Modeliste Magazine

Modeliste Mode Around The Home: Sonya Esman



Self-Care #STAYATHOME Virtual Getaway


How do you spend the first thirty minutes of your day?
These days, every day begins very differently, but I’m doing my best to discipline myself and follow a routine or plan. When quarantine first began I was sleeping in until 3pm- but after a while, what was supposed to be a “break” and “relaxation”, began to feel like laziness and a conscious wasting of time. I naturally always wake up at 8am and call out for my cat to come to me. As soon as she hears that I’ve woken up, she runs to cuddle me. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t the highlight of every morning. Then, I mentally map out the day’s tasks, work on my website/whatever urgent job I have, take a warm shower, put on under eye patches, do my makeup and go into video-creation mode or begin whatever other plans I have for the day.

What is your everyday skincare routine?
In the mornings, I’ll wash my face in the shower with a very gentle cleanser, lately I’ve been loving the Pixi Glow Tonic Cleansing Gel. I never want to strip my face of moisture, especially if I’m washing my face twice daily, and this cleansing gel is perfect for both cleansing and brightening my face. When I get out of the shower, I’ll apply the Province Apothecary Rejuvenating & Hydrating Face Serum, which is really more of an oil which makes my face so glowy and healthy, and then do a lifting Lymphatic Drainage massage with either a tool or my fingers, massaging the oil into my skin. At night I’ll wash my skin with a cleanser that both removes makeup and deep-cleans pores. The Kate Somerville Exfolikate Cleanser is my go-to. Then I’ll tone my face with Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid exfoliant, let it dry and follow up with my favorite product on planet Earth, Sunday Riley Good Genes. Seriously- life-changing. Sometimes I’ll mix it in with Herbivore Botanicals “Lapis” Face Oil. And then I’m off to bed!

What have you been doing to incorporate “self-care” into your time at home?
My home is and always was my little sanctuary. I obsessively protect the energy in my home because I know how much my surroundings have an affect on my clarity, mental health and productivity. Burning Palo Santo, as cliche as it may sound, really does help me feel at peace at home. Anything I do to care for my home, is synonymous to an act of caring for myself. Also, letting myself rest when I feel like I’m drained, and going on a long walk at least once a day are key to self-care for me.

Where do you get your beauty products?
On Amazon… everything. Literally. I go down an Amazon rabbit hole at least twice a week. Ask me how I ended up with a wig collection! Haha!

How often do you try new products?
I’m pretty loyal to a couple products, only because I see a radical difference in my skin when I don’t have them on hand. Otherwise, I’m very experimental with makeup and beauty. Whenever I can get my hands on something new, I’ll try it, even if I believe it’s “not my style”, because you never know! Beauty and style are meant to be in constant evolution.

What qualities do you look for in skincare?
Over the last few years I’ve definitely been gravitating towards skincare products that are more natural and contain less harsh chemicals. This is partially because I had such a terrible skin reaction to the lowest dose of Retin-A and other harsh chemicals and exfoliants, and also because I’ve noticed a pattern that natural, botanical products just work better for my skin. Another thing that really influences whether I want to buy a product is if a close friend recommends that I try something out because it made a huge difference in their skin.

What are three beauty products you cannot live without?
Undereye patches to brighten & de-puff my eyes in the morning. My favorite right now is DetoxifEYE by Pixi.

My Nuface (an at-home microcurrent facial lifting device). I’ve been a die-hard fan of my Nuface for 3 years now because it does wonders to accentuate my bone structure and get rid of any facial swelling I may have in the mornings.

Lactic acid! My skin loves lactic acid for its resurfacing and brightening properties. Good Genes by Sunday Riley is a lactic acid product I’ve repurchased far too many times to count.

Give us a 5 minute skincare/makeup strategy for your next Zoom meeting or date.
If I only had five minutes to look good on camera, I would focus on looking “alive” but not excessive. First, I would apply a face oil or moisturizer to my clean skin. Then I would use GlamGlow’s GLOWSTARTER moisturizer as a base because it has a beautiful sheen to it that illuminates the skin. I would then use a concealer under my eyes, around my nose and around the hallows of my mouth and blend it in. I wouldn’t even need time for blush or eyeshadow because I would apply a lipliner to my lips, and then blend the excess product onto my eyelids and cheeks, which gives the face a rosey, natural color. If I had an extra 60 seconds, I would curl my lashes and apply a waterproof mascara to open up my eyes.

What are your tips and tricks to keeping healthy, clear skin?
Stay persistent to your skincare routine if you found one that works for you. If not, don’t give up. Keep experimenting, remove some products from your routine, add others if possible, keep interchanging at least one skincare product a month. And drop everything in your life that is stressing you out. Especially the fear of change. Stress releases cortisol, which can cause an overproduction of sebum and oil to form on your skin. And above all, we can all agree that happy people are the most beautiful people.

