Josephine Estée Lauder was in Corona, Queens, New York City. Her parents Max Mentor and Rose Schotz-Rosenthal were Hungarian Jewish immigrants, her mother Rose was from Sátoráljaújhely and her father Max was from Holice. Their parents got married in 1905. When Estée was born her parents wanted to name her Eszti, but ended name her Josephine. As she started growing up her nickname became "Estée" and that was the name she responded to. She attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. Like most of her eight siblings, she worked at the family's hardware store. In her childhood she dreamed to become an actress.