Denise Rabor is set to change how we view beauty and overall well-being. Using her experience as an international makeup artist, Robar set out to change what she saw in the beauty industry, a lack of diversity. She started small and grew to create Wow Beauty, an online magazine celebrating the beauty of women of all ages and races; a space for the women that "wow" her.
What does beauty mean to you?
For me, beauty is more than the physical; it’s more than skin deep. It’s our minds, our spirits; it’s a mood, a memory, it’s a story, its subjective …it’s personal.
How did your journey with makeup and beauty begin?
Wow Beauty is the culmination of a lifetime love affair with beauty and well-being. As a child, growing up in New York I used to love reading my mother’s magazines, Ebony and Essence. I loved fashion magazines from an early age, American Vogue was my fashion Wikipedia. My mother’s perfumes, clothes and the packaging of her makeup products informed my vision, and the colours of the palettes that she bought from brands like Fashion Fair and Flori Roberts were my early playgrounds.
How did that inspire your decision to become a makeup artist?
Makeup artistry wasn’t a planned thing as such; it was a natural progression and integration of my creative skills. I’ve always loved colour and fashion, and I was naturally able to blend and balance skin tones. I think I got that from my dad who was an ink manufacturer. Being involved in running the family business, I somehow managed to have a successful parallel career as an international makeup artist which broadened my experience and vision for beauty. I needed to express my creative abilities.
Why did you choose to create a magazine?
Wow Beauty came about because although I always knew that I'd do something more in the ‘beauty biz,’ I just wasn't sure what form that would take. I wanted to share my passion for holistic beauty and well-being with a wider audience. Initially, it was meant to be a blog but soon morphed into an ‘e-zine.’ Wow Beauty is a website devoted to inclusive beauty and well-being, encouraging women of all ages and ethnicities to be empowered by owning their unique beauty. We all know that there is a need for greater diversity in the beauty world, and for me that means inclusiveness; so that no woman has to feel the exclusion that women of colour have felt for so many years. I aim to produce an inclusive portal that celebrates our diverse beauty, a site that celebrates and acknowledges you whatever your age or skin tone.
Where did the inspiration for the name, "Wow" come from?
I say “WOW” when something impressed me. It’s the first word on someone’s lips, so the fact that it also stands for ‘women of the world’ made it my perfect name.
Who inspires you the most?
Primarily, my dynamic, fearless entrepreneurial mother, my sister. Secondly, I am inspired more and more every day by the sheer power of people especially women finding their voices and uniting those voices in pushing past the barriers, moving forward and refusing to be cowed.
What message do you hope the world is getting from your work?
That true beauty is not just about the surface: that wellbeing is the goal. I want to build on the way that women view beauty– firstly that we start to own our beauty and that we see the connection that exists between beauty, well-being and the self-awareness that is required to be our best selves in all areas of our lives.
Why do you feel it is important to have diversity and representation in the beauty industry?
I think that it’s a ‘given’ that the beauty industry has spent too long focusing on a minimal perception of beauty. In my career, I did editorial shoots with countless leading international magazines, and it was rare that the models would be women of colour. WOW focuses on all women. We don’t subscribe to stale, outdated ideas that have previously defined beauty. We don’t need to. It’s immoral that we live in a world where half of us have been placed in a box labelled ‘invisible’ which is why the changes that are taking place are needed without wanting to resort to hashtags, representation matters. There is beauty in difference, and we’re all equal.
What’s next for you and Wow?
Continuing to grow and spread the word about holistic beauty and well-being on the website and via our events. I’m also on the verge of launching my newest venture ‘Women Who Wow Inc.’ So watch this space.
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