Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Indian Models: The Next Brazilians?!

Below is an article from ABC news, wherein the article's author proclaims Indian lovelies as the new Brazilian models in the worldwide modeling industry. Not sure I agree though...besides Lakshmi Menon, I don't know of any other desi models out there that are recognizable from an international point of view (obviously, she is well-known in India).

It would be great though to see desi models besides Lakshmi, such as Monikangana Dutta, in ads and editorials over here in the U.S. Apparently, Dutta walked in Vivienne Westwood S/S 09. I can't seem to find the Harper's editorial she features in that the article mentions though.

Indian Models: Fashion's Next Love Affair?
Fashion Insiders Peg India as the New Brazil

By SHEILA MARIKAR Nov. 25, 2008

They've been around since shortly after the beginning of time. But only now is the modeling world finally taking notice of Indian women, realizing their potential and versatility in selling high fashion.

The buzz in the industry claims India is the next Brazil, the country to comb to find a budding Gisele Bundchen or Adriana Lima. Lakshmi Menon, a Ford model, recently scored campaigns with Givenchy and Hermes. Kangana Dutta, newly signed with IMG, posed for the September issue of Harper's Bazaar.

That Indian women embody style and beauty is not news. But according to Padma Lakshmi, the current "Top Chef" host whose past modeling work turned the industry's eye to the subcontinent, the so-called trend is a long time coming. "We're clearly having a moment," she said in a recent interview with "You're seeing more diversity in advertising, not just in the magazines, but also editorially. "When I started modeling, a lot of people didn't really know where I was from," she continued. "They were so unfamiliar with Indian faces that they didn't know if I was mixed, or Brazilian or Indonesian or maybe Hawaiian."

"A lot of times, when I would be booked on jobs for editorial, it would be a lot of ethnic clothing," Lakshmi added. "Or a photo shoot on an island or Morocco, or something ... many times, they would book me when they were looking for someone quote-unquote exotic. Now, we just have a broader definition of beauty."

It may not have the cache of France or Italy, but India has provided inspiration for fashion types for decades. Before emerging as a player in Indian politics in the 1960s and 70s, the princess Maharani Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur, was named in Vogue's "Ten Most Beautiful Women" list.

So, to Barney's creative director and "Eccentric Glamour" author Simon Doonan, it seems insulting that the industry is only now embracing Indian models in a big way. "We're talking about a country where women wear pink saris and jewels just to do ordinary tasks," Doonan said. "It seems like a no-brainer to me. I can't believe people are touting it as a new thing. Style and India are inseparable. Go to an Indian wedding, hello."

And frankly, times are tough. Mainstream designers and brands have to reach out to regions like Asia and the Middle East, whether they like it or not. The rising popularity of Indian models parallels the rising status of India as a global powerhouse, with a growing middle class of consumers who want to see themselves reflected in advertising and marketing. "I think as corporations look at their bottom lines, particularly now as our economy is failing, they're going to look to other countries for models," said Marvet Britto, founder of The Britto Agency, a New York-based PR and marketing firm. "Maybe Americans don't have money, but they sure have money in the United Arab Emirates, in China, in Korea."

Britto also believes the fact that President-elect Obama is of mixed race will force designers and brands to diversify, fast. "You're going to see more and more faces of color in advertising than we've ever seen, particularly now that we have a man of color in one of the most important offices in the world," she said. "Everyone's going to want to say, 'Hi, look at me, I'm diversifying.' Any company that doesn't diversify won't be seen as a forward thinking, progressive company."

As with any models of color, there's the danger of Indian models being typecast, posing in "exotic" clothing, as Lakshmi did, or landing campaigns only to have their beauty bashed in the name of mainstream appeal. (When Loreal first signed Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai to its roster of spokeswomen, the company dubbed her voice with a less-accented lilt for select American versions of her TV ads.) But Britto sees an end to all that.

