Ana Quincoces is a lot of things. The 54-year-old, a.k.a. Miami’s Hottest Chef, is an entrepreneur, a cookbook author, a former reality TV star, and the creator of Skinny Latina® cooking sauces and marinades. She’s also a mom (of two millennials), and the Coral Gables resident isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Before TV cameras entered her life, Quincoces was in a completely different field. “I was primarily doing transactional real estate, and I did that for 20 years,” she said of her business with her ex-husband. “In 2008, when the real estate market completely went to hell, so did my marriage and so did my practice.”
Quincoces’s career change didn’t happen overnight. “It took a while, because even when I was getting divorced and everything else, I kept helping him run the practice,” she said. One day, Quincoces says, she didn’t have the time for it anymore. Her husband decided to reinvent himself in another line of law, and Quincoces looked in a completely different direction.
“At that point I had already written two cookbooks, and as a result of those cookbooks, I was getting calls for endorsement deals and doing TV stuff,” she said. “I just thought, ‘This is the perfect time to transition.’” Despite her success, the decision to reinvent herself was not easy to make, and required taking a big pay cut, but she decided it was worth it to make the sacrifice to be able to do what she loves.
Quincoces hasn’t looked back since, recalling the expression, “If you do what you love, you don't work another day in your life.” “As silly as it sounds, it is absolutely true, because that's how I feel about it,” she said of the stresses of being an entrepreneur. “You really need to be comfortable with not knowing what's next,” she added. “That's taken a long time for somebody very Type A like me.”
Even in the midst of stress and fear, her dedication to reinvention paid off. In fact, she was recently featured on CNBC’s® The ProfitTM with Marcus Lemonis. “He's a billionaire that does deep dives into businesses he's interested in, and decides whether or not he wants to invest,” Quincoces shares. “He's looked at probably thousands of businesses, and this past season we did an episode together and he decided to invest in Skinny Latina.” Her days are often packed in an effort to grow her Skinny Latina brand: traveling, meeting different retailers, and growing the product line and its distribution.
One thing she isn’t doing (yet!) — but would like to — is host a podcast for fellow Gen X women. “Women my age are at the point where they either want to reinvent themselves, or they're single, or they're dating — or they're doing online dating, which is a whole crazy thing on its own,” she said. “There's just so much insight, advice about being an entrepreneur, I can share.”
We couldn’t wait for her potential podcast, so we decided to conduct our own interview with the Cuban beauty to unearth what she teaches her daughters about beauty, how she switched careers, the medical aesthetic treatments she gets, and her very impressive makeup stash.
Spotlyte: Do you have any advice for people who are looking to take the leap and go out on their own?
Ana Quincoces: I feel like I am an example for women who would like to reinvent themselves. As women, we have the ability to switch gears. Being multifaceted and being able to multitask — one of our strong suits — makes us really well-equipped for reinventing ourselves.
The one piece of advice I would give is to be aware of what you're getting into, and be prepared. Be sure that it's a sacrifice that you're willing to make, and assume that there's going to be a lot of hurdles. You do sometimes fall on your face. I have learned to even appreciate that, because I've learned so much more from my failures than my successes. I've made many rookie mistakes. There's nothing glamorous about it. It's not easy, but it is worthwhile to build something and feel like you could leave a legacy. That's what propels me. I knew for a fact that if I didn't do this, I would always regret it.
Spotlyte: What’s your mantra?
AQ: It's not really a mantra, but [President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech] “The Man in the Arena” is one of the things that is on my wall. It reminds me to be resilient, not to try to control everything, to do the work, and that it's not going to be easy, but it's going to be worthwhile. I love quotes. I do a lot of reading. I do a lot of listening to podcasts, everything from Simon Sinek to Mel Robbins to Gary Vaynerchuk. Most of the books that I read are books that I'm going to learn something from.
Spotlyte: During your career transition, your big moments, and your tough times, who have been your biggest cheerleaders?
