When Rodial CEO Maria Hatzistefanis applied for a job at Seventeen magazine in Athens, her wish to be placed in the fashion department did not happen. “They had no openings there, so they put me in beauty,” remembers Hatzistefanis. “I interviewed hairdressers, facialists, I tested products. It was really my first interaction with beauty.”
After getting an MBA at Columbia, Hatzistefanis tried consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton in New York, then finance at Solomon Brothers in London, but neither really resonated with her. In 1999, she launched Rodial, which is perhaps best known for its product lines like Dragon’s Blood, named to make you ask, “Is that real?”
“I was reading the ingredents in this anti-aging serum that we’d made and I saw this synthetic peptide that mimics the effects of viper venom (which, ultimately, causes muscles to contract less). I realized this was our chance to get people to notice us. It was time to do something crazy.” They called it Snake Serum. Seemingly overnight, everyone knew the brand.
Hatzistefanis is the first to admit that Rodial is not the only line to use these ingredients. But no one else was capitalizing on them the way she was. For a few years, the brand capitalized on shock factor but decided to get more serious. “Our products have always had active, like hyaluronic acid, peptides and retinols,” she says. “Now we’re focusing on them.”
Enter Booster Drops, a line of concentrated single-ingredient formulas, like Collagen, Glycolic, and Soft Focus. With the brand’s mass sibling, Nip + Fab and her nascent podcast Overnight Success, Hatzistefanis has her hands full. Raising her two teenage sons with her husband, the expat calls London home.
Hatzistefanis spoke with the Cut about her teenage hair-color skills, the Kardashian she’d like to hire, and why she thinks she’d make a great forensics detective.
Bath or shower?
Bath with epsom salts, or any tea tree oil–based shower gel.
Shampoo/Conditioner of choice:
Sisley Volumizing range.
Most relied on hairstyling product and/or tool:
Sam McKnight Cool Girl Texturising spray.
Scent of choice:
Clean Reserve in Acqua Neroli.
What beauty look do you struggle with achieving?
A tanned face without causing pigmentation.
What beauty look do you just not get?
What was your first beauty product obsession?
I wanted to lighten my hair when I was a teenager but I couldn’t afford a hair-colorist, so I bought some hair bleach from a drugstore and did my own highlights. I actually did this for a few years until I got it professionally done.
Purse of choice:
Work shoe of choice:
Balenciaga Knife pumps in gray.
Casual shoe of choice:
Sneaker of the moment; currently Adidas Yung 1 in white.
Rain boot of choice:
Chanel combat boot that I’ve had for years.
Snow boot of choice:
Chanel Snow boots.
Netflix and chill outfit:
Who makes the most comfortable bra?
Baserange stretch-bamboo bras.
Top item currently at the top of your fashion wish list:
A black-and-white Celine blanket coat.
What is your classic uniform?
High-waisted stretch pants, oversize top, and a sock boot.
Mine! I also like forensics-focused ones. When I listen to them, I kind of feel like I’m the detective.
What phrase or word are you known for saying?
“Make it Happen.”
What word or phrase drives you crazy when others say it?
“I’ll come back to you next week.”
Last great film you saw:
Searching. Shot entirely on webcam; very smart.
What do you do or take when you can’t sleep?
Magnesium + Calcium tablets.
Ginger, lemon + turmeric shots that I make.
What room in your home are you most often found in, and why?
Lounge, in front of a fireplace. That’s where I read, write, get inspired.
What item stresses you out if you’re running low on it?
Where do you go when you need quiet?
If you could hire anyone, who would it be?
Kris Jenner to manage my team.
Favorite meal and where:
The chicken cobb wrap at the Crosby Street Hotel.
Porridge with coconut milk and berries.
What is the item you usually forget and leave at home?
Perfume. I keep one at the office for this reason.
What do you foresee as the top beauty trends in 2019?
Moving away from extreme contouring and using more blush to brighten the face.
What product in your domain is misunderstood and should be a best seller?
We are known for our serums and creams, but we actually have cleansers, and they are very under-rated!
What product is currently your favorite (understanding that this could change all the time)?
Rodial 10% Retinol Drops that I apply in the evening and Rodial 30% collagen drops that I apply in the morning. These have changed my life!
If you won the Power Ball tomorrow, what are the first five things you would do? (After, of course, donating the majority of it to your top charities…)
I would still do the exact same things but just wouldn’t worry about finances anymore.