Thursday, November 20, 2014

Glamourdaze talks to author Sharrie Williams.

Interview with Glamourdaze - History of Mascara – Maybel Williams and The Maybelline Story

How many women in the world are aware that they owe a debt of gratitude to a young lady called Maybel Williams – 

The resourceful girl had a flash of inspiration and burned a cork, mixed the ashes with some Vaseline and then applied it to what was left of her lashes. In an instant she resembled a Hollywood starlet! ‘Eureka!’ – mascara was born ! Not exactly of course. The art of dying lashes goes back to Cleopatra, but there was no removable cosmetic of this kind that a woman could buy over the counter
Her brother Tom along with his brother Noel took this idea and developed Lash Brow Line – the worlds first commercially available mascara.In 1916 he changed the name to Maybelline – named after – you guessed it – Maybel Williams! The name being a combination of Maybel and Vaseline !

1920-lash brow-ine—early-Maybelline product
Eugene Rimmel is also credited for producing the first petroleum jelly mix but the product that we all know and love today is without question down to the success of Maybelline. The story of Maybelline is not only one of glamor and success but of mystery and intrigue which until recently has remained untold. The big money did not actually come in to the family until the company was sold in 1967.
1930s Maybelline makeup ad
In 1978  came the mysterious murder of the original  ‘Miss Maybelline’ – who died when her home was bombed. Maybelline heiress Sharrie Williams – Miss Maybelline’s grand-daughter  and Tom and Maybels great niece – now tells the true story – and I can certainly say it has all the ingredients of a real dynasty drama in her book “The Maybelline Story” Sharrie has very kindly agreed to talk to Glamourdaze.
Sharrie , can you give us a quick synopsis of the Maybelline Story?
SW: The Maybelline Story traces the history of cosmetics in America and how one simple eye product caught the imagination of the public. Yet, unlike any other book about beauty, it reveals the never-before-told story of this man who invented mascara, Tom Lyle Williams (my great uncle)–a private figure who hid from the public because he was gay. To stay safe from the scrutiny of the press and government (which in the early thirties deemed mascara the “province of whores and homosexuals), Tom Lyle cloistered himself behind the gates of his Rudolph Valentino Villa and, with the help of his lifetime lover Emery, ran his empire from a distance. The deeper Tom Lyle went into hiding, the more his sister-in-law and ultra-ego Evelyn (my grandmother,) struggled her way to the spotlight. Attracted to bad boys, she married one–Tom Lyle’s playboy brother Preston (my grandfather). From that moment on, Evelyn used the Maybelline name–and later, its money–to reinvent herself from circus ballerina to flamboyant flapper, extravagant socialite to dinner theater star. Now, after nearly a century of silence, this true story celebrates the lives of a forgotten American hero–one man forced to remain behind a mask, and one woman whose hunger for beauty ultimately destroyed her. Spanning three generations, The Maybelline Story shows the hidden haunts of sudden fortune, and the tragedy that ensues when vanity lets loose. Finally, it speaks to women s’ decade-long desires–to be beautiful and be loved–and asks the question: At what price, beauty?
What is interesting is that the whole family became involved in Tom’s enterprise starting with your great uncle Noel along with your grandad Preston and grand aunt Eva! Did Mabel have anything to do with the business?
SW:Tom Lyle renamed his first eye beauty product Lash-Brow-Ine, to Maybelline in honor of his sister Mabel who gave him the idea for mascara, in 1915.  She had burned her lashes and brows tried to make them grow back and look darker by mixing a concoction of Vaseline and ash from a burned cork in her hand and applying it to her brows and lashes.  Tom Lyle took the idea to a chemist and Maybell Laboratories was born.
Your Grandmother Evelyn became the first Miss Maybelline ?
SW: My grandmother got that title when she opened a Dinner Theater in Hot Springs Arkansas in 1978.  She promoted herself as Miss Maybelline  “Last of the Red Hot Mama’s!” Her story ends in tragedy.

