Interviews

No stranger to the Nordstrom Blogs (we do love her style), Margaret Zhang is a writer, photographer, stylist and the creative powerhouse behind the blog Shine By Three. Oh, not to mention a law student at the University of Sydney and a brand ambassador for Clinique. We can barely keep up! Zhang found some time between all that (and traveling the world) to give us a peek into her universe. Read on for our full Q&A with this inspiring young entrepreneur.

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Beauty Blog: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Margaret Zhang: My mum has the most fantastic pearls of wisdom. Throughout my career in the fashion space, she has always reminded me that longevity comes from real skills, so you should never stop learning and trying to improve your work. It might take longer than faking it ’till you make it, but “at least you can sleep at night,” she says.

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What three things do you never leave home without?
I always have my phone, Lucas Papaw Ointment and Clinique Black Honey in my wallet. I don’t know what that says about me!

What’s you beauty regimen? How has it changed over time?
I cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning and evening, do some kind of sheet mask or clay mask once a week, avoid hot showers as they can be quite drying, drink 2-3L of water a day, and fit in 1-2 hours of exercise 5-6 days a week. Obviously, the products I use change as I travel because of different climates, mineral content of tap water and time permitted to work out, but that’s my baseline and I tweak from there.

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Bobbi Brown is a woman who needs no introduction, so let’s jump right into our recent interview with this much-adored beauty mogul as she shares her expertise, tips and tricks, a delicious (and simple!) summer soup recipe and so much more.

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What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever been given?
Bobbi Brown: My mother taught me that confidence is true beauty.

As a person who loves healthy food, what things do you find yourself going back to this summer? Even better, do you have a favorite recipe you could share?
My three-step soup on my blog, Everything Bobbi, is perfect for summer as it’s easy and works well with whatever veggies you have on hand.

Another summer favorite is my Coconut Kale Shake. I make it using coconut milk, cocoa powder, chia seeds, chocolate protein powder, frozen organic banana, frozen organic cherries and, of course, kale. It’s great for breakfast or as a midday snack.

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Laura Mercier–one of the biggest names in the beauty world–guides us on a trip to Paris, gives us a peek into her handbag and answers the one question she gets asked the most about makeup.

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What makes the perfect lipstick?
For me, it’s all about the formula. It must feel comfortable to the point where you forget that you are wearing lipstick, must wear all day and must not bleed. Choose a color that is in tune with your mood and personality, truly making it a signature accent to your look.

What three beauty products do you never leave home without?
Secret Camouflage, Primer Radiance and Infusion de Rose Nourishing Oil.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Love yourself before you can love anybody else.

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London-based makeup artist and mother of 1.5 (son Flynn, pictured above, is 4; baby #2 is due in June), Charlotte Tilbury has long been on the industry’s short list for styling top-tier cover shoots, fashion editorials and ad campaigns around the world. A flame-haired beauty herself, Charlotte counts Kate Moss, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow among her loyal clients and friends, relationships bolstered no doubt by a common bond of having young children. In honor of Mother’s Day, we caught up with the endlessly energetic, effervescent industry star to get her refreshingly honest—and uniquely British—take on being a modern mum.

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Supermodel, tsunami survivor and founder of the Happy Hearts Fund Petra Nemcova has partnered with Clinique to help children around the world. Together they’re promoting a limited-edition Clinique Happy Heart Perfume Spray and A Different Nail Enamel in ‘Happy’, with a portion of the proceeds for both going toward rebuilding schools in communities devastated by natural disasters.

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A leader in luxury home fragrance, Antica Farmacista blends the finest essential oils and natural ingredients to create one-of-kind fragrances for the home and body. We find Seattle-based best friends and the co-creators of the brand, Shelley Callaghan and Susanne Pruitt, in conversation, as Shelley finds out about Susanne’s favorite holiday scents and how she gets ready for the holidays.

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BFFs in Business: Susanne Pruitt (left) and Shelley Callaghan launched Antica Farmacista in 2003. The pair attributes their success to laughs and friendship.

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As the go-to manicurist of fashion editors, top photographers, preeminent designers and A-list stars, Jin Soon Choi is a celebrity in her own right. But in talking to her, you’d never know it. Down to earth, enthusiastic, humble and totally cool in a real girl’s girl kind of way, the Korean-born, Manhattan-dwelling Jin makes you feel like an old friend in a matter of minutes.

We connected with Jin, who recently teamed up with Nordstrom to sell her award-winning eponymous collection of JINsoon nail polishes, each named by one of the models she regularly works with. In honor of the new partnership, Jin created a gorgeous nail-art design exclusively for our Beauty Blog. Here, she reveals her inspiration and how-tos for this unique look—and fesses up about her own nails.

