Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Sham…Wow! The Recruiting Trickery of Mary Kay NSD Pam Shaw

Written by The Scribbler

It didn’t matter that your arms and cargo pants were spattered with remnants of “Sonoma Sunset” deck stain.  It didn’t matter that your sweaty ponytail was stuck to the back of your sweaty neck, either.  All that mattered was that the business-suited blonde in Lowe’s thought you were sugar-sharp and had to be looking for something more in life.  Why else would you be here, trying to decide which paintbrush should replace the one the neighbor’s kid practiced his budding barber skills on?

You remember the solicitation well.  After a spot of small talk, the woman introduced both herself and her motive:  “I’m Pamela Shaw, a National Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics.”  She said some B-grade Olsteen stuff about women who had giants inside just screaming to get out and added, “Would you like to learn how we make our money in Mary Kay?  Once you hear the marketing plan, you’ll probably want to do this for yourself and get 50% off your cosmetic orders for life!  There’s lunch and a free eye shadow in it for you if you do!”

Normally this would all seem more disturbing than a bear hug from a plague victim, but you figure that free face paint from someone you barely know can’t be anything less than win-win.  So here you are, a day later, in Panera; sipping at black bean soup and trying to eat your baguette in a way that doesn’t give your fellow diners the impression that you’re a seasoned performer in the adult film industry.

Shaw slides a pen and an official-looking document towards you.  “For my records,” she explains, “I’ll need you to fill this out so I can get credit for conducting this practice interview.”  She runs a finger over the page, indicating which sections to fill out and sign.

You raise an eyebrow.   “Excuse me,” you say, scanning the document.  “This says “Consultant Agreement.”  I don’t recall agreeing to anything except attending this little Pitch n’ Lunch.”

“Oh, nothing happens to this unless we attach money to it!” Shaw says with a grin.

You’re wary, but isn’t Mary Kay’s motto “God First, Family Second, Career Third?”  You’d like to think that a high-ranker in a “God First” company would be a paragon of moral and ethical character, right?   She needs credit for doing the work, is all; just sign the darn thing so she’ll stop staring at you like a long-lost lover.  And why won’t the diner in the next booth answer her cell phone?  Of all the ringtones in the world to choose from, she’s got to pick “Wind Beneath My Wings.”  Madre de Dios.

Reluctantly, you scribble your name at the bottom of the document. You could’ve sworn that – out of the corner of your eye – you saw Shaw hand it off to a clawed hand jutting from a flame-wreathed hole in the linoleum, but hey, let’s chalk it up to indigestion.   You don’t need the drama.

Shaw launches into her presentation, which includes how to make an extra 20k per year working part-time and how driving free is the smartest thing a mother can do for her family.  You have to admit, her perky patter is convincing, but being a mom yourself, you’d disagree that driving a car for free is the smartest thing one could do for her family.  Nay, the smartest thing one can do is to not listen to the voices that encourage one to mail oneself to Bangkok, especially after one’s son decides to dump sand in the toilet so “Ponyo will have a bigger house.”  Oh, the goldfish’ll get a bigger house, all right; tell Nemo we said hi.  Flush.

Shaw ends her speech with a frighteningly heartfelt-sounding, “So what, if anything would keep you from giving Mary Kay a try?”  Her gaze does not waver.  Across the aisle, a cellphone rings.  Did you ever know that you’re my he-rooooo? For crying out loud, dude; stop calling!

Your gut gives you a few pokes.  “Something isn’t right here, champ.”

“What’s not right?  And why do you sound like Gilbert Gottfried?”

“Never mind that. This chump said this was a “practice” interview, but I think her whole shuck and jive is anything but practice!  Now if you’re smart, you’ll tell her you’re going to think about things, get up, and make a clean break for the back door.  And for the record, don’t you ever get that black bean soup again or I promise you that I will speak loud and long during your pastor’s next sermon, at a time which shall remain knowable only to me.”

“I don’t know about all this,” you say, standing up.  “I’m going to need to think about a few things first.”

“Why don’t we do this?”  Shaw replies, edging herself between you and the back door.  “Why don’t you go ahead and put your check or VISA number with this. Sleep on it. If you don’t think anything else about Mary Kay when you leave here today, it’s not for you; if however you keep thinking about Mary Kay, you need to get started.”

Suddenly, you’re seeing more red flags than a North Korea Mass Gymnastics performance.  Your memory shoots back to the beginning of the interview where Shaw handed you a Consultant Agreement and assured you that “Nothing happens unless we attach money to this!”  Well, guess what?  Shaw just asked you to put your check/VISA number with “this.” Don’t you get it?  This “God First” Mary Kay National Sales Director is playing you harder than a Vegas slot machine!

Shaw’s voice lowers, yet still plays the tease.  “I’m sure you also know that your friends and family would have all kinds of very well-meaning advice. All I can tell you is I’m so grateful I didn’t take all of that advice, that I followed my heart. ”

You can’t believe what you’re hearing.  She’s grateful that she didn’t take the well-meaning advice of her friends and family? People who cared about her and were trying to protect her from a life of tricking women like me into signing Mary Kay Consultant Agreements, assuring them they’re safe because no money is changing hands, only to suggest that they hand over a check or VISA number at the close of the interview? Do I really want to join a company where I have to behave like this woman in order to sit at the top?

