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John Demsey’s Career High

Some little-known facts about the longtime Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. exec.

This week, John Demsey celebrated his 30th anniversary at the Estée Lauder Cos., where he has worked on 25 brands. Well-known for both his professional achievements — building MAC from a niche makeup artist brand into a global cosmetics powerhouse, raising more than $500 million as chairman of the MAC VIVA GLAM Fund and helping to bring Tom Ford’s beauty vision to life — and his OOO pursuits (avid photography collector and consummate party host), we decided to dig a little deeper. Here, the executive shares 30 things you might not know.

1. I first met Estée Lauder in 1984 when I was working on the floor of Bloomingdale’s 59th Street and she would come in to meet customers on Sundays.

2. Favorite campaign I worked on more than 30 years at ELC: Tom Ford F–king Fabulous.

3. I’ve attended more than 1,200 fashion shows.

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4. Go-to designers: Tom Ford, Anderson Sheppard, Thom Browne, Ermenegildo Zegna, Bottega Veneta, Berluti.

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5. When I was a national sales manager for the Estée Lauder Brand, we had a sales meeting in Florida. The airline lost my luggage and I had to wear Leonard Lauder’s yellow pants.

6. I have a pair of shoes named after me: “The Demsey” from Gaziano & Girling.

7. My grandmother’s first cousin, Uncle Bernie Mitchell from Chicago, created Jovan Musk in the 1970s.

8. Pre-pandemic lunch: Two PB&Js made with strawberry jelly and creamy peanut butter on whole wheat.

9. During pandemic lunch: Granola and yogurt from Sant Ambroeus via Caviar delivery.

10. One thing I won’t ever eat: any kind of fish.

11. More than 900 photos hang in my town house, including works by Miles Aldridge, David Bailey, Steven Klein and Terry O’Neill.

12. The first photograph I ever purchased was at a flea market in Paris. It was a head shot of Brigitte Bardot as a brunette.

13. First movie: “Wizard of Oz.”

14. First concert: Seals and Croft followed by David Bowie.

15. First paying job: Sorting accounts payable in my father’s office.

16. In Paris I lived in the maid’s room where Andy Warhol ran the factory.

17. Fave childhood shows: “Captain Kangaroo” and “The Brady Bunch.”

18. I wear three scents: Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli.

19. Favorite sweet: Chocolate covered graham crackers from EAT.

20. Color I can’t stand: Pepto pink.

21. Favorite flower: orchid.

22. Pre-COVID-19, I hosted more than a dozen events per year at my town home, catered by Cornelia Guest. Now it’s six people, socially distanced and food from Caviar or Seamless.

23. Style icon: Grace Jones.

24. I obsessively collect watches. I have 50 and have instituted a one-in, one-out policy.

25. I have six dogs, three cats and two birds in residence.

26. Repeat purchase on Amazon: Nature’s Miracle.

27. Ride or die ELC products, Crème de la Mer, Clinique Moisture Surge, Estée Lauder ANR.

28. Favorite comic strips: “Charlie Brown,” “Archie,” “Richie Rich,” “Fantastic Four.”

29. I will never wear Crocs or Birkenstocks.

30. I live by the words of my mentor, Leonard Lauder, who said, “If you can’t see the future you will never get there.”