Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D
The wife of Forest Whitaker and mother of their three daughters, Autumn, 15, Sonnet, 10, and True, 9, is driving to the Los Angeles Airport, about to get on a plane to do The Oprah Winfrey Show. During our phone chat, her call waiting clicks three times, but she politely ignores it while she talks about Kissable Couture, the new luxury cosmetics line she started with makeup artist A.J. Crimson. For two years, they worked on developing a collection of seven perfect lip glosses, which debuted last September, and now they're on a roll: For Valentine's Day, they've come out with three new, limited edition shades. Keisha shares some of what she's learned so far:
Why she decided to start a business:
I've always been very ambitious. When my kids were younger, I tried to start a clothing line for children. But you have to be really committed to a new business, and at that time I was more focused on being a mother. Now, with Forest's success and my kids being older, I can set and achieve higher goals.
She felt compelled to make lip gloss because:
I was on a set, working as a host on a party-planning television show, and a makeup artist offered me a new product she had created. I thought it was just okay. Two days later, I had lunch with A.J., who'd been given the same product. I realized then that we could design a much better, more successful line.
One of the obstacles she had to overcome:
It was hard to find the right cosmetic chemist to help us develop the formula we wanted.
But once she found the chemist:
A.J. and I showed him samples of glosses we liked and asked a lot of questions about ingredients: What makes the gloss smooth? What can we omit so it won't have a perfume taste? What can we add so that it will moisturize?
What she insisted on:
The right texture. I always kept in mind exactly how I wanted the result to feel—it couldn't be sticky.
What she left out:
Flavor. Because men always complain about weird-tasting gloss.