"I grew up in Lima, Peru, on an organic farm—my mom owns one of the oldest ones in the country. She’s a vegetarian, so I grew up very health-conscious. Maybe I was too aware of what I ate for a while, so it’s been a process for me. My whole life was around food, what was good for you and what this did and that did... My perspective started to change when I was in my early 20s and moved to New York for culinary school. My original plan was to stay here for five months and to do a natural gourmet training program. But I ended up just doing it part time and started working with Cleanse, a company that offered health coaching sessions and nutrition sessions to models. So I started working as a health coach with agencies like IMG and people who had really difficult relationships with food. That’s how I got into eating psychology. Many times, we’re hungry for other things in life and we confuse it with hunger for food. My belief is that a lot of eating disorders and overeating problems stem from that psychological, emotional connection not being balanced correctly.
That’s how I started my blog, CómoComo, which means “How to Eat” in Spanish. After going through this process with health and wellness and food, I understood that, really, it was about how and not what you live. With food it’s how you eat and where you’re at emotionally and psychologically when you’re eating, more so than what you’re eating. I think it’s really important to pay attention to not rushing or not realizing that you’re eating, since when you do that your body doesn’t really get the signal that you’re consuming something. I also think that living is also a process similar to a digestive process. We ingest moments in our life and we keep the good stuff we need, and we excrete what we don’t need. It’s a constant process of change and input. We’re constantly being fed.
Being obsessed with the idea of health can actually be very unhealthy in my opinion. My priority in life is not to be the fittest person in the world or to eat kale every day. I appreciate people who do that and who love that, but that can’t be the focus of my life. For me, it’s really just a matter of eating real food and enjoying it with friends. I never, never count calories. That was something I learned early on when I was doing a holistic nutrition training—you stop enjoying what you’re eating because you’re thinking about the numbers. Instead, I look to see if it’s fresh, and I’ll pay attention to the amount and how full I am. Some days I’ll wake up and I’m just not that hungry so I’ll make myself just a little bit of yogurt, whereas other days I’ll wake up and I’ll be starving and have to make myself a full breakfast with eggs and smoked salmon. It just depends. For example, if I’m really tired and don’t get enough sleep, I’ll be super hungry all day. That does throw me off with food, so I have to be careful with that and getting sleep.
My theory is that skin reflects how you see yourself. I think my skin started looking better when I started acting and teaching yoga—when I was being myself in my own skin. I have had dark spots appear occasionally and then they’ll just go away. And I definitely think diet is completely related. I’ll eat nuts and chocolate and I’ll immediately break out.
My skin is sensitive, so I'm careful about what cleansers I use. I love this Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Cleansing Foam. I also use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, but I’ll change between the two depending how my skin is feeling. I like that the Milky Jelly removes my makeup and afterwards my face feels really clean and not dry. I also have an Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste with lactic acid that I use after yoga or if I’ve been sweating. Then I’ll spray my face with Evian water, which makes it feel cleaner. I let it dry and I’ll put on either the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Brightening Facial Serum for day and then the Love Springs Eternal Youth Preservation Serum for night. I really like the idea of putting oils on because it makes me feel like I'm taking care of myself. I also like the consistency because it’s not too runny, it just holds nicely. I’ll do this AnneMarie Borlind Day Cream for Sensitive Skin and then add Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, too. I would love to start doing things like masks but I feel I never have the time or the energy. I like the idea of using a rose clay mask but I mean… I’ll use it eventually.
I’m not entirely satisfied with what I’m using right now for my hair, which is Aesop Volumising Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s been drying out my hair a bit. But that's OK because it helps my really straight hair get some volume. In Peru I’d just use chamomile or nettle shampoo, but here I haven’t been able to find something better. And once you buy shampoo, you want to finish it before you get something else, right? I used to do more styling, with sea salt to shape it, but now I don’t use anything. Sometimes I’ll just curl it and then shake it out. Typically I’ll just sleep with my hair wet so I get more texture.
My brows are the first thing I do because I have a big forehead so it’s like an intermission. [Laughs] I’ll use Glossier Boy Brow in Brown or Gimme Brow by Benefit. Lately Boy Brow has been winning. At night I’ll use Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, which I’ve been using since I was 17. It doesn’t clump and I like that it’s not waterproof. Recently, for special things like festivals, I’ll do a shimmering gold eyeliner–I like the Inglot Liquid Eyeliner 35 or Urban Decay Heavy Metal. I like the liquid liners because they’re easier to do with the little brush.
Sometimes I’ll use the classic Benetint, just on my lips. I don’t put it on my cheeks because I feel like I’m red already. Then I’ll wear the Bare Minerals Gen Nude Lipstick during the day. I have a couple others I like but I’ve lost like three lipsticks in the past week! I used to have a Smashbox nude one I really, really loved but I lost it.
I think avocado oil is the best thing for the body. I have no idea why, but it feels like it’s right—I use Lolita Lolita Tulum Avocado Seed Oil and Mamey Seed Oil that I got while I was in Mexico. I used to do coconut oil but it gets too messy and this is a little bit denser so it sticks and absorbs better. I also use Jenni Kayne x Earth Tu Face Organic Lotion every day. It smells good and it absorbs well, then it leaves my skin really soft. I also dry brush—I learned about it in my yoga teacher training, it’s like an Ayurveda practice. It’s tough to remember to do it but I do whenever I think of it and it feels so good. It activates blood flow and removes dead skin, makes it soft. For deodorant, I like the Weleda Wild Rose one. It works…sometimes. [Laughs]. It depends how much you sweat."
—as told to ITG
Fernanda de la Puente photographed by Tom Newton in her home in New York on May 25, 2016.