"I have always been an advocate for women. For me the inside of their head is as important as the outside – their hair. There’s a need to understand both.” So color icon, Beth Minardi, the renowned hair color expert presently with Samuel Shriqui Salon just off Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, reveals the intuition and the artistry that combined are the secrets to her success.
Born to a steel executive dad and a stay-at-home mother, Beth moved at age 10 to Florida's Space Coast, an environment that allowed her to indulge her passions – horses – and gave her a chance to learn to surf. Her elementary and high school years she recalls were “great, as Florida had become a melting pot of sorts – and learning Spanish became rather matter of fact.” At the University of Central Florida, she studied Early childhood education and theatrical arts. After graduation, and soon after acting in a film being produced in Central Florida, she became amazed at the artistry she witnessed in the hair and makeup trailer: “It was like an amazing explosion of creativity going off inside my head!”
Her parents were less-than-pleased with Beth’s decision to leave graduate school and head to beauty school instead. But it was her calling.
“I saw opportunity in providing beauty and in creating beauty products from a woman’s point of view, certainly, but with a commitment to outstanding quality and hopefully, with a cumulative effect."
Beth Minardi entered the corporate world at the age of 25, working for Bristol Myers and Clairol, but by her 30s she opted to be an entrepreneur. Rising through the ranks in the 1970s, a chauvinistic climate was the norm but she persevered, working in the lab to learn precisely how to create her own color. She stayed in the office from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., succeeding in business by really trying. On the road 11 days out of every 14, she took a hands-on approach to learning and evolving her technique, even working with models in the Park Avenue headquarters for Bristol Myers where executives were insulted to see women with hair color in progress as they arrived and departed from meetings on the executive floor.
Keeping her mind open to possibilities, she escaped the “golden coffin” of the corporate world through courage and hard work. “When I began my career, the idea that there were no limitations for women in the workplace was not conventional. A strong woman equaled a bitch and she had to work twice as hard as a man to achieve equal success. Times have changed, of course, but there is still a glass ceiling. Of course, there are exceptional women whose success, grace and intelligence I admire tremendously, with Arianna Huffington being at the top of the list."
After leaving her post at Clairol, Beth remained on as a consultant and TV makeover personality. She opened, with her then husband, a boutique image makers' salon, on East 61st Street, right off Madison Avenue. Of course, celebrity clientele was a part of the mix but famous names don’t motivate Beth.
“For more than 23 years at my salon, traveling today to share and garner knowledge at hair color forums throughout the US, I’ve learned more than I could ever have imagined."
“Working with top hair color chemists, I understood more and more about precisely how hair cosmetics work. I developed my own color team at Minardi Salon, and trained them from the ground up. Excellence was the standard.” Beth’s professional goal was and is today to elevate professional salon hair color to an art form, and without question she does just that.
Always staying focused, refusing to fail, never allowing herself any excuses even as she raised a family. This is no small feat in a male-dominated industry. And yes, along the way she garnered a celebrity following, including Brad Pitt and Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as Renee Russo whose glistening auburn tones make an extraordinary statement of beauty and strength.
Strength then is a mantra for Beth who as she candidly puts it, “crashed to the depths over the shocking breakup of my marriage. In one flash of discovery, my world changed forever. A trust I dedicated myself to was extinguished,” she says.
“I realized that everything was now 'up to me' and that I could never allow my darling daughter to see me fail, or fall apart.”
Elevating color to an art form, Beth’s artistry has made her indeed an icon in the beauty world. Blending and weaving subtle tones to enrich a shade and bring renewed depth, Beth not only knows how to flatter a face, but like a sculptor, she uses the play of light and shadow in hair to accentuate the shape of the head creating a dimensional effect that is hers alone. Beth Minardi’s skill is not in the obvious but in the subtleties, the talent to create a look that turns heads with a sensual allure that draws the eye and invites a glance to linger.
The Quick 10
1. Which app do you use the most?
A meditation app called CALM.
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
AM stretches then make coffee and feed Mango, my dog.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
4. What product do you wish you had invented?
5. What is your spirit animal?
6. What is your life motto?
Keep going. Don’t look back. Don’t give up.
7. Name your favorite work day snack
Crunchy peanut butter on celery.
8. Every entrepreneur must be:
Passionate, courageous, focused and patient to be successful.
9. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled to?
10. Desert Island. Three things, go:
After my daughter and my dog, I would bring Coconut Water, a sturdy, spacious tent and flares (with matches).
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.