"I don't believe that exotic people and exotic models should only model exotic clothes. That's like saying Americans can't eat exotic food. It would be shallow and ignorant for anyone to think that someone of exotic origin should be relegated to modeling only things that speak to their ethnicity," she said.

The time is ripe and the time is now. If a pop culture accustomed to all-American models like Cindy Crawford and Nikki Taylor was able to make household names out of Brazil's Bundchen and Russia's Natalia Vodianova, the Duttas and Menons of the world can catch on, too, if they put in the work.

Asked if she had any advice to offer up-and-coming Indian models, Lakshmi said, "Don't consider yourself an Indian model. Just consider yourself a model. And if it's harder for a brown face to get a cover, that just means you need to work harder to get it."

Photos via IMG and U.S. Vogue, December 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sameera Reddy's Makeup and Skincare Secrets

The beautiful Sameera Reddy let MSN Life & Style in on some of her makeup and skincare secrets. I concur with her DIY beauty tip on using a sandalwood and rose water pack on the face after a sunburn - I love using this face pack to soothe and cool the skin. You can pick up sandalwood powder and rose water at any Indian specialty store (or even order online now!). Her interview is below:

Tell us about your beauty regime? I wash my face with Clinic DRX. My skin is oily and this face wash suits me best.

Must-do beauty ritual before leaving home? I never leave home without applying a light base sunscreen.

Home beauty tip? A mixture of sandalwood powder and rose water works wonders. I apply this pack at least once a week. It helps cool down the skin after exposure to sunlight.

A make-up tip? Too much liner and eye make-up makes you look older. One should use a heavy mascara with gloss instead.

Earthy tones or vibrant colours? Earthy tones enhanced with a good vibrant blush and lipstick.

A strict no-no? Using heavy make-up on the eyes and lips at the same time is a bad idea.

For what you visit Parlour? Hair. I love to pamper my tresses at a hair spa.

Your beauty wish-list? To be able to sleep more – it helps the skin glow.

Your best feature? My hair.

You pamper it with? I massage it twice a week with aroma oils and even use leave-in hair products.

Beauty icon? Catherine Zeta Jones

A brand you love? There are two, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.

Can't stay without? Lip balm

Beauty quick fix? I rub cucumber slices and ice cubes on my face. It's a great wake me up ritual.

Bedtime ritual? I cleanse my skin with a make-up and eye make-up remover. I follow it with an overnight cream and an under eye cream.

How do you tackle a bad hair day? After shampooing, I use a serum and a leave-in conditioner. It makes the hair soft and easier to manage.

The secret to good lips? A mix of lip gloss with drops of lip plumper.

Your Beauty message? Age gracefully or I want to age gracefully.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Freida Pinto's Simple but Sleek Hairstyle

Freida Pinto, the new star of Slumdog Millionaire (have you seen it yet?!), sure loves her half-up, half-down hair style...she wore the style to the majority of her press event and premieres. The half-up, half-down look is one that Freida rocks whether its a fancy soiree or more casual event. To get her variations on the style, see below:

Take a chunk of hair in the front, about the width of your eyebrows. Tease in the back for a pouf and pin in front of the crown. Curl the ends of the hair loosely - no tight Shirley Temple curls here.

Blow hair out until its sleek and shiny and while blowing out, flip hair out at the ends. Make a side part. Taking the hair above the ears, pin the hair right above the nape of the neck. If you have short pieces out in front like Freida, pull out and let them frame your face.

Freida goes for a Bridget Bardotesque half-up do. For this look, take a chunk of hair a few inches above the ears and tease on the underside. Smooth the hair on the top with a brush maintaining the volume of the teased hair on the underside. Pin hair at the crown.

Take a very small chunk of hair, within the width of the eyes. Pin hair back on the top of the head, in front of the crown.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Priyanka Chopra's Look From the Nokia Ad

Priyanka Chopra is just sizzling in her latest ad for Nokia, and we've been getting lots of how-to requests for both her "just rolled out of bed" look and her "clubbing with the girls" look.

