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Beauty Queen

By Phebe Wahl

Photo by Dale May


Real estate’s reigning empress Dottie Herman turns her sights to her next frontier—the science of skincare and epigenetics.

 “One of the secrets to my success is that I’m not afraid of failure—in business or life,” says Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman. After purchasing Douglas Elliman in 2003 in partnership with Douglas Elliman Chairman Howard M. Lorber, Herman led one of the nation’s oldest and largest real estate brokerage firms to its impressive current size of more than 7,000 real estate agents and $26.1 billion in annual sales volume.

“Another secret is that I am driven by discovering new things and stepping out of my comfort zone, often learning as I go,” says the maven, who is a regular on the Forbes List of America’s Self-Made Women. For Herman’s latest venture, this meant turning her eye toward her own self-care. “Living in one of the busiest cities in the world with an often stressful job, self-care is extremely important to me,” she says. “The world of beauty and skincare is loaded with brands that look nice, smell nice and lots of unfulfilled promises.” Her search led her to Aenea Cosmetics (—an anti-aging and vegan skincare rooted in epigenetics.

“Look, we’re all going to get older, there is nothing we can do about that. But what we can do is grow older with grace and elegance, and that’s what the science of epigenetics allows,” says Herman. She met the founder and creator, Damien Zannetou, in London last year, and the spark was instant. “It’s not just another luxury skincare brand to add to the vanity case,” she says.

“Manhattan is the life and soul of New York. It’s buzzing, it’s populated, and it’s always ‘on,’ which are all factors that can affect our skin,” Herman says. “Stress, lack of sleep, mobile and tablet radiation, taxis, the air we breathe—these are all part and parcel of living in an urban city. So thank goodness for epigenetics! Finally, there’s an antidote to those toxins we’re all exposed to every single day.”