'I'm from Hungary, and looking back now, I think it’s quite boring. I mean, compared to New York City, a lot of places are boring. I liked growing up there, I had a really long childhood until I started modeling. I guess I was also a late bloomer, so I consider myself being a young girl up until I turned 14. Then an agent stumbled on me at the mall. I looked at this woman like, what? ‘Are you talking to me? Are you sure you think that I should be a model, like, posing and wearing clothes…?’ Luckily it was a woman, because I would’ve been really scared if it was a man. You know, small town, Eastern Europe, someone comes up to you, ‘Come make money with modeling…’ You should be very skeptical about that. But it was a woman, so I gave her my mom’s phone number, and I said, ‘You can talk to her about it.’ And she turned out to be legit. And that’s where it all started.
At first I didn't really take it seriously—it was just a way to travel and get out of school. I wasn't booking much, and after a couple of years of not making much money, I started talking to my mom about going to university to take time to study. And of course a few days after this conversation, my phone rang and my model agent told me, ‘Well, we got you a working visa to the United States, so you’re getting your ass shipped out.' It was exciting but disappointing, too, because I was getting into the idea of going back to school and all. But I couldn't pass up that opportunity. It took a season for me to get in shape and figure it out. But my second season, I went out and did 50, 55 shows in New York—then Milan, then Paris. It was like, finally! I'm working!
My agency does this thing to me where they don't really tell me what jobs I'm in the running for because they don't want me to get my hopes up—and then they break this really great news to me out of the blue over the phone. I understand it, because if a big job is on the line, I don't want to stress about it. But it always happens like this. One day maybe eight years ago, I met Inez and Vinoodh at a casting so briefly—literally hello and goodbye—and the next morning at 9am, I get a call, 'You got a Gucci campaign.' ...what?! It took me a while to figure out what was happening to my career, that we weren't just shooting catalogues anymore. This was Daria Werbowy, Eva Herzigová, and Natasha Poly-type stuff. And it was so much fun.
That was when I was 21 and just starting to get into skincare. I had been a lucky kid without many pimples and then all of a sudden, I was like, what do I do? My skin was going to shit and my hair was falling out. It was because I was going to seven or eight castings a day, getting home, eating cereal and watching cartoons, then getting a call and going out for another casting. My dermatologist told me that it was hormonal and gave me some pills—but I'm not very happy taking pills, so I waited it out. But skincare is like something that I think you have to be smart with. I like face masks, and I love moisturizers and all sorts of oils and cleansers and this and that. Of course I like to pamper. I put on face masks every weekend, or if I feel tired or puffy during the week. But I only use what I need. I think I’ve gotten like three, maybe four facials in my whole entire life. I give myself facials.
My skin is a bit complicated because it’s pretty dry, but as soon as I put anything heavy on it, it becomes crazy-oily. And then I get breakouts. So I usually use a light, gel-based moisturizer. Chanel Hydra Beauty Crème is a really good one. And it's never caused me any breakouts or anything. It covers my face and protects from dry, cold wind, but it doesn’t make me feel oily and shiny and gross.
When I do get a breakout, I use one of Kiehl's oldest products—their Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion. A makeup artist recommended it to me and I switched to it from Biologique Recherche P50. I rub it on my problem areas morning and night and then follow up with a heavier cream so I don't get too dry. People who hadn’t seen me in a while see me now and say, ‘Wow, your skin looks amazing.’ And I’m like, that’s the magic product—everybody needs to go and buy it and test it for two weeks. I also use the Kiehl’s Pineapple Papaya Face Scrub, but I don’t use it every day. I go by the feel of my skin and then decide what I need. And for makeup remover, I use Bioderma Crealine. For heavier makeup removing, I use the Chanel Bi-Phase Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, the one that you have to shake up before. But I have to cleanse after I use it because it's an oil and I feel it stay on my skin after I use it. Then I have a makeup remover from the Danish brand Tromborg. Their products are super good. Their Anti-Aging Eye Cream is one of my favorites. I alternate it with SK-II's.
I have a whole bag of masks for different things. When I arrive somewhere after traveling, I need to use one as like post-damage repair. I have the SK-II Facial Treatment Masks, and Shiseido Benefiance Revitalizing Masks...then I have this Japanese brand called Three, which is by a makeup artist friend of mine. Her products are really nice. She should bring it to the States, because right now it’s only on the Japanese website, and I don’t speak Japanese. So, unless you have her phone number, good luck!
