'I’m from New York, born and raised. I grew up in upper Manhattan, 190th street and Fort Washington, all the way by the Cloisters. I moved to Brooklyn about 10 years ago, and I love it so much. I’m never leaving. There are so many different types of neighborhoods, similar to Manhattan, but just a little bit removed from the city, and you can kind of relax when you get here.
I always wanted to work in the music business—while I was in high school I was interning for Seventeen magazine, and I started writing their online music column. This was in like 1996, very early days. But I got to go to shows, and I got a press pass, so I was definitely smitten with the whole experience. My first gig after college was bartending at this amazing bar in the East Village called Saint Dymphna’s. It’s on St. Marks between 1st and A. I concurrently had an unpaid internship at Def Jam during the day and then I was bartending at night. It was great, but not very sustainable because I had school loans to pay off. I ended up working for Amy Sacco, who is queen of New York nightlife. She Started Lot 61 and Bungalow 8, and that was at the peak of those venues. I learned a ton from her, and she introduced me to a lot of people who I’m in still in touch with now.
Then I decided I wanted to go to law school for no real reason other than I didn’t know what else to do. I moved to Santa Barbara for three months to study, and then realized I didn't need to go to law school—but the time off allowed me to think about what I was actually passionate about. I decided I wanted to be an artist manager and learn how to interact with those people. I flew back to New York and started working for one manager who worked some of the biggest DJs like Mark Ronson, Cassidy—all of those guys. Then I became the music publisher and A&R for a company called Famous Music. My job was to find new talent, develop them, and act as a creative liaison by pairing the right artist with the right writer and the right producer. I got to work with people like Jessie J—she wrote ' Party in the USA' and a lot of other big songs. The first time I met her six years ago I was like, 'Oh my God, she’s amazing.' She and I remain really, really close. It’s awesome to see her doing so well.
When I was at Sony doing publishing, I just recognized that the business was changing and evolving and moving online. You can’t stop technology. With super laser focus and obsession, I was like, I have to go work at Spotify, without knowing much about it. One time, I was talking to my friend D.A. Wallach and asked, 'Do you know anything about Spotify?' and he was like, 'Yeah, I’m the artist in residence.' I had no idea what that meant, but long story short, D.A started this team working with artists that I led out of New York. I love it because I still get to be a creative person while also in the tech space and shaping what I think is the future of this business. I was there for about four years and then, last week, I moved to Rent The Runway, where I'm VP of Strategic Partnerships. I'm very excited to be here now.
I have two kids. Beatrice is five and Mirabella is four—they’re 13 months apart so it’s been a couple of very full years. I still travel a lot, but then I’ll have to come home, take them to school, buy cupcakes for their classes, and all that. It can be tiring, but it’s worth it.
My daughters love makeup, which is why I keep it on a high shelf. I do let them play though—we have the Frozen lip gloss and stuff like that. I definitely believe in age-appropriateness, and I don’t think they should be going outside with makeup, but I don’t want to limit their creativity. They’ve inspired me to be more colorful. I could live in a gray room for the rest of my life—all gray everything. But recently, they love when I wear color.
Here’s what I think is key—exercise, which I hated for years. After I had kids, my body completely changed and I had to work to get it back. I like to mix it up, but I like to go to Flybarre or Physique57—any sort of barre-based classes and anything where the music is great, I’m in. I’ve started working out with Brandon Goodman privately and he is a genius. I do Tracey Anderson occasionally. I’m actually into Barry’s Bootcamp, strangely enough. I take hip hop dance classes at Crunch—it’s in Fort Greene and there is one in Union Square. Anytime I can dance, I forget I’m working out. We have crazy dance parties in the house, too.
But the ultimate beauty indulgences for me are sleep and water, as I don’t get any. If I get a night of uninterrupted sleep then I look like a totally different person. What you put into your body also makes a difference. I’m not careful enough. We make it more complicated than that, but I think it’s just that—and genetics. Good genes never hurt.
