CELEBRITY make-up artist turned entrepreneurial coach, Bobbi Vargas has a stunning story of triumph over adversity. The self-made woman’s tale of spirited success following a troubled childhood is inspiring for all the right reasons.
As a young girl living in Kuwait, she was born to a wealthy businessman and a stay-at-home mother. But In the ‘90s, her congenial life unexpectedly came to a halt.
On chance, Bobbi, her mother, and her sisters were visiting relatives in the United States right before the start of the Persian Gulf war. When the war broke out during their stay, things took a sharp turn, and they found themselves in a sudden hostile milieu as immigrants in a foreign country.
She describes the sudden shift from that of a vacation mindset to one of immigrant status overnight, “At a time when having an accent wasn’t cool and having dark features made you somewhat of an outcast, it was challenging coming to terms with the changes that life threw our way. The family that was happy to see us visit one moment couldn’t wait to get rid of us the next.”
The dizzying circumstances had the family on eggshells and they found their little unit living in uncertainty, bouncing from one family member’s home to another. Bobbi had a humble illumination about the power of earning a dollar while sitting in a diner one day – she was watching her mother work as a host, not fluent in English. She was also unable to afford a babysitter for Bobbi and her sisters, they had to stay within her watchful eye.
Already thinking with a depth far beyond that of her eleven years, she calculated how she could ease the stress of working at the busy diner on her mother, which turned into her first gig bussing tables to help out. “The servers rewarded me with money for clearing the tables when my only intention was to help them and my mother. That’s how I learned what it takes to make money.”
Eventually, the news came that her father would be joining them in the states, escaping the horrors of war in Kuwait. The initial happy reunion took a bleak turn when her father’s issues, exacerbated by the trauma of war, started to manifest through fighting and abuse. “We witnessed fights and arguments that no child should ever have to experience. The abuse escalated from the trauma my father endured during the war. “
Bobbi found herself at age sixteen – raising her sisters without their parents in the picture.
With a decided preference for work over school, she came to the conclusion that it would be more rewarding, financially, to pursue a career in the beauty sector. Bobbi’s tenacity sparked her to climb up the totem pole, landing jobs as a make-up artist for celebrities like Christina Aguilera, and Jay Leno, among countless others, and working on music videos and movies.
By the time the mid-2000s rolled around, Bobbi was prospering as a beauty connoisseur and Versace had hired her to relaunch their cosmetic line.
But a pivot was coming that would change everything and reconfigure her path.
During the 2008 recession, Bobbi found herself taking a position in uncharted territory when Versace recognized a leadership streak in her and offered training in a sales position. She says that the position generated buzz around her, “I excelled and my name was floated around luxury fashion houses because it’s a small industry. It was a lateral promotion year after year, and Christian Dior created a position for me. Then it was Valentino, Dolce and Gabbana, and finally, Chanel where I was the lead sales trainer and host to shows, and VIP clients.”
After stepping into the position of sales trainer, various companies and clients secured her for her prowess leading to opportunities outside of the fashion industry. She currently acts as a consultant; helping build brands, and training sales entrepreneurs.
The most rewarding venture for Bobbi is being a voice for women starting businesses, and speaking at conventions for entrepreneurs – such as the 10X Ladies in Las Vegas and Fuerte Femme in Orange County. She does public speaking to help women find their way in the industry and “to help my students succeed in the same way that I have by helping them develop their skills. Helping women achieve financial freedom and build their security independent of anyone and any job is an integral part of my mission.” She explains.
Then there’s Bodela, her brand of luxury products and services which focuses on self- care and saving time on women’s beauty routines with permanent make-up procedures, and body-sculpting. “I have two decades in sales and beauty so I can use beauty as a force for good by helping women boost their self-confidence and feel good about themselves.”
Through all of her pursuits – she hasn’t forgotten her roots; Bobbi’s altruistic nature serves the underprivileged by using her status to make a difference. With Bodela, a portion of the sales will go to children victims of domestic abuse, securing homes and resources for recovery.
Bobbi Vargas is bent on giving back so that others may follow her lead and become independent in their own right. From riches to rags and back to riches again, she defied the path set out before her at a young age, and she continues to grow, an inspiration for aspiring women entrepreneurs.