'In 1997, I moved from Belgium to New York. It was during the heroin chic period—Amber Valetta, Kate Moss, and everyone like that. I started out working as Glenn O’Brien's personal assistant and then I worked for Craig McDean. By 2003, I started my own casting company and I did that for around 10 years. Being with Craig put me in a great position—when you're working with a photographer who works for Vogue and W, agents and models are all at your feet. That's how I met people like Daria [Werbowy] and Natalia [Vodianova]. I've seen so many of those girls start. But every three years, everything changes—I’ve seen people go from one extreme to the next throughout the industry…after heroin chic, it was the Brazilians, then the Belgians, who were very androgynous. Nowadays, it’s important that the girl has a personality because of things like social media. It’s become about their aura, what they’re about, what they’re Instagramming.
In 2010, I started my blog Tales of Endearment because the economic crisis really hit my business and I basically didn’t have any work. I had all this time to myself and my creative side started to come out. At the time, everyone had a blog and I figured that since I was always on eBay, but I couldn’t buy everything, it'd be a good platform to show people how much amazing stuff there was available. Initially, the site was just about vintage and I would do things like take designers shopping to vintage fairs… I took Peter Pilotto when he came to New York, went shopping with Yigal Azrouel and Phillip Lim. Then, I realized I had all these amazing friends so I'd go over to their houses to shoot. Then I started writing about my dating life, which got a lot of attention—people loved that. It’s always changing.
These days, my priority is hydrating my skin so I’m constantly cleaning and hydrating. I’m more drawn to the medical and clinical products, to the real cosmetic companies who have the knowledge. I’m quite practical, scientific, and logical, so I’m more drawn to things that are legitimate.
The first beauty product I ever bought was Clinque’s 3-Step Skin Care System—the soap, toner, and moisturizer. I still use a three-step system but not with Clinique these days, I change it up. Right now, I use the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and then Natura Bissé The Cure Toner—it lasts forever, I’ve had this one bottle for for such a long time! I love it because it’s a spray and I really love to spray my face with stuff—I have this Susanne Kaufmann Harmonizing Moisturizing Spray, and then the Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray and the La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water spray. The best one, which I ran out of, is the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. So good! And it’s herbal smelling, like nothing else in the world…
I also really love Dr. Jart. It’s a really special brand, but I change my moisturizer a lot because I think your skin gets lazy when you keep using the same things. At the moment, I really love the Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate and Dr. Hauschka’s Skin Care Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream. And I swear by the Lancôme Hydra Intense Mask with Natural Water Captors, which I take with me whenever I travel. As soon as I get off of a plane and have a shower, I put it on for 15 minutes on just to replenish. I also really like the Chanel Ultra Correctly Lift Mask, which I sometimes use before I go out, and this Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask for Instant Youth. Who doesn’t want that—instant youth?! Thank you, yes, that’s what I want.
So, I cleanse and I moisturize, but I never use foundation. I feel like, once you start putting on foundation, you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life because that’s how you present yourself to everyone. I only put it on for photoshoots and when someone does my makeup for a party. I do love it, but you become like a slave to this image you’re creating and it takes such a long time. I know some girls who are blowdrying their hair everyday and doing their make up and it’s like a two hour thing! Like, how do you get out the door in the morning? I need a half hour, including my shower. Or, I take my time and it’s fun and it’ll be like an hour or something before I go out to a party. During Fashion Week, I tried Glam Squad—they came over and did my hair and makeup and it was all really well done. So I had them do it again today!
In the winter, I use Instant Glow Face Lotion by St. Tropez. It’s a kind of bronzer that makes you look like you’ve just come back from vacation with an even, fading tan. But really, when it comes to makeup, I just wear lips. Red lipstick is like caffeine for the face because it brightens you up immediately. Just put on a red lip and your face just looks fresher, brighter, more awake and polished. My favorite is Yves Saint Laurent—the Rouge Pur Couture 203 is the best, the matte one. It has to be a red red. I buy Bobbi Brown Art Sticks in all the different colors and I also like Nars lipsticks, for a more natural color. I really like the Pure Matte Lipstick in Montego Bay.
I think Lancôme is great for mascara, and I love Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. You can put it on your eyelids, and it’s just so hydrating for your lips, for everything. I have really strange eyes. They’re droopy and you have to fake the crease…only really good makeup artists can ever do it right. It’s an illusion, a trompe-l’oeil! I use a little bit of eyeshadow— Nars Ashes to Ashes is great, it’s like a dark precious metal. And the other one that’s similar is the Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow in Precious Metals. I also love the YSL Touche Éclat before I go out and then I don’t really do anything with my brows.
HAIR & BODY
For my hair, I love Leonor Greyl. It’s all sulphate-free and it always gives me great hair days, plus my friend Marki Shkreli is sponsored by them so he is always dropping off bags of all kinds of things. But the Nourishing Shampoo for Long and Dry Hair is particularly good, and the Orchid Softening Mask for Frizzy Hair.
I love taking baths—it’s my indulgence. In the winter ,I take a bath almost every day before I go to sleep. I love this EO Love Live Clean Nighty Night Bubble Bath and, at the moment, I’m using this Olay Daily Moisture Quench Body Wash. Then, I’m obsessed with body lotion. I put it on every day. I like the Burt’s Bees Radiance Body Lotion with Royal Jelly because it has a little shimmer. I put it on my legs, not so much the rest of my body. Sometimes my arms. If I’m going to a party I put on the Charlotte Ronson A Summer’s Kiss Face and Body Glow [ed note: no longer available]. It’s a little browner and it has extra sparkle for the legs, so I use it if I wear a dress with a golden bag or something.”
—as told to ITG
Natalie Joos photographed by Tom Newton.