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How Being Body-shamed Led This Woman to Start a Beauty Empire

When she was trying to secure funding for her fledgling beauty brand, Jamie Kern Lima heard the word “no” over and over and over again.

She stuck it out, convinced that her brainchild, which would become the top-selling IT Cosmetics brand, had something to it. She was confident and upbeat.

That is, until she talked to one investor, who told her she wouldn’t succeed — because she didn’t look the part. Meaning, Kern Lima wasn’t a size zero. She wasn’t whippet-thin or model-perfect. And hence, she had no business launching or running a beauty brand. 

 “It hurt. It stuck with me. It’s replayed in my head so many times, even today,” Kern Lima told TODAY. “It’s disappointing that it’s what someone would see.”

Fast forward to August 2016, when Kern Lima sold IT to L’Oreal for a reported $1.2 billion. Her beauty baby is also one of the most popular brands on QVC. But back then, she wondered to herself, “Is this not a good investment because the founder doesn’t look like what a woman should look like?”

To his credit, the man in question sent her a note after her L’Oreal deal, apologizing and saying he was wrong. And to her credit, Kern Lima didn’t let what he said stop her. In fact, she has two words of advice for other intrepid creators who feel like they’re being shamed: Forge ahead.

“Our own insecurities put limits on us,” Kern Lima said. “I’m so grateful I didn’t listen to him.”

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