AQ: 100 percent my daughters. They're 28 and 29. I very much feel like they're such an incredible support system. I'm a role model to them, and I can't let them down. Sometimes I'll call them and cry and feel like giving up, and my older daughter, Kati, tells me, "It is not in your DNA to give up."
Spotlyte: Have your two daughters followed in your footsteps?
AQ: The older one, Kati (Katiana), is a lawyer in New York as in-house counsel. The younger one’s name is Katrina, but they call her Beba. She's a producer in Los Angeles. She's done American Ninja Warriors℠ and World of Dance®. Right now, she just finished Lego® Masters. It used to freak me out because it’s one gig and then another gig, but she always has work.
Spotlyte: Do you share beauty tips with your daughters?
AQ: They're very different in how they put themselves together, and they're very different in the way they look. My youngest one has olive skin and dark hair, and she really likes makeup. She does it in a way that looks very natural, but she likes her process. She sits at a table to do her makeup, it's a whole thing. If my older one never had to wear makeup, she wouldn't — then she goes from wearing nothing to super glam with the red lip. The three of us love talking about and sharing makeup. If I try something and it doesn't look good, they will tell me, not even hold back.
Spotlyte: What is your morning skincare routine?
AQ: People send me a lot of products, so I try different things all the time. Before, I used Cetaphil®. For about a year now, I've been using Wander Beauty® Drift AwayTM Cleanser. I really like how it leaves my skin. It doesn't dry it. I use a Wander Beauty Mist ConnectionTM Essence and Toner afterward, with a cotton ball. I don't see much residue. I like that. Then, after that, I put on SkinCeuticals® C E Ferulic®, then Olay® Regenerist® MicrosculptingTM Cream Moisturizer with SPF 30. I'll use Estee Lauder® Advanced Night Repair® Eye Concentrate Matrix Serum, or Clarins® Multi Active YeuxTM Eye Cream, which reduces puffiness with the special applicator.
Spotlyte: We hear you love makeup.
AQ: I'm a crazy makeup junkie. It's just not even normal. I'm going to have to move out of my house so the makeup can live there. It's just my favorite thing to get as gifts and my favorite thing to buy, more than clothes and shoes and bags. I turned a room into a closet, so it has this built-in makeup area.
My makeup bag and my purse are always overflowing, because everytime I do my makeup, I change it up. I don't do the same thing. Then, I'll throw whatever that is in the bag, and then it's a mess.
Spotlyte: What’s in your makeup bag?
AQ: I have foundation: I use the Estee Lauder Double Wear® Stay-In-Place Liquid Makeup, and I mix that with Wander Beauty Hidden Glow® Brightening Cream using the Estee Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush. I love that I can mix it with Wander’s brightening cream for a little glow. I’ve had this brush for about six years and have not had to replace it. I let the SPF dry for a little while, have my coffee.
I use Estee Lauder Perfectionist® Youth-Infusing Brightening Serum + Concealer because it provides great, buildable coverage. I will use an Anastasia Beverly Hills® or Benefit® Gimme Brow® Volumizing Eyebrow Gel. I use Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil®, too. If I'm going to be out, I will contour with Wet ‘N Wild® MegaGlo® Dual-Ended Contour Stick, because I've decided that I need contour all the time. I use that on my cheeks and sometimes on the side of my nose, but that's not on a regular day. If I have a lunch or I have something after work, I'll do that.
Spotlyte: What about other cosmetics?
AQ: I use Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess® Powder. It’s the perfect bronzer year-round. Not too orange, and buildable. It gives you a healthy glow.
For eyeshadows, I switch it up. I've been using the Urban Decay® Naked2® Basics Palette. Most recently, I got some from Morphe® Cosmetics that I like. I try to go with burgundy-ish tones, and I'll use a lighter hand for day and then deepen it for night.
