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Gold Coast women who #choosetochallenge – Evette Hess

Natalie O’Driscoll | April 26, 2021

We talk to five Gold Coast women who embody the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

This International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. So what does that mean? A challenged world is an alert world. We can all choose to make the world a better place by challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality. These high profile Gold Coast women do just that, whether it’s through their businesses, direct action, personal efforts or some combination of all three. Hear Evette’s story.


Evette Hess – Beauty Industry Mogul

Evette moved to Australia with her parents and three sisters 15 years ago from South Africa. Evette was a beauty therapist who saw a gap in the market and went for it, hard. She kicked off with PONi cosmetics before launching into Esmi Skincare. She is now the driving force behind the Ashmore-based beauty empire Makeup Cartel.


Tell us about women that have inspired you to push the boundaries in your life or career.

Well, I am very lucky, I am constantly inspired and feel encouraged by women! I grew up with very strong and inspiring women, three sisters, my mum, my grandmother and now I have nieces and a daughter as well.

My mum is definitely someone who has been my biggest fan (and customer) in any workplace or entrepreneurial venture I had from a very young age. She would buy all my beaded necklaces from me at age eight and pay the $2 admission fee to my dance performance. She has always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, I just needed to believe in myself. Since day one of the brands she would wear our Esmi skin minerals and PONi cosmetics brand t-shirts as an everyday shirt (laughs). She is definitely a go-to for me when I am feeling doubtful of my abilities or when I feel overwhelmed or out of my depth or to inspire me to go for that next goal. She just knows what to say and is the voice of encouragement I need at these times.

My children inspire me to break the wheel of what’s made us believe is the “perception of beauty” our whole lives, let us decide what is beautiful. Let us not be told by a man in a high building somewhere what is beautiful. You are beautiful because you are unique, you are beautiful because you are kind. Let us show our imperfections, let’s not cover up who we are, let’s embrace all for who they are, let’s be kind to ourselves and others, let’s see if we can leave a positive imprint on others’ lives by simply being in it.

Every day I get to work with women that inspire and I admire. They are dedicated, lovely, good humans working behind the scenes at Makeup Cartel, they are passionate about our vision, the empowerment of women through self-care, self-love and self-confidence. This gives me fuel and inspiration daily to push the boundaries of what is possible.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you’ve faced and overcome, either personal or professional?

Self doubt, and not just at the start up phase of the business, but at least once a week to this day (laughs). The more the business grows and evolves I am constantly faced with people who are absolute experts or as I sometimes call them at these times ‘smarter’ and I can feel a little ‘out of my league’.

The way I overcome this is by talking to my amazing husband Josh who has been there from the very beginning when it was all just a dream. He always puts things in such great perspective. At the end of the day my goal was and is always to create value for our customers through beautiful products, great results, something they can treat themselves with, ensuring we create value for our customers every. single. day. and treat them like gold. Empower them to self-care, self-love and feel inspired and I know that we are achieving this daily.

We are all human at the end of the day with a limited amount of time on this earth, if you don’t understand something someone is saying, just ask them to rephrase, say ‘I don’t understand’, no one is born knowing everything and you may learn something new.

Do you have any advice for young women wanting to achieve great things in the beauty industry?

Make sure you really love it, ensure it’s your passion and that it makes the fire inside you burn. You will rely on this fire on days when things are not going exactly as planned, or when you are faced with an obstacle.

Ensure you create exceptional value for your customers or clients like no one else can. Let’s always remember when our clients or customers are done paying their bills with the money they earn weekly, choosing to spend the little bit that’s left on your product or service is no joke, always put your customer first and your own success second, you will be successful if your customer is your priority and not yourself.

This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge. How do you choose to challenge social norms, expectations of women and / or gender inequality in your life?

“Women are expected to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work”

It is incredibly important to me as a mum going back and wanting to work in our company, women (and men/new dads or dads supporting their partners) are truly supported in parenthood and given flexibility and understanding when returning to work, when kids are sick, when our babies first start school, when they need to bring their kids to work during school holidays and sharing beautiful achievements of our families, it’s not uncommon for us to have babies and children in the office or babies featuring in video calls and I REALLY LOVE THAT! We also offer work from home days to all our team members so they can have a better work-life balance, pick up kids from school, be home in time for homework, get to that Pilates class etc. I know our team members really appreciate and really love having their work fit into their lives and they are extremely respectful and grateful for it.

After all, if you are promoting self-care, self-love and self-confidence you must live and breathe that first from the core.

Read about other Gold Coast women who embody the theme of this year’s international women’s day.


Aimée Lindorff, Director | Gold Coast Film Festival

Marion Charlton, Chief Operations Officer | Gold Coast Airport

Harriet Brown | Ironwoman

Ella Fitzgerald | Artist and Photographer