Larissa Schot Gets Candid About Life After America’s Next Top Model

Long and lean with shoulder-length blonde hair, Larissa Schot is a rising force in the making. Accessorized with a wide and cheerful smile, Schot is the model whose carefree aura graces your phone screen. While many of you are familiar with her from America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), I’ve known her as the volleyball player who used to sit tables away from me in zoology class during high school.

Years after we graduated high school, we reconnected via Facebook. In place of a uniform and a volleyball, she’s swapped them for skinny jeans and crop tops. Packed with determination and laser-sharp ambition, Schot still has the same precision of a volleyball player by aiming her ball towards the bigger goals in life. While it’s every girl’s dream to work with the biggest and boldest names, she also uses Instagram as a platform to promote body positivity with #ThickandThin, which focuses on raising awareness of the plus size community inside the fashion industry.

We chat about what really happens behind the cameras at ANTM, why she started #ThickandThin and the top body confidence boosting tip she swears by.

Continue reading “Larissa Schot Gets Candid About Life After America’s Next Top Model”

Where to Shop Secondhand: A Curated Go-To Guide For Beginners

Not in the mood to pay full price on something that’s already in store? Bummed that you FOMO’d on a cute pair of jeans from Cotton Citizen because they sold out? This weekend, use this opportunity to treat yourself to some secondhand treasures.

If you think that shopping for secondhand items feels gross, don’t let that turn you away from adding your soon-to-be newly favored fashion statement. No stranger to being a seasoned shopper for all things secondhand, I actually buy a lot of pre-owned things because it’s generally cheaper than the items that are new in store.  Also, shopping secondhand items can save up more land from being used as a dumping ground. From the 10+ years of experience that I’ve gained from shopping secondhand, the greatest thing about it is that you are giving the financial support to an individual seller/store.

Whether it’s an app or an online marketplace, here are my favorite places to go secondhand shopping:

Continue reading “Where to Shop Secondhand: A Curated Go-To Guide For Beginners”

@velvetcoke Is The Pop Culture Archivist Giving Us Life On Instagram

For the past ten years, pop culture changed thanks to the arrival of reality stars (i.e. The Kardashians and Jenners) and self-made aspiring Internet-savvy musicians (i.e. Justin Bieber) whose careers started rather unconventionally at that time. Then, minor reality stars (e.g. Gigi and Bella Hadid) and celebrity kids (e.g. Paris Jackson) suddenly blew up with lucrative modeling careers thanks to their status. Now that we can’t escape headlines featuring Kardashian, Jenner, Hadid or Bieber, is it hard to believe that pop culture really died in 2009?

Not so fast, though. As a fresh alternative to today’s celebrities, Instagram has blessed us with @velvetcoke, who reminds us of the good old days of pop culture when no one used a reality show or social media to build their career. Deep inside her treasure trove of pop culture archives, each post comes with a little mini history lesson. It’s won the hearts of celebrity fans such as David Spade alongside publishing bigwigs such as Paper and Interview, who featured a collaborative column with journalist Trey Taylor.

As a fan of pop culture and history, we had a long chat about how she started @velvetcoke, why loves pop culture from the 20th century, our mutual love for Guns ‘N Roses and an iconic ’90s trend she’d love to bring back.

Continue reading “@velvetcoke Is The Pop Culture Archivist Giving Us Life On Instagram”

Coma Over! My First Beauty Haul from Singapore’s Go-To Makeup Mecca

I love makeup. I live AND breathe for beauty. Even when I’m hungover after one too many late nights with dark circles and messy hair, I *need* makeup to make myself look pulled together. After all, how can I live without multiple coats of lip gloss, dabs of highlighter, filled in brows and layers of inky black lashes?

Enter Coma Makeup.

When I first moved back to Singapore last summer, the first thing I had to ask myself was where I could find all the cool beauty brands I’ve been using in the US. You name it: Milk Makeup, Glossier, Huda Beauty, etc. Even if a beauty product is not a US-based brand, I am still very keen to try it.

