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PEOPLE

The Power of Beauty with Make Up For Ever’s Teresa Lo

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• Teresa Lo, Brand General Manager of Make Up For Ever, talks to The Mag about the power of beauty at work and in life.
• The idea of beauty has changed through the years; it’s no longer about meeting perfect standards but embracing your true self.
• Empowering your teammates by being an authentic leader will encourage them to seek beauty in each other.
• You must find beauty in yourself before you can love and care for others.

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What’s the one thing that motivates you? “The Power Series” offers thought leadership insights from industry experts at Taikoo Place on the “power” of their initiatives in relation to everyday life. In March, we speak to Teresa Lo, Brand General Manager at Make Up For Ever, about the power of beauty. 

I never thought I would work in the beauty industry, because I am very casual during the weekends. But now, 15 years in, I couldn’t imagine being in anything else.

I’ve worked in consumer goods retail since the first day of my career. And in 2012, our group, Parfums Christian Dior, set up a subsidiary for Make Up For Ever in Hong Kong. That’s when I joined our company, to run operations and to build the brand development in Hong Kong. I was the first person in the team! 

I love being a part of the beauty industry because a lot of it is about human emotions. Product functions are actually just a very small part of what we do. It’s the stories that drive the innovations, the creativity, the design, and of the consumers’ needs, that makes it so fascinating for me. Consumer goods can arouse human emotions, and it’s these human connections that keep me in the industry.

“Who you truly are will be the “beauty” that people will be looking at.”
The idea of “beauty” has changed a lot over time. Before, when people talked about beauty, it was about certain standards of what you should look like. Having big eyes, a V-shaped face, very fair skin – you had to be perfect. But not any more.

Nowadays, beauty equals inclusivity, and beauty terminology has evolved. We no longer talk about “whitening” products, but rather, products that enhance radiance. There’s no need to be flawless, nor to hide behind imperfections – if we can call them that at all. We recently collaborated with models with the skin condition vitiligo, and a lipstick campaign featuring a Malaysian singer with a cleft palate. Because when it comes to beauty, the most important thing is that we’re embracing our individualism and uniqueness, so really, enhancing what’s already beautiful. Makeup and skincare can boost our confidence to show that off. Who you truly are will be the “beauty” that people will be looking at.

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Beauty is about being compassionate, too. I always say that human beings don’t own the world. We’re sharing it with all kinds of other beings! So we must take care of the environment, of this home. The pandemic has made us all realise the importance of sustainability. For us, including our consumers, this means more focus on a kind of “lifestyle beauty”, clean beauty. Is the packaging environmentally friendly? Are the ingredients all natural, the products causing minimal harm to our environment?
I find such beauty in kids and animals. I have a three-year-old nephew. When I’m upset, I call him. Kids are so authentic. They say what they mean, they don’t pretend. I also love animals, especially my cat. In front of animals and kids, I feel I can 100% be myself. They are my true joy.

That’s what I Iearnt from them – to be my authentic self, at all times. Though I am a manager, I can be very silly with my team; being authentic, being human, I would say that’s a way of empowering others. An employee might have an idea of what bosses should be like, but if you’re being an authentic leader, then they will know that it’s OK to make mistakes, and to be silly – and then be comfortable with showing their true selves, too.

My philosophy is that everyone is the expert in their roles.
I always say to my team, “We don’t need 15 Teresas!” If I show that I have trust in them, they will gain trust in themselves. I welcome each person’s input, but the point is that management has to provide an open environment that welcomes contribution. I always encourage my team with compliments that come from my heart. Empowering the team for them to bring out their best, both in themselves and in each other, is the real beauty of teamwork.
Just like how there’s no perfect beauty standard, there’s no such thing as a perfect team either. I see disagreements as part of the journey to getting us to the best decision. Everyone works so hard individually that they may not truly have time to understand one another. Everyone’s strong opinion could stop them from really listening, or “hearing” what’s being said, which could actually be the same thing! I work as a communicate bridge to support my team, while trying to understand the intention behind each side of the discussion – which, I believe, is always a good one. As long as we’re heading towards the same destination, then we’re on the right track.

It goes back to the beauty of appreciating everyone for who they are. I really enjoy seeing people grow. But we must help ourselves first before we can take care of others.

Years ago, I learnt a practice from a coach. Every day, look into the mirror, and say 10 things that you love about yourself. It’s not easy, but it really works! What you say to yourself, and how you say it, will change you. Day by day, this practice really shifted my emotions and gave me lightness. I’m very proud of myself – and the more proud you are of yourself, the more you can show care and love to others. If we all remain hopeful and positive for the future, our collective faith can change the world. And that’s what beauty is all about.

Why are more heads always better than one? Read about the Power of Collaboration with Reed Smith’s Anthony Woo.

Do you work at Taikoo Place and want to be featured in The Power Series? Get in touch.
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