Sai De Silva, The Real Housewives of New York + Scout The City


“I’m from East Flatbush, Brooklyn. I went to college on a pre-med track because I wanted to be a pediatrician, but then I thought about how I was going to be broke for the rest of my life because of student loans. And honestly, I couldn’t focus anyway. Eventually, I ended up moving to California thinking I wanted to be an actress. I was like, ‘Look at me, I’m going out for pilot season.’ [Laughs] I went to tons of auditions and didn’t land any roles. I was bartending to make ends meet, and I came back to New York and continued to bartend.

When Instagram first started, I had an accessories company called Required Flare, and when I moved to Montreal for my husband in 2011—we moved back to New York in 2013—I could no longer sell jewelry. But I realized that I did know how to grow an audience on Instagram. At the time, there were very few Instagram accounts that had more than 100,000 followers. So my good friend and I started a company called Social Media Mall, and we would build and sell accounts. So, for example, I would create an account called @Bikini365 and only post inspirational photos—other people’s photos—of bikinis. We would grow it to a following of 100,000 to 120,000, then we would approach a brand, like a brand that sells bikinis, and we’d say, ‘This is your exact target market. You can buy the account from us, and all you have to do is completely clean it out.’

I founded my own Instagram account, @ScoutTheCity, in 2014. It’s named after my daughter; her middle name is Scout. I realized that no one was doing any type of luxury fashion for kids at the time. I just thought, ‘I love a well-dressed child,’ so I started posting with her. It was a creative outlet, but then nine months later, BuzzFeed did an article about it, and that’s how it became my career. At the beginning, I was more behind-the-camera. Now, the account is less about my children and more about me. It was an uncomfortable change, but after a while, I got over it.

When The Real Housewives of New York reached out to me, I thought I was getting punked. What’s been interesting is that we have people who are judging us based on the few episodes that are out, and I’ve learned that anything you say can be twisted into something else. Like, with toilet paper; there’s nothing rude about me giving it to someone. I just really like plush toilet paper. [Laughs] Sometimes people read a little bit too far into the things that are going on. But it’s hard not being able to control your own narrative, especially for someone like me. I’ve controlled my narrative every step of the way, and now, I’m passing this torch to a famous television show and people can pin me into whatever they want—and I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s unfair, but for the first time, I’m being judged on first impressions. I mean, they were judging us even when there were just photos out. ‘Oh, the cast is boring.’ It was like, ‘But wait, we didn’t even speak!’ The OGs paved the way for us and everyone’s comparing us, but we’re not comparable. I bow down to those ladies who did it for 13 years, and I really appreciate everything that they’ve done, but I don’t want to fill those shoes. We’re all our own people, and there’s enough space for all of us. I think people should laugh; RHONY is just an entertaining show at the end of the day.

I didn’t grow up with the means to buy tons of skincare, and to be honest, I was a bartender and I used to drink all the time. I was lucky if I took my makeup off. I would use Neutrogena wipes, throw them away, and pass out. I wouldn’t even put on moisturizer. And sunscreen? At the time, it was so white and left a film, so I was like, ‘Forget it.’

It wasn’t until I had a best friend in my twenties who had all these crazy skincare routines that I started going through her stuff and asking what it was. Now, I love anything science-backed, and I’m really into luxury beauty. There truly are some amazing luxury beauty brands out there. Dior does a good job. Their Dior Prestige line is really great, especially for skin that’s a little bit older. Clé de Peau is amazing, too.

I start my routine with the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm before moving on to the Clé de Peau Clarifying Cleansing Foam. There are a lot of cleansers out there that don’t do anything, but you only need a tiny bit of this foam. You work a lather up in your hands before even putting it on your face, and it really gets you squeaky clean. My husband really loves it, too, which is actually annoying because then he uses it all. [Laughs] I’m always like, ‘You’re using too much!’

A little bit of the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 goes a long way. I only use it three days a week, but it’s definitely my go-to as soon as I wash my face. Also, I grew up on apple cider vinegar—growing up, my mom would cut it with water—and the Vintner’s Daughter Essence is kind of like that with a heavier price. It gives me a very bright complexion.

I love Joanna Czech. I see her every few months for a facial. She can do no wrong, so if she tells me to use something, I will use it. She is also someone who doesn't like to use products that are not science-backed, so, of course, when she came out with a skincare line, I stood behind it. The C+ Serum is absolutely amazing. It brightens, it evens out the skin, and it really seeps into the skin instead of sitting on the surface.

The Dior Capture Totale Le Sérum Anti-Aging Serum makes me feel like I’m getting youth in a bottle. You really have to commit and give it at least six to eight weeks before you see results, but it targets fine lines and wrinkles, which I really like because I’m no spring chicken. [Laughs] And I’m not an overly big eye cream person, but I love the Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Eye Serum and try to make an effort to put it on at night.

The Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing & Brightening Soft Face Cream is so beautiful. It smells like roses, but it’s not an overly-fragrant product, which is great. It seeps into the skin very nicely, and it’s so hydrating.

I put on tons of face oil before I go to bed. My husband always goes, ‘You’re going to slip off the pillow.’ I love the Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil. It smells clean, and I love a glow. It also visibly brightens my skin. In the wintertime, I use the Joanna Czech Balm to seal in my nighttime routine. It’s a very, very thick balm, and you only need a little bit.

The Celluma PRO light therapy device is a necessity. Not only does it help with acne, but it also helps with scarring. You need to use it for at least 20 minutes a day, and the only con is that you obviously can’t move when you’re underneath it. I usually put the panel on before I go to bed, and I fall asleep under it—it turns off by itself after 30 minutes—and then I kick it over to the side, roll over, and go back to sleep. I don’t travel with it because the panel is larger. That’s why I love my LYMA Laser. It’s so small, and you can take it everywhere. It’s great for targeting your nasolabial folds. The con is that you can get tired of holding it in a certain place, and you have to continuously glide it.

