#GreatMTLer: Giving back to women is natural for Lise Watier

Click to play video: '#GreatMTLer: Beauty icon Lise Watier gives back to her community' #GreatMTLer: Beauty icon Lise Watier gives back to her community
WATCH: Philanthropist, entrepreneur and beauty icon Lise Watier has been a household name around the world for more than four decades. Global News Montreal Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard speaks to this great Montrealer about her journey to give back to her community – May 17, 2018

Lise Watier: her name is synonymous with beauty and class.

Forty-six years after she launched her now world-renown product line, this Great Montrealer remains as glamorous as ever.

Lise Watier, the make-up line, emerged from a need Lise Watier, the person, had to help women.

READ MORE: Michael Penner’s unconventional path to Hydro-Quebec

“I’m a missionary at the bottom of my heart,” she told Global News.

Born in Montreal’s east end Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, Watier grew up an only child.

READ MORE: Former NFLer Alvin Powell gets a second chance

By the mid 1960s, she was a TV star, using her position to open a school to help women feel more confident.

Story continues below advertisement

“Today, still you know, I meet people on the street who tell me, ‘you know, I went to your school and I still apply the rules or the things you told us,'” she said.

WATCH BELOW: Meet some Great Montrealers

That’s when she solidified her idea to create a make-up line.

READ MORE: Maestro Kent Nagano a pillar of Montreal’s cultural symphony

“I started a small company with a chemist in Montreal after visiting maybe 10 to 12 chemists who refused to work with me,” Watier told Global News.

“I found one who said, ‘yes I’ll help you.'”

She remained at the helm of the brand until she stepped down as chief executive in 2013; the company was sold in 2016.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Matthew Pearce taking care of Montreal’s homeless

“I’ve had years that were very hard, but I was not the person in the company who was interested in sales. I was the person interested in creating things that women would love and this was my passion and I was very tough on this,” she said.

The Lise Watier Foundation was launched in 2009 with the goal of offering women at risk a chance to build self-confidence, obtain an education and financial independence — maybe even start their own business.

WATCH BELOW: Montrealers giving back

“I feel today that trying to help women in need get their financial autonomy is the way we can change the world,” Watier mused.

Story continues below advertisement

“A woman who takes her life back into her own hands, she has choices. She can send her children to better schools, she can dress her children, she can feed her children, so by helping mothers we help children.”

Marie-Lise Andrade, Watier’s daughter, is now the general manager of the foundation, ensuring that her mother’s vision endures.

READ MORE: Meet some great Montrealers

“I’m very privileged to have my daughter taking over the foundation because she has it in her heart,” she told Global News.

“Beauty is not in the appearance. Beauty is the way you speak, the way you look at people, the way you have compassion for people — this is the real beauty.”

You can send us a private message on Facebook, tweet at us on Twitter or by e-mail:


Sponsored content