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7 Questions with Michele Gough-Baril, Founder of Iris&Romeo

The beauty brand founder reveals the worst career advice she’s ever received, the last text she sent, and more.

By Madeleine Kim

Welcome to the first installment of our 7 Questions series! In this series, we ask successful women to answer quick questions that provide a glimpse into their hearts, minds, and wardrobes. This week, we spoke with Michele Gough-Baril, the Founder of beauty brand Iris&Romeo.

Michele spent the first half of her career working her way up in the beauty industry, but when she was offered a job that would have left her set for life, she didn’t take it. Instead, she quit—and moved to a dairy farm in California, where she met a retired racehorse named Romeo. Romeo’s presence gave her a renewed energy and sense of purpose, helping her realize that she still wanted to be part of the beauty industry, but she wanted to do it on her own terms. Michele founded Iris&Romeo in 2019 to champion a new narrative: that beauty comes from being true to yourself.

We asked Michele to send us a photo of the place where she does her best thinking. This photo was taken in Sebastopol, CA.


What’s the last text you sent?

“Thank you for having so much confidence in my memory but I have no fucking idea.” (In response to my girlfriend asking where I took my dog for sheep-herding lessons, just once, 15 years ago.)


What’s your favorite thing to wear out to dinner?

I’m English and live in California, so my style is influenced by both places. I love floaty, breezy fabrics paired with tailored pieces like a blazer and jeans. The M.M. Yiyan blazer is my go-to.


What’s the best book you read this year?

Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz. It’s dazzling.


What’s the most underrated thing you’ve spent money on?

A good mineral sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily is the single most important step in your skincare routine. I prefer mineral to chemical, because it’s less irritating on skin, especially if your skin is dry or sensitive, and it’s kinder to the ocean. The days of chalky white zinc oxide have long gone. Our Weekend Skin SPF 50 is a first-of-its-kind formula that brings together serum-strength vitamin C with SPF 50 and a beautiful translucent glow. You get everything your skin needs in one easy step.

Book a special-occasion styling appointment, and we’ll gift you Iris&Romeo’s Weekend Skin SPF 50 and Multi-Balm with your purchase.


What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?

“Your options are secretary or nurse, and if those fail, there’s always Tetley’s tea bag factory.” (From a career counselor at my school in North Yorkshire, England, when I was 14.)


What’s one topic you can talk about for 10 minutes straight?

There are two things I can totally nerd out on. The first is the skin’s moisture barrier (aka lipid barrier). It’s the number one thing to focus on for healthy, bouncy skin, and I’m obsessed with creating products that support it and make your skin look and feel alive. The other topic is horse hooves—no feet, no horse. That pretty much says it all.


Complete the sentence: When women succeed...

…they change the world for the better, and the world needs women right now.

Limited-time offer: Book a special-occasion styling appointment, and we’ll gift you Iris&Romeo’s Weekend Skin SPF 50 and Multi-Balm with your purchase.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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