"I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, but I've been living in New York City for seven years now, with my boyfriend and my five-month-old baby. My day job is as a textile designer and I’m also in a band called Buscabulla, where I collaborate with my boyfriend. One day, Converse and Guitar Center were having this contest where you could apply to have Dev Hynes produce your album and so we did and, even though our music is in Spanish and I felt like it was kind of experimental, Dev loved it. So we got to do that with him and then we got signed to Kitsuné, which is amazing.
I'm super inspired by old, Latin music. I love old salsa, Argentinian records, Cuban psyche. Growing up, my mom always listened to 80s stuff like Sade, Boy George and Prince so I’ve got this combination of those references and I feel like that is sort of the same with my makeup.
I feel like Latin women like to look glamorous…when I came to the States, I realized that people just get out of work and go straight to hang out in the evenings. In Puerto Rico, everybody goes home, takes a bath, gets all done up—makeup there is a big deal. My mom has always been a big influence on me. Even though she had a kind of understated look and was very much into beige tones, she’d always do everything, her brows, everything. Now, I think I’ve sort of taken it up a notch because I love the more rosy colors, oranges, shades like that.
Makeup is powerful and, when I sing, I like to look a certain way. My boyfriend got me this amazing palette, Guy Bourdin for Nars, which has a set of blushes that I love. The look that Bourdin created in his photos was so timeless, I’m totally obsessed with kind of recreating it. His models always had this makeup that was just insane, like the super glossy lips with super '70s blush. I love blush…sometimes, for a show, I’ll mix two shades to contour, using one underneath the apples of my cheeks and then putting the lighter color up above. And recently, I’ve been really into fake lashes—I feel like, you just put 'em on and instantaneously, you look good. I think I'm always trying to do something that's flashy, but elegant at the same time. I love the contrast of being understated with a touch of weird.
I’m 33 but I don’t drink that much and I don’t smoke, which I think helps with my skin. A while ago, I developed a gluten allergy and so I eliminated a lot of grains from my diet and now I eat a lot of greens and protein, which has really helped me out. If you party too much, you’re fine in your 20s, but once you start hitting your 30s, that lifestyle can really start showing. But my genes might be good, too, because my mom is 68 and she has really good skin. She was the one who told me to start using moisturizer—when I turned 18, she said to me, ‘Don’t be afraid to spend money on moisturizer. And always apply upwards, never go down, then never forget the neck.’ I think that’s stuck with me and it’s super important for me to moisturize now, especially now that we’re in New York where it can be so dry. So I always use Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream, which is awesome.
Beach hair is the best hair ever and I miss that, so I fake it. I love the Not Your Mother's Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, it smells really good. I just wash my hair and then spray it in and it looks like I have gone to the beach in Puerto Rico. It’s funny—when I'm back home, I always take hydrogen peroxide with me to bleach my arm hair. Latin girls tend to have dark hairs, and if you take that stuff with you then you can just sit in the sun with it on your arms for half an hour and then they get totally bleached! Maybe put a little in your hair, or if you get little hairs under your belly button put it there…all the girls do it. You always take your tanning lotion and your hydrogen peroxide with you!”
—as told to ITG
Raquel Berrios photographed by Tom Newton. Read more of The Face here.