Interview with a Mary Kay Vampire (Part 1)

 Written by The Scribbler

Some time ago I’d created a YouTube video titled, Hungry For Answers: One Mary Kay Consultant’s Journey .  Simple and crude in execution (hey, even Spielberg had to start somewhere, right?), it served and continues to serve as a way to encourage women to visit Pink Truth.  I was excited when it hit 15k views, which doesn’t seem like much compared to oft-viewed, time-honored classics like Chick Poops Herself in Hot Tub, but it gave me a warm feeling knowing literally thousands of women got a small peek into the reality of Mary Kay culture.  And doggone it, some folks didn’t like that.  One day I received a message in my YouTube inbox from an individual claiming to be the son of NSD Gillian Ortega:

“I am Gillian’s Son… I am so blessed and thank God every day I grew up in the Mary Kay world.  Just because your view of Mary Kay is “interesting,”  please stop dogging my Mom and Mary Kay…Its unfair and Just a waste of ur time because Mary Kay is only growing and getting better…. I would love for you to go to seminar 2010 and see how every woman on stage that does something successful gives all the Glory to God.. You can call me at XXXX and we can chat…I am not afraid to talk to you if you would like to have a conversation about Mary Kay and your views of it…..”

He’s a trusting sort to hand out his phone number so quickly to online strangers, isn’t he?  I’m kicking myself for not having said that he was next in a long line of Nigerian princes and that all his Nigerian kin had died last week in a blimp crash and he stands to inherit millions if he would only fax me his social security number, bank account number, and Visa number.  Scrib, sometimes you’re as slow as frozen molasses.

It needs to be established that I never “dogged” NSD Ortega as “Vince” claims.  My video asks tough questions about Mary Kay, challenges scripted statements, and calls out the husband bashing and religious manipulation so prevalent in Mary Kay culture, but not once does it disrespect anyone on a personal level.   That being said, I sent “Vince” this reply:

Thank you quite kindly for your response.  Believe me, I do not condemn you for having grown up in the Mary Kay world, friend.  And I am not dogging your mother on a personal level – outside of Mary Kay, I am convinced that she is phenomenal and probably someone I’d borrow a cup of sugar from, much like any of the NSDs.  Hell, I’d love to meet NSD Rena Tarbet one of these days, as I’d love to talk cancer with her, being married to a 3-time cancer survivor myself.

So aside from personal character, it is what your mother does for a living that merits a calling out onto the carpet.  She is a leader of a system that is steeped in “little white lies” and mistruths from the lowest echelons clear up to her position, and those mistruths continue to snowball as one moves up the ranks.  Women can bless and praise God all they wish on a Seminar stage, but one must wonder if God would take credit for an MK-related accomplishment that only repeated and rampant manipulation could possibly achieve.

For example, you are aware that Mary Kay does not track actual retail sales, nor does it base its awards and perks on such sales…everything is based on what is ordered by its consultants.  I have to ask, “How can a woman stand on a stage and be praised for being the “Queen of Sales” when it’s quite possible that she didn’t sell as much as one would be led to believe?”  Sure, we know she ORDERED 12k in Timewise or what-have-you, but as far as actual retail sales go, one may never know.  Actually, I take that back.  Craigslist and eBay might know.

In Mary Kay culture, the mistruths start small with lines like “I’m not trying to recruit you, I just want to share information!” or “It’s just a fun girl’s night out!”  Let’s face it, we all know that recruiting in Mary Kay is the bottom line – the ulterior motive that lies behind every scripted word in the business.  Those scripted words continue far into the recruiting interviews, with recruiters saying practically everything and anything to get that body on board.  One commonly circulated training document (and found on an NSD’s website, no less) instructs recruiters “No matter what [your prospect] says, say, “That’s exactly why you need Mary Kay!”  This is but a tiny sample of what is being taught as not only right, but necessary to move up the ranks in Mary Kay.  There’s that whole “free training” thing, too.  Is it right that NSDs are hawking high-priced training events, books, and CDs to IBCs when those same IBCs were told in the recruiting interview, “Hey, training is free in Mary Kay!”  Do you feel God winks at such behaviors…or weeps?

Much of the mistruths take the form of lies of omission, too.  On your mother’s website there are recruiting documents that do not give the entire story.  For example, one document claims that “You are the CEO…no one will lay you off!”  which – in Mary Kay – is incorrect.  The Consultant Agreement is quite clear that Corporate can terminate an IBC if it so chooses.  Also, if you are the CEO, why is there a career ladder to climb?  CEOs do not require promotions.

