To us, Lebanese beauty guru Joelle Mardinian is superwoman. She’s the CEO and founder of Joelle Group, a host, a leading figure in the Arab beauty industry and a mum-of-two. How on earth does she do it all?
However, the process hasn’t always been the easiest. The beauty expert admits there has been some hurdles on the way to her success. “I have been a victim of many peoples wrong doings,” she admits adding that everyone should not allow themselves to work with people who will “misguide you”.
From childhood, to adulthood, to motherhood, to work life — Mardinian recently sat down with EW to lift the lid on it all, as well as her recent project with 3MOMS.
What was your childhood like?
My childhood was amazing. I have beautiful memories of going to my grandmother’s house and my cousins’ houses. I didn’t like school that much, but I like my family and we were so close. I didn’t have a lot of friends because I had a lot of cousins and we were all very close because our ages were very close to each other. Still now we’re super close and whenever we see each other we laugh about our childhood. We laugh about certain things we all went through; I loved my childhood.
Talk us through your collaboration with 3MOMS?
The collaboration with 3MOMS came because I was so petrified of doing my daughter Ella’s bedroom. I decorated my entire house without using an interior designer except for my kitchen I used professional designers. But because Ella has huge, amazing ideas I thought I really needed help. When I was looking around, I found out about 3MOMS. I looked at the Instagram account and I was just overwhelmed with their work – with the quality, the ideas, and the inspirations which came from clients and kids. They made so many different versions of kid’s bedrooms that I knew they were the right ones and they were available at Bloomingdales Home at Dubai Mall.
What has been the best part of this collaboration?
The best part of this collaboration is meeting 3MOMS. It was really connection at first sight and I’ve never used that phrase before. I have so much love and respect for all 3 of them. We sat down and it was supposed to be like a half hour chat, but we ended up sitting for a couple of hours. They’re amazing. I love how dedicated they are to their business and I was seeing myself in them and seeing how hard it is for mothers to be successful entrepreneurs. I respected so much the fact that they came straight after that meeting to my house to meet Ella and take measurements; they’ve never done that before and it’s also something that I would do. Keeping your feet on the ground is the best thing when you become successful; it’s knowing that nothing is shameful when it comes to your work.
How has motherhood change you?
I used to make my mum crazy without even knowing it. I couldn’t understand why my mum would say please don’t go to Antigua, it’s not safe. Please don’t go to Kenya and so on. Travelling around the world before I had my kids, I was much more courageous. I didn’t know what fear was. But the minute my son was born I remember I developed a fear of flying. He was crying one day on the plane and after that I knew something had changed, I had changed.
Today all I want is for them to be happy, this is now my focus. I’ve never blown out candles wishing for anything more than for God to protect my kids and all the kids in the world. Wanting an amazing life for them is probably why doing the room for Ella with 3MOMS is so important. It’s maybe more for me than Ella because all I want is for her to be happy, to be ecstatic and to live a dream – and she’s dreaming of a bedroom that is so hard to do and so complicated! So, I thought it will be a dream for me to have experts do that for her. I feel blessed to have 3MOMS and I know that they’re going do an amazing job, I’m sure of that.
How do you find balance between career and motherhood?
Basically, it’s either working or being with kids. Nothing can break that. So, I would never decide on a working day not to go to work because I have lunch with my friends. Everyone knows that I can only see them at the weekend when we are all gathered, their kids and my kids so everyone can have fun. During the week it’s time for my work, that’s how it is.
What has been your proudest career achievement to date?
Many. It’s knowing that my show is the longest reigning makeover show in the world. Even the US shows never lasted anywhere near my 14 years. Even in Europe I think nothing lasted more than seven or eight years when it came to these types of shows. And even when MBC stopped the show it didn’t stop because the ratings went down, it stopped because they changed the strategy – but then they asked to come back after two years to do another beauty show. So, this is really a big achievement for me. Apart from that, knowing that it’s in me to be a good entrepreneur.
Opening my first Maison de Joelle was a was big achievement for me. Then making that name branch out outside of the UAE to a lot of major cities in the region, I think that’s also a big achievement. And then having the guts to open Clinica Joelle, a medical centre, and I’m not even a doctor – and today having seven branches in only six years is a big achievement. And of course, Joelle Paris I’m so super proud as we are an almost 500 locations. But somehow inside I’m not always giving myself the pleasure of enjoying these achievements because there’s so much more that I still need to do.
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Your advice to your younger self and to those looking to follow in your footsteps?
When you enter into a business world keep your eyes open. Work with only professionals who respect your work and own their responsibilities. Always be a true leader and do not allow people who work with you to miss guide you. I have been a victim of many peoples wrong doings. What hurts me the most is that I sacrificed a lot of holidays and I wasn’t with my kids to get to where I am. I missed my daughter’s first birthday, my son’s tenth birthday.
I missed Halloween and I missed Easter. I missed so many weekends with my kids to get to where I am today. When I started speaking about this out loud with other business owners I realised that many entrepreneurs has gone through similar difficult experiences. I thought why don’t people speak about this? Therefore I should talk about it, to make people aware if they are thinking of starting their own business to look closely at the people who are working with them.
Which fashion brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
Hermès because it’s classic and I can buy a piece and wear it for almost twenty years. The style doesn’t go out of fashion because the print is not really seasonal and the cuts are so classic. I invest in myHermès clothes because I hope one day to pass on to Ella, and they will be even more precious because they’ll be vintage.
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What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best piece of advice I have ever received is life’s too short. I think about that every day. I guess I’m always searching for happiness; I’m searching for these perfect moments. A perfect day for me is a day where there’s no work I’m just with my kids with no other interruption. A good day is when it’s just us at the house swimming or picking flowers or drawing or watching TV and cuddling altogether.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome so far?
Running three businesses that are so demanding, plus being a full time TV host, as well as a brand ambassador to five huge, international brands and then also being a mum. I don’t really think about me any more – for example, when it comes to doing my hair or having manicures or pedicures, I now see at is a job for my work rather than a pampering service.
Images: Supplied, Instagram