Thursday, August 6, 2020

Love this latest review of my book, The Maybelline Story. b Curmudgeon

In today's world of PC-GenderEquality, please let me note 2 views of...Males! (Eh! no aspersions are cast on the previous Commentators! We quite be InSync!) 

Alas as Y'all may know, Sharrie was not, at least outwardly, a shy girl, or Saffron as they were called at Culver City High, but one who was given to 'cruisin' with a bevy in her hot '57 Chevy in the Sixties. One regular stop for nutritional refueling/socializing was an Alpine themed hamburger place with a new niche featuring D-i-Y sundae and burger condiment bars...ever put crushed nuts on a burger? Anyway, a former manager there happened to read The Mabelline Story and his ravings literally badgered me into reading this presumptively Girly-Girl life-drama "novel".

 Given I'm not much of a reader anymore, OMG this became one of my FAVs. If you be a male 'of an age', think of the cliffhanging "To-be-Continued", mostly cowboy, serials in Saturday afternoon theaters of your youth. For younger Dudes, think the same concept as used in Indian Jones' Raiders of the Lost Ark! Don't envision a dry-sandman that a family-bio might conjure up. My hunch is so many jumped to an erroneous presumption reading ads, they missed a great read.
Is there a sad part of my note? Yes: Sharrie has not published a fun read again/yet and e.g. Netflix hasn't picked up The Maybelline Story for one of their "Original" flicks or series. Elsewise, this should be on high school reading lists especially, tho not exclusively, for those Kids not planning on a college career....Go Horatio!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Beautiful On His Own Terms: Maybelline Started In Chicago By LGBT Pioneer

May 30, 2017 5:14am | Updated May 30, 2017 5:14am
 Maybelline cosmetics was invented right here in Chicago by a man who, only after his death, would come to be known as the LGBT business pioneer that he was.
Maybelline Origins

EDGEWATER — New information offers to answer the age-old question: Was she born with it, or was it Maybelline?

As it turns out, the namesake of Maybelline makeup was indeed born with eyelashes and eyebrows — until she bleached them to the point of oblivion. 

The woman for whom the famous makeup brand is named, Edgewater resident Mabel Williams, accidentally over-bleached her lashes and brows one day, forcing her to make due with what she had: Vaseline and coal powder.

Her brother, Tom Lyle Williams, discovered his sister applying the concoction to her face in a way he'd only known Hollywood's most dazzling starlets to do.

Two years later, a cosmetics empire was born.

That's according to Sharrie Williams, the great-niece of Maybelline's founder Tom Lyle Williams and author of "The Maybelline Story And The Family Dynasty Behind It."

The author said there have been several versions of the brand's story circulated over the years, but Mabel's own daughter recently confirmed it was a serendipitous over-bleaching that led to the brand's invention.

The three-story building at 5900 N. Ridge Ave. that housed the company's headquarters for more than 50 years is still emblazoned with a cursive "M" above a street-facing entry. 

But Maybelline's Chicago roots, and Tom Williams' legacy as a pioneering — and fearfully closeted — gay entrepreneur have mostly been forgotten. 

With the help of Williams' book and a new exhibit featuring Maybelline's early days at the Edgewater Historical Society, the true story of her great-uncle and the family's history now is emerging.

Interest has piqued so much that Williams is also in talks with Sony Entertainment over a potential television series on Tom Williams' life, she said.

"It's just beginning to get a little bit of an understanding of who he was," she said. "He really wanted to stay hidden because of the shame that was put on him, and he didn't want it to reflect on the family."

"Only after he died, really, could his story be told."

Tom Lyle Williams and his sister Mabel, for whom the business was eventually named and who served as Tom's original inspiration. [Provided/Sharrie Williams]

'The most handsome man' and his makeup

After seeing his sister coloring in her brows and lashes after the accident, Tom Williams asked if there were any beauty products on the market that could perform the same function. 

Though skin creams, rouge and lipstick were all big sellers, eye makeup had to that point largely been ignored, he learned. 

