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Women in STEM

Beauty Meets Brains in Amy Gallant Sullivan’s Optocosmetics Line

Photo: Courtesy of Èyes Are the Story

We ask Amy Sullivan about Èyes Are the Story, a wellness-meets-beauty brand focused on eye health, as well as the gender barriers she’s faced as a woman in STEM.

Èyes Are the Story seems to mark the beginning of a beauty revolution that prioritizes ocular health within the makeup industry. What inspired Èyes Are the Story?

Most girls start wearing eye makeup around the age of 12. However, little to none of these girls are aware of the ingredients that they’re putting around their delicate eye area. Eye diseases are more prevalent among women than men — in part due to the use of eye makeup. I wanted to create a safe makeup line that prioritized ocular health and changed these statistics in a small way. Plus, if these girls realize what they are using, they could say, “Wow, that’s science. Women are formulating this in a lab.” Being forward about the scientific aspects of makeup makes women realize that these products they use on a daily basis in a creative way are still created by women in STEM. That passion for beauty can translate into a real career in STEM — a truth not many realize or consider. When I was 12, I wanted to change the world. I still do, today — just one eyelash at a time.

What obstacles have you dismantled and overcome as a woman in STEM?

When I was searching for investors for Èyes Are the Story, the vast majority of them were male. They would always question you, from your looks to your brains. They’d ask whether my husband approved. Being a woman, people don’t think you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears required to build something. It’s been challenging because we aren’t seen as credible without fighting for it.

What is a piece of advice you have for the next generation of women in STEM?

Define yourself by your hobbies. Why do you have them? Can you translate them into a career? American culture is all about living to work rather than working to live. It’s possible to have a career that focuses on what you are passionate about. If you believe in something, work toward it. Research it, build it, go for it. Turn it into something great.

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