Patricia Reynoso: A Latina Girl Boss for the Ages

The term girl boss is used as both an adjective and a noun. To be a girl boss, you have to be confident. You have to know what you want and do everything it takes to get it. You have to want success and maturely accept failure. The designers of fashion weeks are girl bosses, and so are the women in college who major in engineering and are one of three females in their classes. Stay-at-home mothers are girl bosses. The women of NASA are girl bosses. Anna Wintour, Emma Watson, and Michelle Obama are all girl bosses, too. These women stand behind their beliefs, work hard, and never let the fear of failure keep them from trying, doing, and succeeding.

Patricia Reynoso is a girl boss.

Reynoso has been a long-time lover of the beauty industry, working for years as a writer and editor for multiple publications. She is one hundred percent Dominican, a wife, and a mother to teenage twins, a boy and girl, who are currently waiting to hear back from colleges and looking forward to Prom. She lives in New Jersey but works in New York City and has proved that she is unafraid of new challenges. A former beauty editor at W Magazine, she is taking on a new challenge — copy director for a major beauty brand.

As Director of Brand Messaging of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, owned by Estée Lauder, Reynoso will be responsible for rediscovering the identity of the brand.

“I’ve only been at the job for a month; I started in January.  It’s new for me; I’ve never been in copy. Any words you see affiliated with Bobbi Brown comes from our team. When you go to Sephora, you’ll see secondary copy, product names, shade names. A video on the Bobbi channel on YouTube, any of those words came from our team,” said Reynoso in a phone interview.

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has been around since 1991 — some would say that 27 years in the industry makes the company legendary. Perhaps one of the first celebrity makeup artists, Brown has made a name for herself with lipsticks, foundations, and perfumes and has written eight beauty books. She left the company in December 2016 — Reynoso’s job is to figure out what the brand is without her.

“It’s not a one-woman show, that’s for sure. We have a new president, a new creative director; I’m new, everyone is new. It’s a matter of bringing in a fresh set of eyes and really looking at it. And it’s a matter of studying the market. Maybe when Bobbi first came out, people were hungry for beauty tutorials and advice, but now there’s an unlimited amount of information online. Some things won’t change; the brand has a following. Bobbi Brown is always evolving, so now it’s a matter or doing some brand identity work. Are we natural beauty, artistry, New York? Who are we without Bobbi Brown? People don’t remember she’s a real person,”  said Reynoso.

During a day at the office, Reynoso writes, researches, and tries to learn as much as she can about Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

“I go to lots of meetings; I always take time to do my own research and play around online. That’s a little break for me that still feels like work like I’m being productive. I’ll go on YouTube and get caught up on pop culture. I have daily writing assignments and assess what’s on my to do list. I am also educating myself on the brand; I am trying to put myself in the context of the Bobbi world. It’s very different than other brands I’ve worked at. In this business, you have to be flexible and think about — kind of isolate — that one brand that you’re working on in that world. I like looking at reviews of all the products and then incorporate that back into our language. I meet with marketing, and they decide when things are going to be launched. I might also be in a meeting with education; that’s the team that oversees all of the Bobbi makeup artists throughout all the stores. I also meet with development, who are the team that comes up with the ingredients. I try to stay creative because this is a creative business. It’s a lot of internet and thinking. I like to get outside and get some fresh air.”

If you asked her as teenager what she would be doing in 2018, Reynoso would have never dreamed it would be this, even though the beauty industry has always been a love of hers.

“When I was young, I didn’t see myself working in the industry. Looking back on it now, it makes total sense that I ended up here. People who knew me in my teens always say I would buy beauty books and was always reading about that stuff. I think it makes total sense. I was really interested in beauty and really understanding how makeup works and applying things and techniques, and there seemed to be a lot to learn. I think growing up Latina helped. I was always shopping for beauty products and learning how to do my hair,” says Reynoso, who still loves to dabble, as does her teen daughter, Grace.