Look at the neat stuff you do for a living.  You do web design.  You make videos.  And nobody can fire you, because you are indeed your own CEO – you don’t need to climb a career ladder.  In this respect, you TRULY do own your own business.  Mary Kay IBCs, Directors, and NSDs cannot make that claim.  They cannot sell their businesses or pass them down to their children.

Now I would never make a business choice without learning as much as I could about that business both pro and con, wouldn’t you agree?  Unfortunately, in Mary Kay, any information that does not paint the company in that characteristic, “positive” light is verboten.  It is this dangerous mindset that may very well be the reason why – year after year – Mary Kay’s turnover rate never fails to impress.  And as I have said, your mother is not a stupid individual.  She knows full well what that turnover is and yet continues to teach and promote how wondrous the business is.  Then again, she has to.  She’s an NSD and must sell the opportunity so others will jump on to replace the ones that jumped off.  I believe Mary Kay Ash called it, “Filling the tub with the drain open.”

When a director failed to recruit me, I decided to do some digging on my own.  Pink Truth was a springboard for that research, and so off I went to visit NSD and director websites to see what they had to say.  To date I have reviewed over 600 training documents from all levels of the corporation; most of these were acquired from the websites of Mary Kay’s leaders, but a nice chunk came to me via snail mail from consultants and former directors.

I wish I could say that I received conflicting messages from this collaboration of information, but unfortunately, it was the same message repeated again and again:  The Mary Kay format is all about its leaders “encouraging” the downline to recruit, use this or that manipulative tactic to recruit, and to push the higher end inventory packages.  NSD Stacy James is guilty of telling her recruiters to only discuss the top three levels of inventory, while NSD Pam Shaw tells her recruiters to “guide” potentials to a 3600 decision.  Some might say “Oh, that information just came from a bad apple.”  But what happens if the “bad apple” is leading a National Area of a couple thousand or so women and teaching them to only discuss the top three levels of inventory?  Two thousand future bad apples.  Not good.

I think I’ll leave it at that for now, as it pretty much gives a clear picture of where I’m coming from.  Naturally, you are more than free to disagree with me, as is your right.  It is my strong view that Mary Kay culture consists of many GOOD women who are being taught to do many BAD things in order to succeed.  That is why I do what I do; potential recruits everywhere deserve to hear what Mary Kay’s recruiters are not telling them.



I invented a new drink to describe how my new friend responded to my e-mail.  I call it, “Flaming Comments Section!”  Tune in tomorrow to get a big ol’ fishbowl filled to overflowing with this slightly-sweet-yet-sickeningly-sour cocktail!


  1. Deflated Pink Bubble

    Oh Lord I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve! I can’t wait to read his responses! If I’m real good can Santa give me a sneak peak? LOL Scrib, your response to him was nothing less than epic. Vinnie is again gracing the front page of Pink Truth! I LOVE IT!

  2. I can’t wait to hear what Vinnie the Ninny has to spew tomorrow.
    Does anyone know if this slacker ever moved out of Mama’s
    basement? Did he ever marry the mother of his child? Has he
    ever held a real job? Did he even finish high school? You most
    certainly can’t tell by his writing. The way poor little Vinnie the Poo
    writes, I can see him at the junior high lunchroom table sticking
    straws up his nose. Pitiful. Just plain pitiful.

  3. raisinberry

    After all these years of “outing” Mary Kay, it is hard to imagine any woman still within the organization, continuing to do the same stuff—KNOWING her words and techniques and manipulation have been PRINTED here for all to see. You would have to tell yourself to NEVER LOOK AT THAT NASTY WEBSITE, to stay blind and in denial in order to continue…and once you LOOK, ah, you see. The scales start coming off the eyes.

    How does one tell themselves that what they do, can not stand the risk or the light of scrutiny, because if they examine the claims of the opposition, they might “Lose the Dream”.

    There is only one answer. A “Dream” that is so frail, has no foundation.
    A “dream” that can be exposed as fraud, belies the manipulation used to create it. The Big fear of the pro-Mary Kay reader, is that their life has been centered in a lie—ONE THEY SUSPECTED ALL ALONG.

    And this realization is the thing that is the most horrifying, in my view. You knew, and you pretended. You knew, and you played. You suspected, and you placated and denied. Your debt grew, and you shook the pom poms harder. The STRESS grew, and you pasted on your smile. The DOUBT grew, and you “cancel, cancel,cancelled”.

    Vince has a out. He grew up separated from the truth by a big pink wall. What excuse do all the Directors have?

  4. To the reader: Please note that the video I had made was made “some time ago” as in a few years ago. This was not an incident that happened yesterday, however, the point is to show you – the reader – a clear picture of the blinded mindset that lies within Mary Kay culture. I mean, look, all I did was post a video that gives insight into the side of MK the recruiters avoid like the plague, and the individual considered that act “dogging” his NSD mother and MK itself.

