"I had a pixie cut when I moved to London. At the time, I was a management consultant—I'd worked on everything from Nordstrom's petite and plus-size business strategy in Seattle, to Dr. Pepper/Seven Up's acquisition of Snapple, and then corporate strategy for Boots in London. They were amazing experiences, but I also realized I was not meant to do that for the rest of my life. In London, I met Masoud [Golsorkhi], the founder of Tank, and he offered me a partnership in the magazine. So, I gave up a really well-paying job to become a fashion publishing entrepreneur, and I haven’t looked back since. That was 10 years ago.
When I started working at Tank, I decided to let my hair grow out. It was a bad phase; I had this little mushroom on my head. Literally nobody saw me for my first two years at Tank because I was just like, ‘There’s no way I’m being introduced to anybody looking like this,’ until it grew out into a normal place. Now I have loads of hair, and I don’t deal with it very well. I’ve been using Super Sleek Smoothing Shampoo from Ojon; it has macadamia nut and other oils in it. And my hair stylist Angelo Seminara turned me onto this amazing organic oil, OI from Davines, which I put on when my hair is wet. And then I’ll do a bun or a braid, and slick back all the frizzies with L’Oréal Paris gel. Right now, I’m growing my hair out because I’ve decided what my September look is going to be: stick-straight and really long. When I get to New York for fashion week—because it’s really a very New York thing—I’ll get a normal New York blow dry, which you just can’t get in London—there are no blow-dry bars. And then I’ll probably cut it in October.
This is as much makeup as I can handle: mascara, eyeliner, and a red lip. I don’t have anything on my skin. Yes, I’m totally lucky, but the thing is, I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my entire life, I don’t drink huge amounts of alcohol, and I have a Chinese mother—that, I think, is my advantage. My mom does not look a day over 45, and she’s 65. Asian skin is amazing. My dad is Lebanese-Iranian, so the mix of all these crazy cultures together has been really helpful. I mean, I have a glass of wine every night, but because I’m half-Chinese I just can’t hold my alcohol very well, which means I’m a really cheap date, but I think it probably helps the skin situation.
The beauty aesthetic for Tank is sort of whatever works for the shoot. It’s not all minimal, or all smoky eyes. If you look at the cover of Tank now, she’s not your typical supermodel—she’s a young Dutch girl, probably just started modeling, not super-super skinny, but she just has an incredibly interesting face. And then we're shooting a Chinese girl in Greece now. If there’s any guiding principle, we try to at least have some ethnic diversity.
Only recently have I become a little more adventurous with makeup. I launched an online magazine two years ago called becauselondon.com. Kay Montano, who’s this amazing makeup artist, does beauty tutorials for us, and because I don’t know how to put makeup on myself, I was like, ‘You have to put me in a video, so you can teach me four different looks, like, how to do a smoky eye…’ So, now I’m wearing Korres Abyssinia Oil Mascara in Cobalt Blue, and I’m doing a bit of a cat eye. I like to use Dior Intense Liquid Eyeliner. My lipstick is Tom Ford Lip Color in Cherry Lush—I collect loads of red lipsticks and then never use them. And that’s as courageous as I get, really.
For my skin, I use Dior Capture Totale One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum and then either Radical Skincare Anti-Aging Restorative Moisture cream or Embryolisse, which you can only find in Paris drugstores. Whenever I’m there, I stock up on the one for super-dry skin. I also have this Agent Provocateur Maitresse Silk Stockings balm. It’s so good. You know that silicone gel that makes your skin feel really smooth? It’s the same thing, but for your legs. It literally feels like a silk stocking. And then I use a lot of nighttime oils: the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, and Vaishaly Night Nourisher, which is so good. Vaishaly is a facialist who has a clinic on Paddington Street. I’ve only had one of her facials because she is ₤450. But, honestly, your skin is like a baby’s bottom when you leave."
—as told to ITG
Photographed by Rachel Chandler Guinness in London on June 27th 2012.