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Elena Fernandes, Model

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“I’m half Peruvian and half Indian and I find that some people love my look and some people really don’t. And that’s fine; I don’t let people’s opinions influence my self-perception. That’s one of the reasons I love Jemma Ward and Lily Cole; they’re stunning because they’re just so comfortable in their skin.

To me, beauty is about innocence. I feel like there’s this inner child in everyone, and you really see it when someone laughs from the heart. It’s also about being comfortable and being able to let your guard down. I don’t think people have a chance to show just how beautiful they are all the time. People tend to have different personas, especially in this industry. They’re like Beyoncé – they create this Sasha Fierce personality at work because that’s how you’re expected to present yourself in this industry.”

It’s funny but I feel the most beautiful when I spend time with my pets. I also feel really good when I’ve had a great month of healthy eating and exercise. When I’m able to focus on myself – that’s sort of the best feeling. It’s okay to pay attention to yourself. It’s not selfish.”

SKIN

“I’m probably stating the obvious, but my job involves way too much make up – I’m talking every single day. So I let my skin breathe whenever I get the chance. My routine is pretty easy and relaxed. I jump in the shower once I’m up where I use The Body Shop’s Bath Gloves to wash my face with Clean and Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash. I’d recommend those gloves to anyone – they’re pretty life changing. There’s so much pollution in Mumbai, so I end up scrubbing my face twice a day and they really get the muck off of my face. I also use the Garnier White Complete Eye Roll-On to reduce any puffiness or irritation around the eyes. It brightens them up instantly.

I always alternate between moisturizers; I think it’s important to do that because otherwise your skin gets too dependent on one product. I use the Garnier Sun Control Daily Moisturizer (SPF 15) and the Olay Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid. They’re both really light and glide on super easily.

I have this great secret to busting spots – hemorrhoid cream. It totally dries the spot out so that it disappears the next day. It sounds disgusting but it really, really works.

When I’m in India, my standard body lotion is – don’t laugh! It’s Dabur’s Odomos Cream. I get bitten to death by mosquitoes so I always carry it with me. But when the weather is dry, I do love The Body Shop’s White Musk Smooth Satin Body Lotion. It smells fantastic – it’s got a great blend of basil, rose, vanilla and amber. Also, it does the job of hydrating my skin. Other than that, I love Miss Selfridge’s Bath and Body Oriental Spice Spray. It’s got a strong note that keeps me refreshed throughout the day. I also love the Flora by Gucci perfume because it’s got this flowery smell that reminds me of spring. And Chanel No. 5 because it’s just a classic fragrance and makes me feel very sophisticated.

HAIR

I have crazy curly hair. Not normal curls, but, like, full blown curls. So with that texture, I tend to use the VO5 Smoothly Does It Frizz Free Cream and the John Frieda Frizz-Ease Extra Strength Effects Serum. I love it because it never makes my hair greasy. The moisture’s always getting sucked out of my hair but both these products help me maintain “nice” curls, if you know what I mean. Curly hair can be confusing – one day it’s frizzy, the next day it’s fluffy like a poodle. It’s unpredictable. With shampoos and conditioners, I switch between the TRESemmé Smooth and Shine Shampoo and Conditioner and the L’Oreal Paris Smooth Intense Shampoo and Conditioner. Again, even with the hair, most products only work to an extent. TRESemmé has given me some great results but if I overuse it, my hair looks dull and lifeless. Another secret is to always apply conditioner and leave it on for a bit before the shampoo. That really helps with volume. 

MAKEUP

I have this thing where my brows have to be on point. Nothing on my face matters to me more than my eyebrows. I usually get mine done at Freeda Salon on Pali Hill in Mumbai.

During the day, I use the L’Oreal True Match Concealer in Fair / Light – I love it because it’s very subtle and matches my skin perfectly. You just have to dab it onto your skin either with your fingers or a sponge and it completely conceals dark spots. I alternate with Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Buff Chamois because that’s another product that really matches my skin tone, and I find that Lancôme’s Effacernes Concelear No. 1 works wonders on my eyes. I’ll finish with Maybelline’s Dream Touch Blush and the L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara. It’s amazing because the brush is so spread out; it’s shaped in a way that allows it to coat every single eye lash. I always look like I’m wearing false eyelashes when I’m wearing this. I’ve tried a dozen mascaras, but this one is my favourite by far.  

When I have to go to an event, I usually have my makeup done by a makeup artist. I use the Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 in Sand for consistent, clean coverage. I also really dig that sun kissed glow so I always tell my makeup artist to contour the shit out of my cheekbones. (Laughs) The M.A.C. Soft Sand Bronzing Powder is great for that super angular look. I also use the Duo Face Sculpt from Makeup Revolution London because it’s very effective. I’ll usually just do smoky eyes and nude lips. I can’t imagine wearing a bold lip with heavy eyes – it’s just not my scene. For the eyes, I use a bronze eyeshadow from the Givenchy Prisme Quatuor. I like the texture and just how subtle it is on my eyes. On my lower waterline, I use the L'Oreal Paris Kajal Magique. It’s long lasting and takes ages to wash off sometimes. The rest of my face has to be really played down, so I use the Lakme 9 to 5 Pure Rouge Blusher for a hint of colour on my cheeks. With lipsticks, I tend to pick soft shades to balance it out. So you’ll only find me wearing M.A.C.’s Bare Again or Please Me.

Another indulgence for me is getting my nails done. I love pedicures – they’re just so relaxing. I go to the The Juice Nail Bar in Mumbai. I feel like if your brows and nails are in perfect shape, you can just own the day. I usually just go for clear nails because they’re inevitably re-painted at a shoot the next day.”

As told to Akshara Subramanian. Elena Fernandes photographed by Shovona Karmakar. 

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