"What’s my name? [Laughs] My name is Sonya Esman. My username and blog name is Class is Internal. I hate it. It’s stupid. I wanted to make beauty videos on YouTube, but I wanted my username to contradict my content. I’m not about being beautiful, I’m not about superficiality, and I didn’t want it to be all about that. At first, I wanted my blog to be called ‘Beauty is Internal,’ but somebody took that. At the time, I was obsessed with Gossip Girl, so I was thinking, 'Gossip Girl, classy…Class is Internal.' Now, I’m rebranding to Sonya Esman. Nice and simple.
I’m actually not obsessed with doing my own makeup, and I’m not a makeup artist. I made videos to become an actress. My first topics were about that—acting. I got noticed, and I still get recognized for it, too. Once, I took a $7,000 acting class that was a scam—one of those 'Want to be a Disney Channel star? Come to our casting' things. I did a lot of extra work. I did Degrassi, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Suits, Hemlock Grove—a lot of little TV shows. Camp Rock 2 was cool because it was Disney Channel, and I thought, ‘Oh I can die now. I’m in a Disney Channel original movie.’ I don’t think I’ve ever shared this story, but I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers when I was little, right? Obviously. I heard that they had purity rings, so I got one as well. I became, like, religious because of them. I came up to Joe when we were filming on set one day. He was randomly standing behind me ready to shoot, and I was like, ‘Joe, I got a purity ring because you did.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Awesome.’ [Laughs] Oh my God. It was horrible. I was so awkward.
I moved to LA two weeks ago—before that, I lived in Toronto. I signed a lease and bought a car. Everything's changing, and I only just turned 20. At first I didn't like LA. All of my friends lived there, and I thought it was a magical dream world where all the celebrities live, but I realized it was just a city. I love it now, though. I used to be all 'go, go, go,' but LA tripped me out, and I became so relaxed. I like to hang out, go to the gym, and go hiking here...things that harmonize my life. I want to actually get to my emails in the morning and actually eat breakfast—actually have dinner plans and actually see friends at night. I used be better at answering emails and DMs. People are always saying, ‘Oh, I Instagram direct messaged you,’ and I’m like, ‘What is that?’ It’s probably so full."
For products, I like things that I can put on at night and wake up looking better in the morning. You can do that with a good eye cream. I like the La Mer Illuminating Eye Gel. It’s so moisturizing. I love it. In general, I start with a good moisturizer. When I was younger, I thought heavy moisturizers gave me pimples, but now that's all I'm about.
I like clay masks—need is a better word, really. I know some people don’t like them, but it's the only thing that works for my blackheads. There’s this one mask called Freeman Feeling Beautiful Mint & Lemon Clay Mask. It’s literally like $3 at Walmart, and it’s the best I’ve ever tried. I also like Glossier's Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, actually. The green one is better for me because I don’t have dry skin. I have Guerlain Abeille Royale Repairing Honey Gel Mask, too. That one's expensive though, and it comes in this gold pot with a little brush. I swipe it on my face and massage it in. I think I’m about to run out, but all of them leave my skin really clear and nice for makeup afterward.
I like accentuating the bones in my face through light-handed, natural touches through my makeup. I use Benefit's High Brow as an eyeliner, and then I use Essence's I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara. I think I found it once at the drugstore, and it worked so well that I've just stuck with it. I’ve tried other brands, but nothing has ever been as good as that one. On my cheeks, right now I’m using MAC Powder Blush in Pinch Me. It’s shimmery and kind of pink—rosy pink, like dusty. Then I always groom my brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills' Tinted Brow Gel and Too Faced's Brow Envy Brow Shaping & Defining Kit. Otherwise, my brows are like caterpillar-straight.
My hair is still my natural color, but I’ve been lightening it with L’Oréal's Casting Sunkiss by Healthy Look. It has no ammonia, and it just lightens your hair a little if you leave it in and sleep in it. It’s pretty amazing. I have a very sensitive scalp, so I’ve been using shampoos with tea tree oil in them like Giovanni's Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo. It’s the only thing that doesn’t irritate my scalp.
For fragrance, there’s Montale. They come in these metallic little bottles. Vanille Absolu smells amazing, not like that cheesy vanilla-sugar-cookie smell. I also love the original Juicy Couture perfume. I don't even think many places carry it anymore. I always find mine at Marshalls or T.J.Maxx. It’s musky, and I love it."
—as told to ITG
Sonya Esman photographed by Tom Newton July 14, 2015.
Gigi Hadid has another trick for low-maintenance blondes. Read about it in her Top Shelf. Selena Gomez talks about her makeup routine in her Top Shelf. Then check out how Chiara Ferragni got her start as a style blogger and how she keeps up with it.