Neal Jeup on Becoming a Model

Life can lead us on unexpected twists and turns, Neal’s twist was modeling.

I’m sure it would surprise many to know that model Neal Jeup was an entrepreneur well before all of the jet setting and photographing began. Neal is one of eight siblings, who grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb right outside Detroit. In Neal’s house entrepreneurship was always at the center and, when he was only 19 years old, Neal started his own iOS device repair service business, which serviced between 2,000 to 3,000 devices by the time he graduated from high school. Neal credits this repair business in leading him to pursue entrepreneurship full time one day. Neal went on to study finance at Clemson University in South Carolina, yet his career path would become anything but straight. The summer after his Freshman year in college, Neal taught English at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Following this experience, he would travel to Shanghai and work with some of the founding members of Über, as the company navigated their entrance into the Chinese market and developed the initial framework for ÜberEnglish. After such engaging and unique summer experiences, Neal found it difficult to re-enter a traditional classroom setting and decided to take a leave from school to return to work with Uber in Shanghai. Fate had other plans for Neal when, at a modeling gig for his girlfriend at the time, he was asked to step in for a missing model. Soon, Neal was signed with a local agency called AMAX, which was required to participate in the shoot, and so his modeling career began! 

Although he never imagined he would become a full time model, Neal thought he would at least participate in the modeling agency’s annual showcase, where they flew in scouts from across the globe to view their models. At the end of the showcase, Neal was surprised to find many offers from agencies in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami that he thought modeling might play a part in his future. Putting his return to Shanghai on hold, Neal took a leap of faith and moved to Seoul, South Korea, to build up his modeling portfolio. He views this time as being instrumental in his development as a model, learning to become comfortable on set and in front of a camera. After living in Seoul, Neal lived in Tokyo, Japan, Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, California until settling in New York City, which is when he began to land high profile jobs with Vince, Cole Haan, Tommy Hilfiger, Rag & Bone, and Christian Dior. Neal says that his favorite shoot was for Dior’s newest fragrance at the time “Joy,” where he got to work with Jennifer Lawrence as well as DP, Emmanuel Lubezki and director, Francis Lawrence. 

When asked about some advice he wishes he knew before getting into modeling? Neal responds that he wished he would have focused more on personal growth in the beginning of his career, than comparing himself to other people in the industry. “There is so much about the industry that you personally can’t change, the agents handling almost everything. And you look the way you look,” Neal mentions. “After entering the modeling industry, I quickly realized that no matter how far you take a career, there will always be someone with a leg up. Designers might like you one day, and run cold the next. It was incredibly disheartening out of the gate.” It was only when Neal acknowledged this fact and decided to focus on personal development that he became truly happy. “We’re inadvertently taught to idolize the fictitious, continuously euphoric, lives we see through social media – like a revolving door of jealousy,” he notes.

All things considered, unlike other models, Neal was able to find comfort in the fact that he would one day return to school and finish his degree, making it easier for him to put less pressure on himself to perform and find work. Neal was hyper focused on the fact that poor decisions regarding reckless behavior would yield underwhelming results in the future. As a model, Neal found himself in a world where the only factor of relevance was appearance and, therefore, saw other models take advantage of being careless with their health through partying and other means- a live fast die young mindset.  “When you think that you are going to be a model forever, you don’t hedge that long term bet with the need for stability and health in the future,” Neal mentions. Neal finds himself fortunate to have been able to connect with like-minded people in the industry who prioritized their wellbeing overall and have become long time friends.

Neal knew that it might be time for a change when he reached the middle of his twenties and decided that, if he was going to go back to school, he was going to go back now. Neal applied to Babson College, the number one school for entrepreneurship, got in, and the rest is history! 

When reflecting back on his modeling career, Neal realized that he went from controlling everything he did in entrepreneurship- meticulously planning and organizing his life- to having to succumb to a lack of control. Modeling taught Neal that you have no control and that if the agency didn’t send an email with a job that day, you had the day off and hoped for work the next. In modeling, you can control so few things, which is something that Neal wishes was different within the industry. Neal notes that he wishes that models were able to have a greater say in terms of advocacy, where the agency has all of the control in representing you as a model. All things considered, Neal has watched the power of social media disrupt the traditional structure of the business, where models can craft their own persona on social platforms – most notably, Instagram.

Although Neal is currently finishing up school, he notes that he wants to incorporate the global exposure he had in modeling to the work that he does full time as an entrepreneur. For Neal, that may look like many different things- only time will tell- for now, Neal strives to “become an advocate for introspection, personal growth and overwhelming gratitude above all else.” 

Sharing My Top 9 Beauty Items (Part X of the Series)

👋 The last beauty items of the series.

Friends, the time has come at last to reveal to you my nine beauty favorites! Every product that is listed is linked to a friend, the inspiration behind this series to begin with! Without my tried and true friends, I would have never found my tried and true favorite beauty products. For that- and so much more- I am forever grateful. Public Service Announcement: reach out to a friend, call a long time buddy, Facetime with a cousin, send a letter to your grandma, give an air-hug to your loved one. When the make up remover comes out and it’s just us revealed to the world, it’s our true friends that see us for who we are and love us, not in spite of our imperfections, but because of them. (So, air hug!)


#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Gloss Bomb in Fu$$y by Fenty Beauty

How often you use it

Whenever I put on make up for a night out. 

What you like about the product

Where do I even begin! This lipgloss is light, moisturizing, and shimmery- really a trifecta. This product also smells and- dare I say- tastes amazing. It comes in a range of shades, my favorite being Fu$$y, and lasts all night long. 10/10 on this one. 

How you found it

My friend Ola’s recommendation!

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Stretch Concealer in G8 by Glossier

How often you use it

Every time I put on make up. 

What you like about the product

The consistency of this product is what makes it for me. The product is creamy, which is ideal for application with your fingers. The difference between my under eyes with this product versus without is night and day, the coverage being pretty remarkable. I also like to use the concealer on my trouble areas, covering up any spots to make my skin matte before I go in and apply powder. 

How you found it

After going into the Glossier store in Soho with my friend Sabrina for the first time; I bought everything in the store.

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Clear Brow Gel by Anastasia Beverly Hills

How often you use it

Every time I put on make up. 

What you like about the product

I really like the fact that the applicator brush is as big as a mascara brush and that there is a fair amount of gel in the tube, which means it lasts forever. The gel also doesn’t make my eyebrows super stiff, making for a more natural, yet stylized look. 

How you found it

Recommended by the Sephora queen Alana 

#4 Favorite Beauty Product

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Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara by Tarte

How often you use it

Every time I wear make up. 

What you like about the product

I love the fact that this mascara is not super clumpy, but also still adds volume. The mascara also comes off easily, doesn’t flake, and doesn’t hurt your lashes. Those babies need special care!

