Back in high school, when her teenage classmates were congregating at the mall, Rhonda Ruf was busy getting a head start on her career. She was the beauty-obsessed member of her crew; that friend her peers relied on for product recommendations and to do their makeup for prom. But painting faces in her childhood bedroom in San Francisco was just the start. “I would leave [my high school classes] early and go to beauty school,” she shared with Rose Inc. This hustle paid off. By the time she’d graduated high school, Rhonda was already a licensed cosmetologist with a full-time gig working at her local Benefit Cosmetics counter.
As fate would have it, Benefit was gearing up to launch its eponymous BrowBar eyebrow grooming salons in 2001, the same year Rhonda graduated. As a licensed cosmetologist, she helped pilot the first location in San Francisco before expanding throughout the Bay Area, then eventually across the entire country and all over the globe. “I was 18, maybe 19 years old, and in college, but there was a decision to be made,” she recalls. “There was this opportunity to travel to do all this education and training opening BrowBars and I was like, ‘You know what? I'm going to take the plunge. I'm going to jump in.’”