My name is Luna and I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am 27 years old and have danced all of my life and I guess I can say I am a Jack of all trades! The best way to describe myself is to say that I am an Urban Articulator.  I have this talent of putting people and things that work well together, everywhere. I run a women's empowerment program and I have a Turban Brand called Crowns of Nyanga where I share my passion for African fabrics and creativity. After traveling to Africa, I came back with a bag full of fabrics, so I had to share! LOL

I normally work with fashion, culture and artists. I have been around the world quite a bit, so I speak 4 languages and when I am tired they all become one big mess of words... and my hair translates my personality i.e. WILD CHILD. LOL

Read On!>>>
How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for at least 10 years. When I was 16, I had a dance performance called the 40 Spontaneous and I realized my hair was a huge problem for me. I wasn't happy with it, because of all the perm treatments I had done to it since a very young age. So one day, I left rehearsal, went to the salon downstairs from the theatre and shaved my "waist length hair." That was the beginning of my liberation process. To be a 16 year old girl, 10 years ago with a fro was quite interesting! Lol!

Were you a bigger chopper or transitioner?
Honestly, my transition was pretty fast. I just shaved it all and rolled with it. Self discovery was the most fun in this process! I had to re-discover myself as a beautiful girl, with a shaved head and some "nappy's" growing up! LOL This process taught me a lot about self-esteem and courage.

How would you describe your hair?
I can describe my hair as magical. It has opened so many doors in my life to actually own who I am. It makes people smile at me, laugh at me, tell me their stories, give books randomly on the subway, start noticing themselves because of my "presence"... There are just so many cool things about my hair... It has its own life sometimes. I love watching people's reaction to it. Makes me happy to see that even if it's not a positive reaction, at least it causes reflection, it brings about polemic, discussion and it communicates in a genuine language. Yeah, I am what? LOL

What do you love most about your hair?
What I most love about my hair is its fluffy feeling. The texture is like cotton candy. The curls start out nice and sharp... and become part of a big beautiful mess afterwards...hahah...Yeah, I love my hair!

What has been the most memorable part of the journey?
Everyday is memorable to me. I discover things about my hair 'til this day! The most difficult part of my journey, I don't know, it's weird that people have this idea of black hair as "bad".  I heard a lot of family members and even people I knew, talking about how crazy I was for shaving it... as a 16 year old girl, it's hard to understand why people are just so caught up in this whole image thing. I just wanted to be free and feel pretty to myself, feel like I belong here...and not keep trying to be someone else. That was the hardest part of the process. To understand that being different is a warrior move, not everyone has the balls for it, but once you go, there's no return.

Also, rainy days are difficult! hahahahah...the humidity ain't my friend...but hey! I got my Crowns! whenever I start complaining that my hair looks like an electrocuted poodle dog, I think to myself...GIRL,wrap it up! LOL

What were your favorite transitioning styles?
Transitioning styles that I love...Braids! I loved to have my braid game on point! Every month was a different story. I was super exited to have designs and colors whenever I had my braids changed. There's so much creativity in it!

What have your experiences been as a natural?
I have so many! I almost provoked a fight in a club one time! lol because my hair was so "different" this dude on the club line started to tell me that I was a pretty chick, but that my hair wasn't really a good look for me. In their opinion, my "nappy's" were not cute at all, and they said it looked weird. Meanwhile, this other dude behind me told them to shut up! and said I was original, so they had to leave the place before they got their ass whooped!  His quote to me was: Gurl! tell those retards! I am a lioness, I am used to the jungle. Sorry if I am too much for your backyard! LOL... yeah, it is an interesting life!

What is your hair regimen?
My regimen is simple. I make sure I condition my hair every time I wash it. So there's no question I will take at least 20 minutes in the shower on wash day! LOL I use Carol's Daugther Monoi hair mask, coconut oil, light leave in lotions, Miss Jessie's pillow talk, and Knot today.

What are your favorite vlogs and blogs?
To be honest, I don't watch a lot of hair videos. I just let it out. But, I like Natural belle blog. I follow a lot of curlies on IG and I travel a lot. LOL

Anything else you would like to share?
I just want to thank you for choosing me to be featured in your blog. I love the idea of telling my story. I feel pretty confident about who I am now that I have space to be genuine. I think it is great that all these curly ladies are making the same decision. It's just empowering and truthful. I am part of a project called Project {U}nicorn, with a dear beautiful fashionista known as @thebazaarbohemian. All we want is to spread love and inspiration through our stories and visual perception of this crazy world we live in. So I think life should be about that. Collaborating and sharing what makes you happy.
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." -Marianne Williamson
Where can we find you on social media?
People can find me @julianaluna or @crowns_of_nyanga. My email is [email protected]

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily.
Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at [email protected].

