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The Greatest Speeches in History: Bobbi Brown’s Address at Fashion Institute of Technology

The Greatest Speeches in History is a weekly column that compiles the most memorable speeches in history with the goal to emphasize on the power of public speaking, to illustrate its importance, impact, and necessity to master.

This week we focus on one very special speech delivered at FIT by the makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics with more than 40 stores and available in 1,000 counters around the world. Starting her career back in the 80s as a makeup artist, she is now one of the most famous names in the industry.

Bobbi Brown knows more than a thing or two about hustle and success and shares her wisdom in the commencement speech in front of FIT graduates. Let’s see the most important outtakes and hear the speech below!

“Today I want to share with you my pillars for success. To me, that means five things: One – do what you love; two – more doing and less thinking; three – work hard but work smart; four – have no fear; five – just be nice.”

“If you always worry about what you want to do, you won’t do it. Don’t over think it: Just do it. Don’t take no for an answer. If one door closes, look for a window. Every opportunity doesn’t have to be perfect, and you probably won’t love every job you do, but you’ll learn and you’ll move on. When I first started out in the ’80s, the makeup style was very pale skin, red lips, contoured faces. It never made any sense to me. I don’t even think the girls looked pretty. I was told by a very well-known makeup artist that if I wanted to be successful, I had to do this style of makeup. But instead, I followed my gut and it felt right. I made the girls look natural, pretty, and fresh, which is still the essence of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics today.”

“Speak up and take risks. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll learn something that you didn’t know before. Ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid. Calmly give your opinions—don’t wait to be asked. For me, it wasn’t that I was confident; I wasn’t. I was just really naive. I never thought it wouldn’t work. I still don’t think my crazy ideas won’t work, and if they don’t work, oh well. I’ll do something else.”

“I’ll never forget early in my career when I got a call out of the blue from Bruce Weber to do an Italian Vogue shoot. I was a nervous wreck. I worried what to wear the whole week before: what jeans, what shoes, what shirt. I wanted to get everything right. On the day of the shoot, I worked up my courage and knocked on the door of the studio. Bruce opened the door with his signature bandana. He said, ‘Bobbi, I’ve waited a long time to meet you. You do beautiful work.’ He was really famous, and I was brand new. I was floored. I’ll never forget his kindness and how he made a real difference in my experience.”

“In closing, when you leave today you have to remember these life rules: take care of your health don’t smoke, eat real food, especially greens, drink a lot of water, exercise, wear your seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, and keep your Instagram and Facebook clean, because we are watching; number two – be thankful everyday; three and last – don’t forget to have fun and kiss your parents.”

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