Mary Kay Ash and the Press

06-05-2017 8:54 AM

How she answered those tough questions

Mary Kay Ash was always very gracious to media personnel — even when they started to ask her questions she didn’t want to answer.

She trained many a journalist that you don’t ask a lady about her marital status or history or age. But people still ask.

“Well Mary Kay, really, how old are you?” Paula Zahn asked Mary Kay off the air, just after an interview.

“Well, let me ask you a question,” Mary Kay said. “How much do you weigh?”

She didn’t answer, so Mary Kay didn’t feel like she had to answer either!

Ever had a moment when someone asked you a question you didn’t know — but thought you probably should know?

Even Mary Kay Ash had those moments. One happened in San Jose, California.

Mary Kay didn’t know too much about the city and asked her assistant, Erma Thompson, why the company chose San Jose for Leadership Conference. The same conference had been in San Diego the year before.

Just after this conversation between Erma and Mary Kay, a San Jose journalist asked for an interview. Her very first question to Mary Kay was, “Why did you pick San Jose?”

Mary Kay didn’t hesitate. She promptly just said: “We have a lot of people here.”

She had great faith in the staff, knowing they picked San Jose for a good reason.

Editor’s note: This Mary Kay Monday story was compiled from an interview with Erma Thompson, June 1998.