Bianca Balti, Model

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"I'll tell you a story, OK? This was in the beginning of my career—I was in Lombardy, and my agent called with the option to shoot a campaign in Rome. I was pissed because the shoot was for Sunday and I was supposed to go to this party on Saturday night and I couldn't get there in time. My agent wants to kill me, but he finds a way. 'You're going to have a driver come pick you up at 3AM from the party and drive you directly to Rome.' I literally went straight from the party to a car to a shower to the shoot. When Fashion Week comes around, I do get nostalgic for all of that. [Laughs]

It was so much! Early call time, late fittings, for months at a time. You do that when you're young and excited and you go to the parties and this and that. It's hard to keep up. I'm 32 now—wait, I'm 33. Now I go to bed at 8PM and wake up at 6 or 6:30 because my daughter wakes up at 7. I don't really go out anymore, but my fun is having my friends over for dinner. That's the best for me, a dinner party. Right now, my favorite thing to cook is gnocchi with gorgonzola. I get everything from the supermarket, and I melt so many cheeses. The people I cook for never know how easy it is.

I love getting dressed up, too. My normal look is so regular, that when I'm going out or doing something, I like to be excessive. I'm very Italian—I don't like to go small. [Laughs] I like lots of prints and lots of accessories. I just want to be a lot. I like to stand out. Before makeup I'll do something like the L'Oréal purifying mask, and then my makeup comfort zone is eyeliner and fake eyelashes. I like the Ardell single ones so I can put them on the ends. In the middle, it's too much, but on the ends they give a little oomph. I use the L'Oréal Liquid Eyeliner over the glue, and I'll finish the eye with whatever clear mascara I have. Sometimes I'll go without lipstick because I get paranoid it's going to get on my teeth, or whatever. But the MAC pencils make it easier, and I do love a red. My favorite red is like the bottom of a Louboutin heel.

Then the skin, because skin is 99.9% of the look. I love to be tan. Maybe this is the wrong message, but I don’t always put sunscreen on. I grew up with my mom and the first sign of sun she would go out with the silver thing. [Laughs] I'll sometimes go and do a sunbed, but never spray tan. I use foundation to even out my skin and use a little bronzer to build up my cheekbone. Then L'Oréal True Match Powder Blush on my cheeks in Baby Blossom, because I think it's a happy look. Then lately, I like a little luminizer on my cheekbones—just on top in a C-shape.

A ponytail or a chignon makes me feel very beautiful and sensual. I feel like I can be more myself that way—I can move and talk without worrying about the hair. It’s just me! I cut my daughter's and husband's hair and I trim my hair myself. The secret is to cut vertically. What else do I do? I also oil pull with coconut, for 20 minutes a day. Maybe it's a psychological thing, but it feels good.

I love to have my nails done, you know. It’s my favorite thing. If I could go to the salon every other day, I would go. And I go anywhere. It’s just so relaxing. There is something about having your nails always perfect that’s so nice. I like neutrals. I love beige! My daughter goes for blues. But this winter I like the Chanel Rouge Noir kind of color. Super dark. Dramatic. That's the way Italian women are—a bit of shock, in some sense. The big laugh, the big everything, a little instinctive and spontaneous. The pretty girl that also says whatever's on her mind. That's an Italian woman."

—as told to ITG

Bianca Balti photographed by Tom Newton in New York on February 15, 2017.

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