This post is the first of a new column that I am incredibly passionate about and have been wanting to do for years. In evolving the site into the new DIVAlicious.NYC, several opportunities and signs presented themselves, and I knew it was finally time to debut the column and launch the series…
THE CONCEPT: What is BEAUTYfull™
Our new tagline is Spread beauty. It’s the diva way.™ And the goal in spreading beauty, in our diva way, is to reach everyone. It is inclusive, not exclusive as beauty has been positioned and marketed in advertising, media and Hollywood. Beauty, as I see it, is the whole pie and not just the small slice that is consistently served up.
I have always firmly believed that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, races, genders, features… in all the unique elements that form each unique whole.
There is a FULL spectrum of BEAUTY and we all exist in it. And with that thought, the concept of BEAUTYfull™ came to life.
A series in which we will showcase and I will interview individuals that represent the range of that fullness and we will discuss their thoughts on beauty and their own part in it.
On a personal note – whether it’s professional for a big brand or personal for a best friend, when I do makeup I don’t start by looking for flaws to conceal but rather features to highlight and enhance. That is how my eye is trained. So when clients or models, or women or men IRL, fear I am dissecting or judging them, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. That self-scrutiny and baseline assumption needs to change. And we are all, even the most confident among us, at times guilty of it. We believe the script we are read, instead of taking the pen to rewrite it.
On a macro level, a lot of change is finally happening in beauty. And it’s been a long time coming.
- Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover story and transgender model Andreja Pejic on the cover of Vogue.
- Racial diversity on the runway and in advertising.
- Women over the age of 60 as the faces of Marc Jacobs Beauty and NARS.
- Double amputee war veteran Noah Galloway as the face of a Kenneth Cole fragrance.
- Plus size models opening fashion shows, landing major mainstream campaigns and inspiring social media movements.
Yes, it is only the beginning. But…. this is the future of beauty. This is BEAUTYfull™. And we plan to cover it on the new DIVAlicious.NYC.
Special note: All photography by Stephania Stanley. All makeup and styling by Lauren Cosenza. Shot on location in Breezy Point, Queens, NYC.
THE FIRST SUBJECT: Mrs. T
Our first subject is Mary Tedesco, and she is a 97-year-old ageless beauty.
I look at Mrs. T and I see beauty both physical and emanating from within. I am inspired and oddly reassured by it. I see Mrs. T smile and it can light a room. She makes me reconsider my own discomfort with aging. How can I see her so full of life and literally glowing yet find it hard to look in a mirror and see my own fine lines begin to form. How can my heart instantly warm at witnessing the contagious joy in her eyes, yet occasionally sink when I see the deepening circles under my own. How can her beauty at nearly 100 years old be unquestionable to me, but mine up for debate on those days I don’t like what I see.
A Mrs. T in your life is a constant reminder that there is no expiration date for beauty. Not 30, not 40, not 50, not 100.
Whether women are excluded or invisible in the beauty/fashion/advertising/media/Hollywood industries after a certain age, matters not in this instance. We will change that over time. But in the now, in this moment, look to every Mrs. T you know and let it become very clear: To feel and act beautiful is to be beautiful. To take care of and invest in yourself for all your days is to be beautiful. To radiate love and show affection is to be beautiful. To see the beauty in others and in both the ordinary and the remarkable is to be beautiful. To enjoy life and appreciate being alive is to be beautiful. That is ageless beauty.
THE INTERVIEW: Mrs. T and her perspective on beauty
Q: What is your beauty regimen now? Has it changed a lot over time?
One of my 5 daughters usually colors my hair about once a month. I use honey beige blonde. I get my hair cut at the barber. Believe it or not, he cuts my hair much better than the salon. Plus I don’t need an appointment and can just show up last minute whenever someone can take me. I wash my hair everyday. My daughter Alice fixes my hair the best. She uses a blow dryer and a curling brush with a little hair spray.
I used to do my nails myself. Now I get manicures. I like to use corals or rose colored shades, nothing too red.
