Audio is the New Black

by Kisha Powell

photography by Max Abadian

Carlene Higgins (BES ’00) is one part of the fierce duo behind “Breaking Beauty,” a year-old podcast telling the stories of the industry’s most iconic brands, straight from the mouths of their founders. Currently garnering massive attention from the likes of Refinery29, Elle, Coveteur, Grazia UK and Glamour UK, the podcast has already racked up close to 100,000 downloads by featuring beauty world heavyweights such as Glossier’s Emily Weiss, Tiffany Masterson of Sephora’s fastest growing skincare line Drunk Elephant and Kate Ross LeBlanc of Saje Natural Wellness. “I love to shine a light on these risk-takers who are winning with their genius idea,” Higgins shares. “Their stories are always inspiring.”

Higgins graduated form York magna cum laude with a bachelor in environmental studies and a minor in English and immediately started working in environmental advocacy. But she realized quickly it wasn’t the field for her. Somewhat accidentally, she fell into magazines (she started at Salon Magazine before landing at Flare, one of Canada’s top fashion glossies) and knew she was in the right place.

Working her way up at Flare to become the publication’s fashion and beauty director, Higgins spent over 15 years on the beauty beat before launching her podcast – the first of its kind in Canada – in 2017 after the publication she worked at ceased printing and she was left pondering her next move. While many would be content with a successful and growing podcast, Higgins is not.

Earlier this year, she launched, a website covering style, self-image and “life stuff” for modern women over 35. In an industry that tends to cater to a younger crowd, Beholdr is ushering in a new way of addressing mature women, helping bring a voice to a largely ignored group.

Of her time at York she says, “It was a very conscious choice for me to go to an urban university that had a diverse student population. I’m always looking at how things are interconnected and my hope is that if/when my site becomes really successful that we will have a strong philanthropic arm that gives back to our community and planet.”

Higgins lives in Toronto. When not recording episodes for “Breaking Beauty” or working on Beholdr, she is a freelance beauty and style writer (Coveteur, Elle Canada, The Kit) and a self-described #momboss who is obsessed with the wide, wild world of entrepreneurship.

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