I normally cut to the chase and just start listing the makeup colors, but I have to say, the best thing about her look in this ad is her hairstyle - a fabulous, care-free, blunt-cut bob which she can wear either with a center part, or a sultry side part. This is such a good cut for her, and very much like the one Gwyneth Paltrow has been wearing in Hollywood. Nicely threaded eyebrows to frame the face are also an absolute plus.

Next up, she's not wearing much complicated makeup in either of her looks, and I'm sure most of you already have many of the shades used to create them. Here's my take on how to get Priyanka's looks:

Just Rolled Out of Bed
Makeup here is at an absolute minimum. Concealer to hide the under eye circles, and a little tinted moisturizer (if you need it, if you already have clear skin, skip it) and the face is ready. Put a hint of a natural looking blush on the apples of the cheeks, like Bobbi Brown Blush in Slopes, dusting a little on your chin and the sides of the forehead as well. For the lips, I recommend Bobbi Brown's Heather Beige lipliner. Put some chapstick on your lips first so the lipliner can glide more easily and then line and fill in your lips. If your lips are highly pigmented and you still don't get that "natural nude" lip color from lipliner alone, try swiping a semi-matte lipstick on top, like Bobbi Brown's Heather Buff lipstick. (Darker skin tones, try MAC Mystic lipstick.)

Priyanka's Night Look
After prepping with concealer and foundation that matches your skin, rub on a golden beige cream eyeshadow onto your lids. My picks, either MAC Shadestick in Beige-ing OR Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow in Malted. Glide it on from your lashline to your crease and blend with your fingers to even the color out.

Line the upper lashline with jet black cream/gel eyeliner, like Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, apply false lashes if you have them, (if not, skip it, I'm not that great with falsies either) and pile on the black mascara on the top lashes only. Putting mascara only on the upper lashes is a trick that gives you the illusion of false lashes without the extra effort.

For the cheeks, use MAC Mocha blush, dusting lightly just under cheekbones.

Line and fill the lips with MAC Stripdown lipliner and top with MAC Oh Baby! lipglass. (If Stripdown washes you out, try a darker nude color, like Bobbi Brown's lipliner in Cocoa).

That's pretty much it to get her lovely look in the red dress. :)

On a side note, I know I'm heavily pimping the Bobbi Brown and MAC colors all the time (peppered with shout-outs to Clinique), but these are the lines most readily available to me at my mall, and seem to cater most to women of color. I must say though, that I've become much more of a Bobbi Brown devotee as of late. I was telling Kohl Girl this morning about an old saying among us beauty junkies; that many of us start out being crazy about everything MAC and as we get older and more experienced with makeup, we start switching over to Bobbi Brown. I used to think Bobbi's colors were too "sober" when I was in my 20's, but now that I'm in my 30's, they're just perfect for me. My current foundation, concealer, favorite makeup brushes and lipsticks are all BB these days.

Speaking of Bobbi Brown (as if I haven't plugged it enough) be sure to try out the following lipsticks from the new Metallic Lip Color Collection: Beige Gold and Berry. The Beige Gold is formulated so well it looks good on every skin tone, from the fairest to the duskiest of ladies. I love this for evening looks with a nude beige lipliner. The Berry is another one-color-suits-all shade, the perfect pink berry color for the evening (or day, why not?). And don't hesitate to ask for samples of these lippies to take home and try at the Bobbi Brown counter. They usually give you samples when you buy something, but a purchase is never necessary to get a sample. Just ask, and you shall receive.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cosmopolitan India November 2008 Beauty Loot

The November 2008 issue of Cosmopolitan India has some colorful beauty goods in its Beauty Loot section to get you through this dreary winter (click on the image to enlarge).

Cosmo India's November picks:

1. YSL Golden Gloss - YSL makes high quality makeup and I imagine these lip glosses are no exception. The glosses, all containing gold flecks, are a beach vacation in a tube!

