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ANTM Alum Naima Mora Loves A Good Hydrating Mist

"If I take care of myself, then I feel beautiful."

About Face

In About Face, xoNecole gets the 411 on IGers who give us #skincaregoals on the daily. Here they break down their beauty routines on the inside and out, as well as the highly coveted products that grace their shelves and their skin.

I remember watching Cycle 4 of America's Next Top Model like it was yesterday. My mother would let me stay up just a few hours later than my scheduled bedtime so we could watch Tyra Banks' worldwide phenomenon and cheer on our home favorite. From the moment I was introduced to Naima Mora, I was intrigued by her ambiguity, mysterious nature, and sweet aura in comparison to some of her other competitors. Needless to say, when she reigned victorious as the cycle winner, I couldn't have been more thrilled. Who would have thought that 15 years later, I would be on a Zoom call with her to talk about all things beauty and skincare?

I logged into my Zoom conference room and turned my camera on only for the 36-year-old "Model Know How" workshop founder to sign in a few minutes later. It was almost as though time stood still and the Model Behavior author looked exactly the same from when she was 21 years old on the reality television show. "I got my makeup done. I'm looking cute," she said with a giggle after telling me she had just wrapped up a morning show based in Sacramento. With her face naturally beat and her voice as soft and melodic as it was on the UPN when I was 10 years old, she and I were both ready to get this conversation started about all things beauty, skincare and the world of the modeling industry.

In this installment of xoNecole's About Face, the New York-based EMG Models signee talks about using a hydrating mist when she travels, her memories of painting her white cat with lipstick as a kid and supporting her good friend Miranda Kerr's skincare line.

How my view on beauty and skincare changed over the years…

"I thought you didn't have to pay too much attention to your skin and it was supposed to be naturally flawless. I realize now that it's the largest organ in our body, it changes all the time, and it evolves as well, so it requires some pampering and care. I realized that beauty rest is an actual thing!

"Working in the modeling industry can sometimes be very challenging because it's an industry that's based on perceptions of beauty. For a long time, I felt like what I looked like and what I had to offer the industry didn't necessarily fit in, but that was when I first started modeling. Now, the industry has totally changed and all types of beauty are being celebrated. There's so much diversity and inclusion, and I love working with the brands that I work with because they just want to celebrate people for who they are."

My morning routine consists of....

"My mornings are different every day. Sometimes I'm waking up super early—like 5 am—to get to a photo shoot by 7 am. Other days, I'll make it to the gym, which is also a big part of my job: keeping in shape and keeping fit. I give my 'Model Know How' classes twice a week on the weekends, which is really cool. [My routine] really depends because I'm doing business meetings throughout the day and I'm writing throughout the day. I'm [working on] a one-woman show with a director I really love. It's different every day, but I definitely keep myself really busy."

My AM skincare routine looks like…

"There are two product lines that I really love which are Liz Earle and KORA Organics. Liz Earle is based out of the UK and KORA Organics is a new line by my friend and fellow model, Miranda Kerr. It's organic skincare, so I love it. It's gentle on the skin, it's purifying, and the whole premise of the line is just naturalistic beauty. She sends little crystals in a gift box like rose quartz and stuff. It's really cute.

"In the morning, I will wash probably with a Neutrogena acne wash just to keep the skin clear. I only exfoliate once or twice a week at the most. I realized from the beauty specialist at Liz Earle when I was visiting them in Leeds [during] my book tour there, they told me that it's really bad to exfoliate your skin so much because it causes more hormonal release. The skin wants to keep itself moisturized and repaired. I use a really gentle cleanser in the morning, a toner, and as much moisturizer as I can. I normally use an oil-free Neutrogena moisturizer or one from KORA Organics depending on whether or not I'm going to be wearing makeup."

My evening routine consists of…

"I normally come home, order food, and watch TV. My acting coach says that I should do more reading and spend more time by myself. I normally watch TV. I like great shows on Netflix or HBO. I'll get into a show and binge-watch it for hours."

My PM skincare routine looks like....

"At night, I do a whole process. Of course I have to cleanse the skin, tone it again, and I use [microcurrent] sometimes to kill all of the bacteria. I will put on a nighttime oil from KORA Organics and they also have something called a Noni Glow. I'll also use a serum for my eyes, and maybe if I have some blemishes, I'll use a topical treatment called tretinoin, which is good for helping out with skin problems and skin like mine. That's my nighttime ritual which I think is part of my self-love and self-care, you know?"

How my skincare changes for the seasons…

"I've realized that the most important thing regardless of the time of year is to keep my skin moisturized, to get a lot of sleep, and to not stress out. In the summertime, I'll wear sunblock to keep the sun off my skin and keep it from being damaged, but besides that, it doesn't really change."

My go-to makeup look consists of…

"I have a couple different makeup looks—usually four. I talk about this in my 'Model Know How' course, and I teach the girls and the models that I work with how to do the makeup right and live through Zoom classes. We do our makeup together super cute. I have my casting look which is pretty much my day-to-day look. It's pretty simple makeup that looks like you don't have on makeup and the 'bare face.' Then I have a commercial look that I'll do when I have audition tapes to send in or interviews that I'm doing via Zoom. I have a glam look that I wear when I go out to dinner with all of my other model friends. I normally do a smokey eye if I want to be extreme and go for it. The one I have on now is a mix between my glam look and a little smokey eye."

How I approach beauty from the inside-out…

"I know it sounds funny, but I love tea, and I love scented candles specifically that smell like grapefruit or really citrus-smelling fruits. Perfume also makes me feel beautiful. It's just self-care rituals and routines that make me feel beautiful from the inside out. If I take care of myself, then I feel beautiful."

My travel skincare routine looks like…

"[My skincare routine] doesn't switch up. I have my travel containers and I just try to keep it moisturized. Usually, if I'm on a plane, I'll have a hydrating mist as well that keeps my skin dewy, glowy, and hydrated because traveling can be very dehydrating. You're not drinking enough water most of the time because you're stuck in airports or train stations and you want snacks, but there's unhealthy snacks on the way."

The most significant beauty lesson I’ve learned…

"Love yourself and be kind to yourself. Be patient because when you do that, you accept yourself and you feel more beautiful from the inside-out."

My earliest beauty memory…

"My first beauty memory was, of course, playing in my mom's makeup when I was a little girl. It was one of those memories where it was vague but you kind of remember it, you know? I was probably really young. My mom told me that she came home one day—we had a white cat—and the cat was covered in lipstick. That was a really cute memory of beauty and makeup."

How my view on beauty and skincare has evolved…

"I've been modeling for a long time so I've always had issues with my skin which were problematic issues like acne, blackheads, scars, and blemishes. I didn't necessarily know how to take care of my skin for a long time, and I recently started researching how to do that and what're the best products to use for my skin type. I think the evolution really began last year, which is late in the game."

For more on Naima, follow her on Instagram. For more information about Model Know How, visit their Instagram page.

Featured image via Instagram/NaimaMora

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