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Pat McGrath: The Personification of Self-Made

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Pat McGrath: The Personification of Self-Made

If you haven’t heard of Pat McGrath at this point, you simply have not been paying attention.  The world of makeup has long been familiar with this woman, whose name is synonymous with success in the beauty industry.  As the owner and founder of mega-brand Pat McGrath Labs, there is quite literally nothing standing in the way of this woman and her pursuit to dominate and transform the world of beauty.  At a recent evaluated value of $1 billion, she has achieved a tremendous accomplishment by taking her company to this level.  If it wasn’t made clear already, everyone in the industry can now distinctly see who truly has made an impact.

Shortly before this news was announced, the Forbes cover featuring Kylie Jenner as the world’s youngest “self-made” billionaire was published, causing a conversation around the actual definition of “self-made” and clarifying what that really means.  In the case of Kylie Jenner, this definition loosely applied to the success of her makeup brand, Kylie Cosmetics, which is currently valued at $800 million, which is $100 million below her total net worth.  It seemed as though one side of the industry began to praise her for her supposed accomplishments, while the other became critical in pointing out that Ms. Jenner did not get to where she is today by herself.  You don’t need a dictionary definition of the word “self-made” to know that when you’re born with the last name Jenner, it does not apply to you.  Starting off with a tremendous amount of money, resources, connections, name recognition, and fame doesn’t necessarily qualify you or any company associated with you to be considered “self-made”.

Pat McGrath is the contrary to this exact story, which is exactly why she should be celebrated.  “She was born in Northampton, England to a Jamaican single mother named Jean, who adored makeup and instilled a love of cosmetics into her daughter.”  The determination that got her where she is today is something that is beyond commendable.  Ms. McGrath has worked her way up in the beauty industry for over 20+ years and built a team that has participated in over 60+ shows every fashion week.  Developing relationships with models, editors, designers, and other fellow makeup artists is no small task, and should not be treated as one.

Aside from the recognition, the products that Pat McGrath Labs have created and released have had a major influence on the direction of the beauty industry.  The brand focuses on essentially bringing high-quality makeup that is up to par with professional makeup artist’s standards to the everyday consumer.  From the runway to real life.  One of her biggest initial launches was her Lust 004 lip kit, which is one of the first times I remember hearing her name a few years ago.  As of recently, she has also become the first makeup artist to be featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art through a direct collaboration that was a nod to the “Heavenly Bodies” theme of the Met Gala this year.

Her work has received so much attention that other brands, including KKW Beauty by Kim Kardashian West, have blatantly copied and imitated her work.  As pointed out by @diet_prada back in April, KKW Beauty released a campaign for a new eyeshadow palette that was strikingly similar to the one by Pat McGrath Labs featuring model and activist Leomie Anderson.

Pat McGrath is living proof that hard work and passion about whatever it is you love can help you fulfill your dreams and become a game changer in any industry.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and building a name for yourself is harder than some people make it look.  It takes grit, perseverance, and unwavering determination for someone who is starting off with little to no resources to achieve tremendous financial success.  To prosper into something that has transformed the beauty industry from the bottom-up and inside out is beyond praiseworthy.  With continuous planned product launches in the near future and efforts to expand geographically, there is no stopping this incredibly tenacious woman who continues to personify the term “self-made”.

Written by Jenna Curcio


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