Fresh Faces

Kiley Russell. Photo: Samantha Simmons

Kiley Russell | Makeup Maven

On September 13, 2004, Kiley Russell left a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show with the keys to a brand new Pontiac G6. But unlike other attendees, Russell wasn’t roaring to hit the road. Instead, she sold the car for the seed money for her dream business, Big Girl Cosmetics. “I started a website, converted a room in my basement into a stockroom, and began selling at trade shows,” Russell says. “A year later, I was matching my salary as an assistant principal.” Russell found her passion for cosmetics when she made body butters, soaps, and scrubs alongside her grandma as a child. Back then, it was a necessity, but as Russell grew, it became a continued hobby.  Today, the Chicago South Sider owns a boutique spa, and her cosmetics can be found at Macy’s, both in the store and online. Russell’s dreams don’t stop there. “When you’re a kid, you think you can do anything—that’s your reality,” she says. “Watching myself through my kids’ eyes really inspires me to keep going.”