Like many people with dreams of coming to America, Anastasia Beverly Hills founder Anastasia Soare believed that this was where she wanted to make her mark. “This is the country that it doesn’t matter where you are from,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “You will have a chance to do what you want.”
Soare was born in Romania, where, in the late ’70s and ’80s, she says that life “wasn’t that good.” She continues, “After 7 o’clock we’ll have no electricity — in the winter, no heating. You couldn’t buy bread, matches, milk for your kid. This is not human.”
As soon as Soare was able to, she would mentally escape the challenges of life in Romania by diving into art school, reading a lot and studying. “That was the only thing, the only way out for us,” she says. “You couldn’t have too many dreams because in the Communist regime, everything was cookie-cutter.”
Thanks to her husband’s job as a ship captain, they were able to find a way to leave Romania. “He went to American Embassy, asked for political asylum,” she says. “It was very difficult.”
They landed in Los Angeles in 1989, but adjusting to life in the U.S. was hard for Soare. “I think for the first six months I cried every day.,” she recalls. “The fact that I didn’t speak English I think was the most difficult thing for me.”
Luckily, another Romanian immigrant whom Soare met helped her get a job at the beauty salon where the woman worked in Beverly Hills. “That was almost like a door that was open for me,” Soare says.
It wasn’t long before Soare noticed something different about the beauty routines of American women. “I realized that nobody paid attention to eyebrows,” she recalls. “In Romania, it was the norm. I thought, ‘This is Hollywood. We work with the most incredible, beautiful models and actors and this is important. I remember my art teacher saying that if you want to draw a portrait and you want to express an emotion, you just change eyebrows.”
So in 1992, she decided to rent a room in a salon in Beverly Hills and start her own business. “It was difficult — I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think I got support from everybody.”
Soare eventually patented her own technique for shaping eyebrows, based on the ancient Greeks’ and Leonardo da Vinci’s “golden ratio,” and according to people’s bone structure and natural brow shape. After building her reputation, she started working with supermodels such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, and other celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez.
But she she says going on the Oprah Show was “a game-changer,” noting, “She’s the most considerate person.”
Soare struck gold with her eyebrow-shaping business, and is now one of the wealthiest self-made entrepreneurs in the U.S., according to Forbes. But Soare says she’s learned so much from many of her clients along the way. “I’m surrounded by a lot of women and they really inspire me every day,” she says.
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