Hi Pretty Girls!
Our Founder and CEO, Christina Flach, recently joined Tom Dutta on The Quiet Warrior Show podcast to talk about life as a CEO, celebrity makeup artist, mom, daughter, wife, widow, and the many other hats she wears in her busy life that she somehow makes look easy from the outside. In the episode, Tom introduces Christina as a rock star – and while she’d humbly deny that status – the rest of us agree with him.
Tom has a pretty inspiring backstory of his own, as a #1 International Best-Selling Author, International Speaker, and CEO at KRE-AT. As the host of The Quiet Warrior show, Tom has a way of helping people open up and get down to the core of their truth in an inherently empathetic and curious way that we’d lovingly compare to Oprah. Whether he’s holding space while talking with someone about their loss or digging deep into the trenches of the business world to convey valuable lessons to his listeners, he does it with pure intention and intuition. It makes all of his interviews special in their own way. To commemorate the experience, Tom inducted Christina into his global tribe of Quiet Warriors and awarded Christina with The Quiet Warrior Show Challenge Coin – an exclusive honor reserved for less than 40 people each year. You can find the full library of The Quiet Warrior Show on Apple Podcasts and all major podcast platforms.
Check out a few highlights from Tom’s most recent chat with Christina below, and listen to the full episode here.
Listen to the episode here:
When One Act of Love Started It All
Tom: There’s always learnings in not just the success but the ups and downs. I read some things about you in that journey, and I was inspired, and I thought, why don’t you just come on and tell us about that. So, take us back as far as you want to where what happened in your life and how this dream of Pretty Girl Makeup started?
Christina: Well, you know, when I was growing up, my mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was eight years old. She had brain cancer, and she had a 1% chance to live one year, and she ended up living 13.
Christina: But she was incredibly beautiful, but with chemotherapy and the amount of radiation they had given her, she lost her hair, and her skin was discolored, and it was really hard for her looking in the mirror and not seeing her hair and beautiful face.
Christina: So, I started just putting makeup on my mother trying to just cheer her up and make her feel like she used to. And so that is kind of how I started, and then I would do friends and makeup myself, obviously. But as I got older, I really enjoyed the process of helping people become their best self, so I became an image consultant, I studied colors and the seasons and making sure what your skin, your hair, your eyes, that you have colors and clothing that enhance that and make you look like your best self.
When Pretty Girl Became More than a Compliment
Christina: So, I did that for a while, and then I started doing makeup for people, and then I did weddings and all that, and then I was in Hawaii with a bunch of friends and our children, and I had this really funny German friend, Claudia, she was a model. We were at the pool with our children, and our kids were finally at the age where they could swim without us, and we were drinking our iced tea. Well, maybe it was a piña colada, but I’ll just say iced tea.
We were reading our magazines, and it was quiet for a minute. She’s like, “Honey, oh my gosh. Isn’t this amazing? We’re just pretty girls. We’re not mommies for a minute.” And I’m like, what does that mean? And she goes, “Well, no one knows we’re mommies for five minutes. We’re just being pretty,” and I started laughing. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s the name. I’m going to name my company that. I’m going to name it Pretty Girl.”
Christina: So, I ran inside and called my attorney, and I’m like, “You have to patent this name. I love it.” And he’s like, “Okay, go create something.” So, I started working with a chemist for about a year. I literally thought that I would create this line in a week, which my client, Tyler Florence, has a great saying that if it was so easy to do what we do, everyone would do it. And if you knew how hard it was to do, you probably wouldn’t do it.
But, you know, it’s good to go through the process. If you can enjoy the process, it’s great. So, I worked with a chemist, I wanted to create a lip gloss that was long-lasting, hydrating, and I didn’t have… I’m self-funded, so I wanted to make sure that all the colors, I was only able to do like five colors at the time – that they all would look good on all different skin types.
So, I created the formulation with the chemist, and then we started working with colors, and I tested it on all my friends that are all different nationalities and colors and skin tones. I tried it on all of them to make sure that each color would look well on everybody, and I finally, after like 14 months, the formulas were perfect, and the colors were perfect. That’s how I launched Pretty Girl.
When Preparation Meets Opportunity
Christina: Then my banker at Wells Fargo said, “Hey, I know the beauty editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. Why don’t you send her some of your stuff?” And so I did. I sent her stuff. I sent her product for her to sample. And she wrote a little article about me, which was amazing. I was so proud, my gosh.
When Finding Resilience is the Only Step to Take
Tom: … But I want to now shift gears. I mean, your company is up and running, you’ve got the line of makeup out, you’re using the power of the network to expand your footprint and who you are. Tell me about the fears along the way. I mean, did anything stand in your way? Was there anything big you had to overcome? To all the women who are listening, and quite frankly, sometimes it’s not a woman’s world, sometimes it’s harder. Just tell me, I mean, the fury of a successful woman, you are it. What were the things that held you back, and how did you overcome them? What were your biggest learnings?
Christina: … My career was just flying at that point. And then, on Christmas day, I had twins. So, I have five children, and my last two are twins, Ben and Beau. We woke up Christmas Day and my son, Beau, passed away, which was so traumatizing.
