Lauren Caris Cohan, Filmmaker & Co-Founder, CUUP


"I never graduated from college. I was a psych major when I was in school, and I just realized that it wasn’t something I was learning from—my parents were supportive of that. I think curiosity is my strongest asset—wanting to know everything about everyone else, being hungry, and not being too comfortable. Right around the time I would have graduated, I ended up moving to Philadelphia because my boyfriend at the time was the creative director of Anthropologie. I started working for Free People then. For most of my 20s I was there, and I watched their business go from a very small e-commerce brand with a two-person team, to being massive. Film, e-commerce, wholesale… there was a digital studio with five sets going on at all times. It grew with me, and I was overseeing it at the time—I was the art director, and I was only 25 or 26. I never really knew what I was doing, but I was pretty entrepreneurial, and they were so open and in support of creativity that if we could figure out a way to do something, we could do it. We were constantly breaking rules. That set me up to be someone who could figure out new ways to do things. At one point I knew I wanted to leave, and they gave me the opportunity to start a film program for them called FP Presents. We started making these short films, before branded film content was a thing. At that time, I had a hard time finding female filmmakers to work with, and so I started to write and direct myself. It really gave me this overarching film school experience while I was still working for Free People. The last thing that I made with them was actually bought by Hulu so they could develop it into a series. It was the same kind of world building that I did with Free People. When I left I started being more bi-coastal, and I continued to write and direct, including commercials. And now I’m doing CUUP, which kind of brought me back into that space again—not necessarily fashion, but being a creative director. I’ll also be directing my first feature film in the beginning of next year, so it’s nice being able to split time between those two things.

CUUP is a collection of bras and underwear, and it was born out of trying to destigmatize the idea of what size is, while also creating something that’s not about being plus-sized, or straight-sized—it’s just a bunch of beautiful women, of many sizes. We make sizes 30 through 38, A through G. Ninety percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size, and that was part of the thing that was so impactful for me. When my friend approached me about developing the brand, I went and got sized [at a department store]. I always thought I was a 34C, and the bra fitter was like, ‘Uh uh girl, you’re a 30DD,’ and it blew my mind. I didn’t even know that size existed. All of the weird thoughts went through my head about like, you know, the negative things we think about in regard to our bodies. In reality, that’s the same size as a 34C, but the proportions are different. So, I was like, ‘OK, cool, give me one.’ And then she told me that they didn’t have any bras in that size, which is so strange! It was kind of this revelation for me that if I feel that way, and I don’t generally have problems finding things in my size, then there must be many, many women, of all sizes, who feel that way. What we learned is that 66-percent of women are a D cup or over, but the illusion of size impacts women so much that they refuse to wear something that would be bigger than what they’ve been told, even if it fits them better. And when you get down to something so intimate like boobs, women don’t want to talk about it. We wanted to change that.

The first thing I do [in the morning] is drink a glass of water. And then I use Biologique Recherche P50. To be honest, I don’t really wash my face with anything. I just rinse it, then I do P50 morning and night. Biologique also makes these things that you put in the freezer that are like, lymphatic drainage wands. Ugh, they’re amazing. They’re these frozen wands, and they help get rid of undereye bags in the morning, and things like that. It’s probably the same way you use a jade eye roller, but these are very big, so you cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. I love the Laneige Lip Mask, the Caudalie Peeling Glycolic Mask is a winner. I do that, and then I have the reddest skin, so I use the Dr. Jart Cicapair Correcting Treatment. It acts as a primer, and for me, because I’m so red—I have so many broken capillaries and my skin is so fair—covering that is the one thing that I really need. On days when I’m really really red I’ll use the Tigergrass Drops as well because they’re heavier, and on days I feel better about myself I just use the Cicapair. It’s so neutralizing that I don't have to wear any foundation or concealer. Most of that stuff is either too pink or too yellow for me anyway.

Have you ever tried the ZIIP? That’s the one thing where I actually saw a huge difference [in my skin]. It’s kind of like skin fitness, because it’s actually lifting your face and lifting the muscles. I probably ZIIP way more than I should. I do it because I feel like inflammation is the thing that affects my skin the most—inflammation and dehydration—and it helps with that. It was the biggest game changer for me. Then it made me care more about my skin in general, because you realize what a difference it makes. I do it depending on where I am—I think they say to do three days a week, but I do it probably four or five times a week. I don’t necessarily follow the routines. Every single one of my girlfriends now has it, and we [ZIIP] on planes. [Laughs]

Then I have like four women in LA I go to—Ricari Studios for all the lymphatic stuff. Amazing. She actually just developed these compression PJs that are crazy—they haven’t launched yet, but they’re incredible. And then there’s this woman Possetta who does cryofacials. She’s at Tonic Wellness. She does this combo, where you go into an infrared sauna for a half hour, and then they give you the Cryoskin facial. Then she has this thing that’s a pressurized suit, which is meant to help your circulation, which in turn helps all of your functions. It’s called a Balancer, maybe? For me, facials are more things of function than relaxation. When I want to do a fast facial, I go to Heyday. In New York I go to Daphne. They have all the Biologique products. Then I go to Modo, a Vinyasa flow yoga, probably five days a week, and that’s been a massive thing for my skin.

I was blonde for all of my 20s, and then I dyed my hair really dark. When I finally stopped dyeing it, all of the products I used had to be completely different. That’s only been in the last year or so, so I’m still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. Christophe Robin is great, the Cleansing Milk. And then I use the violet conditioner. For the most part, I let it air dry. My hair is short, so when it gets fluffy it turns into a triangle. Every once in a while, I’ll go and get one of those de-frizzing treatments. It’s not a straightening treatment—it doesn’t change the texture of your hair. Elleri [Marossy] at Goodform cuts my hair when I’m here. In New York, Lena Ott used to do my color, and Blake Erik does my cuts. When I had bangs, I wouldn’t let anyone except Blake touch my hair, and now that it’s more of a bob, I kind of impulsively go. It doesn’t matter as much.

One of my girlfriends just launched this brand called Halcyon Hotel, and it’s all these really beautiful oils and candles. As a scent, that’s what I would wear. Beyond that, I usually do my brows and this Dr. Perricone lip color that’s like a natural lip color, and that’s the extent of what I do. I go to Striiike for my brows—Kristie is amazing. I always feel like I’m wearing too much when I use mascara, because I have long lashes. I have a bronzer, but it’s a body bronzer and it’s matte. Most bronzers end up looking really brown or too shimmery on me. The Chanel Tan de Soleil is really good. If I was going to do a look, it’s always a lip. Like, a red lip or a liquid liner cat eye, but with no mascara. The matte Nars lip pencils—I love those. Cruella is one, and the other one I like is kind of nude. Also, the Make Up For Ever lip pencil in C3–it’s always sold out because it’s really the best. It stays on, it’s the best for if you don’t want to wear anything on your lips, but it makes them more defined. As far as wearing makeup goes, it’s so fun to see people playing with it again. I feel like we went through a moment of being very minimal and natural, and I think everyone’s a bit bored of the world. How much more fun is it to have a reason to dress up? For so long, everyone—myself included—has just been wearing T-shirts and jeans. Let’s be a little glamorous again! [Laughs] Although…it is really nice to just wear T-shirts and overalls."

—as told to ITG

Lauren Caris Cohan photographed by David Cortes in Los Angeles on October 1, 2018.