How cosmetic mogul Vera Moore’s early struggles led her to success

Photo credit: Vera Moore via Facebook
Photo credit: Vera Moore via Facebook

From her poor upbringing in Queens, New York, to a brief stint as an actress on stage and screen, cosmetic mogul Vera Moore shares the risks she took to make her dreams a reality.

The youngest of seven children born to working-class parents, Moore took her first job out of high school as a stenographer, vowing to make a difference for her family.


“The next floor you scrub,” she told her mom, who washed floors on her hands and knees as a domestic worker, “will be your own” (PEOPLE magazine).

Five years later, she cashed in on that promise when she purchased a home for her family and nabbed a spot on “Another World” as Nurse Linda, where she had a 10-year-run.


“We didn’t have the money, but we had the moral support,” Moore, 70, told PEOPLE of her upbringing. “Even though I was the youngest, I always was the one who wanted to do it, wanted to go for it. I always had that drive in me.”

Following her soap career, Moore discovered her second love… theater, which later transitioned into a television career. Unhappy with the makeup then available to Black performers; however, Moore took it upon herself to create her own palette.

“I concocted my own,” Moore said “But then, the lightbulb: You’re not the only one suffering from this. This is not just your personal dilemma, there is a dilemma. There is a need.”

In 1979, Moore with the help of her husband, Billy Helms, launched Vera Moore Cosmetics after they mortgaged their home to open a small mall shop. Today, Moore’s line is marketed in 56 Duane Reade stores and Walgreens specialty makeup “LOOK boutiques” across the country, including Puerto Rico and China.

Moore thanks God for her continued success. “I’ve had so many challenges,” said Moore. “How did I survive them, and come up smiling? I have to always go to a higher power, a higher being. I thank God every day.”

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