Sometimes, I'll use a little cream blush just on the apples of my cheek. Usually that's a Bobbi Brown® one. For lips, my favorite thing is a Burt's Bees® Natural Moisturizing Lip Shimmer in Guava. That's what I have on most of the time. I usually don't use a lip pencil. If I do, it’s NYX® Slim Lip Liner Pencil in Peekaboo NeutralTM — it’s the exact color of my lips, so I don’t have that telltale lip liner look. For evening, I like Huda BeautyTM Power Bullet® Matte Lipstick.
Spotlyte: What about lashes?
AQ: I've had lash extensions, but recently I took them off because they did a number on my lashes. I use the Rodan & Fields® Lash Boost®, and I'll use that twice a day now that I want them to grow back. I'll put that on before I do anything to my eyes, and then I'll put on the shadow and all that. Then I use a liner, and my favorite liner is L'Oreal® [Lineur] Intense® Carbon Black Eyeliner — it glides really easily, is super black, and has a great blender on the other end. I usually put that along the top of the lash line. For mascara, sometimes I'll use L'Oreal Voluminous® Volume Building Mascara. Voluminous Waterproof is the only waterproof mascara that doesn’t flake or kill your lashes. Sometimes I use the Wander Beauty UnlashedTM Volume & Curl Mascara, which I like a lot. It gives you super long lashes, and doesn’t dry out because of the unique tube. You can use every last bit.
Spotlyte: Anything else?
AQ: I finish it off with a powder. If I'm going out and doing something where I'm going to get more dressed up, then I'll use BECCA® Shimmering Skin Perfector® Pressed Highlighter Champagne Pop® just on the bridge of my nose and on my cheekbones. It’s the perfect color of shimmer, and a little goes a long way. Normally, though, I'll do everything very light. I will put on workout clothes and come to the office, because it's a very chill environment here. I share space with a bunch of women entrepreneurs — it's like a WeWork® for girls, and everybody's in yoga pants.
Spotlyte: How do you take off all your makeup?
AQ: It depends. Sometimes, if I get home and take a shower, I take all my eye makeup off with Johnson & Johnson® Baby Shampoo, and then I'll use Wander Beauty Drift Away Cleanser. If not, I'll use Neutrogena® Ultra-Soft Makeup Remover Wipes for Waterproof Makeup.
Spotlyte: What is your evening skincare routine?
AQ: I use Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix Serum, so I wake up looking refreshed. I use Rodan & Fields Lash Boost. SkinMedica® Retinol Complex 0.5 has eliminated [the appearance of] dark spots and made my skin look tighter. I have been using Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II for decades. The research behind it is unparalleled, and I will not go to bed without it. Rodan + Fields RedefineTM Lip Renewing Serum got rid of all the little lines around my lips. I love that they are easy to pack for travel.
Spotlyte: Considering that you live in Miami, what are your favorite sunscreens?
AQ: Neutrogena Hydro BoostTM Water Gel Non-Greasy Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 50. I love that this is not sticky or greasy and lasts for hours. I also use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Mist Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 with Helioplex®. I love the mist. It’s so easy to reapply and provides great protection. I keep one in my car as well.
Spotlyte: What beauty treatments do you love?
AQ: I get microblading on my eyebrows. I never do facials, because I suffered from bad cystic acne in my older age on my chin, after I had my kids. Anytime I do any facial, it stimulates my sebaceous glands and it causes acne, and it's really painful. It doesn't grow a head, so then you don't even know what to do with it.
Manicures and pedicures I do around every three weeks, and I do dip powder, because it really lasts. Since I'm doing a lot of stuff with food, where my hands show, a normal manicure will last me two days.