I think because of the jobs I did when I was younger, I didn’t always like hair and makeup. Plus, I don’t even know how to do it. What pisses me off is I can never get eyeliner straight, so why am I competing with Pat McGrath when she can just do it when we go to work? But I still have the products and I have a lot of fun with it. I love a black smoky eye! Before I started working, I actually always had a love for makeup—ask my mom…I also am a bit of a hoarder. Things that are colorful and that you can do pretty things with, I tend to collect. Or just over-buy. And I told my mom at one point that I maybe should be a makeup artist and I really enjoyed collecting colorful eyeshadow palettes.
When I'm wearing makeup for myself, I like products that don't feel like makeup-makeup. I prefer things that at least feel like they're better for my skin. RMS Beauty is great—it's all coconut oil-based. I use their Un Cover-Up and Living Luminizer with Tromborg Mineral Foundation. My favorite eyeliner is the YSL crayon because it's very easy to smudge. The only lipstick I use is Armani Lip Maestro in 201 because it goes on as a gloss but dries matte. Tom Ford makes my favorite eyebrow pencil—it's called the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor and it gets the angle just right. Mascara is always Diorshow Waterproof. It lasts longer, and if I go to the gym, I don't want to accidentally rub my eye and end up with it all over my face. Then the Shiseido Shimmer Cream Eyeshadow in Yuba is a good taupe—not too dark. The Tom Ford Eyeshadow Palettes are also really beautiful. The only thing I haven't figured out is how to wear bronzer. Maybe I haven’t found the right color, shade, or technique to do it, but I suck at it so bad that I just don’t even touch it. Also, I'm a lefty, so I do one side and it looks OK, but then the other one looks completely different—I don’t know what it is, I don’t know why right-handed people can do symmetrical jobs and me, with my left hand, I cannot.
I never really touched my hair length or color up until a few years ago when I got a job for L’Oréal, and I had to go strawberry blonde—almost red, actually. Before, my hair was a pretty dark, ashy blonde. We thought it'd be an easy process to get that reddish-pinky tone to my hair, but unfortunately it was not that easy. They had to completely bleach my hair, which was down to under my breasts at the time. That process sucked everything out of it. For four hours, I thought all my hair was going to fall out, it was so scary. The pictures turned out really, really beautiful, but then two or three days later, they had to bleach my hair again because of course I had to go back to my natural blonde. It was tough job to turn it back to normal, so I came out a little blonder, and unfortunately, the color has started turning yellow. Then I was getting these terrible, unbrushable knots because my hair was so broken, so I went to a hairdresser and said, 'Chop it all off.' It was while I was in Paris, so my agency couldn't do anything about it after the fact. But it looked so beautiful—I don't know if I realized that it was really time for a change.
For my color, I got to Lena Ott now at Suite Caroline—I found her after Doutzen tagged her in a photo on Instagram. She does an amazing, amazing blonde, and she does it very naturally. And I also told her that eventually I want to go back to my normal color, so we’re kind of working on me growing that out. For now I'm using Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner—they're the best at keeping the hair moisturized.
I have my dad’s nails—man nails. They don’t grow, it’s really funny. People laugh at it, but I resemble my dad a lot. And my mom, she has these beautiful, long, feminine nail beds and strong nails, and then I look at my nails, and they look like I was playing the guitar for five hours straight. And they’re soft so they don’t grow. As soon as they grow, they break. And then I looked at my dad’s hand one day and I was like, yeah, definitely. I get a mani/pedi once a week at a place in Union Square called Rehoboth. They’re the best!
Actually one of the best gifts that I’ve ever gotten was this Chanel nail polish, and it was a very, very beautiful red that they only had for one season, and I tried to get it but I couldn’t. And literally two years later, I was working the day before my birthday or something, and they used that color on my nails, and I told the manicurist, this is my favorite color, and what would I give if I could get it…And she’s like, ‘Yeah, but it’s discontinued. I’m sorry, I would give it if I can…’ And I’m like, that sucks. Somebody sneaked into the picture and said, ‘Oh, by the way Eniko, happy birthday!’ So at the end of the day she’s like, ‘You know what? It’s your birthday… here’s the nail polish.’ I was like, yes! Yes! My favorite nail polish ever, and it’s all mine! I think I have over 50 or 60 Chanel nail polishes in a big kit, organized by color. I had it with me in Europe and I tried to ship it back, but the courier said that it's extremely dangerous to ship nail polish. So it’s literally stuck in Denmark. It’s the greatest part of my whole beauty collection—my nail polishes!”
—as told to ITG
Enikö Mihalik photographed by Tom Newton in her home in Brooklyn on December 11, 2015.