“I was in school in Long Island, at Hofstra, and I interned at Women’s Wear Daily. I took another one at Marie Claire, and I was horrible at both of them, to be honest. Then when I graduated, I couldn’t find a job; the 2008 crash probably had something to do with it. But I kept in touch with the girls at both places and was doing odd jobs to stay afloat so I wouldn’t have to move back to Nowheresville, Massachusetts. I wrote articles, tried to freelance as much as possible, and tried to get my name out there. I was about to move back home; it was my lowest moment—I was like, “I’m over this. I can’t do this.” I was living in Queens next to the airport, just over it. I got an email, and this woman was like, ‘We’re looking for someone at Vogue, come in,’ so I ran there, and I’ve been there ever since.
I do a bunch of different things. I mostly write for the web and do celebrity trends and trend watching, which is the most fun thing for me. I cover fashion in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and do profiles on local chic freaks. I was cleaning out closets for a while, pre-pandemic. I started cleaning out closets for my former boss, Sally Singer, who is one of the first people I feel like was on Into the Gloss, which is crazy. I read about her on this site before I started working for her. So I started cleaning out closets around the office, word spread, and it became outside of the office.
The pandemic hit, so I couldn’t do that anymore. So one day, I was like, ‘Screw it, I guess I’ll just do something on Instagram.’ At this point, a lot of people had Instagram shows. You click, and someone’s doing a live. I was like, ‘I’ll just do it.’ It’s interesting because the closet is your gateway into learning about someone, and I’ve been in situations before where you’re in someone’s closet. You get to the intimate storytelling level. I don’t have contact with these women outside of this, so it was interesting to see how the clothes are a vehicle for storytelling. That’s how it started.
I just relaunched a few days ago. By that, I mean making my Instagram more active. Already, I’ve gotten requests to come back and do people’s closets. It’s a lot of manual labor. I carry these things, and it’s crazy back pain. I had a lot of back pain at the height of closet cleansing. But, I like it, and I enjoy learning about people through their clothes and helping them pare back, and putting clothes back into the universe for other people to wear.
I’m a pharmacy girl. Living down the street from a CVS, I was raised on those products. I’ve gone through phases before where people send me stuff, and they want me to try it, or my friends are trying stuff, and maybe I’ve tried things that I wouldn’t have tried before, but I always go back to pretty much what I’ve been doing since high school. Back in the day, I started using the Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar that’s almost a dark honey color, and I’ve been using that since high school. I do that, and then I just started using toner this year. I use Thayer’s Witch Hazel. Then, I’ll put on some cream. Things I’ve started doing in my adult life are using sunscreen, so I’ll use Supergoop. I use their vitamin C-infused sunscreen for my face, the Supergoop! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40. I use the Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion on my body. I use Retin-A so I have to constantly reapply sunscreen.
I try to do a gua sha to wake my face up because I have a puffy face sometimes. I use the metal one from FaceGym. If I eat a lot of salt or go out for a hot pot the night before, I’ll wake up, and you can see that my eyelids are very puffy. So I have an ice mask I got in Paris at some crazy French pharmacy that all these people go to. I’d never been. You put the mask in the freezer, so I do that and then put it on my face. It’s so cold. It’s good, and it wakes you up. You can find them on Amazon for next to nothing. If I don’t have a mask, I’ll put ice cubes on my face…or a bag of frozen spinach. Basically anything cold. Then, I’ll start slapping my face like a crazy person to wake up and get the blood flowing. One thing that helps is that I always go for a run in the morning because that loosens your body up and brings you blood flow. So I do that, slap my face a lot, and then I’ll use face oil. My friend gave me the Laurel Wolfberry Chia Serum and I love it but I’m not picky about face oils. When I run out of this, I use a Mad Hippie one a former beauty editor at Vogue recommended to me (shout out Akili King!). So I’ll massage the oil in and try to recreate what they do at Face Gym. That’s something that I do. That’s my one adult thing that I got to a certain point, and I was like, “I guess I’ll start taking care of myself.”
I go to Face Gym once a month, maybe twice. It’s a treat, though, because it’s fucking expensive. They knead my face in a way I can’t replicate. But when I’m alone…I have to try to do it myself. I definitely dropped a pretty penny on their face tool package deal. One thing is the Purelift Pro and it sends electroshocks into your face and tightens the muscles. I use that like three times a week when I wake up. I use it with a Costco-size tub of aloe. If I get stopped at the airport and TSA inspects my bag, I’m usually yelling “It’s not a sex toy, I swear!” I have Nivea Cream in the blue tub that I use. I use Vaseline on my eyes before I go to bed, I learned this from TikTok.