With a friend and a chemistry set, in 1915 Williams created his first product: Lash-Brow-Ine.

Williams was sued for the Lash-Brow-Ine name and its likeness to similar products. In 1917, he changed the name to Maybelline, after his sister.

For a time his budding business was headquartered at 4750 N. Sheridan Road in Uptown, but it moved to 5900 N. Ridge Ave., where Williams developed the distinct black makeup "cakes" that would put him on the map.

Chicago in the 1910s and roaring 1920s was the perfect place and time to launch a business that made Hollywood's exuberance and glamour seem accessible to everyday women.

It also made it easier for Tom Williams, an eccentric man and sharp dresser who flaunted his money with custom cars, fabulous clothing and his own makeup, to be himself to some extent, his great-niece said. 

In a larger world that did not yet understand LGBT people, jazzy Chicago was a safe place to fit in. 

"In the '20s, it was flamboyant in general, with the speakeasies and all the crime going on and the front pages, it was just a lot of drama," Williams said. Tom Williams "was kind of known for wearing his own makeup, hats and llama skin coats.

"My grandmother, when she first met him, said he was the most handsome man she'd ever seen."

An original Maybelline cake tin. [Provided/Sharrie Williams]

"Everyone had to be in the closet"

Tom Williams' family grappled with his relationship with beau Emery Shaver. 

While some were accepting, others staunchly denied any allegations the cosmetics founder was in a loving union with another man.

Williams said her family always knew her great-uncle was "different" but lacked the context and societal acceptance to fully understand or come to terms with his sexuality. 

When the Great Depression hit and the era of glitz and grandeur began to fade, the Williams family had a more difficult time blending in. 

In 1934, Tom Williams had a custom car like one he'd seen at the The Chicago World's Fair delivered to Maybelline's Edgewater offices, infuriating the people starving and scrounging around them. 

Tom's flamboyancy in attire and attitude also put a target on his back during a time when the government was conducting nationwide "witch hunts" to keep gay men from influencing the public, in particular women, his great-niece said.

Tom Williams suddenly found himself in a dangerous place.

"There were not designers like there are today that were gay and out in the '20s and '30s — it just wasn't done," Williams said.

Eventually, he and Shaver picked up and headed West to California, where Tom Williams bought Rudolph Valentino's former home in Hollywood Hills.

There, among the Hollywood types he aspired to rub elbows with, Tom Williams could be with his love and had beautiful women to hide behind.

Iconic actresses like Betty Grable and Viola Dana became the faces of Maybelline. In a signed photo, Joan Crawford said it was the eye makeup she "would never be without."

Like countless other LGBT pioneers throughout history, Tom Williams is virtually unknown despite founding one of the world's most famous makeup brands.

"It's a story you don't hear about because everyone had to be in the closet," said Andrew Clayman, creator of the Made in Chicago Museum that contains original Maybelline products. "So the LGBT community doesn't really have these pioneers of industry, when really they were there, probably in the same percentage as anybody else."

Tom Lyle Williams and Emery Shaver in front of their Hollywood home. [Provided/Sharrie Williams]

"When everything exploded"

In 1964 Shaver died and Tom Williams soon after sold the company to Plough Inc., a pharmaceutical company.

"That's when everything exploded," Williams said.

Despite a promise to keep the company in Chicago and to retain its workers, Plough moved Maybelline to Little Rock, Ark., where for the remainder of Tom Williams' life he watched his company swell into a beauty conglomerate. 

Old, alone and unwell, he also looked on in dismay as his family lavishly spent money from the makeup empire as he watched it transform from the company he built, Williams said. 

In retrospect, he regretted selling it and wished he had groomed another family member to be his successor.

"He was very sad seeing the way Plough was changing everything," his great-niece said. 

Tom Williams died in 1976 at age 80.

Today the company is owned by L'Oreal and known as "Maybelline New York" — "almost as if to spite Chicago," Clayman said.

