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Out of the Ashes: The Maybelline Story by Sharrie Williams

By Michelle Arbeau - Celebrity Numerologist, Author, CEO of Authentic You Media

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Why did you want to share this story? 

"I grew up in this family that was so intriguing and my grandmother, Evelyn, who was Tom Lyle William’s sister-’n’-law, loved to talk about her life in the Maybelline family and her part in the building of the company. By 15, I new that story had to be told. She didn’t want to write it, though I never stopped having a desire to write it. Once she was mysteriously killed in a fire, in 1978, I new I had a great ending for the story and I had to tell it. I finally got it published in 2005."

Out of The Ashes

Why did you settle on Out of the Ashes as the title?

"It is the only book about Maybelline. It was privately owned. They had stock but it was only given to the family and very close people who had worked for the company. This is why no one knew the anything about the actual family story or how the company was built. My uncle was gay so that’s a big part of why it has been a big kept secret. The company started in 1915 and being gay was certainly not accepted like it is today.  

The current title wasn’t my idea but it is a working title for now. The original title I chose was “Not Just Another Pretty Face”."  

Hedy Lamarr

What was it like to grow up in the Maybelline Family?

"That’s exactly what my second book is about - growing up in the Maybelline family…and like you were talking about…the need for young girls to be perfect because advertising promotes that, to be loved or to get the American dream, you have to be perfect. Growing up in my family, there was a feeling of perfectionism and I was just a normal little kid with red hair and freckles and chubby. All of a sudden, one day, my grandmother let me know that that was not going to be acceptable anymore so before I knew it, I was taking diet pills when I was 13 years old. By 15, I had the bleached blonde long hair, going to the beach, skinny, tanned, searching for the perfect guy, the perfect car, the perfect “eventually” husband and house, and that need to be perfect is what my story is about. Not just telling that part of the story but coming out of all that brainwashing is what the book is also about, especially with my grandmother."

Maybelline Family

Who was the real Tom Lyle?

"He was the most handsome, generous, loving uncle. He was my father’s godfather, that’s who he was in the family. Extremely generous, very classy, elegant, silk suits, black cigarettes, movie-star appeal. Always drove the big custom-made cars. On the other hand, he was known as the genius in the cosmetic field. He worshiped the family, his sister Maybel, sister Eva, grandfather Preston and brother Noel who gave him the $500 to start the Maybelline empire. He never married, had kids, so all of his money was given to his family. Essentially, Tom Lyle was a soft-spoken Southern gentlemen with a kind of a Southern drawl, great sense of humor and the most charismatic person that I’ve ever known. He was also a talented entrepreneur who formed the company when he was only 19 years old."

Maybelline Kit

What don’t we know about the makeup industry and the Maybelline Empire?

"Maybelline was the first to do pretty much everything in the industry. It was the first eye makeup/cosmetics company in the world. They were the first to have before and after photography on TV, the first to have bubble wrap cards, displays, color, a black model. Everything we know today in the makeup industry, came from Maybelline being a forerunner in developing the pathways for that."

First African American Makeup Model

What’s left on your bucket list?

"I would like to need/want my voice in this process of creating this project of the Maybelline story because I feel that I’m a crucial component in telling this story the RIGHT way. No one can tell it like I can because I was in the family. This is essential to me because I am adamant about this part of it. I would also like to be a speaker. To share my stories, my life, my knowledge." 

Maybelline Advertisement

The Maybelline Empire story is quite an incredible story and legacy, one that you can’t afford not to explore, read and watch because it’s not just about makeup, glamor, women, fame, power and money. It’s about the real life story of real people building their dreams and making the world a better place because of it. It’s the quintessential story of the American dream. Stay tuned for Out of the Ashes to not only hit the screens but also the bookshelves. 

Published on Feb 06, 2016

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