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When I first met Kyle Lucia Wu, her magnetic, gregarious energy shone through instantly, and we became fast friends. We were at a magazine launch, and we recognized one another from social media & writing, even though we'd never met before. For writers, as much of a distraction being on social media platforms is for our work, it's a critical way to build community and share news of your successes and your struggles. What I love about working with writers for these photo shoots: we're very much anti-establishment when it comes to the discourse around beauty. As Asian-American women, words like "exotic" or "ethnic" are thrown around to describe our looks. What we wanted to achieve with Kyle's photoshoot is a look that transcends those narrow definitions of beauty that suffocate us, we wanted to highlight her in her home, her neighborhood, her everyday. 

On location in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the brownstone steps in the neighborhood complemented the brown-pink tones in Amber Dusk, while inside her home, the coral red armchair seemed made for Hawaii Sun. I wanted to play up Kyle's gorgeous look in these two lipsticks in particular, since both hues have coral, gold and pink tones that are reminiscent of the tropics at dusk. What better way to work on your novel than to wear the sunset on your lips?

Read below for Kyle's beauty tips and about some of the new work she's got up her sleeve. 

What is your daily beauty regimen?

I love Korean skincare but I'm too lazy for all of the steps, so I do a condensed version of it: hopefully twice a day I'll use toner-soaked cotton pads from RE:PMissha First Treatment essence, and moisturizer (su:m37 gel lotion for daytime and Missha snail cream at night). I mostly work from home and the best part of that is being able to put on a sheet mask while doing so -- I'm addicted to the SkinFood snail masks. A lot of snail serum, all the time.

I’ve never been that into make-up because it’s such a struggle to find shades that match my skintone, but recently I’m really into the new Fenty foundation for when I'm dressed up. I always fill in my brows with Anastasia Brow Definer, but other than that I like to be clean-faced with some lip color on a daily basis. Lipstick is quick and dramatic and I can put it on in the subway. I don’t want to need more than ten minutes to get ready.

Most of my make-up now comes from either Rihanna or Hi Wildflower, by very enthusiastic choice — this is the future I’ve been waiting for since I was in middle school, trying to borrow my friends’ powders and beige-y nudes!


What is your go-to Hi Wildflower Lipstick? Why?

Amber Dusk is my everyday because it's a nude that is actually nude on me. It punches up the pink of my lips but in a very subtle way.

In the summer I was living in Hawaii Sun for the bounciness of the orangey-red and how well it goes with a tan. I feel like it’s imperative to have a few different shades of red, so I like Dianthus & Shona for glamour.

I’ve been wearing Jean Paul Gaultier perfume for almost ten years but now I’m converted to Hi Wildflower. In the summer I wore Hanalei, which has beachy, tousled-hair vibes. I switched to Lovers Rock for the fall, I like how spicy and heady it is without being heavy. I put it on even when I’m just getting up to write because I like smelling it on my wrists when I have my chin in my hand, all existential. 

What are some new projects you're working on? 

This fall I was lucky to have a month at the Millay Colony and a week at Blue Mountain Center, so I’m trying to get out of being so spoiled with time for my writing and having my meals cooked for me. I spent the time working on my novel-in-progress, which deals with biracial identity and blended families. I recently started working with Kundiman as the programs and communications manager, and it's been a dream to be at an organization that nurtures and celebrates Asian American literature, so I've been busy and happy with that.


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