“Oh my goodness, my daughter, Grace, and I have had the best conversations around beauty. It's our favorite topic. We share a natural love of beauty rituals but other factors have fueled this bond like our mother-daughter relationship, culture, social media, my career, and her interest in following in my footsteps. It's been beautiful to see this bond grow and change. I used to take care of her beauty needs, like combing her hair and moisturizing her skin, and now she's teaching me how to bake and contour and highlight. We discuss our favorite beauty vloggers and I tell her about my job. She'll request certain beauty items--like when I'm at Harmon's and she texts me to bring her back some lash glue--and I don't blink. The girl needs her lash glue! Got to respect that!”

Just like she did not think she would work in the beauty industry, Reynoso did not get her start there either. She began her career in advertising, working with clients like Heineken beer and overseeing budgets as a young media planner.

“I knew advertising wasn’t going to be my life job. Eventually, I did get into publishing and the magazine world. I was a fashion editor and I quickly figured out that I didn’t love fashion, but I would go to fashion shows as a part of my job. I was always distracted by the beauty. I started writing for W Magazine, and that team started giving me writing assignments, and so a year later, a beauty position opened up.”

Reynoso also notes that although the beauty industry is where she belongs, there was a point when she contemplated leaving it behind.

“I went through two years of consulting and I wasn’t full-time with anyone. It was a scary, yet beneficial time I think everyone should go through. During that time, I thought maybe I could do something else - like maybe go into education. I was brainstorming. But the beauty industry raised me; I’m too far gone like there’s no getting out of it at this point. It feels natural for sure. Before this experience, I was editor at a Latina magazine that Conde Nast was doing — it was the perfect job for me.”

Reynoso credits her success and her driving force to her Latina heritage, which always bled into her work naturally and authentically.

“I took a similar class to what you’re taking at F.I.T. and we had to create magazines and I called mine Señorita. When I got the offer back in 2013 (to work at Glamour publication, Glam Belleza Latina), I couldn’t saw yes quick enough. I adored pretty much everything about my time at Glam Belleza Latina. Even if Glamour's EIC, Cindi Leive, hadn't called me to meet about the job — and ultimately offered it to me — I still would've loved GBL. As its Editor, my job was to create the content from cover to cover. This included everything from the celebrity interview to the product pages to the cultural essays. I wrote a lot of the content but I also top-edited freelancers. Its very existence was a triumph. It was validation of everything that I already knew my culture to be: proud, unique, beautiful. But being its Editor for 10 out of its 12 issues was pretty special,” said Reynoso.

Working for Glam Belleza Latina also allowed her to grow creatively while doing a job she loved.

“I was free to throw out previously obscure references. Like when I was asked to interview actress, Genesis Rodriguez, who'd been newly signed by L'Oreal...Sure, the Glamour team sort of knew who she was, but I knew exactly why our reader wanted to hear from her. Her dad is a famous Latin singer from the 70s. I called my mother and said, "Mami! I'm going to interview la hija del Puma!" She was so impressed. I then huddled over YouTube videos of El Puma, and slowly, the profile came to life. Our readers loved celebrating our icons--and their Americanized children. They resembled us,”

Of course, the magazine folding was a low point.

“I followed my heart and my passion. All of the things that came so naturally to me, and that was my culture, and I didn’t have to explain anything to myself. And I learned about Mexican and Colombian culture. It felt like a dismissal of our culture when that magazine folded — I took it really hard. In a weird way, I still have always been able to keep my feet wet in the industry,” said Reynoso.

So, what’s next for Patricia Reynoso?

"First, I want to devote myself 110 percent to this new position. I'm really excited to be here! Secondly, I've been talking about writing a memoir for a hundred years, and I plan to get that done soon. My career journey has been unconventional and interesting and I want to share it with young girls, like my daughter and my nieces. I want to pass my experiences onto them.”