'I got asked to DJ before I even was a DJ. It was the photographer Ben Watts’ annual Fourth of July party in Montauk, back when it was a much smaller deal. I wound up at his house after hours and I was playing off of my iPod and he was like, ‘I want you to DJ,’ and I was like, ‘But I don’t know how to DJ.’ So he said, ‘Just come and bring two iPods.' After that, I started taking classes, and getting gigs, and it sort of spiraled up from there. When you're a DJ, you’re in the driver’s seat at a party because you’re creating the vibe...you get to make people happy and make people dance. It’s quite an incredible job.
This week I have three gigs. They're always in different locations, cities, countries...I love not knowing where I'm headed next. My favorite place to party is Berlin—it's so authentic. People aren’t doing things for effect, they’re doing them because they're expressing their creative sides. And London has these amazing house parties, too. There, people just let loose and there’s less judgment. I prefer the going out scene in London, I really do. Everything here can seem a little manicured and contrived, and a bit branded. People are more obsessed with taking a picture and staging that it’s fun instead of just letting go.
A lot of the time, I’m in such a rush to get ready. When I’ve got time, I like to put some music on and light some candles. Taking a shower and putting my oils on is always important. I use different facial oils and body oils and therapeutic oils—I like Ren's Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil, as well as Neal's Yard Geranium and Orange Body Balm. Also, I’m a big fan of mists. I always have rose water and this Power Repair Hydrating Face Mist that I carry in my handbag.
I cleanse with Sasha Cleanse Face Wash. It’s clay and it’s really good—it’s like you’re putting mud on your skin and it doesn’t smell pretty, which I like. Then I use Keys Eye Butter. After that I'll put on one of Sasha’s oils, either the Clearing Serum or the Rejuvenating Serum. It looks homemade—that's what I love about her stuff. After I put my oil on, I do a face spritz with the rose water. And I also drink a gallon of water before I go out.
Eve Lom's Dynaspot is the best if you have a spot. It takes the redness out and brings things to a head because of the clay drawing it out. I have this infrared mask for when my skin breaks out, which I think works. I really believe in light therapy—my facialist, Monica Watters, uses microlight therapy. I just feel like such an idiot when I put it on and that’s what I love about it.
As far as makeup, I don’t wear foundation, but I do have Natura Bissé's The Cure Sheer Fluid—it has SPF and it makes your skin look all dewy. It’s so funny when people want to matte their skin out. I used to do that when I was 15, but now I want it to look like it has a little shine and a little oil. I use the Nars Copacabana Multiple and then a little bit of Orgasm for the cheeks—I think the Multiples are better for a dewier look. The concealer I use, which I can’t live without, is Clé de Peau. It’s so good! I put it under my eyes, around my nose, and on zits.
I'll do a top cat eye, but I need help, so when it’s just me it has to be really simple. I just do a little clear Maybelline Great Lash because I like the packaging. I have a lot of eyelashes so you would think that I would go for a bigger brush, but I’m just trying to open them up a bit. The only time I do color on my lips is with Nars Dragon Girl. I also like By Terry's Baume de Rose, or Lipstick Queen’s Hello Sailor. It’s kind of similar to what Moroccan ladies use.
My makeup always looks the same—kind of fresh and natural—so my hair is fun to change up sometimes. I dye my hair, so it's dry and thirsty and dead. My mom used to put lemon in my hair when I was like four years old and then I upgraded to Sun-In when I was 10, and then to actual highlights when I was 12. Now I wash it with O&M Shampoo, and I spray It's A 10 Miracle Leave-In in it with some Kerastase Serum. I always have to have a 'mane.' I would love to cut it, but they say Leos should never cut their hair—it’s like someone shaving off your fur, it’s part of you.
When I'm not working, I like to spend as many nights in as possible. The more that I DJ and work in that craziness, the more I crave being alone and having alone time. That sounds really boring and unsociable, but that’s exactly what it is. If you were to ask me what my ideal weekend is, it would include going upstate, cooking, doing yoga and meditating in the woods. That’s more my jam. When I get home from a gig, I'll always have a cup of tea. English people have a cup of tea for everything. Someone died? Put the kettle on. Dying of disease? Put the kettle on. So when I need to wind down, I’ll put the kettle on.”
—as told to ITG
Chelsea Leyland photographed by Tom Newton at her home in Brooklyn on December 8, 2015.