    Telling the other side of a story is NOT “dogging” anything. It’s telling the other side of the story, period. Quite honestly, if MK did their job and told both sides in their recruiting interviews in the first place, PT wouldn’t have to do their work for them now, would we?

    More recent happening: Vince remarking circa August 2013 on his FB page “Get real, money IS everything” as his NSD mother enthusiastically agrees with the undoubtedly “God First” sentiment. If that doesn’t show where the REAL allegiance lies in MLM, nothing does.

    1. princess lea

      I watched your youtube video, and I can only hope that many would-be consultants view it and decide to get more information before making a decision.

      And, I’d like to see you make more!

      AND, part of the problem within Mary Kay is how directors train all their consultants into believing that anything not gushing pink is a lie. Anything suggesting that there is another side to the story is most definitely “dogging” the so-called business opportunity. Anything that is not completely and unequivocally pro Mary Kay is negative. In fact, everything not having to do with Mary Kay is negative.

  5. CaliforniaGal

    Well, ladies. If ya can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen. These ladies know full well what they are teaching and what they need to have happen to continue as NSDs. Ya gotta front load all of those newbies or ya are gonna run out of production. The name of the game is keep on keeping on deceiving those little gals that sign up all starry eyed and believing what they are told to do. If someone drops out, well there are more suckers born everyday.

  6. Misty

    I have not been in MK for a few years now. Does anyone have a current applause magazine. Can you please post what the commission checsk for Gloria, Cindy Williams and Pam Shaw, Dacia, etc have been lately.
    I am trying to see if they have increased or decreased since I left 4 years ago.

    Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Scrib

    Misty, I can give you a general picture. Do note, however, that NSD commissions can easily fluctuate from one month to the other. For example, Executive National Sales Director Barbara Sunden’s pulled down a $127,081 commission check for July ’10, but you won’t be told is that she took a HUGE pay cut of over 50k (down to $76,261) the following month. So sitting at the top does not mean one is immune to – shall we say – financial inconveniences.

    Since we’re gearing up to head into February, let’s use that month. Here are the commission numbers for some prominent NSDs for February 2010 and what their numbers are looking like four years later:

    Gloria Mayfield-Banks, Feb 2010: $51,212
    Gloria Mayfield-Banks, Feb 2014: $52,444

    Cindy Williams, Feb 2010: $33,560
    Cindy Williams, Feb 2014: $26,870

    Pamela Shaw, Feb 2010: $28,808
    Pamela Shaw, Feb 2014: $26,051

    Dacia Wiegandt, Feb 2010: $24,150
    Dacia Wiegandt, Feb 2014: $21,417

    Gillian Ortega, Feb 2010: $10,555
    Gillian Ortega, Feb 2014: Not listed, failed to meet the 10k quota

    Cyndee Gress, Feb 2010: $18,520
    Cyndee Gress, Feb 2014: $16,800

    Crisette Ellis, Feb 2010: $10,203
    Crisette Ellis, Feb 2014: $17,443

    Linda Toupin, Feb 2010: $29,645
    Linda Toupin, Feb 2014: $25,235

    Lisa Allison, Feb 2010: $19,399
    Lisa Allison: Feb 2014: $15,638

    Carol Anton, Feb 2010: $46,266
    Carol Anton, Feb 2014: $42,371

    Caterina Harris, Feb 2010: $6,021
    Caterina Harris, Feb 2014: Not listed, failed to meet the 10k quota

    Remember, these amounts are GROSS, not net, and do not reflect any chargebacks or business expenses, which – for an NSD – would be considerably more than the usual $10 dropped at Dollar Tree on unit prizes.

    Also, in November 2010, Mary Kay stopped printing any NSD commissions in Applause that failed to go above 10k. Not long thereafter, they stopped printing the Sales Director commissions, too, probably because it’s so easy to compare numbers and prove that Arby’s managers are making more consistent money than Mary Kay Sales Directors.

  8. Michele Bowers

    i think that you all sound like a bunch whining ladies, that are too lazy to run any kind of business let alone be a productive employee for some one. blah blah blah, lazy lazy lazy.

    1. TRACY

      Hi Michele – Thanks for commenting on an article that is nearly 5 years old.

      I own this site. I have an incredibly successful business investigating fraud. Many of our members/commenters have successful careers outside of MK as well.

      The hundreds of thousands of women who fail in Mary Kay each year aren’t lazy. It’s the pyramid scheme system which guarantees that they will fail.

      1. nomoremlm4me

        Amen Tracy! I love my career! I just got back from a work retreat. Everything, every meal, drink and dessert was paid for by my work. That’s just one of the reasons that I will never MLM again ;).

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