Dana Wright, Musician

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'Everything I've done revolves around music. For a couple of years, I played guitar in a band called Dentata before I got tired of it and didn’t want to do it anymore. I think rock is dead, and hip hop is now more incredible than ever, so I want to get into that more. I worked as a waitress at a strip club for a while after, and I would watch how girls would be affected by the music. That was sort of the catalyst to get me working on my R&B album, which I’m finishing up. The music I'm making now, I like to call 'Stripper Jams.' It's for strippers, by strippers—that kind of thing. I just wanted to make music that girls would dance to that I also wanted to dance to. I feel like music is incredibly misogynistic right now, and sometimes I’ll tell my friends, ‘Wow I hate myself for loving this.’ It’s something women have to deal with, especially in rap music. We need more female voices, and it makes me more inspired to make music. It adds fuel to the fire. When I was in Dentata the music was very heavy—this is just a different kind of heavy. It's an emotional kind of heavy, a sexual kind of heavy. I like my words to have actual meaning and impact.

Because I’ve always been into music, when I go out—which I do a lot—it usually involves going to a show or seeing someone perform. I have a lot of friends who are artists and musicians, so there is lots of stuff to do with them on any given night. Any event that I know I'll get to see my friends at and have an excuse to dress up for is my absolute favorite.

STYLE

I never do low-key if I'm going out. I always have to be really crazy. I only do low-key during the day to get coffee. I’m definitely feeling that whole ‘80s Patrick Nagel, Playboy Bunny, Pretty Woman sort of thing. I like Barbie-ish style, and I'm obsessed with eBay. Sometimes I envision what I want to look like in my head, and then I'll see it out on eBay. I would never spend a lot of money on clothing. I like the basic bitch stores at the mall, too, like Necessary Clothing in New York. I love their jeans and sexy dresses. But really, put me in a pink Juicy tracksuit, heels, and big hoop earrings, and I’m good to go out at night. I always have to have a pair of earrings on. I only got my ears pierced two years ago, which is probably why I’m obsessed.

Once I have my outfit on, I start putting on my makeup, doing my hair, and get dancing to some music. I love all the classics, but right now I’m really listening to a lot of Drake. I’m from Toronto, so I have a lot of Toronto pride. I usually get obsessed with one song and listen to it like at least 700 times. Now it's The Weeknd's new single, which I'm in the video for. It's that kind of love for a song that before it was even out I was on YouTube searching for the live version he played one time at a concert so I could have that mood music to get ready to.

MAKEUP

Lately I either do a red, coral, or pink lip—but usually red. My favorite lipstick in the whole world is like this $4 red from Rimmel in the shade 170 Alarm. I haven’t found one that pops quite like it or lasts as long. It’s not too matte or too glossy, but it’s impossible to find. Some drugstores have it and some don't, so when I do see it, I have to buy it.

I only like to play up one part of my face at a time. If I do a red lip, I’ll do that and nothing else—maybe some mascara. My favorite is Benefit’s They’re Real! It’s the best. I used it on myself at a photoshoot once—but just on one eye—and told the makeup artist, ‘Look at this, and then look at the other eye,’ and she was blown away. I don’t need fake eyelashes with this one.

Usually if I’m wearing pink, I’ll go for a smoky cat eye, and that’s it because I hate red and pink together. For a cat eye, I use liquid liner for sure. It's the only way to do it. I've been using the Sephora Collection Long-Lasting 12HR Wear Eyeliner with a little bit of black eyeshadow smudged around it so you can't tell if I've made any mistakes. It looks intentionally smoky. Then, I’ll just put some coconut oil on my lips. I don’t like foundation or concealer. I just like my skin to look like my skin, so I like the lightness of Kiehl’s Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream.

FRAGRANCE

One thing I learned from strippers is definitely smelling good. I use The Body Shop Vanilla Body Mist. I love it. It smells like cookies. Guys really like it, too. It's not too strong. It's just the right amount. I think you should always smell good and have your own signature scent.

HAIR

My hair is naturally very light brown, but I dye it myself with squid ink. I’ve been dying my hair since I was 14, but I didn’t like using the drugstore dye because it would fry my hair after a while. One of my good friends told me about this Korean squid ink hair dye that you can get at Korean markets. It dyes your hair in literally one minute and last about a month or so without fading. It’s so good! And it's healthy for your hair, too. It comes in a black box and says ‘ Hi-Speed’ with a squid on the front. In big letters it says FAST. EASY. SAFETY. [Laughs] It smells terrible though, like I don’t even want to tell you. But since it’s so quick, I use only a little as a touch-up to keep my color looking fresh if I notice it’s faded a little. And because my hair is really long, I noticed that using a wooden bristle brush was really good for it, and there was less breakage.

NAILS

I’m the acrylic queen! [Laughs] OK, so I have a guy in Toronto called Johnny, and he has a nail salon called Hard Rock Nails. It's where all the strippers go—the best for acrylics. Obviously, I've had to get fills all around the world because I travel, but no one has ever done as good of a job. Johnny is hilarious because he’s this straight jock who lifts weights and is jacked, and he watches football while he does my nails. He is very confident and cocky about how good he is at nails, which he should be because he is flawless. He twirls the nail file like a drumstick while filing. He is so pro. It's such a fun experience, but it’s commitment. I gave up guitar for my nails. That's the frustrating thing. In New York, I can't use the MetroCard machines. I have to get the person behind me in line to do it. [Laughs]

I've been on break for like three months now, and they've gone back to normal. You definitely have to take a break every two months, though, for them to be healthy. And in terms of color, I love a French manicure or OPI’s Big Apple Red.

LATE NIGHT

I really like a milkshake at the end of the night. I've probably had like seven of them this month. I usually get like an Oreo McFlurry or one of Jack In The Box’s Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Shakes. They’re the best ever. Then I try to be healthy or whatever and drink some lemon water. [Laughs]

I take off all my makeup with coconut oil. I feel like not taking off your makeup will age you while you sleep. I don't think it's good for you. Coconut oil is my favorite makeup remover. I just use any brand, as long as it's raw-organic or something like that. Then, sometimes I wash my face with Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer, too, because it's not heavy, and you barely have to use any of it. That's the most important thing. I get home, take off my makeup, have my milkshake, and chill.”

—as told to ITG

Dana Wright photographed by Jane Houle in Los Angeles. Read Amy Hood's drugstore favorites in her Top Shelf.