Small Business Spotlight (SBS) – The Real Real Beauty By Sonia Kohli
Sonia Kohli is an Indian-born, New York-bred model, actress, and makeup artist. Sonia’s achievements include an appearance in Maxim, a 6-page spread in Nirvana magazine, a feature in the book About Face, and a commercial for tequila manufacturer Hornitos to name a few.
Sonia was named People’s Choice in the Guess “Faces to Watch” contest and was a semifinalist in the search for the new face of Smashbox Cosmetics. Sonia was a model for Mario Dedanovic’s palette launch for Anastasia Beverly Hills. Mario is known for working with the Kardashian’s and celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen. One of her major ad campaigns was for the legendary hairstylist Oribe.
She attended the AMA artist academy and has intense training in Bridal makeup artistry. She is heavily involved in growing her skills and regularly attends masterclasses by some of the top-notch makeup artists in the industry. With all these accomplishments under her belt and working with all top-notch makeup artists in the industry, she decided to launch The Real Real Beauty.
While working full time on her business, she also continues to model and run a couple of other businesses: Good Great Grater (Ceramics), and Frugal Mughal (Fashion clothing).
She is a wife and a mother of a cute three and a half-year-old. Her goal with her artistic creation is to make each and every woman FEEL beautiful and confident.
Let’s find out more about Sonia and her vision behind the passion of The Real Real Beauty
FTW: Growing up, we always have thoughts about what we want to be when we grow up. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were 5 years old? Sonia: I don’t remember when I was that young but as I got older, I knew I wanted to win some sort of beauty pageant. And at one point I also wanted to be a flight attendant or an “air hostess” as they call it in India.
FTW: What one piece of advice would you give your younger self? Sonia: I have always been a pretty emotional person. I always did things and then thought later so I would tell my younger self – ” Think first and do later”.
FTW: Tell us a little more about your business. Sonia: Many women have walked up to a makeup counter in the mall and gotten their makeup done. I want to offer them an experience very different from that. I don’t want to cover up their flaws but want to enhance their best features. My goal is to make them realize just how beautiful they already are.
FTW: Was there an aha moment that got you rolling on this dream? Sonia: It was not an overnight decision. I guess the feeling was brewing within me as I ventured through the corporate world. And one day I decided that was it, I need to do something different and feel amazing at the same time.
FTW: What was the vision/the WHY behind starting your business? Sonia: My vision for my “business” started during my modeling days in NYC with a makeover by Scott Barnes who was a makeup artist to many stars. I wanted other women to FEEL similar to what I felt after that shoot and the type of makeover he gave me. Since the beginning, it hasn’t been a money-making venture for me but to be able to help women that sit in my chair to FEEL just as beautiful and unstoppable as I did.
FTW: Did you encounter hurdles to get you to this point? How did you overcome it? Sonia: My biggest hurdle has been moving from NYC to AZ. The modeling and makeup arena is a very different beast in the two states. I have been trying to keep that spark and talent alive and am determined to keep at it and not give up hope when it comes to modeling.
FTW: What has been your key to marketing your product authentically? Sonia: The key for me to grow my audience/clientele is the before and after pictures (see the end of the post). I get to show them the transformation makeup can make. My goal is for them to hang on to that confidence even after they wash it off. We all have that confidence within us and sometimes we just need that gentle nudge and reminder.
FTW: If one loves the transformation, do you also teach them how to do it themselves? Sonia: Absolutely! I offer one on one classes not only on best application tips but also to help them with makeup products they may already have. One of my most popular classes is product consultations where I get to help them decide the products that are best suited for their skin tone and type.
FTW: Share some words of advice from your experience for others who are either planning to get started on their entrepreneurial journey or struggling with all the pandemic challenges currently. Sonia: Follow your heart and money and success will follow. Do not follow the money.
FTW: Now, tell us a little more about you. What is it you like to do to relax? Sonia: Lately I find myself listening to Sadhguru at night. And try to practice more conscious breathing.
FTW: Tell us one of your favorite quotes? Sonia: This one has always stayed with me- “When your boat comes.. don’t be at the airport.”. Don’t you agree?
FTW: If you had to write an autobiography or memoir- what would it be titled? Sonia: If I was to ever write a book/poem/autobiography.. it will be called “Phoenix” like the mythological bird.. rising from its ashes.
Thank you, Sonia, for sharing your story with us. Wishing you all the success in your modeling career and also in your artistic journey to help women FEEL beautiful and confident.
Connect with Sonia Kohli