If I have a blemish, which is the manicured way of saying I have a freaking pimple, I’ll use the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, and then I have some generic pimple cream. Whatever I can find, or whatever’s cheapest. I’ll also use Chistaya Liniya Facial Scrub. It’s a super fine apricot scrub. I buy these in Ukraine at the supermarkets and I usually come back with a few bottles of it in my suitcase every year. When I’m getting low, I slice the tube in half and just take out the remainder. This is my last tube of it.
On my hair, I use Garnier. I’ve been using that forever. I love it; I swear by it. I’ve been using these products since high school. I remember loving the commercials and I was transfixed by the green packaging…so fresh and clean. Obviously, it made an impact. I wash my hair every day from working out, even though I should cut that down. I had to get the VO5 the other day because I didn’t have time to go to the pharmacy and get the Garnier, but whatever. I used to blow dry it, and then I was like, “I don’t care. I don’t have to do this anymore.” It looks unnatural when I straighten it. I have a Moroccanoil that I put in. I’ve had the same bottle of oil for five years. Honestly, if I’m traveling and have none on me, I just use a face oil on my hair. I have the Aussie Mousse, which I like, and I just put a little bit on my hair and scrunch it sometimes. Sometimes I don’t.
For haircuts, it’s crazy because I had a hookup at Julien Farel, who gave me these crazy thousand-dollar haircuts. I did it for a story a few times, which was amazing. It was a supermodel haircut, but the pandemic happened, and I stopped going. Then, for a while, I went to B’s Beauty Salon. This guy Tony will do your hair for 40 bucks. Then, I just stopped getting my hair cut altogether, and I went back home to Massachusetts, and there’s this girl, Jill, who does it down the street from my mom’s house at Glow Salon. I pay 40 dollars for a blunt cut, and I’m good. That’s all I’ll do—nothing sexy here.
I enjoy learning about people through their clothes and helping them pare back, and putting clothes back into the universe for other people to wear.
For my makeup, I got this Chanel Foundation at my friend’s beauty sale. I mix it with a Fenty Foundation. I mix it in the palm of my hand to dab on a red spot. I have a waterproof eyeliner from Covergirl, and then if I’m feeling really freaky, I’ll curl my eyelashes and put on some waterproof mascara. It’s from L’Oréal. Usually, I try to wear makeup when I’m going into the office, but sometimes I won’t. If you want me to come in, that’s what you’re going to get.
For lips and blush, I use the lipliner Rimmel Lasting Finish. Honestly, I must have bought this years ago because the label on it has completely faded. I thought this was a Kylie Lipkit thing until I looked it up just now…hopefully, it’s not expired. For lip gloss, I have this weird thing from a French pharmacy. I know nothing about that country, but it’s basically Vaseline in a pink tube. Everyone was like, “You need to get this,” and I’m like, “This is Vaseline.” But I like it, and I started putting it under my eyes at night because I read that it was good for it. I tweeze my eyebrows myself. I used to have them a lot thinner, and then I used to have them really bushy. But now I just clean them up.
BODY + WELLNESS
In the shower, I use a big red bottle with a pomegranate scent. It has microbeads in it, which I think is horrible for the environment, or so I’ve heard, but that’s what I’m using. I have a loofah that I use. I don’t really use body lotions or oils.
I clipped my nails yesterday. I should get them done because it’s nice, but I don’t use polish because it chips so much, and I end up ruining it. I do it if I’m going to an event or something; when do I even do that anymore. I’ll get a buff if I’m feeling risky.
For fragrance, I use Clinique Happy. A high school thing I’ve never let go of. I actually wrote an article for Vogue about it. And, Gucci Rush, it smells like a saucy, sweaty night out. I specifically wear this for when I do hookah. I loved the campaigns for this.
I go for my run in the morning, and honestly, it’s the best thing for me. I was drinking a lot at one point. I shouldn’t have been drinking that much, but being in media, there’s a culture around drinking. You go out to dinner, and there are drinks; you go out with coworkers and just want to gossip, and there are drinks. It’s always there. At one point in 2017, I was drinking a lot, and it was affecting my work, my sleep, and my mental health. I was lowkey super depressed, and I think it was because alcohol interrupts your sleep. I looked really bad, and I already got puffy. I did a before and after for an article, and I looked nuts from all the alcohol I consumed. So I stopped drinking cold turkey and did not touch it for two years. Then, I started having one once a month or on a special occasion. I kept it tight, so I stopped drinking, and then I started running. I go every morning, and that’s like my meditation. If I don’t do it, I can feel a lot of pent-up energy during the day. This just helps me settle myself. I think it’s the most important thing to me, for sure. I can’t do meditation.”
— as told to ITG
All photos taken by Alexandra Genova in New York City