How you found it

Jahnvi’s recommendation

#5 Favorite Beauty Product

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Limited Edition Love, Trust, and Fairy Dust Palette by Tarte

How often you use it

On a night out

What you like about the product

I love the mix of shimmery and matte eyeshadows that this palette offers as well as the product’s range of colors. I especially like Flitter, the metallic light pink, which pairs really nicely with Twinkle, the metallic gold if you are going for a complete shimmery look. 

How you found it

A Jahnvi special again

#6 Favorite Beauty Product

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Vitamin E Moisturizer by Malin + Goetz 

How often you use it

Every day 

What you like about the product

I love that this product has a very light, fresh scent that doesn’t linger all day on your face. I also like the fact that the product isn’t very oily and absorbs super well right into the skin, almost leaving a dewy feeling. 

How you found it

My brother, the moisturizer king!

#7 Favorite Beauty Product

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Rose Water Facial Toner by Trader Joes

How often you use it

In the morning, every day right when I wake up. 

What you like about the product

The subtle rose scent is really beautiful and lingers for a little while after it is sprayed. The toner is also light and refreshing, helping to tighten your pores thanks to the witch hazel. The best part? It’s only $3.99. 

How you found it

A stocking stuffer from my best friend… my mommy.

#8 Favorite Beauty Product

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3D Hydra Clear Gloss by Kiko Milano

How often you use it

Whenever I am dressing up for a more formal outing. 

What you like about the product

This gloss really packs a punch in the glossy department, delivering on the shine it promises. What I love about the clear is that it can amplify any lipstick by being applied overtop, but it is also great on its own to highlight your natural lip color. 

How you found it

Jahnvi my beauty plug

#9 Favorite Beauty Product

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Lidstar Liquid Eyeshadow in Cub and Lily by Glossier

How often you use it

Whenever I am looking for a really concentrated eyeshadow look. 

What you like about the product

I really like the application of this product, for someone who isn’t very proficient with make up, this one is fool proof. I also really love the colors that Lidstar comes in, Cub and Lily being my favorites because they compliment my skin tone and light features the best. If you are looking for your eyes to really pop, this product might be for you.

How you found it

Walking into the Glossier store and buying up the store with Ola.


Hope you enjoyed learning about my favorite beauty products as well as my friends’. Stay tuned for more fun series in the future!

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Tom Carfora on Modern Retail Luxury

The new luxury shopping experience of 2020.

Tom Carfora has been in the luxury industry since 1990, starting off his career working at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Tom refers to his early career in catering to 5th Avenue’s matrons and socialites, a time when Bergdorfs was a hallmark institution for finding unique and special luxury goods for wealthy individuals. Over the course of five years, Tom would work in customer service, manage the shoe department, and work in personal shopping before he would leave Bergdorfs and transition into working at Cartier as the store manager in the Short Hills Mall for twelve years. After working in high end jewelry, Tom went to work for the luxury rifle company Beretta on Madison Avenue. At Baretta, he worked on developing a luxury clientele for their high end clothing line. Soon after, Tom would return to luxury jewelry in a new capacity at Chopard, working as the store’s assistant director. In his first two years, Tom has accumulated millions of dollars worth of sales, which he accredits to his passion for meeting new people and love for luxury jewelry. 

When asked about what he thought was the most important part of his job, Tom answers making people feel comfortable and not badgering the customer. His go to tactic is to let the customers know that if they have any questions he is there to answer them and not to be pushy or domineering. “Walking into a luxury store can be intimidating at times, but I try and not make it feel that way for my clients. I tell them all about the history of the company, offer them something to drink, and have them just look around.” For Tom, judging customers that walk through the door is off the table. A billionaire in ripped jeans could walk into any store, that’s just our culture nowadays. Casual is pretty universal, no matter what your socioeconomic status is. 

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (2)One change in the industry that Tom notes is the way in which consumers wear and purchase jewelry. In the early 90s, Tom cites that clients had extreme brand loyalty and would invest heavily in expensive, statement jewelry sets. Now, however, consumers are more willing to purchase a myriad of pieces from different companies. Tom mentions that he often sees American consumers, specifically, dawning a range of different brands on one wrist even, Cartier love bracelets and Hermés Clic H bracelets stacked side by side. That being said, Tom does mention that he has noticed more mature American buyers will tend to stick with their trusted brands and have more brand loyalty. Additionally, in the U.S., he has noticed that consumers purchase jewelry for everyday wear, the majority of it being delicate and small. Tom references how this might align with the more casual customs the U.S. has adopted over the years, where a dark denim might appear as “dressing up” and sweats are appropriate outerwear. Tom shared that the hot new jewelry designs coming from Rosanne Karmes’s company Sydney Evan are fun, edgy, and delicate, pieces that everyone is looking for nowadays. Apart from Sydney Evan, Tom has a tried and true love for Cartier and Chopard, especially Chopard’s Happy Diamonds collection. 

One of the toughest things about working in the luxury retail space now is low traffic and drawing people into stores to buy, Tom says. However, he does mention that e-commerce is blowing up. Surprisingly, many people will easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry online. Along with the hesitancy of going out in public spaces during the COVID-10 pandemic, Tom notes that such high levels of online jewelry buying may have something to do with the different policies companies have purchasing jewelry in-store versus online. Online at Chopard, for example, customers can get a full refund for a return, which is different from in-person store purchases. \When people do come into the Chopard store, however, Tom notes that they have already perused the company’s website, having done their research, and know exactly what they want to purchase. That being said, there is much less in-store exploration and moments of instant discovery. 

ezgif.com-crop (1)My last question for Tom was what he thought the future of the luxury industry will look like? Tom mentioned that, first and foremost, it would benefit luxury brands to stay true to themselves and what the brand’s history promises. Heavy discounting and coupon codes can dramatically hurt a brand’s image, especially a luxury one. If discounts can be avoided, they should be at all costs. Tom also notes that coupons and discounts within the luxury industry have contributed to buyers putting off their purchasing until the discounting occurs, which can have drastic implications. This is, especially, a popular practice for many department stores, like Neiman Marcus and Lord and Taylor, who are now seeing the effects of such regular product reductions- one of many factors of course. 

On the consumer side, Tom sees the modern buyer as a busy and fast-paced individual, who no longer has the time to meander into shops and browse. This consumer receives email promotions, online ads, and social media posts about products that lead the consumer into following the trail to their respective e-commerce marketplace. After a click of a button and oftentimes free shipping, in just a few days the customer finds their item right at their doorstep, never having to step foot outside their house. There just isn’t enough time in the day for most Americans to peruse, try on, feel, and experience. With fear around the pandemic contributing to the online shopping craze, it looks like this trend will follow into the future. 

