“I beloved rising up in Bed-Stuy. I imply, Brooklyn was so totally different again then. I went to highschool within the metropolis, and I very hardly ever had associates sleep over and stuff as a result of their mother and father could be like, ‘You can’t go to Brooklyn.’ It was harmful, however then it was additionally like—I imply, my mother and father created a very nice atmosphere for my siblings and me. My mother was a hippie—my mom was Goop earlier than Goop was Goop. Like, I grew up vegan, and she or he used to make my garments for college. Weirdly, there was this channel on cable that will play style reveals, and my mother would have it on all day. Every single season, she’d be like, ‘Fashion week is coming on.’ Oh my god, I’m wondering if she remembers that. I even have this distinct reminiscence of studying magazines on the ground of my sister’s bed room. It was Cosmo, and Vogue, and Essence—I nonetheless love magazines, however now I learn Dazed, i-D, Mastermind, 032c, Self Service, and Gentlewoman. My mother and father had been all the time encouraging me to learn and open my thoughts, however once I noticed these photos I used to be utterly taken to a spot I had by no means gone earlier than. I feel that actually cemented that I wished to be part of style.
I used to be so excited to go freelance, however now I type of want I may help once more, as a reset. For me, it was like being a fly on the wall. I feel with all of the folks I labored with, I acquired a 360-overview of what it’s wish to be a stylist. Under Jessica Diehl [at Vanity Fair], I discovered the significance of getting a transparent imaginative and prescient, but additionally methods to work throughout the construction of . With Nico [Formichetti], it opened my eyes to a world of creativity that I had by no means seen. I felt like I belonged extra with these scene-y youngsters than at Condé as a black lady. Working with Alastair [McKimm], I formally developed my style. I simply love the way in which he edits, and his strategy to creating a picture. He had assisted Edward [Enninful] for a couple of years, so he knew what it was like and handled his assistants rather well. It’s a relationship. And then I went to Giovanna Battaglia. I beloved, beloved, beloved working with Gio as a result of we’d all the time construct these loopy units—it was storytelling. That’s what I wish to create, the identical factor. Gio actually participates in style—typically I’ll put on a full look to set, however my superb could be like, a full The Row piece. I like Jacquemus, Céline when Phoebe [Philo] was there, Prada. Dries is so good. That’s my look.
I feel make-up was actually what drew me to style magazines. I might have a look at the faces first, after which have a look at the garments. In highschool I had hormonal pimples, and I used to be all the time carrying like, poorly-matched Revlon to cowl it up. Now I hold it very minimal. I’ll do a primer, both the Smashbox matte one within the summertime, or Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow. I don’t actually like to make use of a heavy basis, so I’ll use Skin Tint. Depending on the protection I need I’ll combine it with one pump of Stellar in S21—earlier than Fenty got here out, it was the one model I noticed at Sephora that had a variety of shades. Then I’ll do Touche Éclat, however I’ve to make use of two shades, 5 and 6.5, as a result of it’s not excellent. That’s a model the place like… Touche Éclat’s been round for many years now, proper? And you continue to have like seven shades? You’re doing dangerous. But the formulation is so good for beneath my eyes. For concealing a breakout or a darkish mark I’ll use Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX13. It’s actually heavy, and since the remainder of my make-up is so gentle, I can’t actually use a lot. Benetint provides me probably the most pure glow, and it’s tremendous old-school, which I like. Then I’ll do highlighter. I’ll both use Fenty highlighter in Trippin, or Giorgio Armani in 10, or MAC Strobe Cream, or I’ll put the Charlotte Tilbury again on. I’ll use my fingers so it warms up—that’s one of many tips I discovered being on set—after which dab it on. For my eyebrows, I’ll use Tom Ford’s Brow Sculptor, which I actually like as a result of it has this little sharpener on it, after which Eyeko Brow Gel, and Boy Brow in Black. The Eyeko one helps them keep in place—as a result of my twists type of hit my face, they will get tousled. Boy Brow simply provides extra shade, and blends issues. I exploit Lash Slick with a primer from Lancôme simply to make it last more. If I’m going to work, I’ll do a minimal Gen G lip. Like is my absolute favourite—it provides me a brilliant pure shade.
The ladies I’ve all the time admired, beauty-wise, are heavy into liner. Plus, my robust go well with is my eyes, so I like enhancing them. My eyeliner that I put on daily is Givenchy Magical Kohl in 15, which is brown, however I’ve it in black as effectively. I do it alongside my lash line, and on my waterline—I nonetheless love that look, just a bit bit. And then I’ve a Smith and Cult liquid liner which is very nice. If I’m going out, I’ll use the Shu Uemura eyelash roller after which do some wing tip. It works for me, however I really feel prefer it’s so ‘90s. If I’m going for a glance, I’ll use Kevyn Aucoin black eye gloss. Or I’ll do a lip—it’s both a crimson, or a gloss. Lipstick Queen lipsticks final so lengthy—I’ll use Brat Pack or Black Tie, which is deeper. For gloss, I like this Givenchy one in 07, or this random model Beauty Is Life one, or Gloss Bomb. I would do some contour with Nars Sculpting Multiple in Playa Flamenco and Oahu, however it’s very gentle. I like the way in which it blends, and it’s very pure.