2. Revlon Custom Creations Foundation - This is the foundation touted by Jess Alba in all those commercials. I've never tried it but hey, if its good enough for her, its good enough for me! Readers - if you've tried this foundation, let us know what you think!!

3. The Body Shop Sparkle Range - I live around the block from The Body Shop but rarely go in...these eye shadow palettes are making me seriously reconsider that. The colors are gorgeous, especially the warm range.

4. Lakme Bridal Sutra - The jewel toned shadows and lip glosses in sapphire and ruby would look gorgeous on eyes and lips. I'd rethink the gold lipstick though unless it was used on top of a dark red lip to add some dimension.

5. Manish Arora Eye Palette - Pop culture colors, just like Manish Arora's clothing, in one palette. Definitely for the daring...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let's Do the Twist

Following closely on the heels of the popular braid trend from last season, twists in the hair seem to be popping up everywhere from Carolina Herrera's Spring '09 runway to celebrities such as Lindsay Price from Lipstick Jungle to reality tv stars like Cologne from Stylista (don't pretend like you don't watch that show!).

I love Cologne's hair twist to jazz up stick straight hair. Starting at the front of the hair and from one side of your the part, begin twisting a one inch piece of hair from the roots to the tip. Do the same with a one inch piece of hair from the other side of the part. Join both pieces of hair at the back of the head with a small rubber band. This style looks equally pretty with a side part or a middle part.

The little hair twist that Lindsay Price wears to the side is lovely but simple. Taking a small chunk of hair at the front, split it into two and twist it loosely a few times. Pin loosely to the back of the head, hiding the pin under the rest of your hair. This style looks so pretty on soft waves like Lindsay's or even super curly hair.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When Padma Got Her Groove Back...

There's something about being single that has given Padma Lakshmi a certain the last few months, the Top Chef hostess with the mostess has turned out some incredible beauty looks. Maybe its a new man or the fact that a new season of Top Chef is on the air...Whatever it is, I just want to see more! Below are recs to get Padma Lakshmi's makeup looks:

The Goddess - Padma resembles a greek goddess with gold shadow (NARS Creme Eye Shadow in Granada), coral blush (NARS Blush in Torrid - apply lightly with a fan brush), highlighting powder (NARS Highlighting Powder in Albatross) and a creamy peachy nude lipstick (Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Creamy Nude). I love the unique side chignon as well.

The Rock and Roll Girl - Padma goes a little wild with scrunched up waves, pinkish mauve lipstick (NARS Lipstick in Tanganyka) and a slight hint of blue shadow (Bobbi Brown Metallic Eye Shadow in Indigo Nights) - a nice bit of color against the champagne dress.

The Sophisticate - Above and below, Padma is the sophisticate, pulling her hair up into a loose chignon, dabbing on a beautiful sheer berry lipstick (Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick in 21) and sweeping on a berry blush (Bobbi Brown Blush in Brown Berry).

The Socialite - Padma is so pretty in pink!! I love the girly pink cheeks (Lancome Blush Subtil Sheer in Amourose) and slightly frosty pink lipstick (NARS Lipstick in Venice) that Padma wears here.
The Beach Babe - Padma looks like she just got back from a vacation in St. Tropez. Use peachy bronze blush (Bobbi Brown Apricot Shimmer Brick Compact) and bronze lipstick (Lancome Color Fever Shine Lipstick in Bronze Heat) to get the same look.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Steal the Look: Aishwarya Rai's Makeup from Bride & Prejudice

Aishwarya Rai is modeling one of the latest trends in makeup by lining her eyes in green and pairing them with rose-beige glossy lips. A great look to draw attention to your eyes, no matter what your eye color (although the addition of green contacts certainly doesn't hurt!). Here's how you can get the look:

Start with concealer and matte foundation/powder as a base. I know this sounds a little 90's, but I'm saying this because Aish's face doesn't look dewy here, and with the colder weather coming up, a matte foundation creates the perfect canvas to show off the the subtle colors on the lips and cheeks. Try Clinique Almost Powder makeup SPF 15 . If your skin is like Aishwarya's your color is most probably Deep.

