Meet Myra Perez
It’s a little after 4 o’clock on a sunny afternoon in Sydney. Even as her work day stretches into its twelfth hour, Myra Perez is still remarkably upbeat—and enviably radiant. When most people would be reaching for the coffee and concealer, she is bright and bubbly, bouncing between the studio and our makeshift interview space, managing bites of a (very) late lunch between questions.
The early starts are something of a cakewalk for Perez these days. As the founder of Sydney’s go-to (and most followed, loved, and re-grammed) floristry studio, My Violet, Perez has been nailing the pre-dawn wake-up call for the past decade or so. That glowing visage? It’s a relatively more recent discovery.
“It’s the glow. There’s something about the glow.” Perez, of course, is referring to the calling card of the RATIONALE Client—that trademark luminosity. “And that’s the one thing everyone started noticing,” continues Perez, explaining the influx of enquiries on her Instagram content after starting on the Essential Six.
There’s an edge of excitement or disbelief in her voice that suggests ‘the glow’ wasn’t something Perez had always experienced. “Younger me needed all the tricks to ensure a smooth complexion and to feel confident,” she says. “Not that I don’t love makeup, I just feel better when I’m not wearing so much of it—or none at all.”
Here, Perez talks to us about failed at-home perm jobs, familial beauty lessons and the power of flowers.
How did you discover RATIONALE?
It was purely through admiring the skin of two of my friends—brow expert, Kristin Fisher and makeup artist, Tobi Henney. ‘Oh, it’s RATIONALE,’ they both replied—but they said it like it was a secret. At the time I hadn’t heard about the Brand, so when both of them said the same thing within a period of a couple of weeks, it made wonder: ‘Well, what is RATIONALE?’
Kristin was the one who was really evangelical—‘Oh my god, you’ve got to get it! It does this, this and this.’ So within a few weeks, I jumped online to read about it…and booked my first consultation.
When did you first experiment with beauty? Was it a success?
I was 16 years old and had a girl crush on Janet Jackson’s long curly hair. I insisted that getting a perm would make my hair look just like hers! Big mistake. Huge. I couldn’t afford to get my hair permed because I was just a kid at school. My friend’s mother was an ex-hairdresser; she told me to buy a couple of the DIY home kits and she would do it for me. The rollers came out…Oh my god, the tiny little ringlets were so tight on my scalp, I didn’t know what to do. This wasn’t Janet Jackson. The first thing I did was race home and pick up a brush—I thought it would be that easy—and I tried to brush it out. It just exploded. It looked like steel wool. It was so bad. (laughs) I remember wearing a tight bun that whole year until it grew out.
Was there somebody’s routine that influenced your outlook on beauty today?
My mother was very much about clear skin. During her teens in El Salvador, she had really bad acne and, I guess, during those trying times, skincare was her last priority. Her face had scars that never quite faded, so she educated my sister and me as much as possible on the importance of always taking care of your skin and protecting it from the sun.
Even as children, Mum would never let us go swimming without applying sunscreen first and wearing a hat to avoid sunburn.
How has your approach to skincare changed over the years?
In my early 20s, I was obsessed with makeup because I didn’t really have good skin in my teens. I was desperate to have perfect skin. I bought anything that I thought would help it. And I ended up breaking out because there was too much going on. So I thought the next best thing was to cover it. I bought everything you can think of to try and cover a blemish: this on top of this, on top of that.
When you’re young, you’re so easily influenced and I would spend so much money on the latest spot-free remedy and end up in a rash with dry, patchy skin. Now that I’m in my 40s, I have a much greater understanding of what my skin needs, how much and when. And having great skin to me is the best confidence booster. But Mum’s words stuck and sunscreen remains in daily use.
What is the best thing about becoming a year older each year?
You discover something new about yourself. There’s a new experience, a new boundary you’ve set and you begin to see life a little more clearly than you had the year prior. So I guess perhaps it’s clarity and greater self-awareness.
What does confidence mean to you?
To have a strong belief in what you think, do and stand for.
First thing you do when you wake up?
I have a shower to wake myself up…I have early 3.45am starts. When I started using RATIONALE, someone asked me, ‘How can you be bothered in the morning? You’re up working at 4am!’ and the funny thing is, I make my life work around the Six! I don’t leave home without doing my morning routine. Even my husband will ask, ‘What number are you up to? Do I get out of bed now or can I stay for another five minutes?’ (laughs) It’s a process but I cannot not do it. And he knows that now. (laughs)
What did you want to be when you were young?
A painter, an artist.
What made you want to become what you are today?
Curiosity… and boredom of my 9-5 job! I kept questioning, ‘is this it? This can’t be life.’ I really believe you have to enjoy going to work and I wasn’t at all.
What’s the best part about being a florist?
Making people smile. It’s amazing how flowers can mean so many things to different people. Whether it’s a childhood memory, a link to a family member, the colour, the smell. It’s the best when you get to see someone’s reaction.
What do you value most in life?
Family will always be numero uno for me.
What’s the best career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?
You have to love what you do—whether it’s in your career, personal life or in general. If you’re not happy, it will show in what you do. And not to fear change. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realised how important it is to me to be happy with myself and the path I choose to walk. I can’t do the same thing year after year and expect a different result or outcome. So change for me is a good thing—I welcome it.
What are you most proud of?
My business My Violet has been my greatest achievement to date. I have put my entire heart and soul into creating a brand that I am so proud of. From beginning in the kitchen at home, to a new, bigger space in Rosebery with four fulltime staff members—it truly is a dream come true. I honestly never ever thought—as my younger self—that I would be where I am today. Hard work and determination pays off. I absolutely love what I do and I believe it shows through the work we produce. I am excited for what lies ahead: bigger ideas, a bigger dream. And I know it’s all possible.