by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Venetia Alia Talks Tech-Free Mornings & Everyday Self-Care Rituals

We’re on Instagram’s Explore page pretty often since we’re constantly searching for inspirational women to feature on ‘BEAU-FILES’. And it was during one of these scrolls that we stumbled upon Venetia Alia’s feed and instantly tapped ‘Follow’. Her whole feed is an inspirational mood board, with naturally lit photos that feel authentic and neutral outfits that we can definitely get behind. We recently caught up with Venetia to learn more about her journey, morning routine, self-care rituals and beauty picks — get to know our latest Instagram crush, ahead. 

Tell us more about you.

I am an Indian-American architect also trained in literature and fine art, both of which I still pursue. I’m technically based in New York City, but I am used to a nomadic lifestyle and have more or less been living in the countryside for the past year. I was born in California and lived there for most of my childhood although my family moved fairly often. Since university, I’ve been living between New York and Europe, and I completed my Master in Architecture in Vienna, although I primarily design for myself these days. 

What keeps you busy everyday?

Writing, sculpting and model-making, painting, my cats and of course documenting some of it. I have notebooks stuffed full of works to be completed and ideas to be realised, and this past year has given me the time and space to bring them to life.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? How do you get your day going?

Lately, my mornings begin with a brisk walk, getting coffee, and bringing breakfast to some feral cats I take care of as well as my own. Some days I start with yoga and meditation and other days I jump into books I left off before sleeping. It’s steadily become important to me that my mornings don’t involve screens. It may seem counterintuitive but it actually lets me clear my head before diving into meetings and deadlines in the afternoon.

Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?

If you know me, then you are very familiar with my coffee obsession—I am honestly never without it. I have some form of it with oat milk first thing in the morning, either a spiced latte or a cortado. Then I’ll usually have another something in the afternoon or matcha. I usually have a light breakfast, usually, a croissant or four, followed by fresh fruit or a frozen açaí bowl a bit later. I actually loathe cooking, so that’s been an interesting adjustment this past year. 

What’s your go-to look for the day ahead? Do you plan your outfits ahead or pick randomly?

I rarely plan outfits, but my closet is full of neutrals so this makes it easy for most pieces to just work well together. I’m usually either in an oversized shirt or sweater, knit bralette, and loose comfortable trousers of some sort or in linen dresses that are two sizes too big. Blazers make everything better, and my favourites are always from the men’s department or seriously oversized. 

How does the city where you live, in addition to your cultural heritage, influence your personal style?

It’s difficult to say that I’m influenced by places or heritage per se. It’s more about embodying or encompassing an aesthetic I am moved by at the time while being very conscious of sustainability and fairness, of what and how much I consume. In summer, it’s usually about natural textures, earthy tones, movement versus stillness, and a type of disorder, or organized chaos. Because so much of my personal style is captured in posed stills, I try to be less contrived off the screen. 

What is your definition of femininity?

Femininity can be an often oppressive term that needs to regularly dismantled and reclaimed. To me it is one part of a network that also includes masculinity and everything in between.

“Femininity isn’t specific to gender and is highly subjective and fluid. It is the freedom to do as you wish and be who you are, without total disregard for labels or judgement.”

It can manifest as a woman who lives in what is conventionally termed menswear one day and in barely there, body-hugging dresses. To me, one isn’t more feminine than the other. Both/and, not either/or.

What is a typical skincare routine for you?

I cleanse once in the night and sometimes in the morning if I feel I need it. I follow with a serum unless my skin has additional needs that day. Sometimes I tone in the evenings. Then deep moisture and SPF. I rarely wear makeup, and if I do it’s usually just highlighter and lip stain.

I love seeing the natural texture of the skin and prefer to address tone variations, pigmentation, puffy eyes et cetera, with skincare and nutrition rather than makeup. Less is definitely more in my case, and I prefer to keep things as minimal and easy as possible.

What beauty product are you most particular about and why?

I am most particular about moisturising, usually serums and oils over creams. I have mostly dry skin that has become sensitive over time, and rich serums are an absolute staple to keep my skin comfortably hydrated.

What is the most exciting beauty purchase you’ve made recently and why?

Hands down Tatcha’s Camellia Beauty Oil! I never thought I’d like it as much as I do and was a bit turned off by the name. But it ended up being my rescue oil, and I use it everywhere including my face, nails, tips of my hair and elbows. 

How does self-care come into play in your beauty routine?

Self-care manifests in the very act of tending to the needs of my body and my mind. I don’t usually have much time to spare for masking or treatments, so I compel myself to make my everyday rituals the main aspect of it. It’s becoming easier actually as I find the intentionality helps me ground myself.

“The very act of cleansing and hydrating with awareness and gratitude serves as my daily reminder of how important it is to nurture myself.”

It then goes on to what I eat and how I treat my body during the day.

I deal with stress in a multitude of ways, like setting and vocalising intentions and reminders of the bigger picture. Practising yoga for at least twenty minutes and with alternative asanas and pranayamas, brisk walks, movement of any sort but not overly strenuous, as well as music therapy and saunas. 

What is making you feel hopeful about the future right now?

My rapidly approaching second vaccination shot. The idea of travelling again, of being inspired by spaces and languages rather than screens and routine.

Venetia’s Beauty Picks

Tatcha The Essence, SGD142
Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil, SGD135
ESPA Active Nutrients Pro Cleanser, SGD58
Optimal Skin Pro-Serum, SGD99
Aesop Elemental Facial Barrier Cream, SGD77
Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner, SGD87

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