Tom’s dream? To revert back to a time when there was more balance in work and life. Where people did make the time to dress up, take their time to shop, and immerse themselves in whatever they are doing. “People need to enjoy themselves more,” says Tom. To that, I couldn’t agree more. 

3 Friends Picking their Top 3 Beauty Items Part IX

The 3 beauty products 3 of my friends swear by.

Friends, friends, friends, the time has come at last to say goodbye! 27 friends and 27 products later, here we are! This will be the last traditional post of the series, which only leaves next week when, I- your friend- share 9 of my favorite products with you! Thank you so much for coming along for the ride. I hope you took away some new beauty recommendations, cracked a smile ever Friday morning, and remembered how important your friends are. Without our friends and the ones we love, what fun would this world be? Who would we share make up tips with, who would help us choose eye shadow colors, and who would lend us a make up wipe at the end of the night? Lipstick doesn’t last forever, but with enough care, time, and attention friends can.

Srishti Soni

@srishtisoni

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Les beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Blush Stick in N°24 by Chanel

How often you use it

Everyday- the only makeup I use

What you like about the product

It looks super natural and is perfect for everyday use. Bonus it smells great!

How you found it

At the Heathrow Airport. As someone who doesn’t use / like a full face of makeup, Im always looking for a product that looks and feels natural but put together. Im also very lazy when it comes to makeup so this is perfect and I just apply by hand. 

#2 Favorite Beauty Product and company that sells it 

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Skin perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant by Paula’s Choice

How often you use it

Twice a week

What you like about the product

Skincare is very important to me as I rarely use makeup and exfoliating is the key to having bright, fresh and clear skin. I used to use scrubs in the past which are really rough and therefore bad for your skin. Chemical exfoliants on the other hand are amazing at getting rid of dead skin and debris making my skin look clear and smooth.

How you found it

I’ve been binging skincare TikTok and came across this product a few months ago. Game changer!

#3 Favorite Beauty Product and company that sells it

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Lip Butter Balm by Summer Fridays

How often you use it

Everyday and Night

What you like about the product

Again with the no makeup look, this is a great product that doesnt make you look too dressed up but adds a glossy shine to your lips. I used to be obsessed with lip gloss growing up and Im very much going back to that look. Not to mention it keeps your lips hydrated and smells delicious.

How you found it

Browsing through Sephora


Grace Tao

@gtaotao

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Double Eyelid Tape by Daiso

How often you use it

Everyday

What you like about the product

I have natural double eyelids, however, I like to have it look more apparent without the surgery so I use double eyelid tape everyday. This is absolutely my number one favorite beauty product because I swear by it everyday!

How you found it

Amazon

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay EyeShadow Palette by Tarte Cosmetics

How often you use it

Every time I put on makeup

What you like about the product

I love the neutral/pinkish color tones. This is the only eye shadow palette I use, and I’ve already used up and repurchased 3.

How you found it

My cousin recommended to me

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Anessa Shiseido Sunscreen by Shiseido

How often you use it

Everyday

What you like about the product

It is a lightweight sunscreen that is SPF 50+ PA++++.  Sunscreen is an essential part of my beauty routine, and this is by far my favorite sunscreen. I can layer primer and foundation on top of it and still have a nice finish. It does its job and doesn’t make my face cakey!

How you found it

I first discovered it when I travelled to Japan, and loved it ever since.    


Bianca Phillips

@biancaavictoria

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Super Shock Highlighter in Flexitarian by Colourpop

How often you use it

Whenever i want a fresh, highlighted look (you only need a tiny bit) or when I am going out with full makeup

What you like about the product

It is the absolute BRIGHTEST and SPARKLIEST highlighter I’ve ever tried AND it’s only $8. It is a great dupe for the Becca highlighters but better and cheaper!

How you found it

Youtube    

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution by The Ordinary 

How often you use it

1-2x a week, at night

What you like about the product

It’s only $7 and it does a great job of cleaning your skin at the end of the day without stripping the skin of its natural oils. 

How you found it

TikTok

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

How often you use it

Once a day, in the morning

What you like about the product: it does SUCH an amazing job of brightening your skin, smoothing out the texture, and preventing fine lines. Its ingredients are all natural, and also the packaging is adorable.

How you found it

My older sister 🙂


Stay tuned for next week where I share nine of my favorites!

3 Friends Picking their Top 3 Beauty Items Part VIII

The 3 beauty products 3 of my friends swear by.

Sometimes it is good to be reminded to stick to the basics. Some of the recommendations in this post are simple and straightforward, which I love. Drink water, wear sunscreen, and just moisturize for goodness sake! We can never have too many reminders to take care of our primary needs first and foremost. In this way, beauty is just like our friends. A quick “I am thinking of you” text and a handwritten letter go a long way. A few of my best memories with friends have been a lazy Sunday brunch, a friend stopping to chat with me at the library desk, where I used to work, or a good laugh over our daily catch up. Sometimes you just have to KISS- keep it simple silly- but make sure your lips are moisturized and glossy first!

Monia Mukiza

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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My favorite cream at the moment is the Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream by Ren Skincare. You can find it in Sephora or Ulta.

How often you use it

I use it every other night. Night cream

What you like about the product

I have higher pigmentation and it works wonders for my dark marks

How you found it

An influencer whose opinion that i trust was raving about the product 

#2 Favorite Beauty Product and company that sells it

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#FauxFilter Foundation by Huda Beauty

How often you use it

This foundation is my go-to foundation. I use it whenever I wear make up

What you like about the product

I love the full coverage that it gives without having to use more than two pumps. My skin observes the foundation well. Giving you the no-makeup makeup look. 

How you found it

Consulted by a beauty expert 

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Universal Daily Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta®

How often you use it

I use it once a month

What you like about the product

Life saving! I use it once a month for hormonal breakout.

How you found it

Recommended to me by a friend


Tucker James

@tuckerjstyle

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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My #1 favorite beauty product would have to be WATER, H2O… I know, not conventionally viewed as a “beauty product,” but honestly it’s the number one key ingredient to overall skin health. I try to drink around a gallon a day.

How often you use it

Everyday 

What you like about the product 

It’s refreshing AND it does way more than just help your skin glow-up, it also;

  • increases energy
  • helps fight bloating
  • helps digestion
  • improves joint health
  • improves eye health
  • Need I go on? The benefits are endless.

How you found it

Obviously I have always drank water, but I started challenging myself to drink a gallon a day about 3 years back when I got into working out, since then it’s been a ritual that I, my skin, my body and my brain love. I feel my best when I’m hydrated!

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Sunscreen for me it’s the Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion sunscreen SPF 50 by Neutrogena with broad spectrum UVA-UVB protection

How often you use it

Every time I go outside 

What you like about the product

It’s ACTUALLY non-greasy- a lot of products claim to be and you still end up slippery.

