"My story is a bit different from most musicians. After high school I studied law for four years, but then I decided I’d rather do journalism, and that was in the second-largest city in Denmark. While I was there studying, I met this whole community of musicians, and suddenly I was part of this environment where pursuing music was actually a possibility. That was very inspiring to me, and I thought, ‘Maybe I don’t have to be a lawyer or a journalist, maybe I can just sing.' So I took the leap. After I’d written maybe five songs, I was offered a record deal with Sony. It had just been me working with a couple underground producers before, so that was unexpected. It was very cool.
My real name is Anja with a ‘j,’ and my artist name is with a ‘y.’ I was kind of a tomboy when I was younger, and I never learned how to use makeup as a way to express myself. But Anya with a ‘y’ is lucky enough to have her makeup professionally done, and I love that, too. I have always loved my hair. It’s Afro hair, which means it gets really dry, so I wash it about every third day—never with shampoo. Instead I use Not Your Mother’s Way to Grow Conditioner, leave it for a few minutes and brush my hair while it’s still in, and then wash it out. My curls need a lot of defining, so I do a lot of scrunching them up before putting in a bit of Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk after I blow dry. And finally I’ll put in some of this Syoss Keratin Mousse to help with the frizz. I did a shoot for a music video once where the stylist wanted to redo every curl. Bless her, she was very nice, but I hated it. It looked too fixed and the curls didn’t look natural. I like them to be a bit wild.
For me, skincare...well that’s the thing–I don’t wash my face. I’d like to get into that, but right now I just use water, and if I wear makeup I just use Bioderma to remove it at night. Or the next day if I forget. [Laughs] I’m horrible about that. I rarely break out, so I’m lucky, but it also makes me lazy. Right now I just use a day cream from the drugstore here in Copenhagen. When I have money to spend on it, I’ll use Tromborg stuff—that’s a really nice Danish brand.
The thing about beauty in Denmark is that in general, people are very focused on being healthy and looking natural. I think it’s really cool, but it can be a bit limiting to have to look completely natural all the time. It’s nice to be able to play around with makeup and do crazy stuff. My everyday makeup is that slightly-windburned look, I use MAC concealer in NC25 to cover up some spots, and it covers nicely, but you can never tell that I’m wearing it, which I like. Then I use MAC Blush in Pinch Me for daytime, or Breezy for parties. I also like Burt’s Bees Hibiscus Lip Balm with a pink-y red tint for the same effect as the blush, just healthier, and False Lash Effect Mascara from Max Factor. It gives more volume, helps make my lashes a bit more poofy. My lipstick for the club is MAC Antique Velvet. For parties. The dark shade gives you that kind of Rihanna look, doesn’t it? Like, edgy. [Laughs] I like that look."
—as told to ITG
Anya photographed by Tom Newton at her home in Copenhagen on August 12, 2016.