Made in St. Louis: Country singing, ex-military Christian counselor launches beauty line

As seen in the St. Louis Post Dispatch – read original story here

Brei Carter

Home • O’Fallon, Mo., and 3 acres in Edwardsville

Age • “Leave that blank”

Family • Three dogs, Sandy, Misha and Harley (pit bull, pointer and a German shepherd mix); two cats, Sabrina and Brutus

What she sells • Cosmetics, including eye shadows, lipsticks, mascaras, bronzers, blush (everything but foundation and concealers), a collection of bedazzled beauty accessories and a beauty pill called Ethereal Hair Formula, designed to enhance the appearance of hair, skin, nails, body and mood.

How to buy • and Her products range in price from $12 to $30.


Country girl • Brei Carter says her solid, southern upbringing has had the most impact on her life. She’s a product of Monroe, La., where she developed a strong Christian faith and an unassailable belief that she was destined to contribute to a greater good.

Feminine versatility • Listening to Carter recount her many pursuits it’s hard to believe that she’s done so much in such a short life span, but she attributes much of it to a sense of female empowerment that makes it acceptable to shift sharply from the military to the arts or pharmaceutical sales to the ministry or a six-figure sales career to country singing.

Surgical maneuver • In her previous career, Carter wore scrubs and literally stood at the elbow of surgeons in emergency rooms training them to insert a device she describes as “a pacemaker for the brain.” The vagus nerve stimulator was used to control seizures and some other problems that were resistant to other treatments. Before that she had been handling accounts for Wrigley Chewing Gum. “The very first time was hard. I thought I was going to be sick,” Carter explained. “There’s a smell like burning blood and at least I knew from my military training that you can’t lock your legs up or you’ll pass out.So I just had to keep it together and put on my big girl pants.”

God stepped in • Carter has a business degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and later got her master’s from Webster University in international relations. She also has a degree in Christian counseling from the New Foundation Theological Seminary in Mississippi and a doctorate in theology from the institution. Carter sends out daily devotional messages to friends, family and those who follow her brand. Eventually she’d like to be a motivational speaker discussing entrepreneurship and how to succeed while following your core principles. She’d always wanted to start her own product line, but she had been reluctant to leave a lucrative profession after more than a decade until she said, “God stepped in and said it was time to close that chapter.” She said that she wanted to focus more on her family and friends and faith because her hectic schedule had forced her to miss a lot of the day-to-day celebrations and family functions.

Time to sing • In addition to launching her cosmetics line at trade shows and getting her product placed in the right hands on the road to mass market retail shelves, Carter is pursuing another dream. She wants to be a country singer. She trains with a voice coach in Nashville and is working on her demo. She lists Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn among her all-time favorites but she’s also a fan of Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert. But Carter, who is most comfortable in her cowboy boots, is not one to do anything half-way. The burgeoning songbird who once planned to be a drill sergeant after achieving the rank of first lieutenant in the Army reserves is now writing odes to her roots like “Country Living,” a song about backyard barbecues, summer days, familial teasing and a day of nothing-to-do.

572a04ab1c347.imageModel citizen • Among her many seemingly disparate pastimes, Carter also works part-time as a model and commercial actor. It’s in her blood, so it was a natural pursuit, she says. Her mother used to model in Los Angeles, and Carter grew up as a cheerleader and pageant contestant. “I love it. I tell women that they can do anything,” Carter said. “Be bold and go for it. What do you feel like doing today? Do that. We can be bright, radiant, beautiful, serious. We can wear color or be natural. Men don’t have that many options for how they look.” And she implies that chameleon-like changes in our appearance can affects our confidence and pursuits. “We don’t have to be limited,” Carter said. “We can look one way today and completely different tomorrow.” And she takes this to heart, because one day she might be out on a tractor helping maintain acres of rural land, the next she’s in the city working on property preservation projects for yet another side business maintaining abandoned or foreclosed urban city lots … that is if she’s not rushing over to hair and makeup for a commercial shoot.

Living in dreamland • Did we mention that she’s also a children’s book author? Carter wrote “Delia goes to Dreamland” which is available on Amazon. It’s the story of a kind-hearted 5-year-old who finally gets to venture off to a place that encourages kids to dream big and do good because one good deed leads to the next great adventure.

Southern traditions • Her beauty pill is a unique blend, Carter says, because she includes some of her southern family secrets such as cod liver oil, honey, wheatgrass and apple cider vinegar among the requisite vitamins and minerals to stimulate a healthy digestive system and nutritional balance. She said it’s not just a hair formula, but a total body health and mood stabilizer. “I don’t think I’m trying to do too much because there’s no such thing, and there’s no time like the present,” Carter said. “When God gives you gifts you don’t say, there’s not enough time. You make time.”

Debra D. Bass is fashion editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.




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