How you found it

My friend Vanessa actually shoved her half empty one into my travel bag as we were checking out of a hotel in Scottsdale Arizona right off the tail end of and inspiring weekend of hair & creativity at the second Aiir Gathering w/ @aiirprofessional which brings me to my next must have…

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Amethyst Hair & Energy Refresher by Aiir Professional

How often you use it

EVERY DAY, EVERY MOMENT, EVERY TIME IT’S WITHIN REACH

What you like about the product 

It’s a refreshing mist for the hair, skin and body, it’s infused with moonstone and amethyst for the good vibes. It also has a scent like heaven that is light as air and every bottle has a mantra on it, the one I have with me right now says “I am worthy of all that I desire.”

How you found it

I’m lucky enough to call the founder Jenny Strebe my dear friend, she has created an incredible line of crystal infused professional hair products, this product was her very first , the first batch she infused and made by hand, and I’ve been hooked since then…love at first sight.


Yujia Ma 

@yujiamaa

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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UV Shield Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 by EltaMD

How often you use it

Use a dime size every morning after moisturizer, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure 

What you like about the product

It’s oil-free and super lightweight. It’s a mineral sunblock with transparent zinc oxide, which makes it safe to use after dermatologic procedures (I get microneedling every 3 months). It’s relatively affordable and can be applied to face and body. Its SPF 45 makes it adequate for daily sun exposure. 

How you found it

My dermatologist recommended it to me. In fact, eltaMD is the #1 dermatologist-recommended professional sunscreen brand. 

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Daily Moisturizing Lotion by CeraVe

How often you use it

Use one pump of the lotion after washing my face with lukewarm water, and after serum at night. 

What you like about the product

It is a wonderful lotion that moisturizes and helps restore the protective skin barrier. It’s oil-free, lightweight and easily absorbed without feeling greasy. It is developed with dermatologists and has an unique formula – 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid – to help with the texture and smoothness of the skin. It is also fragrance free to avoid fragrance irritation, in other words, it is gentle on the skin. 

How you found it

A number of TikTok skincare gurus are huge fans of CeraVe and swear by all their products, so I decided to give the lotion a shot. It was extremely convenient to access – I believe most Targets carry CeraVe products. Ever since I started using it, my entire skincare routine was significantly transformed and simplified. I used to use more than five products on my face at night, but with the lotion, I am now only using the CeraVe face wash, Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair and the lotion. There hasn’t been a dramatic change on my skin, but my skin feels healthy and its condition is stable- I break out way less frequently now! 

#3 Favorite Beauty Product and company that sells it

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Backstage Glow Face Palette (001 Universal) by Dior 

How often you use it

When I do my makeup and after I apply finishing powder on my face – I apply the color “white” on the inner corners of my eyes, on my brow bone, on my nose bridge and on the tip of my nose (leaving a space in between to apply bronzer – that’s how I contour my nose); I apply the color “pink” on my cheekbones; and when I go out to say a club, I apply the color “bronze” under my cheekbones. 

What you like about the product

It’s gorgeously shimmery with the color white, gold, pink and bronze that will work on all skin tones. Pros: The shimmer makes your skin look shiny and healthy without making it look oily. The design is so beautiful that sometimes just by looking at the palette I feel content. White is suitable for daily uses, for example, on the inner corners of your eyes and other colors are perfect for when you go out at night – I sometimes use them as my eyeshadows. Cons: It can get messy. After an entire day of being outside and wearing makeup, I’d notice small glitters under my eyes that had fallen from the inner corners of my eyes. 

How you found it

At Sephora. I was attracted by its look right away and after swabbing it on the back of my hand and feeling how even the application was, I was immediately in love. It is on the pricey side but if you are looking for an effective highlight, I would still highly recommend (read the pros and cons before you buy)! 


Stay tuned for next week’s post where my friends Srishti Soni, Grace Tao, and Bianca Phillips share their three beauty favorites!

Kate Sienko on Working in Publishing at Condé Nast

Even wonder what the day-to-day at Condé Nast looks like? Yeah, me too! Read all about Kate’s experience working for one of the biggest names in publishing.

When I tell you Kate and I got back, we go way back, having known each other for just over 8 years now! Kate is such an inspiration to me, having taken the working world by storm after graduating from Tufts University in 2017. She has worked on marketing campaigns for the magazines that we all know and love, including Vogue, GQ, and Glamour. Yes, you have 20/20 vision I wrote Vogue! An incredibly kind, driven, and hard-working, powerhouse woman, Kate has kindly offered to share with our blog community her experiences working at one of the biggest names in publishing. Take it away Kate!


Kate, tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Kate Sienko and I’m a twenty-something navigating the trials and tribulations that accompany adulthood in New York City. I work on the post-sale marketing team at Condé Nast, specifically producing branded content for brands such as Vogue, Glamour, Allure, GQ, Bon Appétit, and more. Prior to working at Condé Nast, I attended Tufts University and The Pingry School. 

When did you first start working in publishing and how did you end up at Condé Nast?

I graduated from Tufts in 2017 with degrees in English and Communications/Media Studies. Throughout my internships at Bustle and Time Inc. and college experiences, I connected with colleagues, mentors, and leaders alike, who shared insights and learnings about the media industry and continued to connect me with key contacts that would lay the foundation for my career at Condé Nast. 

Perhaps the most formative experience was a series of courses that I took at Tufts entitled “The Future of Magazines.” The instructor during my senior year was the most chic, sophisticated, and all-around brilliant woman who had worked at Condé Nast for many years (and was also an alumna of Tufts!) – as she spoke about the magic that transpired between the walls of Condé Nast and brought in guest speakers from the company that shared similar experiences, I knew that I needed to experience that for myself: to experience the power of storytelling so deeply with the brands I had loved my entire life.

I graduated without a job, as the media industry is different from other industries and often only hires within two (2) weeks of start date – but I worked diligently within my network of mentors, who connected me with the people I needed to know to interview and ultimately secure a job at Condé Nast during July of 2017.   

What was your first role at Condé and how does it differ from what you do now?

For the past three years, I have been on the marketing team at Condé Nast, specifically working with beauty clients such as L’Oreal, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder, and many more. I was first hired as a pre-sale marketer and have since transitioned to a post-sale role. As a pre-sale marketer, I was the brains behind the idea, strategizing with teammates to craft stories across platforms: branded content, experiential, video, print, podcasts, and more. As a post-sale marketer, I am the quarterback working cross-collaboratively to bring campaigns to life. Internally, I partner with sales, talent, and creative counterparts to ensure that we produce the best content possible. Externally, I manage all communication with our agency and client partners to ensure that the creative vision is coming to life as it should. 

