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Inside Out: Discover how Flavia Leal Beauty School’s Founder is Transforming the Beauty Industry

As you would expect from the founder of the award-winning institute Flavia Leal Beauty School, Flavia Leal knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in business.

Still, it was not an easy journey, and the Brazilian-born entrepreneur has also learned some of life’s hardest lessons. She hopes to pass this hard-won knowledge on to the next generation to make them — not just expert beauticians but — people who are empowered to take on the world and win.

Arriving in Boston, Massachusetts as a young mom in 2000, Leal moved from Brazil hoping to start a new life and transform her family’s fortunes by earning a college degree. It was a difficult but ultimately rewarding period; Leal found the spirit to attend classes, look after a young child on her own, and work 80-hour weeks to make ends meet.

Indefatigable Zeal

Unfortunately, with her parental duties and work commitments, Leal could find little comfort in her studies.

“The school didn’t want students like me,” Leal said. “Low-income, immigrant students. But I worked hard, and am proud of what I’ve achieved. Everything is possible when you work hard for it. I truly believe that. It has become a cliché, and a lot of people parrot it, but I truly believe it. No matter where you came from, what you wear, when you were born, none of that matters. It depends on you. Whoever you want to be, you can.”

In 2009, the indefatigable Leal was awarded her degree. But any joy in her achievements was tempered by the recent deaths of her mom and dad in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Further complications came with her daughter’s ADHD diagnosis during the same period.

Back to School

It is tragedy and adversity that reveal a person’s true character. Where some would forfeit their dreams to survive, and others crumble under the weight of such sadness arriving in quick succession, Leal was inspired to push harder until she had brought her ambitions to life. 

In 2010, the intrepid entrepreneur opened her first beauty school. Within a few years, the school was thriving and had become so popular that Leal was able to open a second location. 

Empowered by the success of her schools, a growing list of clients, and an enviable following on social media, the enterprising businesswoman launched a cosmetic line, Flavia Leal Makeup. She also introduced makeup workshops, which she has hosted across the world, as well as in the United States.

During her studies, Leal discovered that educational colleges and schools often demanded language credentials to attend when the state did not require them. To help combat this prejudice, Flavia Leal Beauty School accepts students of varying personal circumstances and nationalities from all over the world.

“Everything is possible. It depends on what you want and believe in, despite where you come from or who you are,” said Leal. “I like to help people. No one can tell anyone that they are not good enough. I opened my school to help all students, regardless of where they come from.”

Hitting the Curveballs

By running the schools and, specifically, interacting with young students regularly, Leal’s abilities as a teacher grew. And before long, she found her old students returning to their teacher to share stories of how much the course had helped them, not just professionally but on a personal level too, thanks to Leal’s kind guidance and life experiences.

Realizing her insight’s impact on others, Leal became more passionate about passing on her hard-won wisdom to students at the school.

“Anyone can pick up a bottle of nail polish or a makeup brush and get good if they practice enough,” said Leal. “And aside from the obvious fact that beauty schools teach required sanitation techniques, I take it a step further. I want the women I teach to graduate from my courses feeling prepared for whatever life throws at them — because life will throw curveballs no matter what we do.”

Her storied career moved from beauty expert to successful business owner to celebrated product demonstrator, international lecturer, and motivational speaker. Maybe it’s no surprise Leal has earned several awards for her leadership and commercial acumen.

Her professional honors include Entrepreneur of the Year as a ‘Brazilian Outside of Brazil who Succeeded’ in 2012, the Brazilian Women in Power Award, and the Portuguese/Brazilian Awards in 2018 and 2022.

“You just have to keep a vision in your mind for what you want your future to look like. I didn’t necessarily think I would be an award winner; I just kept my head down and did the work. Looking back on it now, I bet I would have been twice as successful had I had a mentor to support and guide me. That is what I hope to be for everyone who signs up for my school.”

About Flavia Leal

Flavia Leal, Founder of the Flavia Leal Beauty School, is an award-winning instructor, serial entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. For more information, please visit: 


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