Tom: I’m so sorry.
Christina: It was horrific, and I really just didn’t think I could go on, and I didn’t care about really anything. I didn’t care about my company. The only thing that was keeping me going was my other children.
Christina: It was devastating.
Tom: When you say that was Christmas.
Christina: Christmas Day, yes. Christmas Day. Yeah. Yeah.
Tom: Can you elaborate on, you don’t have to go into the details. Of course, it’s a painful memory. But was that expected? Or was it just one of those…
Christina: No, not at all. They were totally healthy. And then I put them to bed, Christmas Eve, and in the morning, we woke up and Beau, he passed away from SIDS. So, it was just traumatizing for our family, and I ended up getting divorced. And it was really sad, and I was kind of in a dark place.
I started taking like, pills, to numb myself for a couple of months. And then I’m like, alright, get your act together. You can’t do this. I started exercising and getting back on my green juice program, and exercising, and praying, and meditating, and all of that, and I got my life back together. My divorce, thank goodness, has been very amicable. My ex-husband and I are very close friends. We get along really well. We’re still a family, which is really great.
Tom: … to share that memory of your son. I didn’t know that part of your story. But here’s the thing. I mean, this is a teaching moment, everybody. Here’s a woman who is successful in business, but we always see what’s on the outside. We never know the backstory, and to have that moment on Christmas Day, I know Christina, that every year that is something that you have to navigate through and you picked yourself up.
And what I love about what you said is the self-care part, you know, exercising, praying, meditation, and seems like you’ve surrounded yourself with a posse of amazing people. That’s just incredible to me. I think you know this, but the more you tell your story, and not just about Pretty Girl Makeup, but the authentic story with the challenges. I mean, gosh, there’s your mom, and you spent amazing time with her. You lost her, you were young. Then there’s the chapter of Beau. And then, of course, there’s the chapter of Ken.
*Editor’s note: Last March, Christina spoke with Tom about her mission to raise awareness about sepsis in honor of her late-husband, professional tennis player, Ken Flach. Listen on Apple Podcasts.
When the Good Things Come in Large Doses
Tom: So, what’s next? I mean, as we look ahead for the next few years, what’s on your radar?
Christina: Oh my gosh. Well, I’m on the board of this company, LAFACE, with my friend, Lisa Alexander, which I’m excited about. I’m going to start bringing back some new products. I have an under eye cream concealer that I want to bring out. I would like to do more magazine covers and do amazingly creative projects.
One of my best friends is Shannon Rugani. She was a ballerina in San Francisco Ballet, and then she went on to do An American In Paris in New York, and now she is a pop singer named EMPRESS, and she has been number 20 Top 20 song on Spotify right now. And I have been her makeup artist for over a year. Besides being her best friend, we are doing amazingly creative projects with her album covers, with her social media. And so, I’m really blessed that I have a gorgeous canvas of her face that I get to create beautiful things to help her with her career. So, that’s been a fun project as well.
Tom: That’s amazing. And you’ve got these beautiful children. Just quickly, how do you balance all that with what you’re doing?
Christina: … well, I’m very lucky that their dad is fantastic, and my children, thank goodness, they’re healthy and happy, and they’re really doing amazing projects. My daughter, Melania, is 25. She’s studying at Central Saint Martins University in London. She’s a fashion designer. Right now, she’s in Amsterdam, interning for Viktor&Rolf, they’re a couture line and a perfume line. And she has four of her designs were selected to be in Paris Fashion Week, which is super exciting. My daughter, Rose, graduated from NYU from the Tisch School… last May. And she right now got an amazing job in LA. She’s a screenwriter. Do you remember that show Mad About You, that was on about 20 years ago? Yeah?
Tom: Absolutely. Yeah.
Christina: Well, they’re bringing it back, and Rose is working on it as a junior writer.
Tom: Oh my gosh.
Christina: She just moved to LA, and her dreams come true of becoming a writer, which is super exciting. And my son, Nikolai, is graduating from high school in Mill Valley in June, and he’s going to play golf at Occidental College in LA. And Ben is amazing. He’s going to be 13 in August, and he is a happy, sweet boy, and he is a great accomplished golfer as well. He is a musician. He’s playing the guitar, and as is Nikolai.
… What I told my kids all along is figure out what you love to do. Figure out how you can get paid doing it, and then figure out where you want to be living, and go for it, and life will always be fun and exciting.
This is just a sneak peek into the conversation Christina had with Tom on the most recent episode of The Quiet Warrior Show. Learn more about her tragic and triumphant story and listen to the full show on Apple Podcastsor wherever you get your podcasts from.
Get the full story by listening to Christina’s first appearance on The Quiet Warrior show here.
*Note from Christina Flach, CEO of Pretty Girl Makeup:
I wanted to take a quick moment to thank Tom for inviting me to be a guest on The Quiet Warrior Show. Tom, you make it easy to share lessons from life’s most challenging moments – and I hope our conversations help everyone who listens to find the strength to choose to be happy. I’m honored to be a part of your tribe, and I’m so grateful for our chats.