Jessica HansonPerricone MDSan Francisco, CAStory & Photos by Lauri Levenfeld
1. Who are you? What were you like as a child?
Just a few months ago I answered this same question…so the short answer is I have always been a true Virgo. If you know one, the words independent, driven and precise are often used. Good or bad, I can attest to being described as each of these as well as analytical, resourceful and reliable. I am most proud to say that I am strong minded and will pursue a goal until I achieve it.
2. Describe your life’s work?
I am a problem solver, both in my professional life and my personal endeavors. I approach life with the belief that things can be better if you get the right people on your bus and pursue goals with energy. It’s totally natural to see a challenge as an obstacle or have a bad day where you may look at a glass and say it’s half empty, I have these days too. The key for me is to remember that even with the biggest barrier in front of me or when I am disappointed, truly everything happens for a reason and I try to let trust that the universe has my back.
3. How do you stay Forever Young?
My energy drives me to stay feeling young. I constantly challenge myself and never accept no for an answer. I have moved across the country (and back), taken jobs that I wasn’t sure if I was ready for, changed my mindset to become a mother, and I always strive to make a difference. I am also a true believer that you can learn something new every day, even if it something small. This is what keeps me feeling young and “in the know”, which I hope will allow me to relate to younger people (especially my children) throughout my life.
4. Tell us more about the philosophies and background of Perricone MD.
Twenty years ago, Dr. Nicholas Perricone turned his lifelong passion for science and his commitment to unlocking the secrets to healthy aging into a business. His credentials in both dermatology and nutrition are the foundation of the Perricone MD approach which is holistic – and it is what has made a difference in my skin, not to mention hair, nails and body too!
We believe healthy living is beautiful living so the Perricone 3-tier philosophy starts on the inside with an anti-inflammatory diet. Dr. Perricone published his first book “The Wrinkle Cure” in 2000 to share a specific diet that would make a difference in the appearance of skin. Although many challenged his theories and approach, soon he was featured and supported by Oprah, Dr. Oz, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Needless to say, this was an undeniable spark that would set the brand on fire.
Even with the best diet, the body needs to be supplemented with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that naturally deplete with age. Dr. Perricone was not the first to discover this, but he made it simple to prescribe the right formula for the needs of skin and body.
So then comes the final critical element – protect and nourish your skin from the outside in with the most efficacious skincare routine. Dr. Perricone developed and patented over 100 formulas, each using specific science to identify and multiply the natural building blocks of healthy skin. We recently launched a new segment on our website to guide you through a skincare regimen with helpful content. I hope readers find this motivating as we believe skincare shouldn’t be empowering, not overwhelming.
5. Who are you biggest influences and/ or icons?
The people who have influenced me most in my life are my mother and my husband Brad. My mother and I share the blessing (and sometimes curse) of being passionate, outspoken and creative women. I am proud to admit that I inherited my raw talent from her. She is probably stronger than I am in many ways, which I believe comes with time and life experiences, and I bet that she doesn’t even realize the impact she has had on my life. I only hope that my daughter feels the way about me when she grows up.
My husband and I met 25 years ago (this September) and have just celebrated 17 years of marriage, so naturally we have grown so much over the years. I was inspired by him the moment I heard him speak to my high school freshman class of over 500 students as he was the larger than life Senior and President of our high school. I was lucky enough to become friends with him and I know he is a big part of my success and a driver of my quest to keep going. We are alike in many ways – driven to push beyond our limits and explore new things, but where we differ is in our levels of confidence. I recently attended the Oprah Soul Sessions event in Los Angeles and had the privilege of hearing from inspirational, charismatic people who challenged us to think differently, turn into fear into power and take control of our destiny. I couldn’t help but think throughout the day, Brad already does this or he tells me this all the time. For this reason, he is admired by many, including me and I am so grateful that I have him in my corner.
6. You are a mother of two, tell us about your journey to motherhood.
My journey to motherhood was the single most pivotal moment in my life. But the journey was far different than I ever expected. It began after 7 years of enjoying an exciting life in New York City, traveling the world with Brad and climbing the corporate ladder in the beauty industry. My life was full of accomplishments, then I wanted to have a baby. For the first time in my life, I was told no. No answer or explanation – and I felt absolutely powerless. After shedding many tears and being really angry, we met a woman who gave us the best advice. She said, “Regaining power hinged on a mindset change…. if you’re willing to shift your thinking from having a baby to becoming a parent, I can make sure that you do.” She was talking about the special journey of open adoption, which required thinking very differently about parenthood and getting way outside of our comfort zone to achieve what we so desperately wanted. But guess what? In January 2011, I became a proud mom to a beautiful little girl, and named her
Kennedy. Nearly 4 years later, we that took this challenge again and we were honored to become a parents again to our son Carson. I learned priceless lessons through this journey – how to find strength in loss, that sometimes you can rely on others for help achieve your goals and probably the most profound, was discovering how selflessness can be results in a win-win-win situation. I will be forever grateful to the birthparents of Kennedy and Carson who gave Brad and I the opportunity to become parents of these unbelievably amazing children.