CharyJay writes: 

Usually, my videos are focused on how to get super defined hairstyles and ends with a full face of makeup to complete the look in order to look FAB. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that, but as I was reflecting on a lot of my past style tutorials, I noticed there wasn't one single video where I was just focusing on my hair, and myself in the raw; stripped down; naked.

I'm aware that there are people of all ages who watch my video and send their praises, wanting to achieve the same hairstyles and learn makeup techniques to get the same look, which again, is also fine. But I thought it was time to show myself sans all the glamour to prove that we're still beautiful in our natural state.

It's just a little something different that I hope will help those who are possibly struggling with their natural hair or confidence issues when trying to be themselves.

Watch Now!>>>

Joe Zee, Creative Director, Elle

"I’ve been working in fashion since I moved from Toronto to New York for college. As long as I’ve been here, I’ve never felt like I have to live in a fashion bubble. I consider myself a storyteller more than a stylist. I tell stories through pictures, through my Elle column [A to Zee], through social media, and through my TV shows [All On The Line and Revealing, both on the Sundance Channel]—I love sharing. For me, reality television is about being able to talk, show, and generate ideas in a new way. It makes fashion democratic, which I’m happy about. I like pulling back the curtain and saying, ‘Hey, this is how it works, people. This is the glamorous part, this is not the glamorous part, and this is how we do things.’ I don’t need it to be so sanctimonious.

We just did an episode of Revealing all about beauty—how the perception of beauty has changed, and how men are held to a new standard as purveyors of beauty. They get botox and plastic surgery, they’re expected to stay as trim as they were when they got married. Even my own perception of beauty has changed, but I think it’s just part of getting older. I’m 45 now—that’s pretty middle-aged. I look in the mirror and think, ‘Oh my god,’ because I don’t feel old at 45, and I don’t really care, but I do have lines on my face and whatever.

I’m only beginning to take care of my skin. For most of my life, I was lucky if I even washed my face, and my theory was that maybe you have bad skin, you might have a zit, but that’s life, and it will go away. I just started going to a dermatologist when I got to Elle, because Robbie Myers recommended one to me, and I got my first facial last year. Even when I was 35, I thought it was fancy to go to a dermatologist. I still thought it sounded high-maintenance, but I started going to Dr. Dennis Gross, and he’s awesome. I realized that it’s just like going to a general practitioner. Now I wash my face with Fresh Soy Face Cleanser—it’s my jam because it’s so gentle. I don’t use anything fragranced out of fear of getting a breakout. And I don’t use a moisturizer, because my skin’s so oily. At night, I use Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel Formula, which I’m obsessed with. His products are amazing. I also had a Hydra-Pure Vitamin C Brightening Serum that I loved from him, but I’m all out. I need to get more! When I travel somewhere hot and sunny, I use Dr. Dennis Gross Powerful Sun Protection Towelettes on my face, but I was always the kid who sat outside with olive oil on my skin. When people talk about putting on SPF 70, I’m like, ‘Just stay home.’ [Laughs] I’m not going to St. Barths to wear SPF 70. On my body, I want Hawaiian Tropic. It feels like vacation, and smells like coconut, and that’s all I am about. I want something that’s $6 and smells like a my idea of Polynesia. [Laughs]

Like I said, my skin is very oily. I’m always looking for something matte to control it. Someone gave me Clarins Mat Express Instant Shine Control Gel, and it works, but it’s very temporary. I use Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets—I learned that from a makeup artist, because the Clean & Clear sheets are plastic and really mattify and other ones are paper. I hold people with insider information like that captive. [Laughs] Being shiny doesn’t actually bother me very much, but when I’m on TV, they’re always telling me to cover it up with powder. That was another thing I resisted—wearing makeup for TV, because I thought it was so vain. The film crew was just like, ‘Dude, we’re trying to make this look as good as possible.’ And they were right. I saw a playback one day and thought, ‘I look like I have an oil slick on my forehead.’ As soon as I could let go that it wasn’t about fashion, or about me being high-maintenance, I was on board. Do I love wearing makeup? No. Do I wear it outside of TV? No. But, when I’m filming All on the Line and we have 14-hour days, I powder.