Maybelline now tells a very different origin story. According to Maybelline today, Tom Williams' sister, spelled "Maybel," had been "in love with a man who was in love with someone else" and trying different beauty regiments to lure him.

"The rest is history," the company writes. 

And under Williams' tenure, history was indeed made: Maybelline was the first cosmetics brand to plug advertisements over radio, offer before and after photos in ads, utilize the faces of movie stars to drum up publicity and use someone other than the founder's name.

Thanks to the younger Williams' book and supplemental research from Clayman, that story is now being told.

"It's a part of American history, and it's just been brushed under the rug," Williams said.

The Maybelline building in 1932 [Sharrie Williams]The Maybelline building today [Sharrie Williams]An "M" is still engraved above the Ridge Avenue door frame. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]The former Maybelline building at 5900 N. Ridge Ave. in Edgewater [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]


Thursday, July 23, 2020

YouTube Personality Kathryn A. Fisher, tells The Maybelline Story and gives a great Tutorial

Kathryn makes videos about skincare and makeup aimed at the 
over 45 crowd. 
She specializes in  "Docutorial's", a
combination of a documentary of the cosmetic brand and
a makeup tutorial.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Maybelline Story reads like the best fiction but with real characters and plots that take us on a wild ride. REVIEW

From the Midwest through Chicago and Hollywood, we follow a path strewn with scandals, jealousies, triangles and betrayals. Throw in arson, a still-unsolved murder and even the Feds and Mafia and you have an exciting and bumpy journey that leaves more than one casualty in its wake. And Maybelline was along for the ride. 

The characters seem larger-than-life yet somehow remain vulnerable and sympathetic This is a family that continually grasped at the shiny ring only to discover that it might be no more than their own reflections staring back, sometimes accusingly, in the mirror. 

The legacy is in good hands with Ms. Williams. She's a true storyteller and writes with passion and candor while bluntly sharing her own resolve to rise above her 

family's lifelong mantra of money, beauty and the search for perfection. It's a critical but tender tale of redemption that displays an understanding, compassion and love for her family. She never gave up on her dream to tell this story and literally braved fire and fury to share it with the world. It's a book that you really can't put down, a true page-turner and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. 

You'll never look at a Maybelline ad again without feeling a tug of empathy for these characters and the struggles and determination of one man's effort to capture beauty on a brush and change forever the color palette of the world.

Friday, July 10, 2020

@VintageNews Thomas Lyle Williams created the first Maybelline mascara using petroleum jelly, coal dust, and ashes of a burnt cork

 Domagoj Valjak Story taken directly
 from The Maybelline Story
Maybelline, currently known as Maybelline New York, is one of the most famous makeup brands in the world. In recent decades it has been publicly represented by numerous celebrities, including Miranda Kerr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jessica White, Kristin Davis, and Adriana Lima. Maybelline New York is now a subsidiary of the French cosmetics giant L’Oreal, but it was once an independent makeup company. It was founded in 1915 by a young entrepreneur named Thomas Lyle Williams, who created the very first American mascara.

Williams was born in Morganfield, Kentucky, in 1896 and moved to Chicago in the early 1910s. He briefly worked for Montgomery Ward, a company that printed mail-order catalogs and shipped products to customers across the United States, but his dream was to found his own mail-order company. He spent most of his free time trying to invent some new product which would be appealing enough to jump-start his business. He never planned on inventing a new product; the revolutionary idea of a mascara came to him after his sister suffered an accident.

In early 1915, Williams’ sister Mabel burned her eyebrows and eyelashes after her kitchen stove caught fire. After she extinguished the fire, she was very keen on hiding the fact that her eyebrows and eyelashes were nonexistent.

Williams watched her as she applied some of her homemade cosmetics, a dark paste made from petroleum jelly, some coal dust, and ashes left over from a burnt cork. He was surprised to see that Mabel actually succeeded in creating fashionable fake eyebrows and even concealing her scorched eyelashes. His sister inspired him to try and perfect her makeshift paste and sell it to women across the nation.

