'My dad is from France and my mom is from Rwanda in Africa. I was born in the south of France and grew up in Africa, which was so awesome. I originally moved back to France to go to law school and become a diplomat, like my dad. I was so passionate about fashion, but at the time, I didn’t know that fashion could be a job. After I finished law school, I didn't know what to do with myself, so I said, 'That’s it. I’m done. I can’t deal with it.' And I moved to the States to start a career in fashion. One night, at a dinner in New York, I met Jérôme Pulis, director of communications for Dior Paris, and I had such a professional crush on him. He was so inspiring. I sent him my resume two days after in an email saying, ‘I don’t know if you have an opening, but I want to work for you.’ And four months, later he got back to me and said, ‘I need someone on my team. Are you ready to move back to Paris?’ So, now I do international communications for Dior Beauty.
I wake up and I’m excited to go to work because I’m learning every day. The only experience I really had in beauty was seeing the makeup used in fashion shows, so I’m basically discovering everything right now about beauty, skincare, etc. I learn from all of the spokespeople, from everybody at Dior, and it’s been very interesting.
For example, I used to be so against whitening products. In Africa, all of these women were killing their skin trying to become whiter, and I hated that. But when I had to work on the press kits at Dior for Diorsnow D-NA Reverse White Reveal Night Concentrate, I had to test it to know what I was going to talk about. I became obsessed. Yes, it’s a whitening product but it’s not about being whiter or changing the color of your skin; it just brings light to your face. I’ve never experienced that before in my life. My face literally changed. I had discoloration before, where my cheeks were darker than my forehead, and since I’ve been using this, everything has evened out. Honestly, all of these little dark spots went away. I use the White Reveal Night Concentrate before I go to bed, and the Diorsnow Anti-Spot Serum during the day. After those, I put on Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Crème, which is the best because it’s so rich. And Diorsnow White Reveal Illuminating Eye Treatment for my eyes—it’s great for dark spots, and I have really bad under-eye circles—and that’s basically my little routine. I’ve learned that, apparently, if you only do one thing, you have to apply eye cream.
Otherwise, my skin is very dry, so I wear a lot of lotion. I put Nivea Lait Crème Nourrissant on my whole body every day as soon as I get out of the shower. At night and when I travel, I like something richer, so I use the Kiehl’s Fig Leaf & Sage Lotion. I also just tried Dior Svelte Body Desire, which is supposed to make your skin firmer and more tightened. I haven’t used it long enough to speak to how effective it is, but the texture is nice and it smells so good. Scent is so important to me. I have been wearing a men’s perfume for two years— Dior Homme Intense—and I cannot live without it. When I travel and forget to bring it with me, I’ll go out and buy another. I’m that obsessed.
I used to be scared of makeup because it’s hard to find colors that match my skin, so I don’t wear a ton of it. Before I do anything, I apply Benefit Porefessional Pro Balm—it’s the best. My makeup stays longer when I put it on first, and my foundation doesn’t fade. It creates a matte finish and brings light. As I said, I have really bad dark circles, so I can’t live without concealer under my eyes. I use By Terry Touch-Expert in Amber Brown because it’s not only a concealer but also an under-eye cream. Then I put on MAC Select Moisturecover in NC45. The By Terry brings a lot of light and the MAC covers the dark areas. It works for me. I put a little bit of Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation Fusion Makeup in #8 on my cheeks, forehead, and chin. It is so good because it blends so well, it doesn’t dry my skin out, and it takes no time to apply. Overall, I like a matte finish, but I do like shimmer on my cheeks. For that, I like MAC Mineralize Blush in Love Joy, which I apply with a brush. Sometimes, in the summer, I’ll change it up and put orange on my cheeks, but the shimmer just looks better on me.
For the rest of my face, I don’t want to look like I have too much makeup on. So, if I’m going to do my eyes, I won't do a lip. In terms of mascara, my favorite is Dior’s Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara. I just discovered the blue version and I love it. I'll do black, too, but I think blue-tinted lashes are going to be my summer thing. And I’m putting a new product from Dior’s New Look on the inside of my eye to illuminate them. It’s not out yet but it will be in the summer.
My lips are tinted, so I don’t feel like I have to wear lip color. Also, I feel older with lipstick on, but it can be nice for when I’m not wearing much makeup. When I want to add some shine, I’ll apply Lip Polish Smoothing Lacquer in 002 over a color. It’s a to-die-for gloss that will smooth your lipstick so well. It’s probably the first lip gloss that your hair doesn’t get stuck to, do you know what I mean? I wear it all the time. I have very, very dry lips, and I know Homeoplasmine doesn't cure dryness, but I still use it. It’s good for the moment, even though it’s not going to actually help.
To take everything off, Nuxe Reve de Miel Facial Cleansing and Make-Up Removing Gel is my favorite face wash. It washes away all of the makeup, even the eye makeup, and the honey in it is great for dry skin. If I ever get pimples, Exofene powder works like magic. My mom used it when I was growing up and now she sends it to me from Africa. It’s a dry powder you put on before going to sleep, and the next day, your skin is acne-free.
For hand wash, I keep Le Petit Marseillais on my sink because it’s very rich and there’s keratin in it. I use Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment cream and Cicabiafine cream, too. Biafine is traditionally for when you burn yourself, but they’re diversifying by doing more lotions for your skin. It’s very good, especially after sun exposure.
When it comes to my hair, my relationship with it has always been bad, because I’m really low-maintenance and my hair is very complicated. My natural hair is really, really curly. I have a lot of volume and so much of it—I basically looked like Tina Turner. I couldn’t deal with it, so I started relaxing my hair at 15—everyone in Africa does it—and it changed my life. It’s much easier, but I have to maintain it and nourish it. I have my hair washed at the hairdresser once a week in the winter and twice a week in the summer with Phyto Phytoprogenium Intelligent Shampoo. And then I do the Rene Furterer Karité Intense Nourishing Conditioning Cream . I don’t like to wash it myself because I can’t blow-dry it. I end up looking like a crazy person with too much volume.
My look is always changing. I don’t have a specific style—I can be super girly one day and super straight the next. It all depends on my mood, the city I’m in, the people I’m hanging out with, or even a movie that I’m going to see or the music that I’m listening to. For example, I tend to dress more conservatively in France than in New York or London. French people are cool, but in a way, really conservative. So, I try not shock people, and at the same time, it’s a way of showing respect. It’s not about changing yourself, but, instead, adapting.”
—as told to ITG
Fanny Bourdette-Donon photographed by Emily Weiss in Paris on March 3, 2013.