I've learned how to apply makeup progressively from makeup artists on photo shoots. And now I can just crank it out, and I’m not shy about it either. I’ll put it on at the gym, right in the locker room, and you know what? I notice other guys putting it on, too—and I doubt they’re going to film anything. [Laughs] I use MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW35 to cover blemishes and a birthmark on my face that the camera guys tell me just reads as dirt on TV. [Laughs] And my makeup artist friend in L.A., Jeannia Robinette, told me to use La Mer The Treatment Fluid Foundation on my T-zone. And then I seal that with MAC Dark Mineralize Skinfinish powder. I carry that with me all the time—the powder and the La Mer The Foundation Brush. Whenever they yell, ‘You’re shiny again!’ I can just pull them out of my pocket and powder myself. We joke that I start the day as Joe Zee and end the day as RuPaul. [Laughs]

So the makeup is new, but I haven’t changed most of my personal care products for decades. I shave in the morning with a drugstore razor and Edge Shave Gel, which I’ve been using since I was in high school. I use the Sonicare toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste. And I don’t wear deodorant. I got a major rash from it when I was a teenager, and was told I was allergic, so I haven’t worn it since. My doctor told me that I don’t actually need to wear it—it's just a marketing thing. I’ve been washing my hair with Aveda Shampure Shampoo and Conditioner since I was in college. I’m just a creature of habit.”

—as told to ITG

Joe Zee photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on November 13, 2013. Read Part 2 of Joe's interview (The Professional) here.

Turn Your Face Into A Work of Art

Ever wanted the Girl with a Pearl Earring's glow? Or seriously eyed the tousled curls on Botticelli's Venus (a.k.a. Renaissance Beyoncé)? Well, let us make your dream real—and use that Art History degree, finally—by recreating the makeup from a few famous portraits.

We got the idea when Bloomingdale's emailed us about these new Bobbi Brown Art Sticks they're carrying. They look like jumbo colored pencils, and they've got a beautifully pigmented texture, like oil paint on canvas. Most importantly, though, the shades are dead ringers for some of the most iconic lips in modern art. As in, matches so exact we suspect Bobbi visited the Met's Belle Époque exhibit when she formulated them. Kind of insane. Want a smirk so alluring someone might be tempted to paint (or at least Instagram) it? Keep reading, then:

Painting: Madame X by John Singer Sargent
Art Stick: Cassis
X was John Singer Sargent's tribute to Virginie Gautreau, a socialite who might as well have been her generation's Daphne Guinness. She wore scandalous strapless gowns, dyed her hair and eyebrows red with henna, ate arsenic wafers to make her skin translucent, and accentuated her milky complexion with mauve powder that gave her an otherworldly purple glow. Just exhibiting the painting caused a riot on the Champs-Élysées, and the Paris press insinuated that Mrs. Gautreau had posed sans sous-vêtements. SCANDALE!

Virginie's not-so-little LBD and berry-stained lip are as cool now as they were in 1884, and though we're not super into ingesting arsenic, dabbing Cassis over a thin base coat of Aquaphor will give your mouth the depth and sheerness of Sargent's strokes. It looks great on pale girls, and you'll feel just a little bit more outrageous.

Painting: Woman with a Black Tie by Modigliani
Art Stick: Sunset Orange
Amedeo Modigliani's affair with Jeanne Hébuterne is the stuff doomed, romantic artist stereotypes are made of. They were only together for three years, but in that time they refused to marry, had a child, produced work after incredible work, then died within 24 hours of one another. Jeanne, a fellow painter, was Modigliani's muse, as well as his soulmate. She's the subject of over 20 of his works, and Woman with a Black Tie is from 1917, when they'd just become an item. Her show-stopping lips alone are enough to suggest how enamored he was—they're vivid, full, and the undeniable focal point. Want that? Fill in your lips completely with Bobbi's Sunset Orange and then press translucent powder on top for the perfect chalked-matte finish.

Painting: Portrait of Emilie Flöge by Gustav Klimt
Art Stick: Dusty Pink
Klimt's muse, Emilie Flöge, was a force to be reckoned with. She was a liberated woman who ran her own couture business and lived with Klimt—also out of wedlock, naturally—for almost 20 years. In a world where swept back hair and demure colors were the fashion for women, she's all voluminous curls and rich patterns. And instead of trying for Madame X's pallor, Emilie has a healthy, rosy  glow that suggests Mr. Klimt's excellent technique extended well outside the studio.  Recreate her soft smile with just a couple swipes of Dusty Pink—enough to get the color, but not so much that your natural lip tone doesn't show through.

Photos by Mathea Millman. This art history lesson made possible by the culture-loving crew at Bloomingdale's. Pick up the new Art Sticks exclusively here