Thomas Lyle “Tom” Williams, Sr at 18 years old
That same year, Williams founded Maybelline Laboratories, a company that he named in honor of his resourceful sister. His first product was called the “Lash-Brow” and was made from similar ingredients to the ones used by his sister. He managed to sell some of it via mail order, but the product wasn’t very successful, because Williams lacked the knowledge of chemistry required to create a neutral fragrance and to make the paste water-resistant. However, he soon teamed up with a local drug manufacturer who added several chemicals and helped him fix these problems.

1920 ad for Maybelline.
This new and perfected product was called simply “Maybelline” and was advertised as “the first modern eye cosmetic for everyday use.” It was essentially a cake eyelash coupled with an eyebrow beautifier. When Williams started selling Maybelline, he didn’t know what to expect and was surprised to see that many women across the country fell in love with the product. By the early 1920s, his company was making astronomical amounts of money and he became known as a clever entrepreneur and a respected businessman.

Ad for Maybelline eyebrow and eyelash darkener with actress Ethel Clayton, on page 116 of the January 1922 Photoplay
In 1929, Maybelline Laboratories introduced a new line of cosmetics that featured eyeshadow and eyebrow pencils. This new line was an instant success and only proved that Williams was a true visionary of makeup cosmetics. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Maybelline products were promoted by Hollywood divas such as Phyllis Haver, Ethel Clayton, Viola Dana, and Ruth Roland.
Williams enjoyed a life of luxury and success: After World War II, he and his life partner, Emery Shaver, moved into a grandiose mansion in the Hollywood Hills previously owned by the late film star and pop idol
Rudolph Valentino.

Thomas Lyle Williams Sr with his 14-year-old son, Thomas Lyle Williams Jr., in 1926
Maybelline Laboratories continued progressing as their international joint venture. Sadly, Shaver died in 1964, just after Maybelline Ultra Lash became the first internationally mass-produced makeup utility. Although business was booming, the grief-stricken Williams grew increasingly depressed and finally sold the company in 1967, three years after the death of his partner.

Joan Crawford from Modern Screen, January 1946, Maybelline advertisement, photography by Paul Hesse
The company was purchased by Plough Inc., a company from Memphis, Tennessee, which is nowadays known as Schering-Plough. Plough Inc. owned the company until 1990 and then sold it to Wasserstein Perella & Co., a New York-based investment firm whose marketing team invented the advertising slogan “(Maybe she’s born with it.) Maybe it’s Maybelline.” in 1991. The slogan is still used to advertise the brand and is instantly recognizable across the world. In 1996, Wasserstein Perella & Co. sold the company to its present owner, L’Oreal.
Thomas Lyle Williams died in 1976 and was buried next to Shaver at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. Although he sold his company and quietly quit the business of makeup manufacture, he will always be known as the creator of the revolutionary Maybelline mascara.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Friday, July 3, 2020

Maybelline Family Ladies share their favorite desert recipes

Maybelline Recipes








Evelyn's Pineapple Unside Down Cake 

1/2 cup butter 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 can 20 oz sliced pinapple 4 eggs seperated 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt Maraschino cherries  

Directions Melt butter in 10-12 in ovenproof skillet Add brown sugar mix well until sugar is melted Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juce arrange 8 pineapple slices in a single layer over sugar set aside 

In a large bowl, beat eggs yolks until thick and lemon-colored Gradually add sugar, beating well Blend in vanilla and reserved pinapple juice

combine the flour, baking powder and salt add to batter, beating well In a small bowl, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form fold into batter. 

spoon into skillett Bake at 375 for 30 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center is clean Let stand for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving plate Yield 10 servings. 

Mabel's Dainty Date Bars 

Filling: 8 oz. chopped dates 3/4 C. sugar 1 C. water 1 C. chopped nuts Boil together the dates, water and sugar until thick. Mix in nuts. Set aside.

