“I went to a really small college called Kenyon [in Ohio], and I'm really lucky I got in there–I was rejected from almost every other school. I don't know, I was a bad kid growing up. It wasn't until one of my high school teachers read something I'd written and kept me after class one day to be like, 'You're a writer.' And I thought, 'Oh my God, someone sees me.' He encouraged me to apply to Kenyon, and getting in was this moment of confirmation that I was supposed to be a writer–that I wasn't just some fuck-up barista. Ultimately I got into the restaurant industry to support myself [during college] because I learned that it was where artists went. I’m really proud of my restaurant years, too–there was this level of professionalism and expertise of the people I worked with, and I had this experience of falling head over heels in love with the industry when I was 22 working at Union Square Café. But I never thought the two things would meet for me. Back when I was a waitress, the culture was dominated by these really aggressive, testosterone-driven chefs, and my restaurant wasn’t like that. Sure, there are cockroaches, sex, and drugs at every restaurant in New York...but I was working at this restaurant in Chelsea, and there was something sensual and soft and feminine about the job I was doing. I thought I should write this book–I went back to school and spent grad school working on Sweetbitter.
Traveling and touring on and off [for Sweetbitter] has turned my approach to beauty into a priority because it’s become my personal quiet time. I use a couple things when I’m on the plane. First, I have a face oil that my friend makes for me–it’s calendula, lavender, and neroli, and it’s super gentle and calming. Then I have these Power Glow Peel wipes from M-61, and they’re my favorite thing to use if my boyfriend is picking me up from the airport because they instantly brighten. When I’m home, I wash my face with a cleansing oil–Aesop’s Parsley Seed–using my Foreo, which I think is better than the Clarisonic. I break out on planes so I’m obsessed with Glossier Super Pure. And the Aesop Camellia Nut Cream is the real shit. It smells good and it’s so light!
I use Tresemmé to wash my hair, love it forever. My hair is really fine, so I like the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, or the Klorane Nettle Dry Shampoo is a favorite. First thing in the morning every day is Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, Glossier Boy Brow in Brown, and Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam. Then I have Glossier Generation G in Zip, and it’s either that or the Nars Lip Pencil in Mexican Rose. My biggest problem is that I love the sun, and I hate sunblock. I’m reckoning with the fact that I’ve spent my life that way, so now I use tinted moisturizers that have sunblock in them. My favorite is La Mer The Reparative Skin Tint–my aunt gave it to me, I would never pay for that shit. I’m also obsessed with the Hourglass Hyaluronic Skin Tint. It’s thick but it photographs really well.
Nighttime self-care is super important to me. On nights that I take an extra 20 minutes to get into the bath with some oil and a face mask, [that time] is life-changing for the next day. On tour, the masks I used were these day of the week Korean sheet masks, and the results were magnificent! Last night I did the caviar one. At home, I’ll do M-61’s Fast Blast Vitamin C Mask, or I use Aztec clay mixed with apple cider vinegar. Some people are sensitive to the vinegar but to me it’s the whole point. I drink it in the morning too, with water and lemon. At night, I drink this anti-inflammatory stuff called Golden Milk that you can buy at Whole Foods. It’s powdered turmeric, ashwagandha, and cinnamon and cloves, and I mix it with heated coconut milk. It’s so good for your digestive system–your skin will look incredible, too. It works like a probiotic. I also have CBD pills because they’re legal in California. They come from marijuana but are not psychoactive, so you don’t get high, and they’re heaven for in-flight anxiety.”
–As told to ITG
Stephanie Danler photographed by Tom Newton on April 28, 2017.