Harvey Helms is a beauty culturist and writer, drawing on 30 years of experience in cosmetics, fashion and design. Harvey has held positions ranging from Global Director of Beauty for Revlon Cosmetics to Executive Director of Special Events for Donna Karan Beauty. Harvey currently lives and works in Silicon Valley, where he just finished writing his first book in a trilogy: an engaging tell-all on the beauty industry.
We all need a friend like Harvey! I must confess that I'm not much of a casual reader...most of what I read falls on the heavy side, and should not be taken after a big meal, too close to bedtime, or during a sunny afternoon while relaxing on the sofa with a sleeping cat in your lap...ahhhh, but Blush? This I could read anytime. I don't think Mr. Helms will mind too much, if I say his book was for me a sugary sweet indulgence--my own RC Cola with a Moon Pie, please! (If you're over forty and from the South, you'll know my meaning here.)--"Oh pinch me, I must be dreaming! I put on Ralph Lauren beige everything with chocolate crocodile loafers. Ralph with crocodile is always appropriate, you know."--So, funny! And I think to myself, if Harvey says so, it must be true!
Blush, though, is ever so much more than entertaining...we get a glimpse into the private world of someone who can't have had an easy life: a young, gay male, living in the South, trying to succeed in a highly competitive, mostly female-based business--the challenges must have been daunting. I say we get a glimpse because Blush never dwells on the ugly or the cruel; it lets us know it's there, and then moves on quickly--or we could say Blush rises above it, like a bubble. Either way Harvey Helms is a true indomitable spirit! So indulge yourself a little, read Blush--the way you look at the cosmetic's ladies in Macy's will never be the same!
I bought this for fun, on a hunch. I'm so glad that I did as it turned into a wonderful bit of fun with some really touching moments to make it real. No one who grew up gay in the South in the 80's could escape without some challenges but Harvey let us into his world through a wonderfully amusing and heart warming tale. Kudos!
What a fun book. I have no idea how I stumbled upon it but I'm glad I did. Harvey, you had me talking out loud to the book! "No!" "Really?!" "You can't be serious!" I feel like I was sharing the time with a good friend and I'm sad that its over. (That last chapter went by so quickly and then "poof" you disappeared. Really, do you have a blog? I need to know what happened next and I need more on that last chapter!!!) Money and time well spent.
The coming up story of a gay southern boy is full of funny events and beauty secrets. Harvey's life is a upward spiral told with joy and no little drama. A fun read poolside or at your hair salon. It's like I've made a new friend.
A super-fun read, Harvey Helms' Blush reminds me a bit of that long-ago, guilty-pleasure Coffee, Tea or Me? and the not-so-long-ago The Devil Wears Prada. Rather than the airline or fashion industries though, Blush is a boozy, flirty romp that takes us behind the scenes of the department store cosmetics business.
Helms' insider tales of the industry's quirks, secrets and people behaving badly are highly entertaining and sometimes shocking. He engages us with his self-deprecating wit and cheerful disposition and somehow manages not to sugarcoat the blatant bigotry he faced both in college and in the early days of his career.
Helm's also generously gives us a glimpse into the quintessential, dysfunctional Southern family (bless their hearts!) and his own quest for the ideal beauty regimen and the perfect man. There are angels and villains and--spoiler alert--a happy ending. I'll never again step up to the Lancome counter without thinking of Harvey!