Crust: 1/2 lb. butter, softened 1 C. brown sugar, firmly packed 2 C. old-fashioned oats 1-1/4 C. flour 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt Combine well. Pat 2/3 of mixture into 9" X 13" pan. Spread with filling. Sprinkle reserved mixture over top. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. 

Eva's Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler

Sift one tsp. baking powder and 3/4 cup flour. Mix 1 cup of sugar with flour. Add 3/4 of milk. Melt one stick of butter. Pour mixture over 3 to 4 cups of Peaches. Pour melted butter over the top and bake 350 for 55 minutes to one hour. Serve warm with whipped cream or vinalla ice cream. 

Frances' Chocolate Icebox Dessert

3 – 8 oz packages of Bakers German sweet chocolate 3 eggs 1 pint whipping cream 1 ¼ Tbsp. Vanilla 3 Tbsp. Powdered sugar 2 boxes of Social Tea Biscuits Melt chocolate in double boiler Separate eggs, beat yolks with sugar Add to melted chocolate, Beat egg whites and add- Add Vanilla Add ½ pint whipped cream, (save ½ pint for topping.) 

Line loaf pan with cookies Add layer of chocolate mixture Continue layering cookies and chocolate mixture, ending with chocolate. Store in refrigerator and slice and serve with whipped cream

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I am a Wonderwoman because…I make it happen!!!

Sharrie Williams – Author of ‘The Maybelline Story and The Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It’

Sharrie Williams with her Cousin Chuck Williams, Nancy Williams Fesler and her husband, EJ Fesler, wishing their Uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, founder of the Maybelline Company a Happy 117th, Happy Birthday.

Maybelline is still the leading cosmetic brand in the world but who was the man behind it. International author of bestselling book ‘The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It’ Sharrie Williams, reveals why writing about her own family history, enabled her to find peace within herself and to change her life for the better. To round up the year, I felt it was fitting to give you all the opportunity to read Sharrie’s story and to be no only empowered but also encouraged to make changes within your own lives. You too may have a story within yourself that you haven’t yet shared. Read on and delve deeper into the Maybelline dynasty and the phenomenal individuals behind it….

S: Sharrie, thank you for featuring in In-spireLS Magazine, how are you?

SW: I’m very well Sasha, I hope all is well with you.

S: The Maybelline story provides an in depth and firsthand look into the life of the Maybelline Empire. So many of us know that Maybelline is a major powerhouse in the world of beauty but what were the defining factors behind you writing the book?

SW: My curiosity was stimulated by all the stories being told while I was growing up, then after my grandmother’s mysterious death I knew I had to tell the story or it would be lost forever.

S: Was your family supportive of your decision to share their story with the rest of the world?

SW: No, they were worried that their privacy would be disturbed and it would cause jealousy within the family. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t publish the book until my parent’s death.  In the end, they gave me their blessing and hoped I would be able to make my lifetime dream a reality.

S: Your great uncle Tom Lyle Williams is the epitome of the ‘American Dream’ having started Maybelline at 19; he built it from the ground up and eventually sold it to Plough Inc in 1968. How inspired were you by the journey of your great uncle and his rags to riches tale?

SW: I was so inspired that it influenced every aspect of my life from the time I was a small child.  I was determined to follow in his footsteps and do something that would inspire the world.  Telling his story became an obsession, because I wanted the world to know and remember what a great  man he was.  He and his partner Emery Shaver, had to hide from the public eye, because they were Gay.  I know it’s hard to imagine today but in those days, if you were gay, the Government would go on a witch-hunt to eliminate you from having any influence on women in America. In fact, this is another reason my family wanted the story to remain a secret for all time.

S: Fast forward with Maybelline still being named as leaders in the beauty industry. In your opinion Sharrie, how much of the original vision of the brand is still intact, if any?