Evelyn Williams with her glamorous sisters Verona-and–Bunny-1922
What are your memories of visiting your grand uncle Tom as a young teenager ? I suppose there was lots of free make-up on the go !
SW: My favorite memory is driving all my best girlfriends up to his  estate in Bel Air California, in my blue and white 1957 Chevy so we could get some samples of Maybelline for a raffle our Club was having. He not only gave us the raffle samples, he gave us a giant box of Maybelline products to split up between us. It was the most exciting thing that could happen to a bunch of 17 year old High School girls – a years supply of our favorite cosmetics for free!


As Maybelline took off with glamorous stars like Clara Bow lending their name to the brand – it must have been very exciting. Did your grandfather Preston and your great uncle Tom Lyle enjoy the trappings of Hollywood and all that went with it? It appears that while Preston partied – Tom kept his nose to the grind- stone and concentrated on developing Maybelline.
SW: Yes! Tom Lyle worked to build the brand using the biggest Stars in Hollywood to represent Maybelline and his brother, my grandfather Preston ran to Hollywood to hob nob with them.  Especially with Clara Bow.  However, it was also Preston who called his brother and said, “get out here, it’s Paradise.”  Tom Lyle and his partner Emery flew to Hollywood and soon rented Clara Bow’s Beach House in the Malibu Colony.  All very exciting in those days.
1920s Maybelline makeup

Is it true that Tom bought and moved in to Rudolph Valentino’s old home?
SW: Yes!  After Rudolph Valentino died in 1926, Tom Lyle and Emery rented Clara Bow’s beach house a couple of years, and then rented Valentino’s home in the Hollywood Hills for another couple of years.  They loved the home so much that Tom Lyle bought it, had it remodeled and named it The Villa Valentino.
Tom must have been a true romantic because he remained with his life partner Emery for 50 years until he died !
SW: He and Emery met in Chicago when the Maybelline Company was just getting off the ground.  Emery was in theater and very flamboyant, talented and brilliant.  He helped Tom Lyle write the Maybelline ad’s that appeared in movie magazines.  When they moved to Hollywood, Emery continued to write copy for  Maybelline’s spectacular advertisements and remained by Tom Lyle’s side until his untimely death in 1964.  They were devoted in life and are even entombed together in death.

Sharrie Williams Dad – Bill Williams as a boy with his mother Evelyn, his uncle Tom Lyle and Tom Lyle’s lifetime partner Emery Shave sitting on the running board of a 1934 Packard
In December of 1967 the company was sold and your father”s family came into considerable fortune. Did this affect your life?
Your grand mother Evelyn married again late in life and had her will changed. Did this cause much upset?
SW: My father, was raised by his mother Evelyn and his uncle Tom Lyle, after his father Preston died.  When the Maybelline Company sold, my father inherited a fortune overnight and all of our lives changed.  It was a blessing and a curse, having so much so soon and it went to my grandmother’s head.  She was always beautiful even in her 70′s and when she got involved with a younger man and quickly married him, she took us all out of her will.  It was a nightmare to say the least, but it forced me to finally grow up and develop myself into a real person.  When I was young and so spoiled by my grandmother I never cared to do anything but shop and look beautiful.  After her death I wanted to go back to school and write my book.  It took many years, but in the end The Maybelline Story was told.
1940s Maybelline makeup ad.
The original Miss Maybelline – was your grandmother Evelyn whose famous quote was “Many a wreck is hid under a good paint job” .
Her story ends very tragically in an unsolved murder . Tell us what happened?
SW: She followed her new husband to Hot Springs Arkansas in 1974 and found out he and his ex-wife had plans to kill her and take all her money.  She survived, but got mixed up with a business partner who exploited her in the Bible Belt.  She opened her Hollywood Palace Dinner Theater and receive death threats.  You have to read the book to find out what really happened to Miss Maybelline.
Now Sharrie – be honest – do you wear Maybelline cosmetics yourself ?
SW: After The Maybelline Company sold and we were so well off . I must admit I stopped buying Maybelline and instead bought Cosmetics from Neiman Marcus. One day in my 40′s I decided to try Great Lash again and was amazed at how good it was.  I stopped using Estee Lauder mascara and started using Great Lash.  It is still the one Mascara in my make-up bag today.
Are you still proud of today’s brand of Maybelline ?
SW: Oh definitely.  Maybelline is still the number one Cosmetic brand in the world – and a Great Lash Mascara is sold every 1.7 seconds somewhere around the world.  Maybelline New York is owned by L’Oreal today and has a tremendous advertising budget…..I must admit their commercials and print ads are spectacular.  They also have a much larger line of products than the original Maybelline Company, which makes them appealing Globally.  I’m proud that the little Maybelline Company that started off with a $500 loan almost 100 years ago, is a multi-billion dollar Corporation today.  And to think that it all began with my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams a 19 year old entrepreneur with a good idea.
If you want to read the story for yourself – treat yourself to The Maybelline Story.

