Mary Kay: Like a Cult, But Without the Animal Sacrifice

Last night I had the single most horrifying experience of my life. It didn’t involve a severed human torso or carnies with brown Chiclet teeth; those things I can handle. This experience took me completely out of my comfort zone and into some alternate universe where faces are spackled and painted, each hair is frozen into place with layers of Aquanet, and you can hear bangles jingling from down the hall.

I attended a Mary Kay holiday meeting.

Not the kind that takes place in someone’s home with friends or women you vaguely know pushing their lip glosses and hand moisturizers. Those are bad enough. But this was a whole different animal.

mary kay is evil

It started when my friend Becky asked if I wanted to go to a Mary Kay thing where you learn about color and get a free lip gloss. Sounds kind of fun, right? I asked where it was taking place and she said the Holiday Inn down the street. That should have been my first clue. I didn’t have shit else to do so I agreed to go.

We pulled up at the Holiday Inn at 7 p.m. and walked down a corridor until we reached a table manned by two middle aged women who were entirely too perky. They gave us name tags and we were ushered into the meeting room. Becky and I sat down next to her friend that had invited us there. After a few minutes of chatting a woman with a high pitched voice and a red apron yelled at everyone in the full room to pipe down.

She immediately launched into her welcome spiel in which she equated Mary Kay to a sorority for adults. I should have bolted for the door at that very moment. She then announced that there was lots of recognition to be given that night. She asked the women who had sold $100 or more that week to stand up and then told the women who had sold $200 or more to remain standing and so forth until she reached $800.

Of course we were encouraged to clap each time and by the time the final woman was left standing the whole room was in a frenzy. I’ve never seen grown women act this way in real life. Jumping up and down and borderline crying. It was like an Oprah’s Favorite Things episode.

oprah's favorite things pandemonium

After the hour of recognition was over we had a short break. I wanted to grab Becky and make a run for it but I kept my composure. Every time she would glance over at me I would make a face and we’d both start laughing.

After the break it was time for the main event. The displays of makeup, skin care items, perfumes and holiday shit. The head Klansman asked one of the women in the back of the room, “Mary Beth Ann, why don’t you start by talking about our Mary Kay fragrances?” And sweet Jesus, was Mary Beth Ann excited. She ran through the whole line and then turned the show over to another woman who discussed the skin care products and so forth.

We were then given a 15 minute break to test the products during which I just watched Becky try on different eye shadows. At one point the head Klansman came over to me and asked if I would like to try any of the products. As I tried my best to politely smile and disguise the fact that I was counting her spackled-over crows feet, I shook my head and said, “No thanks, just looking.”

Then came my favorite part of the night. The time when one of the junior Klansmen was brought to the front of the room to “Share the Mary Kay Opportunity.” She passed out a slip of pink paper to each of the guests and asked us to take notes. Take notes? Is she fucking out of her mind?! When Becky looked at me I pretended to slit my wrists and we both started silently laughing again. I had to cover my face with my hand to keep from being a complete asshole.

mary kay is a cult

The whole thing was extremely cultish. I was waiting for them to bring out the Kool-Aid, but it never happened. I avoided the coffee just to be on the safe side.

4 thoughts on “Mary Kay: Like a Cult, But Without the Animal Sacrifice

  1. LOL… I know how this must have felt (I’m still cracking up). I happen to be one of the ‘klansmen’ but I do things a bit differently. Like, you know, a true business? I actually run mine like a shop and only ask those who show an interest and interview them and so on. But I do know many who conduct what you describe and though I find it funny I can’t help but get angry. Because I know how harmful it is to our company and the image. Mary Kay would be spinning in her grave to know that these women conducted themselves this way.
    So, on behalf of the many who are true business women…please give our products/services another try and I hope you will find a consultant, who, like myself, will treat you with the service and respect you deserve. Great blog though… 🙂

    1. Nora,

      Thank you for checking out my blog post, I’m glad you enjoyed it. The experience was a bit harrowing for me but I do think that Mary Kay can be a great way for women to work for themselves and gain independence. There are a few products that I enjoy, so I’m not giving up on them forever, I’ll just be sure to steer clear of any “meetings” in the future. Good luck with your business.


