Our eighth BEAUTYfull feature is here and I really could not love it any more than I do. We took a different approach visually to the second setup as the whole look and feel and vibe and energy and subject and venue and EVERYTHING called for it. We hope you love these images as well as our subject’s insight into beauty nearly as much as we do.
BEHIND THE CONCEPT: What is BEAUTYfull™
Spread beauty. It’s our mission. And our goal in spreading beauty is that it reaches everyone. It is inclusive, not exclusive. We believe beauty comes in all ages, races, genders, features, abilities, sizes, shapes, body types… in all the unique elements that form each of our unique whole. There is a FULL spectrum of BEAUTY and we all exist in it. With our own personal experiences, stories and voices. And with that, originated the concept of BEAUTYfull™.
For the eight post in the series, we serve up the bombshell beauty and pinup glamour that is the fabulous signature style of Miss Loni Venti.
THE EIGHTH SUBJECT: Loni Venti
Loni Venti is a born-and-raised NYC beauty editor who has worked for publications (like Cosmopolitan and People Style Watch to casually namedrop a few) for the past nine years. To paint a picture, using just a few of her favorite things, Loni loves red lipstick, anything retro and drinking too much coffee. Originally a Staten Island girl, Loni now lives in Park Slope with her “bestie-soulmate-husband.” Loni recently left a full-time editorial position to explore freelance opportunities and work for herself. She describes this new stage of self-employment as “scary and exciting” and shares that “every day feels like a new adventure.”
I have known Loni for several years through the industry and have always loved her personal take on bombshell beauty and pinup style. Loni has a refreshingly playful spirit when it comes to beauty and fashion. And beneath the surface, I’ve long admired her radiant energy and good vibes. Loni has a big beautiful smile, and it’s backed by authentic warmth and sweetness.
When I asked Loni if she would like to participate in the BEAUTYfull series, she immediately said yes. When I later asked her why she wanted to participate, she explained, “I’ve felt like an outsider my whole life so whenever someone mentions beauty in an INCLUSIVE fashion, I actually tear up. I hate the Mean Girl mentality – in fact, I think that class is fading out, and the new guard is much more focused on lifting each other up and blocking out the bad vibes. I always look for opportunities to celebrate what we all have instead of picking apart what we’re lacking. The BEAUTYfull project is a fantastic representation of this and I’m honored that you asked me to be involved. Plus, who doesn’t love getting glammed up and pretending to be a model for a day?”
THE INTERVIEW: Loni on what the “perfect woman” looks like in 2016, the benefits of cultivating a signature style, and staying true to yourself over following trends.
Describe the idealized standard of beauty for women as you see it today. What does the perfect woman, as defined by Hollywood, entertainment and social media, look like?
It’s slowly getting more accepting and diverse, but I still think right now the “ideal” woman – in Hollywood’s eyes – is tall, athletic/slim, wears minimal makeup – but of course still looks gorgeous with just a dab of concealer – and has hair that’s supposed to look like she just rolled out of bed or finished playing volley ball at the beach when it actually took her styling three hours and a suitcase of extensions to create. Basically Kendall meets Gigi plus Oribe texturizing spray plus an IDGAF/I Woke Up Like This attitude.
How do you think most women compare to this standard, or feel about it?
It’s unrealistic and exclusive. Also, can we please acknowledge that not everyone wants to look like a beachy boho Coachella queen? Some of us want to be 50s burlesque queens, okay? :)
What have you ever felt pressure to change or alter, or have you otherwise struggled with or felt insecure about in regards to your appearance?
Oh man so many things, but mostly my weight. I’ve never been a skinny girl and even though our society is getting more accepting of different shapes and sizes, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop thinking of my body as a work in progress.
Also people in the industry have told me that vintage/pinup/retro looks are tacky, not on trend, and not aspirational. I respectfully disagree — women ask me at least once a day what red lipstick I’m wearing! — but more importantly, I’m not dressing to be trendy or look editorial. I’m just trying to be me.