SW: Of course, Maybelline has always been a fashion leader since it first made an appearance in 1915.  Hollywood stars represented Maybelline and kept the brand fresh with every generation.  Advertising was Maybelline’s secret weapon and the company continued to expand over the years because it was a quality product sensibly priced. Today, Maybelline New York 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.  The biggest change in my  mind is the product line.  The original Maybelline Line focused strictly on Eye-Beauty and today it includes every aspect of the beauty market.

S: How long did it take for you to plan and write the book overall?

SW: I was 15 when I knew the story had to be told but didn’t get serious until I was in my 30’s after my grandmother’s death.  At that point, I knew I had an incredible ending to a story that span most of the 20th century.  It took me years and years to research and document as much as possible with my mother and father’s memories backing me up. However it wasn’t until I finished a 900 page manuscript in 2002, that I took my project to Bettie Young’s Books and she published it in 2010. We had it edited at least ten times and we cut it down to 400 pages of fast and exciting reading.  So, I guess you could say it took me a lifetime to finish the dream. But, the story is timeless, ageless and I believe a true American classic; well worth the time and effort.

S: What has been the response?

SW: Anyone who’s read ‘The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty behind It’ say they absolutely can’t put it down. Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger and you say to yourself, “Well! then what happened?  Most people read it non-stop until the unbelievable ending, wishing it would never end. So many memories are sparked as my readers walk through history with me and remember what their families were doing at the same time.  I truly believe the book was inspired
and just wrote itself through me as if I were a channel for all those who lived the story.

S: Many people assume that growing up in such an influential and wealthy environment meant that  in life you wanted for nothing. However, for you Sharrie, this wasn’t always the case. What were the pros and cons of growing up within your family?

SW: It seems like there is a price for being spoiled and it isn’t always a bed of roses.  For me, losing my marriage, a baby, having my home destroyed in a fire, my mother’s tragic life, my grandmother’s mysterious death and the struggle of finding out who I was outside the Maybelline mystique has all been a challenge needless to say. However, being part of a family that helped build an American Institution has been an incredible gift that I can’t put into words.  The bond I share with my entire family is like being part of the woof and warp of a priceless tapestry. The good, the bad and the ugly exists in every family, but by the grace of God I was born into a really great one that I love with my heart and soul. That’s another reason why I had to tell their story.

S: Maybelline represents for many ‘beauty’ in all its forms. How difficult was it for you growing up in a world where good looks and the attainment of beauty reigned supreme?

SW: Well that’s the crux of the story for me. Having a grandmother, who was fanatical about perfection and  being a chubby little red haired, freckle faced girl was hell on wheels growing up. It took diet pills, hair bleaching, freckle remover, modeling classes, acting classes, etc.  Until I was near model perfect and Nana was finally satisfied with her “ All American Maybelline Girl.”  After her death I let down the mask and began the process of accepting myself as an imperfect human being. That took years of therapy, Yoga, Meditation, eating super clean, 12 step programs and finally finishing my Bachelors Degree in my 50’s to realize I had a brain and didn’t need to be perfect to be loved.

S: On the outside you had a perfect life when you married the young and handsome attorney Gene Dorney but you didn’t get the happy ended you wanted. Why did the marriage not survive and how did you deal with the breakdown of your marriage?

SW: I never really got over him divorcing me and leaving me a single parent with a heartbroken child. My father told me he believed Gene left because of my obsession with my family.  My Italian husband wanted a little wife to love and adore him, help him with his law practice and just not be so darn larger than life.  I wanted to write my book, be an actress, have a career of my own and still be a wife and mother.  So he left me and married someone else.  I never remarried.  I rebuilt my home after the fire, finished my education, raised my daughter, wrote a book, buried my parents and now have a successful blog and speak at presentations as well.  The void of losing my marriage was filled with things I had to do for myself to satisfy my soul before I die. I’m happy with my choices today, but Gene will always be the love of my life.

S: It was during the most tumultuous times in your life that your grandmother Evelyn squandered her fortune and died in what is described as mysterious circumstances in an arson related fire. Till this day, her murder has been left unsolved. What affect did this have on your life and how did you work through your loss?