Keep eyeshadow at a minimum by sticking to neutral shades. Clinique's Color Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Twice the Spice is a good choice to complement this look, with the light color on the lids, and the darker shade in the crease. Finally, line your upper eyelid with MAC Technakohl Liner in Jade Way, and apply black mascara to your upper lashes ONLY.

Apply Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blusher in Pink Blush to the apples of the cheeks only. I prefer using a MAC #129 blush brush for this.

To get full glossy lips with a hint of sparkle like Aish's, outline and fill in lips with Clinique Defining Liner for Lips in Berry Nude ($14). This is part of a new line of creamy liners from Clinique that even comes with it's own built-in sharpener in the cap. (I bought these in two colors btw, in Berry Nude and Nudey, both look fab on brown skin). Then swipe on Clinique Full Potential Lips Plump and Shine lipgloss in Rose Bloom ($17.50) on the center of your bottom lip and then press your lips together to get the color on the top. This is a better way to use this particular gloss. I learned the hard way using it like lipstick and applying it on both on the top and bottom lips is overkill and looks like...a little too much.

UPDATE: Another option to get this lip look would be to use Bobbi Brown Metallic Lip Shimmer lipstick in Twighlight Pink with Mauve lipliner.

A big thanks to our lovely reader, Geeko for sending us the picture! Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Geeta Basra: When Bronzer Goes Bad

I hate talking smack about people, including celebrities, when it comes to their appearance...I really do. Yet there comes a time when you gotta say, "Girl, did you look in the mirror before you left the house??!"

Such a time is now and such a celebrity is the beautiful Geeta Basra (did you know that this Bollywood actress is actually born and bred in the U.K.?!). This lady really is beautiful but dang, she went nuts with the bronzer for a recent event.

Geeta loaded way too much bronzer on her cheeks and jawline to the point where her face looks slightly ruddy. The beauty of bronzer is too look "glowy" and "sunkissed," definitely not sunburnt in a George Hamilton sort of way.

So if you're having a bit of trouble of bronzer, make sure to pick the right color bronzer (stay away from those that are too reddish bronze or orange bronze) and sweep it on lightly with a fan brush which helps control the amount you deposit on the face.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Brown Sugar n' Honey Face Scrub

I recently ran out of my favorite facial scrub and being too lazy to order it online, I decided to my make own DIY scrub at home. This simple brown sugar and honey scrub that I absolutely love had several permutations.

First, I just started off with just white sugar to scrub my face. I got the idea from an article I read where the famous makeup artist, Carmindy (from TLC's What Not to Wear) stated that she regularly uses a handful of white sugar as an exfoliator, a trick she picked up from her grandmother! I liked the white sugar scrub, although it kept dissolving when I mixed it with water.

Next, I decided to try using brown sugar instead of white sugar, an ingredient in many cult beauty classics like Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish and a little heftier than regular white sugar. I liked it better than the white sugar scrub (much more delicious when it runs down your face!) but still, it kept dissolving in water.

That's when I thought of adding honey to make the brown sugar "stick" and I fell in love with this combination! All you need is a little bowl, brown sugar and honey. Add between a teaspoon to a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon to a tablespoon of honey (more if you want to use on the rest of your body) in a bowl and mix.

The reason I love this scrub so much (and may never go back to buying a facial scrub again) is because the brown sugar truly exfoliates away all the crap without being too abrasive and the addition of honey really softens the skin (honey has moisturizing properties). My facial skin felt SO good after I rinsed off the scrub. However, the best part about the scrub is that while I usually experience tiny post-scrub breakouts 2-3 days after I exfoliate, I didn't breakout at all with this scrub -just really smooth, soft skin that has been wonderfully clear.