WENDY LEWIS, A GUIDE TO BEAUTY
Entrepreneur. Mother. Consumer Advocate. Beauty Guru. Author. Wendy Lewis is the sort of woman for whom a single title just won’t suffice. But if you were to ask the 50 year old one-woman powerhouse where here heart lies, she would definitely say with her daughter Eden, age 17, who plans to go into medicine. The Lewis family has called the Upper East Side home for over a dozen years and many of her well heeled neighbors seek her highly coveted aesthetic advice, to the tune of $400 per hour.
Her role is unique: part business executive, part therapist, part matchmaker. Wendy – who goes by the moniker The Knife Coach® – has earned a reputation among physicians and clients for her forthright and sincere guidance when it comes to helping them seek out the best of the best clinics and doctors to get lifted, lipoed, lasered, and injected. Wendy has written 10 books on beauty and health, including America’s Cosmetic Doctors & Dentists (Castle Connolly) and her latest, Plastic Makes Perfect: The Complete Cosmetic Beauty Guide (Orion).
“Aesthetics is a global industry that is constantly evolving, so before you jump in and do something you may regret, wait for the scientific data and clinical proof that the product, procedure or technology is safe and effective. Cosmetic enhancements are an art form, but this is also medicine that should be treated with the utmost respect,” says Lewis. Her least favorite clients are the star struck dreamers who are desperate to know who did ‘Nicole’s nose’ or ‘Demi’s face.’ “Do your homework and forget about who did what to which celeb. They have everything photoshopped anyway, and far too often multiple doctors are credited with being so and so’s go-to doctor. In addition, what works for your mother or your sister-in-law or a Hollywood A-lister isn’t necessarily right for you.”
Since 1997, Wendy Lewis has built an international reputation as the foremost sought-after image enhancement coach. Although she won’t name names, she shares the benefit of her over 20 years in the aesthetics industry with each client who consults with her in New York, London, and Palm Beach. “In my career I’ve seen silicone gel implants make a long-awaited comeback; thread lifts come and go overnight, designer vaginas take center stage; and countless fillers and energy based devices flood the market targeting everything from liquid facelifts to fat melting. As long as people desire to look as young as they feel, there will always be something new on the horizon, and it’s become a full time job just to keep up with the latest and greatest.”
In the 1990s she discovered a real void in terms of personal guidance for patients before and after cosmetic procedures, so Wendy launched her own brand of expertise to fill the gap and created a new category. Her unique niche and style has blossomed to include a client list of over 3,000 women and men spanning the globe from Long Island to Dubai. “Our international clients find it a challenge to thoroughly research the best doctors for their special needs and then to secure an appointment from overseas. We take the guesswork out of the equation, and make arrangements from hotels to private nursing and their pre and post procedure needs,” she says. “Beyond geography and logistics, we take into account everything from their budget, after care, preferred approach of more or less, pain tolerance and of course, their ultimate mission. If your secret goal is to look prettier, I need to know that upfront to advise you properly. If you just want to look good for your age that is another set of criteria. But most of my clients want to look good, period, and they certainly do.”
Wendy has become a coveted advisor to the upper-crust, actors, CEO’s and soccer moms worldwide. Known for her personalized attention to detail and no-nonsense style, Wendy prides herself on impartial, individual and independent advice and total discretion. “I have been hounded by media dying to know who did what to whom, and I always decline. Doctors who talk openly about their patients by name cross a line I wouldn’t dream of going near. Privacy is paramount with me,” she adds.
An avid trend watcher and beauty forecaster, Wendy is always ahead of the curve in the aesthetics marketplace. She has helped physicians, skin care and pharmaceutical companies, and medical device and biotech start-ups grow their brands by serving as a consultant on B2B and B2C strategies.
Wendy Lewis & Co’s newest venture, www.beautyinthebag.com, is a beauty forum she created with Elaine Linker who founded the successful cosmeceutical brand DDF. Her newest passion is keeping on top of pop culture and you’ll find her tweeting, blogging and facebooking daily. “I am the social media maven in my circle of boomers. LinkedIn (WENDY LEWIS) is my favorite because it’s for grownups, but I admit to having a blast on Twitter (WLCO) too.”
Lewis is well-aware that big ticket surgeries have become a barometer for the state of the economy. She now advises clients who are tightening their belts to consider alternatives until the market comes back. “There is no question that people are putting invasive procedures on hold for the moment. It’s definitely a buyer’s market, which makes it an ideal time to have something done as well as to look at more affordable options. The woman who was thinking about having a full face with neck plus browlift and eyelid work in one stage, may downsize to a neck lift with upper eyes. Fees for injectables and laser treatments vary widely and there are many good deals to be found. I don’t see top Manhattan doctors discounting their surgical fees, but they are certainly happier to see you and give you their undivided attention,” she says.
While Wendy often kids around that her favorite charity is her daughter’s college fund, her philanthropic bent leans toward women’s causes including Cancer & Careers, an initiative of Cosmetic Executive Women where she served as the first Editor. She also helped out on the Benefit Committee for The Martha Stewart Center for Aging at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “I will always have a soft spot for women with cancer. Too many close friends and colleagues have battled the disease, and their courage is inspiring. I have had clients come to me after a mastectomy to discuss their options. The advancements in cancer detection and reconstruction have been revolutionary over the last two decades,” she says. “As a single mom, causes that celebrate and support women really hit closest to home for me.”
EXCERPT FROM JULY 09 ISSUE MANN ABOUT TOWN