SW: We were stunned beyond belief. How could our Nana be “taken in,” by a con artist in Hot Springs Arkansas.  My father was too devastated to begin trying to solve the case and Hot Springs Just wanted to cover it up. The Williams family were kicked out of there and never returned. Most of my grandmother’s estate was pillaged by unscrupulous people and we were left with very little besides our memories. That was the beginning of my journey to find out what I was made of without Nana’s promise of having a secure future. That’s when I wanted to make something of myself like Tom Lyle did. That’s when I went back to school and began writing the Maybelline Story. Now, after 35 years since her death, I have finally worked through my feelings and only wish I’d been mature enough to help her back then and stop her from making such terrible decisions and leaving the family for a younger man when she was 74 years old.

S: Your divorce, the struggle to deal with the need to always look beautiful and the death of your grandmother, all conjured up together to create a recipe for self-destruction. In your bio, on your official website it is described as…. ‘Her addictive lifestyle had overshadowed loving relationships, shopping had replaced spiritual growth and drugs helped free her hungry heart.’ Your life had hit a standstill and it was during this time that you turned to therapy?  How difficult or easy was it for you to accept that you needed help and support from something and someone outside of yourself?

SW: At first therapy was marriage counseling with Gene to save our relationship.  However, when the therapist let Gene go and told me I had to re-parent myself,  the real work began.  I bonded with my therapist as if she were a mother, father, sister and friend. She helped me dig down deep inside and find the lost little chubby, red haired girl I’d abandoned years before. In time, I accepted my lost little child and gave her a voice.  She wanted to finish her education, so I started the long path that took 20 years to complete. In that process, came the need to actually put my words down on paper and trust my voice would be received well. It was; and I became a functioning adult able to live in the real world. With all the work I put into re-parenting myself came new and renewed relationships with my father, mother and everyone else. Finally, I was whole enough to sit down for two years straight and write my story.

S: What were the benefits of you undertaking therapy?

SW: Getting to know who you really are, what you really want besides pleasing everyone else in your life. Taking risks you never dreamed possible, failing, forgiving yourself, taking more risks, winning, losing, and finally riding the ups and downs of life, feeling good about yourself.  For me, the ultimate benefit is being open, honest and free to share my experience, strength and hope with others and accept that there are no guarantees. Every day is a gift.

S: You managed to turn your life around and it was during this period of positive transition, that you decided to write the life story of your family. How much did the release of such information, aid you in your own journey of recovery and self- discovery?

SW: In the early years of writing my story I had tremendous resentment towards my grandmother and father.  I felt they were the cause of all my problems.  As I healed my pain I began to understand them better and finally realized that they had done the best they could with what they had to work with emotionally. I no longer blame anyone for what happened to me and entrust my life to a loving God who guides my life every day.  I take care of myself and don’t put expectations on anyone. With that awareness, the characters in my book (as I like to call them) became more believable and my readers were able to draw their own conclusions without me telling them what to think. I revealed everyone’s good points and bad points, including my own. That’s why the book is so good. Everyone can see themselves in my characters.  I had to grow up and be much older to really write a good book with no serious prejudice.

S: When and how did you learn that your story could encourage and in-spire others?

SW: My therapist suggested I join a 12 step program after Gene left me because she said I was co-dependent. It was in these meeting’s that I began to tell my story and people listened. Soon,  I was asked to be a speaker and I accepted. People came up to me after and said I needed to write a book and tell my story. I joined Toastmasters and became a trophy winning speaker. I told Tom Lyle’s rags to riches story and how it affected me personally and people said I was inspiring . Today, I give live power point presentations, much like a One Woman Show, with slides showing Vintage Maybelline ads and family pictures. I hope to do seminars and podcasts eventually and perhaps coach people who want to find their voice and write their story.

S: You returned to education and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, it was with this that  you really started to give back and help others. In your experience, how important is it for those going through any type of emotional strain to seek support from others?