Who were your first beauty icons? Who do you see as a beauty icon now?
When I was little I always sat on the edge of the bathtub while my mom set her hair in hot rollers and swiped on lipstick. It felt incredibly glamorous and I couldn’t wait to be a grown up and dress like a lady myself. As a teenager I was obsessed with No Doubt-era Gwen Stefani – probably because she was like a badass version of Marilyn – and tried my best to mimic her brown-red lipstick and punk rock style. Today, I try to do my own thing. I obviously LOVE Marilyn Monroe, and even though I idolize her and borrow a lot from her look, I always try to make it my own.
When do you feel beautiful? What makes you feel beautiful?
In a big picture sense, I feel the most beautiful when I’m doing things or with people that remind me how beautiful life is. For example, when I’m laughing at something ridiculous with my husband, having an awesome time with my friends, or on vacation exploring new cities. In a superficial glam-girl sense, I feel beautiful when all my maintenance has been checked off. Roots touched up? Check. Fresh mani? Check. Depuffing facial? Check. Cat eyes and red lips perfected? Check. I’m definitely not a low maintenance girl.
What is your beauty regimen? Has it changed over your life?
I have a beauty uniform that has made getting ready super easy and as a side bonus, people start to recognize you for your signature look and it becomes like a part of your personal brand. I always wear a cat eye and red lip. Always use the same products. I also get a mani every week and my nail shape and color are always the same (oval and red). I don’t feel like myself without them.
In high school and early college I tried to make my (super pasty) self look like a bronzed Italian babe but it didn’t suit me. I dyed my hair black, went tanning, and loaded on the bronzer and smoky shadows. It didn’t look terrible, but it didn’t feel like me. I also dyed my hair a lot and even had a pink stage. It’s been quite an evolution. But who knows, I could look at these pics when I’m 60 and think “what the hell was I wearing?” It’s all part of our journey.
When you are casting for beauty as an editor, what is the process? Have you ever felt compromised by castings not being more inclusive? Have you ever fought to include someone who did not originally meet casting specs?
In the roles I’ve had as an editor, casting has never been solely up to me — although at some times I’ve been able to weigh in or make recommendations. I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to shoot Robyn Lawley – a stunning “plus” supermodel – for a lipstick feature a few years back. Publications are definitely getting smarter and diversifying models, but it’s happening slower and more delicately than many of us would like. The best thing that we can do as a reader/consumer is speak with our spending. If you purchase magazines and products that feature women of diverse shapes, sizes, and colors, the brands and publications will be more motivated to include them. Money talks!
Lastly, what about pinup glamour appeals to you so much?
I love the extreme femininity of it and the playful, fun way that it’s sexy but isn’t too serious. Even the sexiest, barely-dressed pinup art still has a wink. It’s glamour with a bubbly side. And whenever I see images of the old Hollywood starlets, it takes my breath away. If I could wear a slinky gown, diamonds, a (faux!) fur, and sip champagne all day I 100% would.
Please note this post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own and the subject’s own. For this post I used the products featured below. Products were provided for editorial consideration and/or my use as a professional makeup artist. All photos are property of DIVAlicious and Stephania Stanley Photography.
Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.
Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site, with a goal to SPREAD BEAUTY, is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.
Stephanie Stanley (or Stephania, as her Greek family calls her) is a New York City-based advertising and editorial photographer who specializes in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Her work can be found on ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Marie Claire, TODAY, DailyCandy, and TeenVogue. Her client list includes Levi’s, JCPenney, Clean & Clear, Microsoft, Olay, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Garnier, TRESemmé, Estée Lauder, Nexxus, GAP, Secret, and more.
Stephanie holds an MFA in Photography from Parsons and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and puppy, Ophelia, where she can be found running along Brooklyn Bridge Park and enjoying chocolate croissants from the local Italian bakery (typically in that exact order).