Anja K in Uslu Airlines

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“It’s like a cloud…” Anja K whispered into the mirror, freeing her puff of platinum hair from an elastic. “It’s acting up today.” The twenty-one-year-old, pint-sized (5’4”) model has been running all over New York, rumors of high-profile, career-making bookings trailing close behind. And upon meeting her it’s clear that what she lacks in stature she makes up for in pluckish charm and determination. Even her cumulonimbus-meets-cotton-candy hair—on this particular day, at least—was unyielding to comb or brush, and yet totally appropriate: after all, we’re boarding Uslu Airlines.

Julia Frakes initially turned me on to the Berlin-based cosmetics brand, when she waxed poetic (“it’s pretty radtastic”) on its range of unusual nail polish shades, each named after a 3-letter airport code. The company’s original offering was a DIY airbrush-makeup system developed by founder Feride Uslu, a makeup artist who once assisted François Nars, but it’s the slightly off polishes that have gained the company a cult following. News of limited-edition collaborations with European designers (Bernhard Willhelm), boutiques (Colette), and even DJs (Rollerboys) seems to spread quietly, mostly by word-of-mouth and then poof! Sold out.

When I visited Feride in her Mitte district studio recently, her creative approach to application and color had me hooked. “I never do all ten nails—impossible!” she says. “Maybe because I was not allowed to wear nail polish as a girl, because I’m from a Muslim family, and I always would only paint one finger and then hide it during dinnertime so my father wouldn’t see it. Still, I don’t paint my thumb or the index finger. It’s usually those three: the middle finger, ring finger, and small finger. I use nail polish more like an accessory, like a belt or a flower, or like a button. I use it sometimes only on two fingers to add a little color statement. I guess I think it’s cool—that’s my thing.” Uslu sent me home with two colors, DRS (a bright baby-blue named after Dresden's airport code), and BHX, Bernhard Willhelm’s "Jaguar green" (named after the airport in Birmingham, England, where Jaguars have been manufactured since the '20s), and a piece of advice—“just to put a different color on every nail won’t work. It needs to have concept to it." At the moment, she’s gravitating toward “doing the index and thumb in one color, and the other three in another color.” But after Anja and I got to chatting about tattoos (she got hers mainly “because I was bored, and I can’t change my hair”) and she showed me the "MEOW" inscribed inside her lower lip, I thought, 'We’re going with just two nails.' An individual approach for an individual girl.

Anja K photographed by Emily Weiss in New York City on June 22nd 2012.

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  • Mili

    a boutique near my house stocked Uslu nail polishes, the colours and finish were amazing!

  • http://cmykiss.tumblr.com/ Vany

    great post, love the idea of using nailpolih on just a few fingers, never thought about that before, it is quite a minimalistic way to wear polish :)

  • Sarahdee

    I kinda like the nail polish bit. Its a tad odd but in a good way.

    ♥Sarah♥
    theantiquepearl.blogspot.com

  • Michelle Suwannukul

    that giraffe is to die for. and will need to rock that blue nail for the upcoming hawaii trip.

  • http://mybeautysample.com/ Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    I haven't heard of this brand, but from afar at least, the colors look awesome! And she is *gorgeous*--killer pout and eyes and her really works for her. She's cute and quirky and has attitude, I like it.

  • Natalie Hughes

    GREAT interview! My favourite ITG interview of all time. x

  • VotreAmie

    She is fierce!! Lovely individual!
    x
    http://www.iloveublank.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/rfarahmand Roxana Farahmand

    She's only 5'4??? Wow!! She's GORGEOUS.

  • http://www.littleredbook-thatshaute.blogspot.com/ Little Red Book

    She's so angelic like, very natural beauty.

    http://www.littleredbook-thatshaute.blogspot.com

  • ashleigh @ Jolie Jouel

    Great photos! And I'll definitely check out that nail polish...

    My jewelry blog: joliejouel.blogspot.com

  • Bonnie Clyde

    love the pics!!! amazing girl!! love her!!
    http://bonnieclydemarni.blogspot.gr/

  • http://lindsaysuejohnson.com/ Lindsay Sue

    Her inner lip tattoo is so rad. My friend has one. It says "Hova". hehe...

  • Adriana

    I AM OBSESED WITH HER

  • Carlota

    I only know Uslu airlines because they collaborated with Bimba y Lola, one of my favourite brands for clothes and acessories. But they are as expensive (around € 20) as the Chanel ones so I never bought one to try...Maybe next time!

    http://www.usluairlines.com/2011/bimbo-y-lola-y-uslu-airlines/

  • http://www.lux-sky.org/ Lux Sky

    Great,very natural beauty.

  • http://www.lux-sky.org/ Lux-sky

    the tattoo is so lovely

  • Kim Holland

    Stunning contrasts, beautiful.

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