You scoop the Agreement from the table and render it twain before shoving it into your back pocket.  You’ve yet to see a better largemouth bass impression to date; NSD Shaw will have to find another unsuspecting woman to bamboozle into the business.  The sad part is that she undoubtedly will.

Of course, now that you know how she operates, you don’t have to be the next one.

Author’s note:  Lest anyone accuse me of putting words in NSD Shaw’s mouth, please note that everything spoken by her portrayal in this piece was taken directly from her recruiting document, “Recruiting for Results” which was found in the training section of her website.


  1. Iescaped

    The tactics of the NSDs are down right scary!

    During DIQ I spent way more time than I cared to with my former SD/NSD. During ANY interview she always wanted a potential victim, err Team Member, to fill out the paper agreement. Of particular interest was the person’s full name, SSN and her mother’s maiden name. (Hey guys, aren’t we taught to hold this info near and dear, lest we fall victim to identity theft?)

    I actually had to ask her why would we need a paper agreement when I could enter the information on-line. She never fully answered my question, but gave me a vague story about how we could not go back and access key information contained in an on-line agreement.

    Later, I found out that if the unsuspecting victim decided not to join, she would have everything MK needed for a “ghost” IBC!!!

    Excuse me, but in what universe is identity theft part of the Golden Rule!!

    I can only speak about the NSD that I had the nauseating pleasure of “running” with for a few months, but this woman was a cold, calculating, manipulative, lying, stealing, cheating, stop at nothing NSD. I hate to even call her a business woman, unless you are comparing her brand of business with the Madoff’s!!

  2. raisinberry

    Bam! Scrib drops the mic, and walks away.

    Nothing more satisfying that using Mary Kay “training” to prove to lurkers and kaybots that we are not now, nor have we ever, lied about what we went through, going up the career path.

    Women in the deep pink fog go through life justifying this type of behavior and have lost the ability to see what first rate manipulators they have become.

  3. Ashley

    I can’t imagine ever going for lunch with a stranger who offered it, so no fear I’ll get “recruited”. And if I did (hey – I like Panera!), I would be putting a fake name and information on the form and saying “No thanks” as soon as I was finished my black bean soup 🙂

  4. Cindylu

    To any IBC or Directors reading Pink Truth who are worried, anxious, troubled and apprehensive, trust your gut instincts. The only reason I joined was because I was ending a career and becoming a stay at home mom. My recruiter was trustworthy. Sadly, just about all the women were very sweet and nurturing in my unit. My SD and the area NSD’s were the vultures. A real make up artist in our group rarely got to train because our SD focused on skin care and recruiting. The brainwashing tactics at unit meetings, retreats and seminar soon had me worried. Another consultant from another unit was also having doubts. My husband wrote me a letter with the pros and cons of MK. He too was having misgivings. It is not just a few bad apple directors. It is many directors and NSD’s. Right from the beginning MK herself did virtually no training. Jackie Brown one of the first directors recruited by MK herself, realized Mk had not given her any real training in how to be a make up artist (Even though she was selling both make up and skin care). MK right away wanted Jackie to recruit. That was where this company focused right from the beginning. Poor Training has been the norm for fifty years now. You will always be hounded to recruit and buy more product (Front load). Don’t kid yourself MK right from the beginning knew all about high pressured sales. Her focus was on business and nothing else. You will be expected to work for MK and never allow your family, husband or anything else to keep you from the all important making money for the MK executives, NSD’s and her heirs. You will be subjected by directors to the full force of MK’s recruiting techniques after her 14 years of competitive sales at Stanley home products. MK also perfected scripts for decades using women’s vulnerabilities against them for recruiting purposes. In the end most women realize that MK is too good to be true and the enthusiasm about this amazing opportunity is an mlm scam. It is humiliating but liberating to finally break free of MK and the financial abuse of this company.

  5. MLM Radar

    Why does someone as experienced as a National Sales Director need get credit for doing low-level practice interviews? Surely she knows how to conduct interviews by now?

    That should have been the first red flag.

    I’ve had plenty of real job interviews over the years and NOT ONCE did the interviewer ever tell me it was for him/her to practice interviewing. Practice interview training is always done in house.

    1. “Why does someone as experienced as a National Sales Director need get credit for doing low-level practice interviews?”

      Good question! Funny how that works, an NSD needing to do “practice interviews”…

  6. BestDecision

    She is one of the fakest, two-faced, hypocritical people I’ve ever met. She talks about God, how she felt “called” to do ministry before debuting as an NSD, but isn’t Godly at all. I’ve seen her act nice to someone and then talk badly about her to Gloria or other Directors, and her online posts of her closet show she doesn’t even use Mary Kay products (Chanel lip pencil!). I can’t even imagine what it would be like to date her from the ego that she carries around with her. Her home has pictures of herself all over it, including workout and weightlifting pictures. How conceded is that! I remember when she got on the bandwagon of telling people to not watch TV anymore, but then her home is full of them and even in the kitchen!

    So glad to not pay to be in her space anymore. I feel so sorry for the people who still worship her.

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