As someone who grew up lugging a handful of cult beauty brands since young, I felt the pleasure of being able to have them by my side. Now that there’s a place where I can find my favorite cult brands, I am grateful and happy that Coma Makeup is here to cure me from makeup FOMO.

What’s amazing about Coma Makeup is that they are on top of their game by bringing all the coolest and latest launches whether it’s Milk Makeup’s Kush High Volume Mascara, Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Modern Renaissance Palette, Huda Beauty’s #FauxFilter Foundation and/or Glossier’s newest shades of Cloud Paint.  In spite of how much I am comfortable with swearing by my go-to brands, I love how there are a lot of cult brands from Asia such as Rosé All Day (from Indonesia) and Velvet Vanity (from Malaysia). Alongside other great international brands, Coma Makeup also stocks beauty vlogger-approved brands such as Em Cosmetics, which is launched by YouTube’s #1 makeup artist Michelle Phan.

Filled with burning curiosity, I felt compelled to try out some of the hottest products from Coma Makeup:

  1. Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

Since its launch two years ago, I can’t stop obsessing with this brand. From its super luminous highlighters, pigment-powered lipsticks and Tumblr-esque aesthetic, I’ve been hitting up Sephora counters across LA and NYC just to snap up their products. Knowing that I can’t find it at home, I’m glad that Coma Makeup has been stocking them up, waiting for me to get my fix. If there’s one product that’s on my radar now, it’s the instafamous Kush Mascara. Given that marijuana is not legal in Singapore, the hemp-infused mascara is the safest way for me to get high. (Just my lashes, lor!)

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Sorry if the pic is blurry, but look at these instantly curly lashes! It’s CRAZY!!

Anyhow, what I LOVE about this mascara is that it actually doesn’t contain beeswax. So, extra points for being a vegan AND cruelty-free product!! When I applied it on my lashes, it immediately became thicker and voluminous. Not to mention, my lashes looked long, curly and fluttery like a fan. I had no issues with their applicator as the wand could reach the corners of my inner and outer lashes. Given that the formula isn’t waterproof, the only con is that a little bit of product moved beneath my bottom lids thanks to the heat and humidity.

Anywhere than that, I’m still wearing it and I’d happily repurchase it!

(P.S. my sister tried it on and said that it’s her favorite!)

2. Glossier Lash Slick 

Say what you want about Glossier, but nobody questions the power of Emily Weiss. Formulated to have a “no makeup” makeup effect, don’t expect this mascara to do any wonders for you. What it does is that on the days when you don’t want to apply any makeup, Glossier’s Lash Slick does the job to fake that “I just woke up like this” look, where it feels SO natural – even when you barely wear actual makeup.

Safe to say, it doesn’t lengthen or give much volume to my lashes. However, it enhances my lashes with subtle coating with a bit of minimal curl. Although the formula isn’t waterproof, it’s able to last long as it can withstand the heat and humidity.

Given that I really did not see much visual effects with this mascara, I feel that this mascara is appropriate for rainy days or the times when I wear eye gloss.

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Can you actually spot the difference?

Anywhere than that, this mascara is great for those who have eyelash extensions or naturally long lashes!

3. They Talk About Matte Liquid in Sandstone

Liquid lipsticks and I have an equally complicated relationship like Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande. Honestly, I have high expectations when it comes down to liquid lipstick. I go through SO many brands, shades and formulas to the point where I nearly felt embarrassed for having one too many tubes at home. Thankfully, Coma Makeup gave me a tube from They Talk About when I visited their showroom in May.

As one of the hot new Indonesian instafamous beauty brands, They Talk About built its own name on liquid lipsticks. Since IG famous brands are either a hit or miss, I figure that I’ll give it a try. Sure enough, I was quite surprised.

Smooth, creamy and moussy, this liquid lipstick clings without settling into fine lines nor does it dry out my lips. From the endless trips to the drinking fountain, poke bowls and mid-afternoon lattes, this lipstick REALLY lasted for hours! Even though it left behind some bit of transfer behind, I had to squeeze in a mini touch up.

Such a shame that I completely forgot to take a photo of the tube, but, here’s a selfie of me wearing it!