Although hard to pick a favorite between the two – I will say that I am tremendously fortunate to have learned about the campaign process from conception to completion so early on in my career. With this holistic experience, I feel well-prepared and poised to address anything that comes our way in the branded content production process. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

No two days are the same – especially during quarantine. Every day brings a new insight, challenge, or ask and it’s my responsibility to keep everything going, no matter what. In post-sale, we are continuously problem solving (I often joke that I’m a firefighter), and no matter how difficult a situation may be, we always strive to be as positive and solution-oriented as we can in order to ensure the success of a campaign. From sourcing last minute product for a next-day shoot to learning back-end technical logistics for a virtual event to negotiating with edit and clients to achieve a balance of client + brand POVs, we do it all and apply our problem-solving skills to whatever is thrown our way.

What does a typical day look like for you?

During the pandemic, keeping to a routine has been key. My day-in-the-life goes like this: 



7:30 AM Wake up 

8:00 AM Work out with my mom (Monday & Wednesdays = Cardio, Tuesday = Arms, Thursday = Legs, Friday = Kickboxing) 

9:00 AM Start the work day while eating breakfast (eggs, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast, and fruit) and having coffee: read emails, write out the daily to-do list (I’m old fashioned), prep for meetings

10:00 AM – 5:30 PM Zoom Client and internal meetings to review status of current campaigns. (Some days we’ll have shoots – these are a full-day occasion!). Review rounds of creative and route for approvals. Although I do miss the serendipitous nature of the office and seeing familiar faces in the halls and elevator, I will say that my team and I have managed to be quite productive. (Note: As great as Zoom is, I am actively campaigning to bring the phone call back).

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM Walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air  

6:30 PM Help my parents cook dinner. I’m extraordinarily lucky that both my mom and my dad are excellent cooks and we’ve been eating quite well these past few months. 

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Dinner with my parents and my younger brother who is also home for the time being. Although I do sometimes feel like I’m 18 again living under my parents’ roof, I will say that I am cherishing this extra time we all have together as a family. 

8:30 PM – 10:00 PM Read or watch TV to wind down from the day. Recently finished reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and watching Love on the Spectrum on Netflix – both excellent!



What is the most compelling project that you have worked on in your career?

The times that I have felt most alive during my time at Condé Nast have been at our tentpole events, such as Glamour Women of the Year and Teen Vogue Summit. They are a celebration of each of the brand’s ethos – who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in. 

At Glamour Women of the Year, we honor the game changers, the rule breakers, and the trailblazers who have paved the way for women across the country and around the world in their respective fields. Over the past three years, we’ve honored: 

  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Margaret Atwood 
  • Greta Thunberg 
  • Emma Gonzalez and the women activists from the March for Our Lives movement
  • Tory Burch
  • Chanel Miller 
  • Yara Shahidi 
  • Kamala Harris (Fun Fact: I was her seat filler when she went up to accept her award!)
  • Viola Davis
  • The Women’s March Organizers

One of the most special moments from WOTY 2019 was when Chanel Miller accepted her award on stage. Glamour had named Emily Doe, the anonymous sexual assault victim a WOTY honoree in 2016, and unbeknownst to the team, she had been sitting in the audience all along, listening to every word. For Chanel to come forward to the world, and then later on the stage at Glamour Women of the Year to publicly accept her award was awe-inspiring. As she emerged on stage in her golden gown, she immediately received a standing ovation – and when she proceeded to recite her acceptance poem: “I Don’t Give A Damn” and there was not a dry eye in the house. I still get goosebumps thinking about that very moment and thinking this is what it’s all about.

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At Teen Vogue Summit, we engage in conversations and live workshops with leaders from fashion, politics, beauty, wellness, and activism for the next generation. I love being on the ground with these young people and hear firsthand what they’re doing in their own communities to change the future. At Teen Vogue Summit 2019, Demi Lovato made her first public appearance post–break and the energy in the room shook when she made her way to the stage. 

WOTY and Teen Vogue Summit are two of my favorite events of the year because the spirit of empowerment is absolutely tangible and awakens everyone sitting in the room to go out and do good for themselves, for others, and ultimately the world.

How has your role needed to adapt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The names of the game in media are speed, creativity, and agility – and this is true now more than ever. So much of what we do is people-driven – be it photoshoots, video shoots, events, traveling, or client dinners where we’re interacting, collaborating, and partnering with producers, directors, videographers, clients, talent, and more. And although things may look a little different now, the show must go on. And if there’s a will, there is always a way. 

In May, we worked with a client for Teen Vogue Prom and we filmed three videos with teenaged talent. Since this was the beginning of the pandemic, the shoot was entirely remote. We shipped product and equipment to the talent across the country and the director, producers, program managers, and clients all sat on a Zoom directing each talent as they captured their getting ready looks. The casting was incredibly important for this particular program because we needed to enlist talent that were skilled in capturing their own content – and they did beautifully! 

Teen Vogue Prom was the following week and we had the time of our lives. Teen Vogue was the first brand to publicly announce that we would host a “virtual prom” for high schoolers and we had exactly one month to pour all of our passion into the program to bring it to life. We curated an evening with hybrid programming, allowing time for attendees to hang out with other classmates from their schools within individual Zoom rooms – and then we would broadcast the national livestream that featured drop-ins from celebrity guests like Charli & Dixie D’Amelio, CNCO, Emma Chamberlain, Lily Collins, Madelaine Petsch, Chloe x Halle, Becky G and more. Nearly fifty members from the Teen Vogue team volunteered their Saturday evenings to “chaperone” the prom, work the back-end technical logistics, and create a night to remember for thousands of high schoolers across the country – all while dressed to impress. I even squeezed into an old prom dress!

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Most recently, we had a branded Vogue video shoot. Although finally able to get back on set, our video team had mandated strict guidelines to ensure the health and safety of both talent and crew. We were only able to have three people TOTAL on set – talent, director, and cameraman – (when there are usually 20+!) and thus took an incredible amount of preparation and coordination both before the shoot and during the shoot. On shoot day, the rest of the crew and clients dialed in from across the country, providing feedback while viewing the livestream link. 

As the mantra goes, teamwork makes the dream work –– and as we continue onwards in this new normal, it is as important as ever to have a team that is both conscientious and committed to bringing a vision to life, no matter the circumstances – and I couldn’t be more grateful to have just that.

If you could choose anyone or any company to work with, who would it be and why?

My dream client would have to be Nike. I grew up playing pretty much every sport – basketball, swimming, soccer, water polo – and the values of hard work, competition, perseverance, teamwork, and leadership have served as a foundation for all that I do, both personally and professionally. I grew up with a pinboard in my room with pages of old Nike advertisements from magazines and even today, they never cease to inspire, invigorate, and empower me to be the best version of myself. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in working in publishing?

