Mirta de Perales, known as an icon in the Latin world of beauty, cosmetology and hair care, is the quintessential Latina entrepreneur.
Mirta grew up impoverished in Cuba, her parents could not even afford to buy her shoes. When she was 12 years old her mother left to work in Havana and left Mirta in charge of her brothers and sister.
Having always been interested in women's beauty and appearances, it was at that moment she discovered she could make a few cents cutting and styling her neighbors' hair to help her family. After a few days of styling hair around her neighborhood she had earned a few dollars and called her mother to come home because they "were now rich".
Creating the timeless beauty care products we know and love.
She then met Benito Perales, a pharmacist whom she'd marry. Benito helped her create the products that would eventually make her famous. She later opened her beauty salon in Havana, which grew to be one of the biggest beauty salons of Latin America.
In 1962 the Cuban government intervened and took possession of her beauty salon and took Mirta as a prisoner. She spent nine days in El Morro, a prison for those they considered anti-revolutionaries. That experience was what motivated her to leave Cuba.
Mirta left Cuba with her two children and only five dollars in her pocket. About one week after arriving in Miami, Florida she was already cutting and styling hair again, slowly rebuilding her clientele. After a couple of years she was able to open her beauty salon in Coral Gables, Florida. During that time she also began to redevelop her hair products. Thanks to her savvy business sense and her undeniable charisma she was able to rebuild her business and begin distributing her products in Puerto Rico. Shortly thereafter Mirta quickly began distributing her products nationwide, beginning in New York, where she was able to showcase her products in Macy's located in Harold Square.
"Cinco Minutos Con
Mirta de Perales"
Always looking for a new way to connect with her audience, Mirta started her TV show "Cinco Minutos Con Mirta de Perales" (Five Minutes with Mirta de Perales). This TV show allowed Mirta establish a relationship with her clients, explain how to use her products, and discuss day-to-day issues. At this time Mirta also created beauty contest giving children the opportunity to travel to Miami and Orlando for a week long competition to become a "Chico Mirta". The winner of the competition would appear on Mirta's TV show and would also have an appearance on one of Mirta's TV commercials.
Mirta de Perales' legacy was recognized by President Ronald Reagan in a ceremony at the White House wherein he claimed she was "The American Dream".
Mirta de Perales’ Legacy
Today, Mirta's legacy continues through her daughter, Mirta C. Perales, "Mirtica", who as a child worked alongside her mother with everything concerning the company. Mirtica, following her mother's footsteps, is always looking for new products and information to help fulfill women's hair care and skincare needs, specifically focusing on the Latin woman.