Like her Nana Evelyn – Sharrie Williams herself was and remains a beautiful and glamorous woman, of whom Tom Lyle must have been justly proud, so we finish this post with a slight amendment to the following well known quote ” Maybe it’s Maybelline or maybe she was born with it !”
You can catch another excellent interview with Sharrie with Kay at Movie Star Makeover
Finally a vintage Maybelline TV ad on our Youtube channel. Enjoy! To view please go to...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hollywood's biggest Stars represented Maybelline during it's Golden Age

Old Hollywood means, The Maybelline Story.


Whitley Heights

Gorgeous men



Packard, Convertibles



                                           Tom Lyle Williams

                                              and Maybelline.

If you love old Hollywood, with it's style, glamour and Panache, you have to get a signed copy of The Maybelline Story  order today on Amazon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sharrie Williams interview for India's "THE GLAMOROUS DIVA"

by Manpreet
Hi There! Welcome to The Glamorous Diva. I am Manpreet, Full time beauty blogger and the author of TGD. The Glamorous Diva, was born out of my passion for make up. I truly believe that anyone can look glamorous in their own skin. A dash of style, a pinch of motivation , Sprinkle some glitter and you’ll shine your best! Mail me at:

Hey Dolls, Here’s introducing our “Interview Section” Feature inspiring and talented people from across the globe. Sharrie Williams, is a well known personality for her amazing “Maybelline Book” Where she shares all the untold stories of the Maybelline Dynasty.

Sharrie Williams Maybelline Interview
What was your inspiration behind this book?
I’ve had the desire to tell my family’s story since I was in Jr. High School.  It all started when I had to give a speech, for my speech class and I didn’t know what to talk about.  My grandmother suggested I tell the story, how Maybelline got started. She told me the story and when I gave my speech everyone wanted to know more.  Years later, after she died, I decided to write a book before the family story was lost forever.
What was it like growing up in the Maybelline Dynasty?
I think the best part of growing up in the Maybelline family was the fact that my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, owner of the Maybelline Company, lived near us, and we grew up having him in our lives.  When I was 17, I drove my 1957 Blue and White, Bel Air, Chevy, filled with my best girlfriends, up to see him at his estate in Bel Air California.  His Butler, Milford, brought us ice cold bottles of Coke, (with straws sticking out the top,) on a big silver tray and treated us like Queens.  We sat in his ultra-modern living room, overlooking Los Angeles, while he asked us questions about Maybelline’s new Ultra Lash mascara. When it was time to go, Milford brought out a big box filled with Maybelline products and told us to enjoy!  It wasn’t about the money in those days.  It was about being a close knit family making priceless memories.
How did “Maybelline” begin?
My great auntie Mabel, the namesake of the Maybelline Company mixed some coal dust with Vaseline and dabbed it on her eye lashes and brows to make them grow and darken them.  Her 19 year old brother, Tom Lyle Williams, was amazed at the difference it made in her looks and decided to formulate it and sell it in the classifieds of movie magazines.  He named his new product Maybelline in her honor.  There is so much more, but you’ll have to read the book for the full story.
Who did you idolize the most growing up?
I compared myself with the latest Cover girl on fashion magazines.  I was always up on the latest fashion, makeup trick and popular fad.  So I must have idolized Fashion Models, especially because I hoped to be the face of Maybelline someday.  You’ll have to read my book to find out what happened with that dream.
What are your personal favorite beauty secrets from the book?
My favorite beauty secret is my grandmother’s formula for beautiful skin.  I call it “Nana’s Mud.”  She would mix a little plain yogurt with enough rice or oat flour to make a paste and then add a capsule of Vitamin E, I have used this mud as a face mask since I was 15, and it actually feeds the skin, plumps it and makes it supple and less prone to wrinkle.  It’s amazing and it works.
What is the most noteworthy incident in the book that people didn’t know about Maybelline?
In the early days, between, 1915 and 1930, the word mascara had not been coined yet; the only eye beautifier on the market was Maybelline.  So, Ladies would say, I need to get some more Maybelline, whereas today, they say I need to get some more mascara.  In the 1940’s Maybelline was represented by Hollywood’s biggest Movie Stars, because Tom Lyle was gay and had to keep his relationship a secret.   The Government didn’t want gay men having any influence in the good women in America.  Also, Maybelline was almost destroyed when the Government called it was a monopoly, but, Tom Lyle out smarted them by dividing the company among his family to keep it safe and intact.  More of these subjects come alive in my book.
What where your biggest fears when you started writing the book?
After living a very private life, I was worried about going public with my family’s story.  In fact, over the years, I stopped the project and didn’t have the courage to continue for a long time.  I just wanted to live my life and not be disturbed.  However, in time, I mustered the courage to finish the book and had it published.  My family loved the way the story was presented and I’m glad I didn’t let fear stop me from sharing it with the world, because The Maybelline Story is part of Americana, the American Dream.
Was your family supportive?  Did they feel comfortable sharing secrets of the house?
My father, (Tom Lyle’s nephew and Heir,) was worried about his uncle’s private life being exposed.  In fact all of his generation of Maybelline cousins didn’t want in known Tom Lyle was gay.  We never discussed it in the family, and respected his privacy and wish to be obscure.  As it turns out, my father passed away a few years before the book was published and my generations of cousins have no problem with the story now being told.  It’s a different era of course.  I wrote the book with the ultimate respect for my great uncle and his partner Emery Shaver.  They were both great men, completely devoted to their families and the Maybelline Company.