  2. The thing I hate most about MK is how they get you feeling all warm and fuzzy then tear you down in order to buy their products. I was roped into going to a “facial party” and the host said “Tonight we’re going to feel GOOD about ourselves! We’re going to pamper ourselves and feel beautiful!” She then spread concealer all over my face (I have beautiful skin and I have freckles. I guess my freckles are the flaw?), then foundation, then powder blush, eyeshadow, etc. She jabbed at my eyebrows (I never pluck them), then the “huge purple bags” under my eyes (I went home to see what the hell she was talking about. She must be imagining things!), then she said something about how I have “such small eyes” (my eyes are bigger than hers) and I HAVE to buy this mascara to accentuate them, blah blah blah. How is that feeling beautiful or good about myself? This person called me 10+ times to get me to come back for the follow-up facial (I noticed as she was spreading goop, I mean foundation, on my face how bad her forhead acne is…) and insulted me some more then tried to get me to buy from her. What the hell? And of course now that she’s made a buck off of me she totally ignores me. I hate how they act like they’re your best friend then drop you like a hot potato when they’re done with you.

  3. It’s funny how I am in Mexico and the SAME thing happens here. I signed up in Nov of last year as I knew I would be quitting my full time job bc my husband and I had bought a house in another state and would be moving by Jan of this year. I must say I had a very stressing office job and was surrounded by a stressing and hostile environment. However, I am happily married and have three small children.
    Knowing it would take me a couple of months to get a nother full time job in our new area, and with all the desire to give me a small break, I voluntarily signed up for MK, I even looked for a lady that sold MK in order to sign up. Of course calling a MK lady is like calling 911 in the US, without much thougth I signed up, I still had my full time job so I did not bother to sell any, in fact I don’t like to sell. So, I left the investment for later when I would eventually move to our new house and spend time with my family without a job for a couple of months, I thought I could do this as a side job. In the mean time my recruiter persistantly insisted to make orders consecutively and wourd call me every single day the last week of the month. She would would even wait for me outside of my door at 7 or 8pm when she knew I would get home to make sure she found me and remind me to make my order to get the awesome discount! she did this for 2 months and the 3rd I just did not answer any of her phone calls. For some reason, and although I am very skeptical, I did not think anything of it, I just thought she was doing her job. So with 2 months worth of products, in my new lovely home and with 3 beautiful children and an awesome husband, I again looked for another MK lady in my new area to be “adopted’ and finally start going to the fluffy happy meetings. I had no job but had some money saved up, I was in an area where I knew nobody, I was starving for recognition and a sense of belonging so hanging around with these oh positive women, who sang in my ear the 3 priorities in life, God, family and work which honestly sounded like the most beautiful song I had ever heard. With the stressing office job I had, I never got time for my self much less to see my my children grow up. I tried my hardest to make appts by doing cold contacts, I went to all the traingings, I took notes like the proud nerd I am, I got excited and sang their happy songs, I was a good student and went to everything they invited me to. I was convinced to the idea of not just a side job but a MK Career! I said to myself, I love challenges, of course I can do this! I stopped looking for a job and took on MK as a full time 8 hr job, I did everything I could, invested time, money, gas, moral support from my husband and children, and have SOLD nothing or not much, of course have given away lots of free gifts…
    Now I think, I have the attitude, the support, the everything, and I cannot make this work, there has to be something wrong. Of course, you have to invest big time money if you want to equal what you were making at regular full time JOB and even more if you want medical insurance and even more if you want to pay Child Care and let your husband breath.
    Now I woke up from the spell! It is your VULNERABILITY that drags you into these type of things, and it is YOU who decide to participate into being fooled, not them. If you REALIZE that happiness is inside of us, and that fulfilling our own aspirations is in our own individual power, not in MK power, then we got it! What MK does is fullfill your fantasies, your so called dreams, your self esteem, your sense of belonging, it gives your the best positive advice, PRIZES, CARS, A SMALL SALARY FROM ALL THE ONES YOU HAVE USED TO GET UP THE LADDER. …. FORTUNATELLY happiness is not outside and we do not need to get it from a company or from anything material, happiness is in the present, with lots money or little money. Girls lets learn to Make our selves happy and not expect something or someone make us happy. Unfortunatelly I do think MK does take advantage of women’s vulnerability and feeds us tea spoons of happiness and materialism, and it turn, maks women follow a path to the MK dream, not our OWN INDIVIDUAL DREAM.

    My passion is children, inspire children by teaching. Not sell MK

    Everyone has to have a passion, a purpose… Please do not let MK be your passion., that is for lazy people who allow others to think, feel and be on their terms.

    I thank my self for realizing this on my own, and continue with my passion. The best for all woman out there.

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