My friend Sandy wishes she had a dollar for every time I've said the words "Charla says." Usually this phrase was followed by must-do or don't do advice. Sandy and I spent last year writing a beauty book together called “The Makeup Wakeup,” and my guiding guru was my longtime chum Charla Krupp, herself a major beauty and fashion authority with two best-sellers on the subject.
That's her on the left in the photo. She died of breast cancer on Jan. 25.
Charla and I spoke nearly every day, sometimes several times a day, with many emails and voicemails in between. We had a lot in common. We both started out as beauty editors of major women's magazines and became blonder, "younger-looking" and bonded- at-the-hip as our friendship grew. We sort of looked alike ( at least if you squinted from across a room) and for the last couple of years shared a colorist, "our" Brad Johns, and a bangs and bob hairstyle as well as an addiction to the same Ali & Ro print dresses, leopard Dolce & Gabbana tops and anything French.
Charla was brilliant and beautiful and believed in working at it 24/7. She was always after me to "fix your teeth, for God's sake" or to " try Latisse- why don't you wear mascara ? Oh, you are wearing mascara ? Sorry( chuckle, chuckle). "
We agreed on many things. Here are some of them : Everyone, including us, looked great in white, pink or Michael Kors black sequins. You can never have too much cheetah, leopard or zebra in your closet. Restaurant salads are way too big for one person. Spanx are not negotiable. Red lipstick is not "us."
We disagreed on many things. Among them: Every woman looks a lot better with porcelain veneers, Botox, fillers, pink lip gloss, self-tanner, and dark nails. (Charla says yes, Lois says not necessarily).
Charla looked flawless and lived fearless. She had the nerve of a Navy Seal, the charm of a morning TV show host, and the ability to talk anyone into anything. Charla drove like an Indy 500 racer and once took me on a wild "tour" of famous peoples’ homes in the Hamptons- screeching up driveways and past gates clearly marked "No entry, guard dogs, security enforced. “ When I lost my job, it was Charla who showed up on my last day at the office "to walk you out of the building, honey.” Charla was a tiny woman with a huge spirit and, as she would put it, "ginormous"dreams. She taught me to "stay fluid, keep moving and never give up.”
I lost my best friend to cancer, but she lives on in my heart and head always. Thanks, Charl.
Lois Joy Johnson is a beauty and fashion editor and author of "The Makeup Wakeup.".