Once a week, I do Rodan + Fields EnhancementsTM Microdermabrasion Paste, which leaves the skin unbelievably soft, as if you’ve had a microdermabrasion treatment with an aesthetician. I switch between Wander Beauty Fast Lane Instant Facial® Mask and Wander Beauty Lift OffTM Purifying and Brightening Peel Off Mask, because I love both so much. They leave my skin supple and glowing. Once a month, I do an Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil MaskTM. I wish I could use this more often, but at 85 bucks a pop, it’s my answer to a salon facial.
Spotlyte: What about aesthetics?
AQ: I've done microneedling. This is not something I do on a regular basis, but I have done it, and I think it's really good. I've done Ulthera® twice. I believe in it. It seems like you age more slowly. It keeps you looking refreshed longer. I’ve done PowerSculpTM a couple of times. I've done that in my midsection, twice recently. Many years ago, I did a breast lift with implants.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.
Spotlyte: Do you get injectables?
AQ: I get injectable wrinkle reducers twice a year. I just started doing that about a year and a half ago. I get it in the elevens and the forehead.
Spotlyte: Do you get fillers?
AQ: Recently, when I went to the doctor, I had it in the nasolabial folds and in my cheeks. It did just enough. It's not something I do regularly.
Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.
Spotlyte: Who is your plastic surgeon and your dermatologist?
AQ: Carlos Wolf, [MD], does my injectable wrinkle reducer. I also see Delilah Alonso, who is a dermatologist, and she's done my Ulthera, filler, and some microneedling.
Spotlyte: What is your workout regimen like?
AQ: I really love SoulCycle® and go three times a week — one day during the week, like a Wednesday, and then Saturdays and Sundays. It is a workout for my body and meditation for my mind. It's a great way for me to decompress. My favorite SoulCycle instructor is Phillip at the SoulCycle Coral Gables.
Two or three days a week, I do fast walking with one of my best friends, because I can take my dog, Harry. He loves it, and he gets tired. He’s a goldendoodle and 18 months old. He's my emotional support animal, but he doesn't emotionally support me as much as I'd like. He doesn't like to cuddle, so I force him, and he's like, "Dude, leave me alone."
Spotlyte: You’re very transparent about the treatments you get and how you approach beauty. Why is that?
AQ: It's important for people to know that nobody “wakes up like that,” and that when you get older, it's harder and harder. I feel like I was very spoiled when I was younger. I never had to wax my upper lip or pluck my eyebrows or really do anything. It just didn't take a lot of work. I had the perfect hair. I didn't even appreciate it. I was super, super, incredibly insecure.
Now that I'm older, I'm a lot more secure, but it takes more work and it's exhausting. When you see women that people say, "Well, they don't even try," I get why they don't try. If you have a lot of other things to do, and your whole day is not planning your next aromatherapy treatment, then some days you don't want to be on.
Spotlyte: How did you combat always feeling “on”?
AQ: I have those days. Before, I felt that people would recognize me because of HousewivesTM, and it's like, "Well, I can't go to CVS® or Walgreens® looking like this." Now I do. Now I don't care. People will take a picture on the sly, and I'll be like, "No, I'll pose for it. That's a really bad angle."
I am a big believer that beauty fades and dumb is forever, and that I'm more than just the sum of my parts. I've tried to teach that to my girls. I want them to know that, when people scrape off that varnish, the surprise is after that. There is so much more that you don't know, and that will stand the test of time. When everything else is sagging, there's still going to be a lot of substance there.
Spotlyte: What do you like to do for fun?
AQ: I am juggling so many things right now that, when I do something social, it's usually a media dinner or something that has to do with work. What I like to do the most for fun is stay home and either cook — because really to me that's such a relaxing thing — or order in and watch Netflix® with my dog on the couch. Nothing makes me happier than that.
Spotlyte: What are your favorite things to cook?
AQ: I love to cook fish. I love to cook anything that takes a while to cook, anything that I can braise. Nut-crusted yellowtail, roasted vegetables, things like that. Another thing that I really love is when I think the cupboards are completely barren and I somehow manage to create something really special from the few ingredients that I have.
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