BEAUTY CONNECTIONS: This nail design is so artistic—it looks like a [modern abstract expressionist] Jasper Johns painting.
JIN SOON CHOI: Well, I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but you’re right! I’m a huge fan of modern abstract art—MoMA is my favorite museum and I go there all the time, so maybe I was subconsciously influenced. More than anything, I wanted to create a design that was simple, modern and artistic, one that really shows the raw brushstrokes. I love the idea of irregularity, because it lets you have more creative freedom and it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. In fact, that imperfection only makes it better: your mistakes become your art!

Well that’s good news for all of us shaky-handed coffee drinkers in Seattle…
(laughs) Or anywhere! Another thing that inspired me: I was at your Seattle store recently and noticed how much modern art there was hanging on the walls. I wanted to make a design connection to that.

Map, 1961 by Jasper Johns (image courtesy of MoMA)

And the blue shades, what inspired those?
My family lives in Olympia, Washington [south of Seattle], so I’m out there often and love it. I was thinking about the rain and all the surrounding water [from Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean]. And the sky out there is so big and open—completely different from my city life—so I wanted to convey the idea of all those colors in an abstract way.

Just curious: How do you do your own nails? Are you into colors or more nude looks?
Actually, I don’t wear any polish…I’m always doing other people’s nails, in the salon or on shoots, and I want to be able to focus completely on my work and not worry about messing up my own manicure.

What about for special events or a fun night out?
Even then, I don’t wear polish—it takes too much time and I’m just too impatient. I always try to keep my nails cut short, to look neat and professional. To be honest, as I’ve gotten older I’ve also become a bit self-conscious about my hands. When I have more time, I want to develop some good skincare products for hands and feet!

Backstage at the Vera Wang spring ’14 show (photo collage courtesy of Jin Soon Choi)

Lots of the magazine covers and fashion shows you’ve done recently have featured nude nails, which deviates from some of the trends for this season.
I really do appreciate colors for nails, but truly high fashion is all about simple, classic, elegant beauty, especially in Europe, where I do a lot of my shoots [with fashion photographer Steven Meisel, who uses Jin for nail styling on all of his editorials]. The clean-looking nail is so much more my personal style. It’s funny: I did create some glitter polishes for my holiday collection, and some of my friends were like, ‘Glitter? You?!’ I told them, ‘Don’t worry, it’s subtle—and still very me!’

Speaking of being ‘you,’ you seem remarkably unaffected considering all the attention you’ve gotten and the star circles you work in.
I just want to hold on to my identity, to be real—I’m still just a manicurist, after all! I feel so blessed by the amount of support I’ve gotten as I’ve launched my company. All the models I’ve worked with were so excited to help me name my products, even though I couldn’t afford to pay them. They just wanted to be there for me as friends.

I also want to stay true to my longtime clients and try to get into the salons at least once every other week. I have an emotional connection there: when you do someone’s nails every week, you hear about her life, her work, her kids, and you get personally invested in her. It’s important to me to keep in touch with my customers—they’re like family!

How to Create Jin’s Exclusive Nail Art:

Step 1: Start with a clean background, painting one coat of JINsoon ‘Tulle’ Nail Lacquer (a neutral, milky nude polish that doubles as a base coat) on all nails.

Step 2: Begin applying your ‘brushstrokes.’ The key to this effect is to make sure you wipe your brush on the lid edge really well so you don’t have too much polish. Jin begins her brushstrokes at the top but says you can go any direction you like: top to bottom, side to side—remember, it’s YOUR art! Use JINsoon ‘Rhapsody’ Nail Lacquer, a deep navy named by model Coco Rochas.

Step 3: Add more brushstrokes with JINsoon ‘Blue Iris’ Nail Lacquer, a brilliant marine color named by model Saskia de Brauw.

Step 4: Layer on some final brushstrokes with JINsoon ‘Poppy Blue’ Nail Lacquer, an electric, minty blue named by model Tati Cotliar.

Step 5: Finish with JINsoon Top Gloss & Coat to seal in the colors and protect your masterpiece.

Want to check out more amazing nail polishes? Shop our full JINsoon collection.

—Stefanie Frank

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Chantecaille’s gorgeous new Wild Horses Palette includes three eyeshadows and one blush in perfectly on-trend colors for fall—plus a world-changing bonus: a percentage of all palette proceeds will be donated to The Humane Society to support its mission to help wild horses run free in America. We spoke with Chantecaille Creative Director and spokesmodel Olivia Chantecaille to learn more about her family’s efforts to make a difference through the company.

BEAUTY BLOG: Olivia, tell us why you support this particular cause.
OLIVIA CHANTECAILLE: There’s an urgent need to help our country’s wild horses roam freely. Embodying the spirit of freedom, wild horses have graced the American landscape for centuries, reminding us of our deepest connection to the earth. Sadly, in just the past 40 years over 22 million acres of wild horse habitat has been lost in the U.S. To make room for cattle, gas and oil production, the government has been systematically placing wild herds into captivity, which costs taxpayers upwards of $78 million per year. By conserving our public land for our wild horses, we not only help save the herds, but we also ensure that the land will be preserved for future generations.