What was it like exploring every memory and family member from Tom Lyle to everyone else involved?
It was extremely rewarding to spend time with all of the older generation, who helped build the Maybelline Company, beyond everyone’s imagination.  My grandmother, my father, Tom Lyle, Mabel, Eva and so  many more wonderful  aunts and uncles, gave me stories, pictures and vintage Maybelline Ad’s, so that I could bring the era back to life.  It’s been very sad to lose them one at a time over the years and I’m so grateful their memories live on in my book.

What would your advice be for people who want to achieve something?  
When you read my book, you will see that the main theme is to never give up on your dream.  Life will challenge and test you to the point of sabotaging your work.  Finances will get in the way, relationships will become more pressing, fear will ultimately tear you apart and you will want to give up.  At that point, know, you are almost there,…keep going and keep believing in yourself and your project.  Dreams take years, mine was in process for over 30 years and though it was a slow uphill battle, it survived… just like the Maybelline Company survived, through the ups and down’s of economic depression, War, Political pressure and personal trials and tribulations.  Remember, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”  It takes great commitment, courage and fortitude to finish your work and be rewarded with the delicious satisfaction of accomplishment and reward.
What is your beauty routine like? 
Sleep is the most important part of my beauty routine.  So, to quiet my mind and get a good 8 to 9 hours sleep a night, I meditate and do yoga most every day.  After sleep comes what I eat, that is 75% raw food, with a little salmon or free range chicken for dinner sometimes.  I don’t expose sun on my face and I use a product that keeps the top layer of my skin constantly exfoliating and evens out my skin tone.  I never ever, ever, sleep with my makeup on or forget to wash and moisturize my face at night and in the morning and I use sun screen religiously.  I’ve gone through many skin peals, because my skin is the first thing people notice and my grandmother taught me first impressions are priceless.

Do you believe in diet affecting your skin?
I have been a vegetarian for the last 35 years, but, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve added a little more protein to my diet.  Fruits and vegetables, big salads, fresh squeezed carrot, apple, celery juice and very little sugar, keeps my skin clear and radiant.  Like the Maybelline slogan says, “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.”  I prefer to look like I was born with it… also drinking two quarts of water a day and not throwing constant junk, coffee and white flour in my system, is mandatory for radiant, healthy skin.