SW: We can’t do it alone. Whatever it is we want to accomplish, we need some kind of support.  Few people can go it alone and become a great success with no hang-ups, but for most people who have been stuck in their family roles for so long, it’s near impossible to break out and move forward without support. I’d still be a naive child thinking daddy had to take care of me forever, because I didn’t believe I had what it took to make it on my own and become a success.  I’d tell everyone who wants to change…  “get support” either by paying for it in therapy or in 12 step programs. When you believe you can do it, you will do it, you will make that dream a reality because you can.

S: Having ventured onto the path of re-discovery and the release of the book, do you feel that you have finally found peace within yourself?

SW: In many respects yes. I have finished almost everything I’ve wanted to do in this lifetime. I have good relationships with those who matter most to me and I don’t have a burning desire to have my ego stroked. Today, I love doing my blog and hearing from people all over the world.  I’ve had 105 countries check into the blog and my numbers are climbing every month.  My biggest worry was believing people outside the family were unsafe and that kept me paralyzed and afraid to reach out. So I guess you can say; I have peace and contentment at last, but I’m always open to experience more adventures if they come my way.

S: What drives and motivates you most within your life?

SW: I have the spirit of a fighter and like Tom Lyle I never  give up. I may get down but I always get up and keep going. I’m surrounded by all the pictures of my family and they motivate me and aspire me to never give up. It’s in my blood, my DNA and my soul. My roots go back to Benjamin Franklin who was a free thinker as well as an inventor, philosopher and writer/publisher. I have that same determination to create, grow and thrive, especially as a woman in these pioneering times.

S: What or who in-spires you?

SW: God’s natural beauty, living by the sea and smelling the ocean air or being in the desert after the rain and smelling the sage. Anything majestic and not man made.  I’m also inspired by The Beach Boys and their God given voices.

S: Do you have any positive quotations that you apply to your life? If yes, what are they?

SW: “I’m grateful for what’s been given me, what’s been taken away and what’s been left behind.”
This quote got me through the Laguna Beach 1993 Firestorm that burned my home when I wasn’t home and I lost almost everything.  I also love Nana’s old saying, “Many a wreck is hidden under a good paint job.” She’d say this every time someone complemented her. It’s true,  Maybelline can cover up whatever you’re trying to hide.

S: Aside from the promotion of ‘The Maybelline Story’ what else are you currently working on?

SW: My Maybelline Book Blog at I also spend several hours a day doing interviews and writing articles for magazines and online blogs. I completed my second book. But, instead of publishing it, my agent Italia Gandolfo, decided to option it to Writer/Producer, Marie D. Jones of "Where's Lucy Production," for a possible miniseries.  Fingers crossed, were waiting for a positive response from Sony Productions. 

S: How and where can In-spireLS readers keep up with you?

SW: They can follow the blog and be a guest blogger anytime they want.

S: Finally, in the face of adversity, what would Sharrie do?

SW: Pray, trust, keep on getting out of bed, try not to cause any trouble or be a pain in the neck.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking care of the business at hand.  Finally, get back into bed and go to sleep.  Let life unfold and know that God will either fix the problem for you or show you what to do.
Thank you Sharrie for answering our questions; please round them off by completing these sentences….
Dreams are… mandatory.

Self-belief can…. can make or break you.
I am at my best when….I’m rested, eat clean and do Yoga.
Three words that best describe me are…. Loyal, Trustworthy, Tenacious.
Self-love can…save your life.
The thing I admire most about myself is….I never give up.
I am at my happiest when…I’m with my family.

I am a Wonderwoman because…I make it happen!!!

W| Interview by Sasha Bennett                                               

 I| Provided by Sharrie Williams-All Rights reserved.

 “Sharrie Williams is the author of The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It,  available on  or  maybellinebookcom.

The Maybelline Story--and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It The Maybelline Story--and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It
by Sharrie Williams

Price:  $24.73