Do you have any other beauty hacks you can share with us?
I love using lip liner as a blush and eyeshadow. It simplifies my day so much because instead of carrying around a makeup bag, I can just carry an undereye concealer and nude-pink lip liner such as Boldly Bare by Mac. I apply the lipliner all over my lips, using a little bit more product than typical, and then take some of the lipliner from my lips and run it over my eyelids and dab it on my cheeks. It creates such a beautiful, healthy look.

Can you share a recipe with us that you enjoy making at home?
To be perfectly honest, I’m the furthest thing from a cookbook encyclopedia. During my teenage years, I was eating raw vegan, so a lot of what I taught myself was how to “uncook” foods, dehydrate them, or rather, eat foods in their simplest form. Right now, my favorite meal to cook every evening is just a salad with anything and everything I can find in my fridge. My essentials are:

dinosaur kale

organic mixed greens

1 whole avocado

cabbage, cucumbers, any other seasonal vegetable

turkey, chicken breast, or some type of protein

a handful of hemp seeds & pumpkin seeds

organic blue cheese dressing

hot sauce & half a lemon squeezed!

I swear, it’s bomb.

What is your favorite fashion trend right now?
My favorite fashion trend right now is probably head scarves. I was born in Russia, so wearing a scarf or bandana around your head was so normalized for religious and cultural reasons. I love how girls are rocking them now again.

Who are your top three favorite designers?
Enfants Riches Deprimes, For Love & Lemons and Celine.

What are three staple pieces in your closet you cannot live without?
My Dr. Martens loafers & platform boots. A vintage, oversized black mens blazer. Any black belt with embellishments that makes your outfit that much cooler- on high waist denim or even cinching your waist with a dress. My favorite one right now is from The Kooples.

 What advice do you have for keeping organized while staying busy?

I really don’t know where I would be, work-wise or mental-health wise, if I didn’t use my planner to write down my ideas, thoughts, appointments, meetings and passwords/random things. I also immediately enter a deadline or event into my iCal when I read about it, so when I know I have something due, I don’t forget about it. You can also set several reminders on your iPhone in iCal, so I’ll set a reminder a day before and two days before. Like they say, “There’s a place for everything & everything has its place.”

Are you working on any exciting projects this year?
I’ll always live with the belief that something beautiful could happen any second. Of course, 2020 threw a curveball at a lot of exciting projects for all of us. But it also gave us time to reflect on why certain things just WORK and others- don’t, no matter how much you try. I definitely had my entire life flip upside-down this year, but reflecting on all of what’s happened, I am so grateful to all of it. I’m excited to reclaim myself, focus on connecting with the community I’ve grown, and make myself proud.

Where do you live and what do you enjoy spending most of your time doing?
Back when travel was a key component of my job, I used to say, “I live in terminal 1” Haha. Now I live between Los Angeles (where I moved) and Toronto (where I grew up). I feel beyond lucky to say that what I enjoy doing most is my job. I feel off if the sun begins to set and I haven’t been creative that day. Video creation, photography and painting in a peaceful state at home gives me the greatest feeling of fulfillment, along with connecting and sharing ideas with my subscribers and followers online.

How did you start your career as an influencer?
I started my career, originally aspiring to become an actress, as a background actor on a lot of TV shows & movies in Toronto. That progressed into me starting a YouTube channel (in 2007) about how to become an actress. I just shared the knowledge that was given to me in acting school with others using YouTube – which was an entirely new platform at the time. As I grew older, I started sharing little things on instagram and twitter in a very personal way. It was never “here are the latest trends”, rather it was “you guys! I found this stunning bag today when I went shopping at Forever 21, should I get it?” And “Here are some photos of me trying on a new lipstick.” It was always a hobby, and in many ways, I still see it that way. I would say things really kicked off for me when I attended my first NYFW in September 2014.

How do you develop inspiration and ideas for the great content you create?
In terms of the content I create, the last thing I want is to be influenced by somebody else. So I watch and consume very little social media myself. My biggest drive to create comes from my own life experiences and allowing my emotions to flow. Sometimes a song I’m listening to on a night walk will hit me in the heart so much that I’ll stay up until morning editing footage that relates to the song in a way that tells a story. I try to convey my inner world through art and words.

How do you stay up to date with new fashion trends and beauty hacks?
I really don’t believe in doing anything in particular to stay on trend. Trends come and go so fast, by the time you’ve caught on, you’ll be stuck there wondering if you’re too late. I believe in being fearless in following your gut and expressing yourself. Authenticity will never be outdated.

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