Change is inevitable. The media landscape is evolving every single day – and even over the past three years, I’ve experienced those shifts firsthand. Although countless headlines declare that “Print is Dead,” I’d argue that perhaps the more accurate way to position this is “Print is Changing.” The golden age of traditional publishing was marked by plentiful paging across books – particularly in September issues. I still have an archive of old issues of Glamour, Teen Vogue, Bon Appétit, Vogue and more – and some of them are as thick as phone books. While print issues may look a bit different now, especially with several titles shuttering their print editions (i.e. Glamour and Teen Vogue) – it’s important to understand that print is only one component of a brand. With the introduction of technology advancements across digital and social media, print is no longer the sole star of the show; each brand that we work on within the Condé Nast portfolio consists of print, video, articles, social, podcasts, events, and so much more. 

So yes, print is changing, but the tactile and immersive experience of print is so unique that print will never fully “die” in my opinion. As audiences and consumers alike continue to change how they consume content, we have a responsibility to continuously adapt and evolve to not only reach them, but perhaps more importantly, to resonate with them, too. 

What do you think the future of publishing looks like?

Mark my words: the future of media is bright. Print may be “changing,” but media and publishing are not going anywhere. The media industry is fueled by the power of storytelling – and as human beings, we crave stories that tell the experiences of ourselves and each other. My hope is that the media industry continues to work to be more inclusive, sharing real and raw journalism from people of diverse backgrounds – across race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, identity – and that technology helps us tell these stories in the most innovative and creative ways possible.

The Other Ursula Dedekind

Leaving a legacy of elegance, beauty, resilience, and glistening gowns.

It may surprise many to know that I am not the first Ursula Dedekind, I am actually the second. I was named after my grandmother or “Omi” as my family calls her. My Omi lead an incredible life that I thought deserves to be shared, especially since her passing this past March at the age of 89 years old.

Omi’s story is one of perseverance, resilience, and strength, one that typifies the struggle of many immigrants in The United States. But, it is also a story of wonder, elegance, adventure, and style- a full life to say the least. My Omi immigrated to America in 1962 with her husband and my father from Lima, Peru, where my grandparents owned a children’s clothing store called Pepe Grillo. The reason for their departure from South America was as a result of simmering political tensions in the country, which they heard about while attending a dinner party. Instead of returning to Hamburg, Germany, where they were both from, my grandparents decided to immigrate to America, as my grandmother had a cousin who was willing to sponsor them- more adventure to await them.

My Omi’s first job was at Henri Bendel- which, at the time, was a high end fashion retailer- in New York City. At Henri Bendel, she made custom ready-to-wear clothing for wealthy clients. When her client base became big enough, she rented a space to work out of in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and established her own business as a couturier. A major inflection point in her professional journey was when her husband, my grandfather, passed away from a heart attack, while delivering clothing on a hot day in New York City. From that point, my Omi decided to shift her business into selling directly to companies, lessening the burden of having to work for individual clients. Omi’s main client was Leron, who she designed and made nightgowns and lingerie for. Having tired of the work, it was by chance that one day on the street she bumped into her old colleague Monica Hickey from Henri Bendel, who was now the bridal director. Monica told her that she should make wedding gowns and, without skipping a beat, my Omi returned to Henri Bendel, this time making bridal gowns under her own name Ursula D.

Quickly, Omi made a name for herself, transitioning her skill in making beautiful nightgowns into making stunning handmade wedding dresses that could be seen in Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, and South America, as well as in Saudi Arabian palaces- elegant designs that would be desired by brides around the world. Omi was particularly famous for making her signature handmade satin organza flowers featured at the dress’s shoulder line and her pearl embroidery. Some of my Omi’s most memorable clients include Spike Lee’s wife Tonya Lewis, James Taylor’s wife Kathryn Walker, Alison Becker, my mother, actor Charlton Heston’s daughter, former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn’s niece, as well as many American socialites and even international royalty. She also made the bridesmaids dresses for Maria Shriver’s wedding who married Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1986. Yet, arguably, one of her most famous designs was for Vera Wang, known today for her own wedding dresses. Vera Wang wore a dress custom made and designed by my Omi when she married Arthur Becker in 1989. Wang’s dress- which weighed an astonishing 45 pounds- was made from pure silk satin and french lace and with hand embroidered pearls and Austrian crystals overlaid. A truly stunning dress for Wang’s big day.

My Omi loved the beauty, artistry, and creativity of making her gowns in addition to the connection it allowed her to have with others. She also enjoyed the challenge of customization, having her clients be able to design along side her their dream wedding dress. That challenge, however, did not come without a considerable amount of hard work. My father notes that she remembers Omi staying up late every night after dinner, working at the sewing machine on embroidering pieces. For her, the work was labor intensive and required extreme detail and care on her part as the designer. Deciding to retire in 1997 from such a hectic pace, Omi stepped away at the height of her career, when she was most familiar with the fashion trends and practices of the time, before wedding styles changed radically into slinky, strapless designs. However, I was happy to have grown up with her at every event, recital, and family holiday.

I will remember my grandmother for many things: her subtle German accent, impeccable style, hard working nature, and beautiful gowns. But most of all, I take away from her an awe inspiring perseverance. My Omi’s journey towards becoming a couturier for the “who’s who” did not come without its obstacles, patience, and hours of diligent work. From overcoming living through World War II as a child, to uprooting her life and living in South America, to finding a new home in The United States, my Omi learned how to navigate extreme uncertainty with grace and poise.

One day in the future, when I walk down the aisle in the dress that Omi made for my mother when she married my father, I will beam with pride, happy to know that she is with me on one of my most important days. Right by my side, as she should be. How she would have wanted it to be.

CEO Sit Down: Hayoung Park on HYP

A company revolutionizing exclusive releases: HYP, started by CEO Hayoung Park for the world.  

So, what’s all the hype about? I’ll tell you! HYP, a company started by CEO Hayoung Park, was recently unveiled to the world this summer, causing a stir among the limited collectors of all things street wear. HYP is an online bidding platform that partners with brands for exclusive release auctions. So far, the company has hosted extremely rare items, like a one of a kind pair of Nike “Stay Home” SB Dunk Low Pros in a custom hazmat box and a tie-dyed Supreme Box Logo Sample, which sold for a shocking $52,000. There are many things that are unique about the platform, one of them being your ability to see who is bidding live and their respective Instagram accounts, so you can really flex in front of the world. HYP has already been featured on Complex, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, and Nice Kicks, making a splash right out of the gate. If this is what only a month of releases look like, we are truly in store for a wild ride. I have the privilege of knowing Hayoung personally, allowing me to get the low down on all things HYP to share with you. Let’s jump in.


So Hayoung, how did HYP first start? How did this idea grow into a business?