If anyone’s looking for a great alternative on MAC’s Spice lip liner, this is the shade to go to.

4. EM Cosmetics True Gloss in Truffle Haze

Frankly, I haven’t heard of the brand prior to my purchase and to give the benefit of doubt, I decided to try it. As I’ve been obsessed with lip gloss since childhood, I always dreamed of having the perfect gloss that can give color, lasting shine and not feel too sticky. EM Cosmetics truly delivered it here with Truffle Haze, which is the only color on the site. Although I expected more shades, I am glad that this mauvey-based nude was available for purchase.

When I tried it on, it covered my lips and offered a high-gloss finish. Whenever I drank my water or ate my meals, the color and shine can outlast through each sip/bite. Even though it settled into the fine lines, the gloss was truly worth the purchase.

However, I wouldn’t wanna wear it alone as it washed me out. I highly recommend that you wear it with a bold liner or bright eye makeup. If you want to mix other lip colors, Truffle Haze will look great with Charlotte Tilbury’s Stoned Rose.

All in all, I think that this gloss is more flattering on cooler undertones and if you have a yellow-based neutral undertone like I do, I highly recommend using it as a base to mix it with other shades.

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On cheeks: Glossier Cloud Paint in Dawn On lips: EM True Gloss in Truffle Haze

5. Glossier Cloud Paint in Dawn

Is it hard for me to resist landing my second tube of Cloud Paint? Apparently, I gave into the temptation to purchase another tube! Instead of repurchasing Dusk, a pink-based brownish nude, I settled for Dawn, a red-based coral. I don’t own that many orange-based blushes (apart from Fenty Beauty’s Mimosa Sunrise highlighter, which I use as a blush), but I feel like it’s a nice change from the usual pink.

Initially, I was scared that Dawn might be too red on me as it’s opaque and bold. Much to my surprise, it turns into a sheer hue of pinky-red orange. Also, it shocks me that it’s really flattering as the undertones complement the yellow undertones of my skin. If this is your first time using it, try to squeeze in a teeny tiny dot and dab on three dots diagonally on your cheekbone.

Verdict? Well, Dawn can withstand humidity, fading and changes of skin texture all day long. If you want a blush that can last all day, go for Cloud Paint!

Apart from the products, I’ve had a very positive experience with Coma Makeup as they ship their orders on time despite the high orders for these products. Given that some items are very popular (e.g. Milk’s Kush High Volume Mascara), it’s best to purchase it asap as it tends to sell out very quickly. Anywhere than that, there’s a wide variety to try way more new products that can perform as well as the most popular items.

 

 

Getting Ready with Rosé All Day

Last month, I did a super special project with Rosé All Day. Not only did I film a “Get Ready With Me” style video, I was also interviewed by them about Soeng Signature. This is the very first time I’ve been interviewed about it and I cannot feel any more prouder than that.

While I’m still learning the ropes of being a self-taught entrepreneur, I am happy to learn how I can grow my own brand from other amazing designers/entrepreneurs Michelle Maryam of Mary Allé and Patricia Stephanie of Sovi Atelier, who are featured alongside me in #THEROSÉFILES.

Check out the videos and take notes! 😉

So Fresh, So Clean: Is Josh Rosebrook’s Skincare Line Worth the Wait?

Since last month, I’ve been feeling restless, exhausted and almost on the midst of encountering a writer’s block. From taking 8 hour flights to Tokyo, road trips across Central Java, a day trip to Singapore to catch F1 and an extremely rushed layover stop in KL to catch my grandpa’s funeral in Sibu, Malaysia, my skin has gone through the radical changes in atmospheric pressure, climate and temperature changes. Whether it’s an extremely dry air-conned plane to the humid heat of Sibu’s dense jungle, the endless traveling triggers the paranoia of developing new pimples.

Given that I have been struggling with acne, I don’t want my skin to erupt with angry red pustules or flesh out a lotta sebum to the point where it looks like I’ve got Saran Wrap covering my face. All in all, the one thing that’s been maintaining my skin’s sanity is Josh Rosebrook’s skincare range, which I discovered through an e-mail from his publicist, who encouraged me to test out the products.