How does The Wild Horses Palette reflect the cause it supports?
The palette reflects not only the colors of the wild horses, but those of the magnificent landscape they live in. It’s a striking yet neutral palette that perfectly complements the trending colors in this fall’s fashion—warm earthy browns, rich neutrals, grounding black, camel and pops of red.

Beauty and heart: Olivia Chantecaille models The Wild Horses Palette.

This isn’t the first time you’ve created a palette inspired by a cause [last spring the company released its Save the Sharks Palette; in years past it has created palettes to benefit endangered tigers and elephants in Africa].
Yes, we have always sought to raise awareness for environmental causes that are most urgent and require immediate attention. This is an integral part of our brand and our way to give back to nature. Each season we launch a ‛cause-metics’ collection, and are particularly passionate about our commitment to the oceans and endangered species.

Of all your recent charitable efforts, which cause has held the most significance for you and your family?
It is impossible to choose one cause over another. Each one is vital in its own right, and when you look at the larger picture you realize that everything is connected. There is one unifying message that comes from all of these causes: We need to respect Nature and be aware of the negative influence we play.

Are there skincare or other makeup products that work best with the Wild Horses look?
Our new Le Stylo Ultra Slim Liquid Eyeliner and the new lash-defining Supreme Cils Mascara really highlight and complement the neutral shades of the eyeshadow palette. On lips, Persimmon Hydra Chic Lipstick is a bold tomato red with a flattering burst of orange that is the perfect modern take on a classic red lip. Complete the look with Future Skin Foundation and a spritz of our Pure Rosewater.


Watch a behind-the-scenes look at The Wild Horses Palette photo shoot.

For more information on the effort to help wild horses, visit The Humane Society.

Shop our complete online collection of Chantecaille makeup, fragrance and skincare.

—Stefanie Frank

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Get to know Karla Deras, fashion blogger of Karla’s Closet: Sartorialist muse and Daddy’s girl.

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BEAUTY BLOG: How do you stay inspired?

KARLA DERAS: I love making digital mood boards—I make them all the time.

Best compliment from a fan?

KARLA: When a girl says that my blog has encouraged her to just be herself, to feel comfortable in her own skin—or to go ahead and dress up. Everyone has insecurities; everyone has times when they feel ugly. When someone says I’ve helped to boost her confidence, it boosts my confidence!

Have you ever made a beauty mistake?

KARLA: I once dyed my hair blond. I looked like Eminem’s character, ‘Slim Shady’! And overdoing it with eyeshadow—that’s not a good look for me.

What does the future hold for Karla Deras?

KARLA: Anything and everything that’s creative. I would like to flip houses. I like designing—maybe jewelry, coffee table books, Creative Director for a brand. Or just opening a restaurant.

Any surprises while working with Duncan, your Nordstrom Beauty Stylist?

KARLA: I loved his take on the smoky eye. He created a really deconstructed, smudged-out look.

How does beauty affect your style?

KARLA: My style really changes with my hair. When I had a pixie, I wore a lot of vintage clothing. My style got a little sexier as my hair grew out.

Any beauty muses?

KARLA: I think Rooney Mara. Not stereotypical beauty. Christy Turlington; Lara Stone with a gap in her teeth.

Find out how Karla experiences her beauty.

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Inventive. Imaginative. Funny. Well moisturized. Just a few ways to describe Erica Domesek, the savvy DIY doyen behind PS. I Made This.
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“DIY is in my DNA. It’s just how my brain is programmed–but anyone can think that way. You just have to keep your eyes and mind open.” One of our favorite moments working with Erica came as that DIY DNA sprang into action, and she started customizing her Estée Lauder lipstick tube with colorful tape. Anything, no matter how small, can have a personalized touch.

“I grew up always looking at function and fashion. Re-purposing and re-imagining everyday objects has always been a part of my life.”

Erica’s space was filled with creativity and inspiration. You never know what’s going to fall out of my pocket!”

We love the idea of simple, everyday objects getting whipped up into something unexpected that’s both pretty and functional. Make your own tiered makeup stand with Erica’s step-by-step guide.

Erica’s beauty routine. “I’m pretty basic and simple. I’m a big moisturizer person. Big time! I get out of the shower and start with moisturizer. Makeup is great, but your skin is your own canvas, and you need to take care of it.” Shop Erica’s beauty picks.

“Beauty doesn’t have to mean a lipstick. It can mean the shade of a chandelier—gorgeous candlesticks to a flight of modified paints. Beauty is just something that makes you smile instantly.”

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