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It all started when I was 12- I was obsessed with basketball and thought I needed the Jordans to play better. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t willing to pay for any of the sneakers, so I had to make my own money. A friend of mine was willing to sell me a pair of his Jordan 6 Oreos for way under retail – for $50, but before I borrowed the money from my mom, I had a buyer for that pair as well as sellers and buyers for two other pairs that I would buy that day. After my first day of reselling sneakers, I made $150 dollars in profit, paid my mom back the $50 with $1 interest, and grew my collection to a little over 300 pairs in the next four years. 

In doing this, I realized that brands have been innovating on product for as long as they’ve been around, but the way they price and sell the goods has remained stagnant since the beginning of mass production. It’s been a flat price in an attempt to capture a volatile market. It also physically was not able to capture any of the additional value created in the aftermarket because that was passed the brand’s point of capturability. I started to play around with the idea in early 2019 and officially started working on HYP in July 2019. At first, I pitch it to a couple of friends who were a bit doubtful that it was going to work, but I had the opportunity to pitch to a few major brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Supreme, and got some really great feedback. I took the points of concern and the wants of the brands and formatted to what it is now, which is: HYP, the social bidding platform for exclusive releases. On HYP, users link their Instagram to compete and show off in front of the world for exclusive release auctions in fashion, collectibles, and art.

What has been your biggest challenge in starting the company?

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The biggest challenge in starting the company has been finding a way to shortcut the Catch-22 that is consumer platforms. In order to get the brands to get the cool releases, you need the consumers and you need the demand side. But in order to get the demand side, you need the cool releases and you need the cool brands. We found a way to shortcut that by finding and working with the artists who were really cool and hyping up the first release. We knew that the platform would hyper concentrate and show demand to encourage other people to bid as well, and it worked pretty well! Our biggest challenges are finding cool releases and brands to work with as we curate the next batch of HYP releases to elevate both the HYP brand as well as brand partners. 

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start a company in today’s climate?

For anyone looking to start a company today’s climate, I honestly think it’s a better time than ever to start a company because a lot of the traditional incumbent companies are short on cash and they’re not as agile as startups. I think there’s a lot of room, especially now for startups to take over different niches that the bigger brands can’t quite adapt to because of COVID-19 restrictions or because they’re really really short on cash.

What is a collaboration that you have dreamed of doing?

A collaboration that I dream of doing is with Daniel Arsham. I think he’s a great artist and I think he really understands consumer sentiment and is great at balancing the past, current, and future. 

What about today’s culture makes HYP attractive to consumers?

Humans have been showing off to other people they see during the day forever. Recently, we’ve been showing off to our friends on Instagram. I think the next logical progression is showing off in front of the world, amplifying the feeling of walking in the mall with designer shopping bags in your hands. There haven’t been any digital equivalents to that feeling, and I believe HYP provides just that on an even more elevated scale. 

You’re quite fashionable yourself, what are some of your favorite brands?

My favorite brands are Thom Browne and APC. I recently started dressing more minimalist as I stopped wearing streetwear while optimizing my wardrobe for meetings. I have to dress more mature and elevated, so I started to invest in pieces that are a bit more sophisticated than Supreme, Bape, and Off-White. I still love those brands though.

What piece of advice have you received that you would give to others?

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The piece of advice that I would give to others is just to send it. No one knows exactly what they’re doing at the end of the day, as crazy as that sounds. I realized that you can’t learn to swim without getting in the pool and that you can’t learn to swim by reading a textbook. If there’s a project that you want to work on or a question that you want to answer, just go out and try to figure it out, try to take that first step because that’s always the hardest. When you do take the first couple of steps, find more reasons and motivations to take the next few. Also – stay (mentally) young and creative. Have fun.

 I know it’s top secret, but could you give us any clues as to what future releases HYP is going to be having?

For future HYP releases, we want to do collaborations that no one saw coming that strangely make sense. I think the fun is putting shit together that isn’t meant to be together and having that work & look great. From animal plush dolls to porcelain sculptures, we’re considering all of it. 

 

3 Friends Picking their Top 3 Beauty Items Part VII

The 3 beauty products 3 of my friends swear by.

In all honesty, when I first started this series I had planned on having one post featuring six of my friends and their favorite beauty products. However, when the post got too long, I split it into two posts, but then I realized, I know so many beautiful people- inside and out- who have such incredible advice. More sharing was definitely in order! I couldn’t be more excited to share that some of these posts have become my most viewed and favorited by many! I am so happy when I am able to introduce different friends of mine, which I feel like these posts have facilitated. The more the merrier in the case of friends I always say! Oh and lipgloss. You can never apply too much of that. But you can in the case of foundation, self tanner, and lip liner, so be careful out there! (Stay tuned for next week’s 3 friends and 3 picks!)

Cristina Rojas

@cristirojas

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Facial Treatment Essence by SK-II

How often you use it

Everyday, morning and night right after I wash my face I put a few drops on the palm of my hands and tap it into my skin.

What you like about the product

It’s light and easy to use, my skin absorbs it in seconds and feels instantly refreshed. I’ve been using it for years now and definitely feel it keeps my skin clear and even toned.

How you found it

My grandmother has always used SK-II products so I grew up around the brand. I found it at a department store a few years ago and decided to try it, it’s been one of my skincare essentials ever since. 

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Active Botanical Serum by Vintner’s Daughter

How often you use it

Every night after my Treatment Essence, and sometimes in the morning as well.

What you like about the product

It’s made out of all natural ingredients and smells amazing. It really hydrates my skin and helps my complexion. 

How you found it

At The Goop pop-up shop in NYC last Christmas.

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Rescue Mask by Eve Lom

How often you use it

Try to use it once a week depending on how much time I have. I use it when my skin needs a little pick-me up. It makes my skin feel as if I just got out of a facial, completely bright and smooth with minimal pores.

What you like about the product

The way it really cleanses my skin, the clay mask has camphor and almond extract that help to really decongest the skin. It reduces any redness and puffiness I might have going on, and leaves my skin soft and supple.

How you found it

I’m always on the lookout for new beauty products, and a few years ago I found this one during a trip to London. 


Ashley Walters

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Facial Toner by Thayers

How often you use it

I use this product after I come out of the shower as an additional face cleanser. I also use this toner right before I apply makeup when I am doing a look with full coverage, which includes foundation, concealer, powder, etc. 

What you like about the product

It cleanses my face of impurities and any dirt that a normal face wash may not catch. It also tones my skin and gives my face a nice and even complexion. It is alcohol-free and has rose water and aloe vera in it, so it is basically a 2-in-1 cleansing water without the harshness of alcohol. 

How you found it

I was looking for witch hazel in Walgreens and stumbled upon it. I read the ingredients and decided to try it. It worked well and I have been using it ever since. 

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Colossal Mascara by Maybelline

How often you use it

I use this product when I am wearing makeup. But I also use this mascara on a bare face to give my face a light lift. Especially now that I have to wear a mask, I just put on a little mascara to enlighten my eyes and I am good to go. 

