I reached out to Vanessa Lee through social media after perusing the explore section of Instagram. Her angular bone structure, expressive brows, pouty lips and modest demeanor made her relatable yet intriguing enough to question: “Who is this girl?” The Britain-bred Taiwanese model has appeared in editorials spanning from Teen Vogue to InStyle UK magazines. A strong affinity toward clean and flawless skin, Vanessa discusses her minimalist skin-care regimens that have kept two generations of women in her family looking youthful.
Giulia: So glad you could take this interview. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Vanessa.
Vanessa: Thanks for having me! My name is Vanessa, I’m a British born Taiwanese model with Elite (London) and New York Models (NY).
Giulia: There has been a lot of hype around the topic of Asian skincare products, routines and the multi-step process. Do you have any skincare secrets that keeps your skin looking brilliant?
Vanessa: Yes, love skincare products! I used to walk past Sephora without a second glance and now I love to go in and try all the different lines, plus I read Into The Gloss.
Obviously everyone has different skin and what works for me might not work for someone else but, personally, I try to keep it extremely minimal—something which extends to other aspects of my life. My grandma and mother both look half their age from sticking to this and I’m a strong believer in it, especially as I wear a lot of makeup for work and travel frequently. Some secrets I’ve learned:
Whether you are using Crème La Mer or basic drugstore cream, nothing works better than bucket loads (and I mean buck loads) of water and sleep. So, I wouldn’t go out and buy expensive products if it isn’t in your price range, just stick to what you can afford and focus on looking after yourself from the inside rather than the out!
My 2nd tip is to save makeup for (in my case) work and special occasions/rarities. The more you rely on it the harder it is for your skin to stay beautiful. We take for granted how fortunate we are that while we’re young we have it pretty great and most of the time we don’t even need to wear much.
My 3rd tip is to have one of each product, if that, and nothing more. Once you’ve found your eyeliner, lip color, foundation etc., you don’t need anything much else. You will save time getting ready, wear less, because you have less to use, and you’re forced to play with what you have e.g.: use lipstick as a blush.
My 4th and final tip is using coconut oil, which is probably the only beauty trend I believe in. I use it as a makeup remover, moisturizer and even hair conditioner. I have a small pot for traveling and swear by it, especially if you’re like me and you prefer to travel light.
P.S. I stock up on K-Palette Eyeliner when I’m in Asia.
Giulia: How often do you travel to Asia?
Vanessa: I’m born and bred British and sadly I don’t get to spend that much time in Asia. My family is from Taiwan so I try to go back once a year, if I can, but I tend to spend most of my time elsewhere!
Giulia: Are there any upcoming editorials you will be modeling for soon that you are excited about?
Vanessa: I just got shot for Harper’s Bazaar UK, which was cool.
Giulia: Congratulations! Let’s talk makeup. Do you have any products that you couldn’t brace the day without?
Vanessa: When it comes to make up it’s a quick five-minute look! For day-to-day, I’ll use K-Palette Eyebrow Pencil to fill in my eyebrows—it looks super natural and doesn’t look like you are wearing anything which is how I like it.
Those are my must haves and for a night out I will do the same but add K-Palette Eyeliner for a smoky but slick eye. Those pens are great because they are so fine you can even draw little lashes on your bottom eye line and it looks like you’ve got long lashes! Sounds weird but looks very real!
Giulia: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Vanessa: It would have to be junk food. I try to eat well about 70% of the time but I have zero self-control when it comes to a good burger and fries! Literally, zero.
Giulia: Is modeling a full-time job or are you balancing it with school or another job?
Vanessa: At the beginning I did juggle it with internships as well as briefly writing for POP Magazine, but at the moment, I’m modeling full-time because I’m too busy to do something on the side. However, I do think the social media aspect of our job is another job in itself! The time, effort and commitment is heavily underestimated and it is imperative to our “personal brands.”
Images via The Hunger Magazine
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