My skincare has modified drastically from once I was youthful—I used to make use of Neutrogena scrub, or St. Ive’s. When I used to be rising up I spent all my cash on make-up, and as I acquired older, I used to be like, ‘Oh, why don’t I simply put all that cash into a great skincare routine.’ I really feel like possibly within the final two years I’ve gotten a great deal with on it, and my pores and skin has been actually good. I get up and I cleanse with Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk. It’s actually light, however I nonetheless really feel prefer it’s cleansing off what I did the night time earlier than. If I’m feeling lazy I’ll simply do a fast wash with a cleaning water from Huxley. Bioderma hurts my eyes, and it makes my pores and skin actually tight after. I exploit P50, however I exploit the delicate one. After that, I’ll both use Tammy Fender Bulgarian Rose Water—it’s type of dear, however it’s so good. Next I’ll placed on a vitamin C serum, as a result of it’s imagined to be good for hyperpigmentation. I exploit this model Kypris—once I used to work at Net-a-Porter the director gave it to me, and I simply caught with it. It makes my pores and skin glow, and it smells wonderful. Then I’ll use Tidal by Sunday Riley, the hyaluronic moisturizer, after which on prime of that I’ll use an oil—normally Herbivore Lapis Oil. The Tidal is typically too moisturizing—I can’t use it within the summertime. I’ll use a prickly pear oil I get at Credo Beauty for my eyes that’s in a rollerball, and that’s it for the morning.
After the day, I’ll come residence, wipe my face off with cleaning water, after which use an exfoliant. I made my very own scrub just lately—I’m a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and I had the women make their very own magnificence manufacturers. We made scrubs with espresso, brown sugar, coconut oil and important oils, and I had a label maker, and I had them create their very own names and put labels on them. It was really actually good! I cleanse with Kat Burki Ocean Cleanser, after which possibly do a masks. People suppose Glamglow is basically tacky, however I prefer it—once I do Glamglow I don’t do an exfoliator or something, as a result of it already has what I want. Aztec Secret Clay I’ve all the time used since I used to be a baby. I’ll combine a bit Manuka honey with it, too. My favourite masks is Masque Vivant, however it smells like yeast, it’s disgusting. If I do a masks, then I’ll tone once more, and I’ll placed on oil. But if I exploit retinol, I received’t put the rest on. Tazorac wasn’t my first introduction to retinol, however I assumed if I’m going to make use of it, I would as effectively get it from a dermatologist. I’m going to Derma Di Colore, which is a apply that makes a speciality of skincare for folks of shade. I grew up not utilizing sunscreen, as a result of my mother and father didn’t imagine in in, however I’ve to make use of it with the retinol. I like Supergoop.
My hair routine is an fascinating course of. For so lengthy I permed my hair, so once I lastly went pure it was like me attending to know my hair once more. My mother and father had been so towards me getting a perm—I fought with my mother tooth and nail. What I didn’t wish to have to elucidate to her was that my pure hair made me an outcast. I used to be insecure, and that’s what I wanted to outlive. When I acquired to highschool, she was like, ‘Alright,’ and did it for me. It was tremendous, however the upkeep of it was poor, and my hair began breaking off like loopy. I want [the natural hair movement] had occurred earlier, as a result of possibly I wouldn’t have harm my hair. It went via a lot harm, and I went via psychological harm, too. During summertime, I couldn’t go into the pool like I wished to, and I dreaded humid days as a result of I used to be scared my hair would pop up and I wouldn’t look a sure means. I feel again to my youthful self, and I’m similar to, ‘OK, I want to apologize to you.’
