"I actually came out of retirement to work for La Perla Beauty. Before I joined, I was doing a few different things to keep myself amused, such as consulting, travelling, playing golf (badly), and playing the drums. Oh, and I also took classes in astrophysics at Princeton University. I've been studying it on and off for two to three years. It's really interesting and something that I have always been interested in!
"When I was asked if I would like to join the team here, I was really excited to work with such a prestigious name and a top-class team of former and new colleagues. Working with women isn't anything new for me, but it's a pleasure to work for a brand that is specifically for women, by women. I am particularly happy how the team has worked together under extremely challenging times to develop world-class products. I’m very proud to say that as a group we have received accreditation (or “seals”) from three well-known organizations: Positive Luxury, as a brand that is committed to promoting environmental responsibility; Ecovadis as a brand whose supply chain excels in sustainability and social responsibility; and PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) for “Beauty without Bunnies”.
"What is beauty? For me, it's self-confidence. It makes you feel good both inside and out and gives you that special spark. It helps you to be more assertive and allows you to easily make decisions. That is a beautiful thing."
Which historical figure would you like to invite to dinner?
Leonardo da Vinci. He was an amazing cultural figure, both an artist and an incredible inventor. A very complex character.
We hear you're a fan of Scotch whisky and have an extensive collection – which is your favourite?
I was born and bred a mile away from Cameron Bridge, where they make Johnnie Walker whisky amongst others. In the mornings, you could smell the whisky being distilled. Cameron Bridge whiskies, at one point in time, were the only single grain whiskies in the world, and I happened to name my son after it – Cameron. It's my favourite, and I have 15 bottles of it sitting in my basement. It's nothing fancy, but it has sentimental value.
You've lived and worked in many countries – which is your favourite?
I've lived in Switzerland three times, Belgium, France, the UK and the USA. Although I loved all of these countries I have to say, I feel most comfortable here in the United States. It's a very easy and convenient lifestyle and we live in a beautiful area (Princeton) surrounded by friends and family.
Which women inspire you most?
My mother was an inspiration because when I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. She'd work at the cinema all day and came home late at night, but still she was always a very positive and bubbly person. A lot of my own personality comes from her. Then there's my daughter, too – after finishing her studies, she moved to El Salvador and was working there helping the ladies in the villages earn a living by weaving baskets and making bracelets. She's one of the most caring people you'll ever meet. She's hard-working, and such an inspiration.
What is the greatest advice you've been given?
It was from my granddad, who was a coal miner. He said, ''Leslie, if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well'', and I've carried that with me. It's easy to start a job and not finish it, so it's been one of my goals to be committed to all I do.