Fueling the Creative Flame

Bobbi Brown

Celebrity makeup artist, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, and bestselling author of four books, including her latest one, Living Beauty, Brown is the mother of three children, ages 16, 14, and 7.

What did your parents do to encourage creativity?

Even though my father was an attorney, he had many hobbies such as arts and crafts, sculpting, painting, and building. I used to hang around and watch him all the time. My mom was also constantly busy doing some sort of art project like dressing a table.

Who were the adults in your life who most encouraged your creativity?

Both my mother and father. When I was 6 my mother gave me a bag full of her makeup and a blank pad of paper and told me to go paint. When she walked back into the room 20 minutes later, I had painted myself and all my dolls!

My father used to tell me adventure stories about three children named Patty Boo, Parry Boo, and Putty Boo, who were the same ages as my brothers, sisters, and me. The stories were incredibly visual and took me away every night.

If you could share advice with a child about being creative, what would that be?

Everyone is creative in different ways-there are no rules! My biggest piece of advice is to do what makes you happy.

What do you see as your most creative accomplishment?

My children and my company.

How do you keep yourself creative?

I don't work in an office five days a week. I do a lot of exercising and traveling, which is basically where I get most of my ideas from. I am most creative when I'm not in the office.

What have you done to encourage your kids' creativity?

Let them get really dirty and sandy! I allow them to experience different foods and use colored soaps in the bathroom. I believe in giving kids the freedom to explore themselves and do activities that promote creativity.

What do you think are the ideal toys, games, books, activities, and art supplies for promoting creativity?

Having cabinets stocked with assorted items like wood, food coloring, yarn, buttons, paints-everything. We have a tradition in the family of creating a "Plofker birthday cake." I take rice cakes and lay them along the bottom of a square cake pan. I put vanilla frosting on top and then let the kids put M&Ms, Skittles, gummy bears, lollipops, anything they want and then we eat it for everyone's birthdays.

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