'I’m from Boston originally. When I moved to New York, I started working with Mary Howard—she does all the photoshoot sets for Steven Meisel and Annie Leibovitz. But she’s so busy and can’t do it all herself, so I started working more with Annie on my own, which spiraled into creating my own production design company— that really put me on the map. From there, I transitioned from intense fashion shoots to more commercial shoots—which, quite frankly, pay better and are less stressful.
Now I also have a newly launched tennis-inspired apparel company called Full Court. I’m no Williams sister tennis pro, but I’m a huge sneaker and athletic wear buff. Even though I was just playing for fun, I started to realize that I didn’t have anything good to wear, the pockets were all wrong and it drove me crazy. A friend of mine finally said, 'Somebody should do something about this,' and because I was already so used to making stuff for sets, I was like, 'I’ll do it.' First I made a little kit for myself and it grew from there—the whole collection debuted at Opening Ceremony last April.
I’m actually playing tennis a little bit more now, honestly because it’s a liability if I stink on the court—it wouldn’t be good for the brand. So I play a couple times a week in a secret location, I can’t say where. But it’s a court where it’s never busy so people who know about it don’t tell. It’s nothing like the lines at Fort Green Park, which are crazy and if someone tries to cut, it’s like woah.
When I am on the court, I’ll have some kind of spray with me, Caudalie or something like that. I feel like it smells so good and feels so good. I think it helps me do damage control on my skin while I’m sweating. It’s very herby—most of the stuff I use is kind of like that, very natural feeling, and a little hippie. I’ll go the farmer’s market and pick a bunch of stuff up. Last time I went I got some lavender healing salt and some homemade lip balm.
My favorite thing to use is goe oil—it’s amazing. You gotta really rub it in or you’ll be like an oil slick. But you can put it anywhere, sort of like Vaseline—my lips, my eyelids...A good alternative to that is Paw Paw’s Ointment. It’s from Australia and it comes in this crazy red tube that I have in my bag everywhere I go. You can use it on open wounds—it’s that good.
Speaking of open wounds, last summer in Mexico I actually got this huge gash in my head when I was snorkeling in an underwater cave. I got a little claustrophobic and banged into a stalactite, which gave me this huge scar. I was prescribed all the steroid creams, but the Avène Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream really helps. And I’m using the Avène Body Oil now too.
Everything else I use is sample-sized. There’s this great beauty supply shop called Larchmont Beauty Center and they give you all of these amazing samples whenever you stop by. So for all the products that I know I should use, but don’t really do like I should—like eye cream—I’ll just dig into a bag of samples and see what I come up with. Like, I've got this tiny amount of Mario Badescu that I'll use on my eyes. I used to go to his spa for the $65 facial, and I’d always stop and look at their Wall of Fame, from the ‘90s. There’re photos of Naomi Campbell and everyone. That’s how you know they’re good. I also used to go to Bliss—they have great facials. It’s kind of dated at this point, but they used to be the go-to place and you’d have this whole line of products from them. I still use a Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk from them on my face.
I’ve never worn foundation in my life—never. I have good skin, knock on wood. My dirty secret is that every morning I get up and the first thing I have is warm water with lemon. I swear to God, it’s cleansing from head to toe. I probably drink more than 10 glasses of water a day. I guess it’s not that dirty of a secret, but it seriously works. And I never wear eye shadow—am I so boring? I don’t know, I just feel like if you’ve perfected the skin, it’s so pretty, and you just need an accent or two and you’re good to go.
The thing I do wear every day would be Dior Crayon Eyeliner in Black, which I’ve had forever. I wish I could be the girl who casually wears kohl all the time, though. A friend of mine got me some from Morocco years ago and what you do is you put it on a stick, close your eyes, and drag it across your face to stain your lids. But I just end up looking like I have two black eyes, you know? So it’d be cool if it didn’t run all over the place.
I also have to do my brows every day—I care about them a lot. They look good now because of the Nars Brow Perfector. Apparently I had some spots that were not filled in and they looked a little bald. I don’t do a heavy application obviously, but the tiniest little bit of fill works wonders. And I always have to have an eyebrow gel, like the clear one from Anastasia. Or the original gangster one from Larchmont Beauty Center. Sixteen bucks.
I’m loyal to my eyelash curler but not my mascara. The Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler really is the best and the only one I use. But I’ll use any old mascara laying around. One of them is called Better Than Sex and I was so embarrassed by the name when I found it that I almost dropped it. But it’s a pretty good product actually. I'll swipe the Fairy Drops Mascara Base first though—I picked them up in Japan a few years ago. You put it on before you use mascara and it makes your lashes look even longer.
The rest of my stock is probably Nars because it wears the best throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll use the Nars The Multiple in Palm Beach, even though it comes off pretty quickly. I’m at the tail end of Nars Bronzer in Casino— it’s more of a blush for me because my skin is so dark.
Then you’ve got to have a really bright lipstick—I have a lot of options. My friend recently gave me this Giorgio Armani tube in a great orangey-red when I forgot my own lipstick at home one night. I love it when the name of the shade is really good, like Lorac in Leading Lady. And then there’s the MAC Ruby Woo—she’s an old staple. I'll use a red like that to create a Sade look from time to time.
I probably spend more money on hair products than anything, which I feel like is normal for a black girl. Anyone with curly hair does. I’ve tried so many expensive things and I have a ton it left over from things that didn't end up working the best.
I’ll use a Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo as a clarifier every once and a while—it’s the best thing to do when you use so much product on a regular basis. And I’m completely married to Tarex Italia Crema + Keratin Original Reparative Daily Conditioner. Or anything with Moroccan hair oil. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel is also really good.
The key to maintaining a good curl is putting the effort in. I feel like most people who have naturally curly hair really work at it. I’m lucky that it’s my one thing I really have to focus on because if my skin wasn’t pretty self-sufficient, I’d be like I am with my hair, but on my face—so many products!”
–as told to ITG
Marguerite Wade photographed by Tom Newton.