What is your daily routine?
I’m a night Owl, and sleep until at least 9 am.  Once up, I check my email and return messages.  I’m in yoga by noon, and afterwards, enjoy a protein smoothie.  Blogging takes several hours in the afternoon as well as phone calls and appointments.  By 6:00 I’m hungry for a good clean dinner at home or with friends.  I love the night because it’s quiet and I can think about my projects and what needs to get done next.

You’ve published a book, write a wonderful blog.  What next?
Speaking engagements have been my main focus the last several years and I love telling the Maybelline Story, in a Power Pont Presentation, with vintage Maybelline ads and family photos.  After one of my “One Woman Shows,” Ladies tell me the book must be a movie.   I agree that the story is made for a 5 part mini-series and I have my fingers crossed that soon, the book will come alive on the screen and my dream, (since I was 15,) will come full circle.

Be sure to check my blog at

Twitter, @sharriewilliams

Facebook, Sharrie Williams
Thank you so much Sharrie, for sharing such beautiful message and the amazing history with all of us. We wish you All the Best for all your future ventures. Lots of Love! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day!...Graphic combat story taken from my father, Bill Williams, memories of World War 11

Bill Williams with his uncle Tom Lyle Williams at the Villa Valentino

When Bill and a few other men were sent out into the jungle to find the Japs hiding in the hills, he was excited to finally be part of some action. The worst part about looking for Japanese snipers was that they really knew how to hide well in the tropical environment and could sneak up on a soldier from behind and kill him without being detecting.

Bill and his bride, Pauline Mac Donald Williams,  My parents

It was a well known fact that a guy could get killed right next
to his buddy before anyone could do a thing. Bill had gotten used to firing at anything that moved, because back at camp, when on night duty, he was told to shoot at anything that caused the tin cans to rattle from the bobbed wire. He had machine gunned down a few dogs who snuck around at night looking for food and accidentally hit the tin cans. Maybe the men were taught to be trigger happy, and shoot first, ask questions later, rather then take chances and risk their own lives or the lives of their buddies.
Bill in the Philippians on Reconnaissance Mission
When Bill and the men got to the spot on the map where the
Lieutenant reported Jap's hiding, he thought he saw something cross his path and yelled "halt, who goes there." The sniper didn't answer, and then took off running. Bill yelled again, "halt" but when he he kept running he shot him and killed him. The men slowly approached the body, to make sure he was indeed dead, and not faking it. There had been many stories of how Japs lay waiting for a soldier
to approach a dead body, then are ambushed and shot to death. Bill yelled for the others to cover him while he checked the sniper who was just a kid himself.

The other soldiers stood about 15 feet while Bill grabbed some souvenirs off the dead body, it was a right of passage,

as a soldier, his first and only kill before the war ended. Bill
quickly stripped souvenirs off the Jap while the other men watched for snipers. The only good Jap is a dead Jap," one guy said as Bill cut the snipers pockets open, reached in, and was shocked to find them full of blood. He didn't let that stop him and pulled out some Jap money, pictures, cards, and some letters. He took an aluminum canteen with carvings of a Japanese garden on it, a Japanese flag,

binoculars, and a knife. One man said to check for gold teeth, but when he looked in his mouth, he decided it would take too long to pull them out. He grabbed a watch, a compass, and a bayonet, and finally reached for the Jap's belt, only to stick his hands into his warm guts. It was an eerie feeling, but he was so pumped up that he simply
got up, didn't look back and headed down the hill with the other men.
Bill with his mother, Evelyn Williams

The G.I. 's had been warned about live mines, and it was one of their biggest fears. Stepping on a live mine could blow a man's limbs off, decapitate him, rip his guts out, blind him, and finally kill him if he was lucky. Japanese mines were very hard to find when they were buried. The men made it back to camp in one piece, and Bill told his
commanding officer about the Jap he killed, and he told Bill that he'd done the right thing, because if he hadn't of killed him, they might all have been killed. His Captain told him that it takes blood and guts to be in the infantry, and that he was proud of him.

Read more about this and more in my memoir, The Maybelline Story,  Buy my book at