily editorial “send-outs”) but mental sharpness and it gives you an amazing platform for launching a bright career and meeting like-minded spirits. Mackenzie and Heather are two friends who met at Tractenberg + Co over ten years ago and have moved on to careers in fashion. Here we explore their job paths and their all-time favorite beauty products. The good stuff they still use. This will be a recurring series so get excited.
Mackenzie Lewis, EIC of A Magazine Beirut, Lebanon
I studied communications at NYU, where I interned in the Kiehl’s Since 1851 public relations department. After graduating, I worked for beauty agency Tractenberg, Bumble + bumble, and a company called Selective Beauty, which represented luxury fragrances. Somewhere along the way, I ended up on the other side of the world writing about beauty instead of promoting it. I’m now the editor in chief of A magazine, in Beirut, Lebanon, and contribute regularly to Jezebel’s Millihelen.
When I was working with By Terry, I traveled to their Paris headquarters to learn more about the brand and to see how its products are made. Now, whenever I smell the Balm de Rose, it takes me back to cobblestone streets and flakey croissants. But it’s not just about the memory. By Terry’s founder, Terry de Gunzburg, created YSL’s iconic Touche Éclat back in the day – this lip balm is legit.
You know how there’s a maximum number of years they say you can keep a beauty product before it kills you? I’ve had this concealer at least double that. It’s hands down the best concealer on the market, but so insanely expensive that I started rationing it. I figure it’s worth it to look terrible most days, so long as I can look fantastic when I really need to and still pay my rent.
Despite working for one of New York’s best salons and having access to free cuts, color and styling lessons, I’ve never mastered any hair look other than “unkempt.” A Bb. stylist once taught me that with the right haircut and a bit of Styling Cream, unkempt can look effortlessly cool. If it weren’t for her, I’d still be wearing a chignon every day.
Lalique fragrances (almost) All
An association with historic crystal and a lack of seductive advertising leaves Lalique’s fragrance line severely under-appreciated. From a PR standpoint, I dreaded what I thought would be an impossible sell – until I tried the collection. I would bathe in spicy Le Parfum and fruity Amethyst if I could, and their gorgeous bottles add a dose of Old Hollywood glamour to my vanity table.
Want another round of great product recs? Read about Heather’s faves here.
Photography by Winnie Au