What you like about the product

This mascara lengthens and volumizes my lashes without clumping. It is not overbearing and makes my lashes look naturally beautiful. 

How you found it

I have heard about Maybelline and seen ads about how good the mascara was so I decided to test the product and I loved it.

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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24 Hour Edge Tamer by Ebin New York 

How often you use it

I use this product everyday. 

What you like about the product

I have dreadlocks so I am unable to brush my hair back to keep it neat and sleek, so the little hairs that cannot fit into my locs will look wild if I don’t lay them down. So, by simply putting on a little edge tamer and brushing it down, my hairstyle is secure for literally the entire day. 

How you found it

My little cousin recommended this product to me because we have the same hair texture and I was struggling to find an edge control that wouldn’t leave my edges with white residue after a couple of minutes. 


Chelsea Cates-Rollins

@xoxchelsxox

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Drying lotion by Mario Badescu

How often you use it

This stuff makes your pimples disappear overnight! I use this product at night after my skin routine if I feel a pimple coming or have one on my face and it’s like nothing was there.

What you like about the product

I like how easy it is to use and a little goes a long way. The bottle looks small, but it can last me six months to a year depending on how frequently I use it. 

How you found it

I saw at urban outfitters one day and thought it was cute and interesting. I also liked the color, so I bought it and 2 years later here I am!

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Brow pomade and clear brow gel by Anastasia

How often you use it

I use both of these products any time I do my makeup for my brows and I’ve been using them since I started doing makeup. 

What you like about the product

It not only makes my eyebrows look great, but stays on all day! Sweat, water, anything your brows will stay on all day and not fade. 

How you found it

When I first started getting into makeup I watched a ton of YouTube and so many YouTubers would swear by it. I tried it and loved it and have been using both since high school. 

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Highlighter by Fenty

How often you use it

I live by this highlighter it will make you “shine bright like a diamond”. I use this almost every time I wear makeup because I love adding highlight and a little shimmer to my final look. 

What you like about the product

I like how pigmented it is and also how buildable it is. You can add a little to have a natural glow, but if you really want a blinding highlight you can add more and it won’t look overwhelming. They also come in so many colors, so no matter your skin tone you’ll find a highlight for you. 

How you found it

Since i follow Rihanna and Fenty Beauty on Instagram I see what new is to come, but this was one of her first beauty products so i had to get it and I keep getting more!


Stay tuned for next week’s post where my friends Tucker James, Monia Mukiza, and Yujia Ma share their three beauty favorites!

CEO Sit Down: Wes Woodson on thehidden

Read all about how Wes built his own clothing brand around inclusivity and acceptance to help inspire everyone to live life boldly uncovered.

Everyone has feels, at one point or another, that they want to hide. In high school, I wanted to hide for many reasons, one of them being my bad acne. I couldn’t look people in the eye when they spoke to me, I tried to cover my blemishes with my hair, and scratched at them, only to make things worse. For Wes, it was a skin condition and his inability to “fit in” with any circle of friends. Instead of feeling defeated, however, Wes felt inspired, creating a line of clothing that motivates everyone to live their truth, unhidden. thehidden has now grown into a full range of clothing as well as moved into the realm of content development. I sat down with Wes to get the complete run down on how his business has flourished over the years.


Wes, tell us about yourself!

Sure! My name is Wes Woodson and I’m the founder and chief storyteller of thehidden company. Recently, I have graduated from Babson College- where you and I met haha. In my free time I like to write, listen to music, and walk my malti-poo Bentley. Oh! And my favorite color is red. Always have to mention my favorite color in intros.

What was your inspiration for starting your clothing company thehidden?

 I honestly love this question! The inspiration behind the brand actually stems from my personal experiences growing up feeling too white for the black kids and too black for the white kids. It was this feeling of being misunderstood, lonely, as well as my diagnosis of my rare skin condition, which led me to “hide” the parts of myself that I was ashamed of. This included the skin condition, which caused white spots to appear on the surface of my skin. However, I wanted to build a brand that would inspire kids (like me) to never hide who they are and truly accept themselves; which defines the name “thehidden” but also explains our iconic logo. I wanted to empower those who feel hidden to never hide who they are. 

What is the mission and goal for your business?

The mission of thehidden company, which now houses our clothing label (thehidden) and our content development arm (thehidden Project), is to use the power of storytelling through merchandise and original content to empower our generation to never hide who they are. My goal with thehidden company is to empower 1,000,000 unique individuals to be their true selves unapologetically.

Why hoodies, t-shirts, and shorts to help spread the message of acceptance and inclusivity?

Back at it again with the great questions! So growing up, I always wanted to wear the streetwear brands everyone would rock- Supreme, Palace, Obey, etc.-but I couldn’t afford them. More importantly, I wanted to build a brand that not only empowered people but helped them express who they are as well. So, when thinking about these two things, making clothes with messages of acceptance and inclusion made sense because that’s how people express themselves: by the clothes they wear. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of your company’s journey?

Truthfully, the most challenging aspect of my company’s journey has been dealing with self doubt and anxiety. Every time I release something, or do interviews like this, I want the world to see thehidden company for what it is: a company started by a kid trying to help others not feel the way he once did. Of course, doing anything entrepreneurial or risky can create a level of anxiety. However, the hardest part for me has been trying to find a way to channel that anxiety into a positive force to propel the brand forward.

How has thehidden changed your perspective on life?

I used to think people fell in love with “images” or ideal lifestyles. Through thehidden I’ve found that the real beauty is becoming comfortable enough with your flaws to share them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve learned that there’s power in being authentic with yourself and with those around you.

Are there any personal testimonials from your customers that stick out to you?

Yes! I remember when I first launched the business, I had written my story through a medium blog post. Turns out, someone had shared the blog post with their mom who has the same skin condition as I do. The daughter, who shared the post, purchased two hoodies. One for herself and one for her mom. She ended up writing to me to tell that her mom had been battling depression after receiving her diagnosis, but felt less alone reading my story. 

That is what it’s all about. Those are the types of interactions I live for. 

What does the future of thehidden look like?

The future is looking bright! Like I said, I’ve always wanted to build a brand that is known for talking about real things instead of just selling clothes. Therefore, in the next few months we will be releasing new products that have never been seen before as well as other cool pieces of original content dedicated to something near and dear to my heart: mental health. No matter what, though, our mission is still the same. 

Lastly, favorite merch item?

Okay this is tricky! My favorite merch item, prior to this interview, was the Adore hoodie. It’s a black and white camouflaged hoodie that’s super comfortable. However, at this time, my favorite merch item hasn’t been released yet! (Ooo! Cue the suspense!).

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The Adore Hoodie


Where you can find thehidden:

www.thehiddenco.com

@thehiddenco

www.weswoodson.com