Entrepreneur, television host and accidental pageant queen—Nicole Khayat has never been one to let an opportunity slip by. Born in a northern suburb of Chicago, she earned her first degree at Columbia College for Marketing and Broadcasting, before beginning her career at B96 96.3 FM. She moved on to lead visual design and merchandising for all of Burberry’s Illinois locations, while coaching cheerleading in her hometown. When a search for the perfect shade of purple eyeshadow led her to ten different stores—she recognized an opportunity.
After enrolling and completing a Masters Degree in Cosmetics Marketing and Technical Makeup Application, she launched Fancy Face Cosmetics: the world’s first and only sweat-resistant makeup. In that same year, Nicole married Elliott Khayat and began another adventure into hospitality as the co-owner of Khayat Enterprises, a restaurant group in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Managing operations for multiple locations and a booming cosmetics business became her day to day, until Nicole’s assistant brought her a document to sign. She did so without looking, was unknowingly entered into the 2011 Mrs. Illinois International competition ... and won.
Winning the title further fueled a drive for good and Nicole became an advocate for Make A Wish America, Save a Pet, Go Red For Women—as well as the Cheer for a Cause charity, which she has a lead role in as a member of the Global Advisory Board. She has been named a Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” nominee, received the “US Ambassadors Award for Women in Business” and now shares her renegade path with live audiences and an ever-growing digital community.
Nicole is co-owner of lifestyle brand, Belmont & Austin, and host of Celebrity Eats—a new show celebrating Chicago’s Chef-driven restaurants and the celebrities that love them. She can usually be found in heels, running around the restaurants she co-owns with her husband Elliott, while simultaneously roasting him on social media. She believes that “if you can see it in your head, you can hold it in your hands” and has yet to let a good opportunity slip by.