Michelle Phillips: A thing of beauty


Michelle Phillips: A thing of beauty


Date: October 26, 2011
by: Heidi Kurpiela | A&E Editor



Michelle Phillips is in the middle of a radio interview that’s gone 20 minutes over its allotted time.

Before we go any further, you should know that Phillips is that kind of interview, the kind that causes people to lose track of time.

When she emerges from her office clutching a giant mug of tea, she apologizes for the holdup, explaining that she had no idea the interview would go so long.

“We got to talking and … ” She catches a whiff of the cinnamon candle filling her home with a faint plume of smoke and rushes to the mantle to blow it out.

“Oh my gosh,” she says to her husband, comedian Tim Wilkins. “You’re burning the house down.”

Wilkins shrugs. He hadn’t noticed the smoke. “Men don’t do candles,” he jokes.

Phillips sets down her coffee mug. On the rim of the cup is a big pink lipstick print that matches her shirt.

A makeup artist since the age of 16, she knows a thing or two about matching her lips to her blouse, which on this particular day is coral-colored with a loose boatneck.

“All I ever wanted to do from the age of 6 was be a makeup artist,” Phillips says. “But I was born in the late ’60s. There weren’t a lot Bobbi Browns and Kevyn Aucoins around.”

She curls up on the couch beside her husband and launches into a story about how when she was a little girl, she used to give her dolls makeovers by coloring their faces with Magic Markers.

“I ruined every one of them,” she laughs.

Phillips has come a long way since then.

A native of Washington, D.C., her career in makeup started the day her mother marched into a Bloomingdale’s store, made a beeline for the cosmetics counter and announced that her daughter would like to be a makeup artist.

“By the time I was 18, I was working as a platform artist for Chanel and Revlon,” says Phillips, 44. “Chanel was my favorite designer, so that was exciting.”

She name-drops a few of the celebrities whose faces she’s dolled up over the years, including Molly Ringwald, Katie Couric, Doris Roberts, CNN news anchor Judy Woodruff and singer Colbie Caillat.

She stops short. These women aren’t the reason why she decided to pursue a career as a life and beauty coach. Ordinary women were her motivation. Women like her.

“When I started to get in touch with women outside of the celeb world, I realized that was where true beauty was,” Phillips says. “I realized this is what I’m meant to be doing, helping women feel and look their best.”

Her first book, “The Beauty Blueprint,” which comes out in bookstores Nov. 1, is part confessional, part beauty manual and part self-improvement guide.

At 262 pages, the paperback offers eight steps to building the life and look of your dreams. It includes everything from when to toss your old mascara to trusting your intuition and overcoming fear.

Much of the book’s insight was drawn from hard-earned wisdom gleaned from Phillips’ own struggles: her failed first marriage; the loss of her longtime job as a makeup artist with Channel 10 News in Tampa; and her two-year stint as the host of a local morning show that paid so poorly she was forced to fall back on food stamps to feed her three kids.

Published by Hay House — a self-help publishing house that boasts an impressive stable of mega-selling authors, including Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer — the book also comes with an Internet radio show, which Phillips hosts every Monday on HayHouseRadio.com.

In addition to coaching women live on the air, she interviews celebrity guests. Last week it was Donny Osmond and former “American Idol” contestant Justin Guarini.

“I had been a life coach for years and didn’t even realize it,” Philips says. “When people sat in my chair, they’d tell me their problems and together we’d solve them … in the makeup room.”

She laughs at the memory of it as her husband nods his head in agreement.

He’s her biggest cheerleader.

In 2009, the couple was living in Minneapolis, where Phillips worked as a host on the QVC competitor, ShopNBC.

Six weeks into the job, she confessed that she was miserable in the position. So Wilkins asked her what she wanted to do instead. Phillips replied that she wanted to write a book to help women reclaim their beauty.

So, they hopped on the computer and Googled, “how to write a book.” Thirteen notebooks and two years later, Phillips’ “Beauty Blueprint” was a reality.

“You’ll never see anybody make something happen like Michelle,” Wilkins says. “She twitches her nose like Samantha from ‘Bewitched’ and before you know it, ta-da … it’s been achieved.”

Phillips blushes a shade darker than her shirt. She explains that there’s more to it than sheer affirmation; that you’ve got to take the action steps to see your goals through.

Take, for example, the assignment she recently gave one of her clients — a middle-aged woman suffering from empty-nest syndrome.
“I asked her what she loved to do,” Phillips says. “And she said, ‘I love going to the movies and I love dancing.’ So I told her you’ve got seven days to go to the movies and take a Zumba class. Twelve weeks later she announced that she’s becoming a dance instructor. That to me is beautiful and it had nothing to do with makeup.”



• Get rid of guilt garments
“These are the clothes that don’t fit or the clothes we think are too expensive to part with. Only keep things in your closet that you actually wear.”

• Grab a necklace 
“How we project our personal style is through our accessories.”

• Avoid the bargain booby trap 
“A bargain isn’t a bargain if you never wear it or spend your whole life trying to find something to match it.

• Less is more
“I’d rather a woman wear a little bit of blush and mascara than a whole face full of makeup.”

• Perk up your face
“If your eyebrows are neatly arched and filled in, it’ll frame your face and eyes. You’ll look more awake.” 


 VIDEO: Michelle Phillips makes sense of her vision board.

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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • Michelle Phillips is one of the most sincere and giving women I have
    ever met. She has inspired me to be a better woman, and inspires women everywhere! Thank you Michelle for your warmth and your compassion!
    Hugs Jan Horn
  • Jan Horn
    Mon 31st Oct 2011
    at 12:44pm
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