I get Botox once a year, only in my elevens and on my forehead. I always say, ‘Please don’t touch my eyes.’ I started getting it before my son was born, maybe six years ago. I think that the stigma around Botox has lightened up. But it’s a slippery slope, and what happens sometimes is that you get to the point that you can’t see what you’re doing and you’re altering your appearance to the point that it’s almost shocking. I don’t really agree with that too much, but whatever makes you happy, go for it. Certain things are just not for me.

I love to do my own makeup, but Chris Trotman is my favorite makeup artist if I have a glam team. I have almond-shaped eyes, so when I put on eyeliner, I like to draw them out with a cat eye—but that’s only when I’m going out. Otherwise, I want a very simple look that’s natural and fun and refreshed. The only time I love a lot of makeup is if I’m shooting or if there’s going to be a red carpet with flashing lights.

The Hourglass Vanish Foundation Sticks really look like skin. I use the shade Beige, and it blends in very, very well. It's also buildable, so if you want to add more coverage, you can. I also love the compact shape of it. The Bobbi Brown Skin Concealer Sticks look just like your skin, as well, and they really do what they’re supposed to do. I carry mine in my purse in case I need to reapply, but I’ve found that it stays on for at least 16 hours. I use the shade Honey.

The Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks are also so easy to travel with. It depends on what I’m in the mood for, but I usually grab the Cashew, Cinnamon, Violet Plum, Shore, Smokey Topaz, or Pink Sparkle sticks. And then the Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Powder Blushes are so beautiful. They really stay on the face. She has some colors that are very, very bright, and in the summer, I get tan and love neon pinks. I especially love Hibiscus Haze and Watermelon Bliss.

I get my brows waxed by Taryn Clarke-Dean at Taryn Brows. She did my microblading back in the day. And let me say: Taryn is lovely, a 10 out of 10, but—this sounds crazy—I felt like my eyebrows looked too perfect when they were microbladed. I think it’s abnormal to wake up and have perfect brows. No one wakes up like this, and it got to the point that even my kids made a comment. My son was like, ‘What’s going on with your eyebrows, mommy?’ I liked them more after the color started to wear off a bit, but at first, I wasn’t used to seeing myself done up because it does really change the face. My husband was like, ‘Tone it down, eyebrows.’ [Laughs] Now, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil is my go-to brow pencil. I use Medium Brown. I don’t leave home without it. It’s double-sided, with a brush and a very fine point. It’s a very easy tool to use.

Lancôme is an OG when it comes to mascara. The Lash Idôle Mascara wand is really great at separating and elongating the lashes. It looks very natural without any clumps, and the color doesn’t run down my face. I always use their Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Primer with it. And Jenna Lyons’s Loveseen lashes are really beautiful. If you’re looking for a very natural-looking eye during the day—they’re also very soft.

Dior’s Transfer-Proof Lipstick in the shade 100 Forever Nude is the best nude for my skin color. It’s very hard to find a really good nude, but 100 really nails it across the board. It gives you more of a matte finish, which I really like, especially if I have a smokey eye and I’m going out.

My hair used to be 3C with very tight curls that fro’ed out just a bit, which I loved. I don’t know what happened within the last year or two—maybe it has something to do with hormones or overstyling during fashion month—but my hair has very, very loose curls now. I would say it's probably 2C now. It feels very fine when it’s curly, and it doesn’t puff out. That was the only reason I even cut my hair into a bob. I couldn’t before because it would shrivel all the way up to my ears. I try to cut my hair every three months—at least a trim or something. My hair stylist, Ikeyia Powell, comes to my house and does it.

With my hair change, I’m using more leave-in conditioners. Ceremonia has a Guava Leave-In Conditioner that is really great. I use it on both myself and my daughter. It smells absolutely amazing. The Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner also smell amazing. I can’t even explain it. You can smell it on someone’s hair like a mile away. And then I also went back to mousse, which I hadn’t used since high school. I love the AZ Luxe Mousse. I never thought in a million years that I would be looking for some volume, but here I am.

The Fable & Mane MahaMane Smooth & Shine Hair Oil really gets into my curls. When I had 3C hair, I was putting so much product in my hair because it was like a sponge, but now, I only need a little bit of the oil because it’s finer. And the Tangle Teezer Wet Detangler Brush is the best wet brush ever. The Tangle Teezer that you hold with your palm wasn't for me, but I found out that they made a paddle brush, and it detangles so easily. I use it on my daughter, too.

I love a masculine fragrance. I discovered Initio’s Oud for Greatness last summer. It’s patchouli-based, and I thought that I wasn’t a patchouli girl until I smelled this. You don’t need more than two sprays—I still have the same bottle. It’s one of those fragrances that when someone walks past you, it’s so mesmerizing that you want to be like, ‘Excuse me, what is the perfume that you’re wearing?’

I’m horrible at getting my nails done. I don’t have the time to go to a salon, and I’m very fidgety and impatient. Sometimes my nails are raggedy and I’m OK with that. That said, I’m always reaching for press-ons. I love that they’re back. They feel very nostalgic, but in a better way. I love the ones from Chillhouse and Olive & June. They’re super easy to use. Even when I’m filming RHONY, I will literally glue my nails on in the car before I get to an event. I’m like, ‘Yes, I got a fresh set! I’m ready to go.’”

— As told to Daise Bedolla

Photographed by Alexandra Genova in Brooklyn on July 30, 2023