My skin has never been bad, but I turned 30 and a month later I had my first baby, everything went to hell. My hormones changed...it was just a disaster. And in the past three years, all of sudden, I’m finally noticing that I’m not getting any younger. I’m starting to see the wear and tear. But now I work with Dayle Breault—she goes by the 'Goddess of Skin' and is a genius. I was nervous about seeing someone about my skin because dark complexion can scar, so you have to be careful. Dayle works with all races and ethnicities—Zoe Kravitz and Lenny and Lisa Bonet who're both black Jews which is what I am, so I was like, 'OK, fine!' I get facials once a month, and the only products I use are her stuff. She’s very spiritual and makes all her products by hand. I use her entire line, but the Bonafide Scrub, Profound Cleanser and Heartfelt Emulsion Day moisturizer are wonderful.
I’ve never had much interest in makeup but recently, I have started investing in nice brands. I like Chanel and Nars and Shu Uemura. There’s this one Shu Uemura product I have that’s so old the name wore off—it’s a little pot that makes you really glowy. It doesn’t contour, shine—it's everything you need. I’ve had mine so long, it’s like a disgusting Petri dish, but I love it anyway.
Every day, my routine starts with clean skin. Then I use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealerin Biscuit and the Chanel Le Blanc De Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base. For the cheeks, I use Tarte's Cheek Stain in True Love because it’s simple, and it stays on. I can do my waterline like nobody’s business—I’ll do that quickly with Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Noir Intense. Recently, I started using an eyebrow pencil because someone told me I have patchy eyebrows. Now I can really tell the difference. You just have to be careful not to do them too dark. I use MAC Eye Brows in Brunette.
I’m always on the lookout for the perfect nude lipstick. I think Julep does a good one. It’s called Timeless, and it’s not fancy but it’s the perfect shade. Tom Ford also has the best colors, but they sell out so quickly. I’m wearing one of his right now. I like Burberry Lip Glow Natural Lip Gloss in Vintage Gold #18 [limited edition, discontinued] in Copper paired with MAC Tinted Lip Glass in C-Thru on top—one over the other. I’ll do a smoky eye if I’m going out—I waterline and put some Nars Limited Edition Hardwire Eyeshadow in Opal Coast in the corner of my eyes, with a small brush. My ultimate beauty accomplishment will be when I can do a cat eye but that hasn't happened yet.
I keep this InStyle page of Zoe Saldana up because I’m not gifted with the application of makeup and this has every look I’d ever want. I think she’s super cool and elegant, and I’m like, 'I can kind of do this!' It’s a cheat sheet.
I spend more time on my hair than anything else. Hair Rules is the best shampoo and conditioner for any hair texture—I use their Quench Ultra Rich Conditionerand Daily Cleansing Cream shampoo. The guy who created the line, Anthony Dickey, used to cut my hair and it’s an amazing, amazing product. My hair is naturally ringlet curly, and I don’t do to it in terms of chemicals or anything like that. Sometimes I blow it out and flat-iron it, but keeping it short and curly is easy for me. It’s just that I have to get it cut frequently because it grows super fast. I’m also very into dry shampoo, like the Psssst! Instant Dry Shampoo. It’s super drugstore but I think it’s the best. Other than that, I try to stay away from too much product because my hair gets oily really quickly.
I resisted for so long doing the whole nail art thing, and now I’m a devotee. I would always do clear just because I don’t like cracked nail polish—I’m a bit of a nail perfectionist. I’m very into understated nail art now. I go to Primp & Polish on Bedford Avenue now. It’s the best. Right now I have just one gold line—subtle, right? I’ll often do a half moon, and that’s kind of become my signature look.
My big indulgence is Le Labo fragrances. I’m obsessed with them. It’s a very expensive obsession. I just discovered Pin 12 Vintage Candle, and I’ve been wearing Santal 33, which everybody wears now—it’s the best! But it kind of smells different on everybody. I’ve had people sniff me on the train and cab drivers ask what I’m wearing!”
—as told to ITG
Britt Morgan-Saks photographed by Tom Newton.