Now that I’m older, I’m proud to put on my hair pure, however I’m not a kind of ladies who is aware of their hair sort actually. I used to be actually simply attempting something I noticed on YouTube, or that a good friend would inform me. I used to be placing all this oil in my hair—castor oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil. My hair was shedding, after which [the oil] would get throughout my pillows and stuff—if it’s on my pillows, it’s not on my hair. I used to be breaking out, too—that’s once I began seeing a dermatologist. It was a large number. Then a hairstylist was like, ‘Your hair isn’t really getting moisturized, the oil is simply sitting on prime of your hair.’ It’s humorous, as a result of I simply had not put two and two collectively. Since I ended utilizing it, my hair has been a lot better, and I really feel like I lastly acquired a deal with on methods to nourish my curls and deal with my hair correctly. I all the time dreamed of getting a really edited magnificence routine—typically I’ll get flip-floppy and wish to strive new issues and get sidetracked, however I wish to have my core merchandise. My hair responds effectively to DevaCurl. I’ll co-wash as soon as every week or as soon as each two weeks, after which I’ll shampoo possibly as soon as a month. They even have this detangler that’s very nice. Detangling takes possibly half an hour—that’s loads to be within the bathe. I additionally began utilizing Virtue merchandise, that are actually good—I’ll both use their deep conditioner or Briogeo’s deep conditioner. When my hair is out, I’ll sleep both in two braids or two twists. If I’m actually lazy, I’ll simply put it up in a pineapple. And I sleep on a satin pillowcase. I’ve a bonnet, however I don’t actually like utilizing it—it’s not cute.
For many of the winter I’ve been carrying my hair in twists, as a result of final winter my hair acquired so dry, and my scalp acquired so itchy. This yr I discovered my lesson. And now I simply stand up and go—it used to take me like three hours to do my hair, between drying and every little thing. I’m going to this lady Ashley Letang in Brooklyn, and she or he’s the one particular person I let do my hair. She’s unbelievable—she’s so light, and respects your edges, and is simply so candy. I really like her power, and I feel that’s actually necessary. I used to have this curly fro weave put in, and I acquired so many compliments on it, and with the twists, so many individuals cease me, too. Actually, I didn’t notice this till I had twists, however I really feel like I’m on guard typically when folks praise me an excessive amount of. Like, what does that imply in comparison with my actual hair? When I took out my weave, I felt like folks didn’t know methods to react or one thing. And identical with the twists, persons are like, ‘Is that your real hair?’ This is extensions! You couldn’t probably have thought it was my hair. I really would favor folks not praise me, which has made me extra acutely aware about how I praise folks as effectively. If somebody does one thing totally different, I don’t need it to sound like I don’t suppose they give the impression of being good usually. They look lovely both means!
Honestly, my nails are simply genetics—my mother’s nails are so lengthy. A manicurist on set mentioned to not do water remedies, as a result of the water makes your nails develop and that’s why polish chips. And I ensure they solely file in a single course—that’s one other factor somebody informed me on set. I’m going to Jinsoon to get manicures and pedicures. I really like an almond form, however they’re going to break. It’s unhappy. The solely means I can do it’s if I do gels, and I’ll go to Vanity Projects for that. I exploit vitamin E oil at night time, and ensure my palms are tremendous hydrated. I just like the Kat Burki hand cream—it smells so good. I really like her merchandise.
I wash my physique with Kiehl’s Original Musk, however I like unscented lotion. I’ll use Kat Burki, or I’ll use Rodin oil. I can’t stand dry brushing, however I’m attempting to do it. I get this very nice therapeutics brush from Whole Foods, and the bristles are so harsh. It’s nice for that, however typically I’ve to moist it as a result of it’s an excessive amount of. Stress additionally brings out these little crimson bumps, which is rosacea. I’ll use shea butter for that, or if I’m actually harassed I’ll get acupuncture. My uncle does acupuncture, so I’m going to him, however the final time I went was once I was in faculty. I used to be tremendous stressed, smoking cigarettes and stuff, simply so harassed. But I went, and my temper and my power simply modified immediately, and I may really feel every little thing inside me altering. Like, the style in my mouth was totally different after.
You know the place I acquired [Frederic Malle] Portrait of a Lady from? Jessica Diehl. She wears it on a regular basis—we knew she was coming as a result of we may scent it. I used to be like, ‘That is the woman I want to be.’ Ever since, I’ve by no means been in a position to cease shopping for it. So I exploit Portrait of a Lady, and I’ll combine it with Carnal Flower relying on how robust I need it to be. Or I’ll combine it with Tom Ford Tobacco Oud. I feel patchouli’s one of many notes in Portrait of a Lady, so it type of enhances that. If I’m going someplace the place I wish to put on perfume that isn’t an enormous deal, I’ll put on Byredo Velvet Haze. Or, life hack, for those who use their hair fragrance, it’s like the identical factor as carrying fragrance. Sometimes I’ll combine that with Armani Amber. I’m large on important oils, and jasmine is my favourite scent. I’ve been carrying that currently—it’s actually intoxicating and floral and candy. I’ll combine that with Carnal Flower. But that is simply once I wish to have enjoyable with fragrances—principally it’s Portrait of a Lady. I like it, and I get so many compliments on it.”
—as informed to ITG
Tchesmeni Leonard photographed by Tom Newton on January 27, 2019.