Shalini Vadhera Interview
SHALINI VADHERA was always curious about beauty and believed that beauty transcends all boundaries, so she spent several years traveling the world, researching various cultures and uncovering the world’s most treasured beauty secrets. Six years ago, Shalini published the results of her discoveries in the best-selling Passport to Beauty and became a respected and internationally recognized expert on global beauty. In the years since, Shalini has shared those beauty secrets with all of us on The Today Show, Dr. Oz and in Allure, Lucky, and O Magazine. It was a well-earned, meteoric rise for someone who’d paid her dues behind the scenes in Hollywood.
Shalini’s career began working as a make-up artist on TV shows like the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Bold and The Beautiful and Dancing with the Stars, but before long her client list included everyone from Brooke Burke to Simon Cowell. And soon after publishing Passport to Beauty, Shalini realized a life-long dream and developed her first cosmetics line, Global Goddess Beauty based on her extensive knowledge of exotic ingredients and techniques she perfected as a make-up artist. That’s how I was introduced to Shalini. I was a huge fan of her Coconut Amla Hair Treatment and I still credit her with helping me to successfully grow my hair. However, after surviving the economic downturn, in 2010 Global Goddess Beauty was the subject of a corporate takeover and Shalini chose to resign as Chairman and CEO.
So, what’s next for the in-demand author, entrepreneur and global authority on beauty? True to form, Shalini isn’t close to slowing down, she continues to travel the world searching for the next innovations in beauty, speaks as an authority on women and minority entrepreneurship and is currently writing her next book, Kind Beauty. I’ve been wanting to interview Shalini for a while, so I’m thrilled that we were able to finally make it happen.
While earning your international business degree, were you planning a career in the beauty industry?
I always had a passion for beauty and worked part time as a make up artist while I was getting my degree. Although I wasn’t sure of my path after I got my degree, I was sure that one day I wanted to create a beauty line and take it to India. I actually wrote a business plan to do this in my entrepreneurial marketing class!
So, what inspired your passion for uncovering the world’s beauty secrets?
I was fortunate enough to travel throughout my childhood to visit my relatives. My grandparents lived in Kenya and the rest of my family in India, so we would get to hop and skip over great locations like Egypt, Singapore, Thailand, Germany and London. I was obsessed with the women in these countries even more so with how glamorous the flight attendants were– especially on the Asian airliners. They truly inspired my quest to find all the great beauty secrets of the world.
What beauty secret were you most surprised to discover?
I absolutely loved the beauty secret of the Dominican Republic. The women I spoke with couldn’t afford to get their nails done at the nail salon much less get acrylic nails. Their secret is this — they chop up one clove of fresh garlic. Then they add that garlic to a bottle of clear nail polish. They let it stew for 7-10 days, then polish their bare nails. It makes their nails harder than acrylic nails. Amazing and it works!
How has the concept of global beauty evolved?
With the internet, the world has become so much smaller and the awareness for what women are doing around the world is so much bigger. If you look at trends in beauty products you see, over the last few years, the use of more exotic ingredients as well as a lot of global inspiration. I love it!
You’ve said that your “passion is discovering the exotic”, what’s your latest exotic discovery?
I’ve been having so much fun working on my next book which focuses on inner beauty as well as outer beauty. One discovery I’ve found and I’m loving is a Korean technique developed by Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. It’s called Life Particle Neuro Science which helps to rewind the effects of inner stress which in turn effect your outer beauty. It includes a lot of tapping to wake up your pressure points as well as to get in touch with your body and a mindful concentration on changing the energy of your problems and stress through breathing and visualization. It’s been a life changing method that I discovered and can’t wait to share more of in my next book called Kind Beauty.
You’ve accomplished so much already, but what would be a dream collaboration for you?
Thank you, Yolanda. I feel so fortunate to have been able to do so much. My dream collaboration would be to do a stiletto based on global influences. Certain shoes always make you feel sexy–no matter what’s going on. It would be fun to work with Jimmy Choo to create a shoe line based on all my exotic discoveries! And of course on the beauty side, I would love to collaborate with a major brand to create a line for all the hard-to-match skin tones out there.
I remember sneaking into my mother’s bathroom and putting on her make-up, can you describe your first beauty memory.
I remember it clear as day! I was around 8 years old and we were flying to India on Japan Airlines. It was quite a long flight so I got up to ask for some water. I remember pulling the curtain back and seeing all the flight attendants sitting, laughing and putting on their make up. Oh my God! I was so fascinated and enchanted. I went home and took some of my mom’s make up to try and look like them. It didn’t work and I got in trouble!
Shalini, tell us three beauty essentials that you’ve used for years and years.
I love, love, love the L’oreal Voluminous Mascara. It’s my favorite and I probably have 5 tubes laying around because I layer mascara all day long! I cant’ live without my Shu Uemura eye lash curler. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning because it makes me look like I’ve slept a great 8 hours! And Olay Regenerist Serum. I used to be their spokesperson many years ago and its still one of my go to skin care lines because it keeps my skin looking and feeling amazing. Plus my make up goes on so much better when I use it.
Now, let’s talk personal style.
I consider myself a global citizen. I love to mix and match pieces I’ve picked up on my travels whether it’s a blouse or a piece of jewelry. I was in Cannes not too long ago and had tried on a gorgeous stone necklace that Princess Caroline had worn for the film festival. The next day the jeweler came and found me at a restaurant and gifted it to me!
I was stunned and I love wearing it when I go out.
What type of shopper are you?
I’m a major bargain shopper. I love to mix and match inexpensive pieces with expensive ones. The other day I did a segment on Fox and wore a gorgeous dress I found at a market that I paid 7.99 for! Crazy! I paired it with a pair of $1200 Jimmy Choos and a diamond bracelet. People kept asking me who the dress designer was and I just smiled!
Has your passion for global beauty influenced your fashion choices?
Absolutely. I love anything that has a global influence to it whether it’s beading or embroidery or even a chic Parisian style trench coat. The world has so much to offer. I want to celebrate that in beauty and fashion.
Which cities are most inspirational to you?
New York is still the city I have a love affair with. I’m so inspired every time I’m there. Bangkok is another one of my favorites as it’s a city full of duality with old world style and modern day glamour. I love Monaco and Paris for their chic sensibilities, but I really find inspiration no matter where I go. Like you, I’m a complete travel junkie!
Name one place you’d like to see before you die.
The inside of a real working palace in India and I’d love to see the Maldives.
How do you create balance in your life?
That takes an enormous amount of work because my mind is always thinking of the next thing. I love yoga because I’m forced to turn my mind off and be in the moment. I also love to have fun which I’m fortunate enough to get to do with my husband, Tony and my friends. And I really like to take some time out everyday to read, snuggle with my dogs and soak up some sun!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being at peace with yourself, with the decisions you’ve made and with the person you’ve become. My happiness comes from trusting myself, being kind to myself and others and doing something to help others thrive.
Name a song that takes you some place special whenever you hear it.
I’m a big music person, so I’d say Infinity by Guru Josh Project and Sade’s No Ordinary Love.
What advice do you have for younger women?
To trust their gut, never give up and if you have a passion to go after it 110%. And most importantly, to embrace your differences and celebrate who they make you.
Now that you’re writing your second, sure-to-be bestseller, if asked to write your memoirs next, what would the title be?
A Search For Everything Beautiful.
Interviewed August 2012 by Yolanda, editor of Zavvi Rodaine.
Personal Images used with kind permission of Shalini Vadhera Potts.
© Zavvi Rodaine.com 2012. No part of this interview may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the Editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com.
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