7. With a full time job, travel and two small kids, what does a typical day look like for you?
The days go by fast, that’s for sure! My typical day starts before the sun rises, but it always has as I have been an early bird since I can remember. I try my best to get 20-30 minutes of exercise each day to keep the ever important endorphins on a high level. By the time I start my skincare routine, I usually have a little visitor, Carson (also an early riser). He loves to play with my Clarisonic and makeup brushes (Kennedy did too when she was 2), so I explain to him what they are for and how to use them. Beauty is not just what I do, but one of my true passions, so I love when my kids show interest. By 7:30, I am ready to conquer the day and so are both kids. I will usually take one of them to school then hop on a Muni or Bart train to get to my office located in the TransAmerica pyramid in San Francisco’s financial district. I am usually on my first conference call by 8:30 then in meetings most of the day. I am trying harder each day to have more flexible time during the day to work with my team as I enjoy coaching and mentoring more than ever before. My day at the office ends between 5-6pm and typically Brad and I have coordinated a plan to meet to work out, have dinner and debrief the day, plus run any errands so that our weekends can be spent as a family. We are very lucky to have an au pair to share the evening routine a few nights a week, which gives us time to connect as a couple.
My job requires that I travel about fifty percent of the time, which I try to keep to three days in a week. I enjoy the time away for about 36 hours then I start to look at every child around me and really miss my littles. We try to FaceTime in the morning on their way to school or at minimum, I send a fun picture to show them what I am doing. When I get home, I always tell them how much I missed them and now Kennedy is curious about where I go, so I tell her little stories about my adventures.
8. How does the beauty industry empower women?
Early on, I became affiliated with CEW Cosmetic Executive Women, which provides a great forum to share, connect and learn. I think they have done the best job for many years ensuring that women in business are recognized throughout the industry, even though many men hold top positions at the major companies. Now there are so many more ways for women to get involved in the world of beauty, whether it is casually through social media, becoming an ambassador through influencer networks, starting a career as an independent consultant or the traditional corporate path with all different sizes of companies.
9. What was your a-ha moment in choosing this path?
It is so funny when I look back at my life and reflect on how many beauty moments I have had, so I think that was my a-ha…it was a career that found me. Here’s a brief summary of my timeline:
In the 80’s: When I was in the fourth grade I had my lipgloss taken away from me by my teacher because I was sharing it with my friends.
In the 90’s: When I was in high school my sister got me recruited to become a fragrance model in our local department store to work on the weekends. The first one I ever did was Karl Lagerfeld’s Sun, Moon & Stars. Then in college, I briefly had my own small business selling Mary Kay then I became a counter manager for Clarins and absolutely loved the education that I gained from learning about the science of skin and artistry of makeup.
In 2000: I worked in New York City right in Times Square, where low and behold, a Sephora opened in our building. I thought I had died and gone to makeup heaven…where nearly every day I was able to stop in before or after work to discover a new product. Then finally I got my big break to go to work for Coty Beauty as a Marketing Coordinator working in fragrances, bath and body. I never looked back and here I am today, 17 years later, having worked in three major cities, on every category including makeup, fragrance, skincare and even men’s, and worked for some of the biggest brands including L’Oréal Paris, Sephora and now Perricone MD. It has not always been easy, but it has been rewarding and very exciting.
10. What’s trending in skincare?
Skincare is the part of the beauty industry most closely linked to health so trends work a little different than in color cosmetics or fragrance. Consumers seeking a skincare routine start off with a problem or concern, so it’s quite emotional. Right now, with heightened focus on natural, non-toxic and good for you, the biggest trend is wellness in skincare. So now the conversation has evolved to be more holistic, not just a quick fix, which I personally believe in and is perfect for our brand. In fact, in some very recent research conducted, we learned that the number one activity that women have done to improve their skin in the past year is start taking a supplement. This is so much healthier than turning to invasive procedures or even non-invasive injections that are not healthy and not sustainable.
Ingredients found in nature (like Vitamin C) or naturally found in your skin (like Hyaluronic Acid) are also in the spotlight right now, but they are not new. The difference today is that consumers have a better understanding of ingredients and are looking for high potency products. This is radically different than even ten years ago when the mention of anything with “acid” meant alienating people for fear that the product would be too harsh. Consumers still need to be careful with what they use and when or they could have adverse reactions. For example, the use of retinoids during the day can be damaging if exposed to UVA/UVB. This is the importance of consultations whether it is at a dermatologist office, with an esthetician or even a skincare specialist at Sephora.
11. What’s next for Jessica Hanson?
That’s a great question! I will continue to challenge myself as it is in my nature. I have visions of doing something on my own in the next ten years…it may be writing a book or starting my own company. I appreciate all that I have learned from working in larger organizations and will continue to apply many principles that I have retained. My mission is to establish and engrain a culture among a team of change agents who are passionate and forward thinking.