As an avid clean living fan, finding clean beauty products that actually work on my sensitive and oily skin is a struggle and Josh Rosebrook’s line is ready to change my perception. Tooled with an arsenal of a power-packed trio – Hydrating Accelerator, Vital Balm Cream (it’s got a loooonnngggg waitlist!) and Day Cream – it’s hard not to resist trying out these products. Also, all of them are organic AND non-GMO!

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The best skin saviors, ever! 

If you need a post-shower pick-me-up, the first thing you need to grab is the Hydrating Accelerator. As an elixir of vitamins and aloe vera, this water-based mist contains sea buckthorn oil (to slow down signs of ageing), turmeric (to calm down redness), marula oil (for extra hydration and treatment of acne) and good old joboba oil (to moisturize). Formulated as a moisturizing toner, Hydrating Accelerator provides the instant glow you’re craving for. Since it’s alcohol-free, the Hydrating Accelerator is perfect for oily (and sensitive) skin as the plant-based oils regulate sebum production. For the past two weeks, this toner has never caused me to experience any breakouts.

As for my go-to moisturizer, I keep on switching it every now and then as I realize that some moisturizers *can* cause breakouts. (It’s all about the ingredients, guys!!) In this case, I can’t handle any moisturizer that’s too rich as it clogs up my pores easily. (Not cool!) So, I had to take a break from my Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream and switch it up with Vital Balm Cream. Made with mango seed and shea butters, this Vitamin E-infused moisturizer uses kitchen-friendly avocado and olive oils to soften and hydrate for ridiculously plush, supple skin. As a substitute for hyaluronic acid, Indian senna seed hydrates your extra thirsty skin. Infused with blue tansy essential oil for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, it calms down any inflammation that’s bubbling beneath the surface of your skin. Since it’s a balm-based formula, you need to refrigerate it to preserve the strength of this product. My verdict? Well, it’s done an amazing job at calming down my redness. So far, I don’t see any new pimples!

Last but not least, I swear by the Nutrient Day Cream Tinted SPF 30. Most sunscreens are always packed with zinc oxide; however, this one doesn’t put in a lot of pore-clogging unpronounecable ingredients. Instead, it’s got broccoli oil (to protect the skin and supply Vitamin A), marshmallow root (to calm inflammation) and ginko leaf (to clean the skin of impurities). Even though it feels so gentle and protective, you won’t even feel an exfoliating effect! Most importantly, this cream contains a color-adapting tint that adjusts to your natural skin tone. Although I don’t wear much tinted sunscreens, I really love this one as it lets my skin naturally glow without the need to pile on foundation, primer and highlighter. Seriously, this one is like a highlighter AND foundation in a bottle! If you are looking for a dose of makeup, the Nutrient Day Cream Tinted SPF 30 will do it for you. 😉

No matter where you live or how you live your lifestyle, you can get Josh Rosebrook at Cult Beauty or Detox Beauty for your all-natural fix.

Real Men Talk: What Should A Man Wear On A First Date?

Let’s get real: how many times has any article from a women’s publication talked about what men should wear on a first date? Or, how many times has a men’s publication covered this topic without actually including the voices of gay men?

Lately, I’ve been inspired to bring this conversation here as I realize that most dating articles are heteronormative by nature. Not only does it alienate LGBTs, I also realize that as a journalist, I aim to prioritize the value of every man’s opinion regardless of sexual orientation.

Further continuing the conversation about date dressing, I’ve decided to moderate my first discussion featuring six smart and sexy men. The participants are: Henry of Street Style Poser (go check out his blog!); Brandon Hudson (vocalist) and Brennan Benko (drums) of L.A.’s hottest band Between Friends;  Marcus (a journalist who pumps out super awesome thinkpieces on Medium); Eric Ford (a content coordinator with an eye for style); Malcolm (an analyst who ain’t your regular corporate bro).

Given the diversity of their lifestyles, backgrounds and occupations, everyone’s responses are unfiltered, insightful and refreshingly witty.

Continue reading “Real Men Talk: What Should A Man Wear On A First Date?”