For makeup, I use a base foundation, with some rouge but nothing too heavy. I also use a light eyebrow pencil and a coral lipstick. I don’t go out without my lipstick. If I’m going out somewhere special I like to use some blue eyeshadow. I think it highlights my blue eyes. Blue is my favorite color.
I don’t use perfume anymore. My skin has gotten sensitive over the years. But my husband Jim used to buy me Chanel No. 5 for my anniversary every year. It was my favorite.
I clean my face with Ponds cold cream every night before bed. I also use a body moisturizer daily after the shower.
Q: Who are your beauty icons? Who is beautiful to you?
When I was growing up, people went to see Vaudeville acts. There were no movies. My father was an orchestra leader. I was very proud of him so I loved to go and see the acts as often as I could. The Vaudeville dancers were my beauty icons. They were really beautiful. I loved to watch them dance. I also thought Betty Grable was beautiful.
I think there are many beautiful movie stars today but to me, my friends and family are all beautiful.
Q: When you first discovered the world of beauty and starting using beauty products, what was the beauty look at the time? What do you think about it now?
I first discovered beauty when I was 12 or 13 and I started using makeup. I used powder and a little rouge. At the time I remember I thought people wore too much… the look was very heavy. I actually like it much better now.
Q: Did you feel beautiful in your life? When and why did you feel beautiful? When and why didn’t you feel beautiful?
I didn’t feel beautiful all of the time, I hope I wasn’t one of those! As a young child I thought that I was gorgeous. When I got a little older and wasn’t so gorgeous I realized I wasn’t.
My opinion of myself changed over the years.
There are a few moments that stand out. I remember on my 5th birthday my father called me up onstage and announced it was my birthday. The crowd applauded and I felt pretty special.
And of course I felt beautiful on my wedding day.
Q: What is beauty to you?
Beauty is happiness. I think if someone wants to look beautiful they should try to look happy. They should try not to have many scowls or mad faces.
Mrs. T with her great-granddaughter (my goddaughter) Alyssa.
BONUS Q: Legend has it in your high school yearbook it says, “loves beer and pretzels.” What else do you love?
It does say that by my high school yearbook picture and I still love beer –but I’d have to say martinis and ice cream are very high up on my list. My family and friends too.
* For this post we used the products featured below. Please note this post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased, my own and the subject’s own. 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. *
Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum
Josie Maran 100 % Pure Argan Oil
Em by Michelle Phan Makeup Mood Enhancer
Illuminare Concealing Mineral Foundation
Physician’s Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Stick
Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Lipstick
The next BEAUTYfull™ is slated for August. Stay tuned…
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).
This is great Lauren! Beauty is happiness! Could not agree more. What a wonderful opportunity to gain some wisdom from a 97 yr old beauty!!
I love that so much!!! Best quote! Also “I don’t go out without my lipstick.” I mean, TWINSIES!! #samesame
I am so moved by this interview. Mrs. T is a true beauty icon!! She inspires me to want to feel my beauty from inside and out!!!
She is a beauty icon! Did you see she was rocking some gold Tribe Tat temporary tattoo bracelets and rings, Rosie? Ageless beauty and ageless style!
She could do commercials for Tribe Tat!!!
Lauren, I can’t thank you enough for capturing my grandmother so well in this article and for giving her this opportunity. I can only imagine how happy you made her feel the day of the photo shoot and interview. :) And thank you for this wonderful quote ” A Mrs. T in your life is a constant reminder that there is no expiration date for beauty”
We loved having Mrs. T to launch the series! She was a true professional on set :) and always has pearls of wisdom to share. It was a very fun day and we are all so happy with how everything came out! XO
I absolutely LOVE this! Such a joy to see the faces of beauty changing and evolving to be the FULL spectrum. Mrs. T sounds amazing and so inspiring! She is so full of beauty – she radiates happiness and exudes self love and security. Her responses are brilliant, so warm and full of love.
Can’t wait to read what’s next for the BEATYfull series.