Our seventh BEAUTYfull feature is here and I am ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with the words and images that came straight from the heart of this self-love expert.
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 seventh post in the series, I share with you the light and wisdom that Nitika Chopra cannot help but emanate.
THE SEVENTH SUBJECT: Nitika Chopra
Nitika Chopra is a talk show host, certified life coach, wellness entrepreneur, and beauty and self-care expert who has been living in NYC for 15 years. She is a woman on a mission to inspire radical self-love.
What does that mean, you ask?
Nitika Chopra “wants everyone — including you — to fall in love with who they are; to recognize their inner and outer beauty with ease; and to finally experience the transformational power of self-care.”
I met Nitika recently at a beauty breakfast. I was seated beside her and instantly felt a special energy. As we got to chatting, I told her about BEAUTYfull™ and we exchanged information. One day shy of a month later, we shot her for the series. When asked what about the program appealed to her, she initially shared, “The first thing that appealed to me is the amazing Lauren Cosenza. She is so awesome and so full of life and such a badass, I was just like – whatever she’s doing I want to be a part of it – and that’s the honest truth.” Ummmmmmm. LOVE THIS GIRL. She followed with “the second part of it is that it is genuinely aligned with everything I believe in. I believe that beauty is way more than skin deep. And I also believe we are all truly beautiful no matter what we might think about things going on with our bodies. And I’d love to be part of anything that expresses that and shares that with women.” Did I mention I love her?!!
THE INTERVIEW: Nitika on accepting, embracing and loving your authentic self, the responsibility of the beauty industry, and the blowouts she got for the majority of her life until the one day she let her GORGEOUS curls loose and they became her signature beauty look.
What do you love about yourself physically? Why?
I really love my body, and I can’t even believe I can say that out loud because I did not always love my body. But my body’s been through so much. Growing up and becoming a woman, plus I also had so many other things going on with my body growing up. I just feel so much love for my body. The size that it is, the height that it is, the color that it is – I feel like, you’re perfectly me. It’s hand-crafted or god-crafted or whatever you want to say – to be me. And that’s really beautiful to me.
What have you felt pressure to change or alter, or have you otherwise struggled with or felt insecure about?
Well, at the same time [as it being what I love about myself], what I’ve really struggled with is my body. I have worked so hard to love my body. Everyone in my family is really thin and has, like, 0% body fat. And my parents are taller than me. And I’m the curviest person in my family. That took a lot of getting used to, it took a lot of loving myself. I don’t look like anyone else in my home but I’m still beautiful. It was a long journey.
I think there is this thing when you become a parent… you don’t know what do do when something is so different than you. Like, even my hair, when I was growing up. In the Indian culture it’s more desirable to have straightened, more pulled-together, conservative hair. When I was younger I got blow-dries all the time. When I got to be in my mid-20s I couldn’t afford to get blow-dries all the time and there was something empowering about drying my hair naturally – and having my natural waves come out. And now it’s my signature thing!
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?
Maybe it’s because I grew up in Ohio but I would say a “beautiful girl” is an A-cup, size 24 waist, with straight blonde hair and bright blue eyes and sun-kissed cheeks. Like somehow, that is still the thing I still compare myself to.
How do you think most women compare to this standard, or feel about it?
I don’t know anyone who looks like that!
If you had a crystal ball, what do you see in the future for beauty? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Do you feel things are more inclusive now?
I feel very confident the beauty industry is going to change in the direction of the curvy woman. I know it’s already changed so much and there is so much more to do. But I feel like women like Ashley Graham and more athletic women coming to the forefront. All of those things. I feel like we are going in the right direction. Hopefully in 10 years from now, it’s not going to be a huge deal that there’s a voluptuous woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It’s just going to be like um, duhhh, yeah because she’s HOT.
Do you think social media is democratizing beauty? Like curvy women don’t need to be cast by anyone – they are getting their own following. And then do you think beauty brands and media are celebrating this because they believe in it or do you think they are just following the money trail?
Brands have gotten a lot of flack for destroying women’s views on themselves and I’m hoping they now feel like it’s a responsibility. I’m hoping! I mean, Ashley Graham is hot now, there’s no denying that, so the money is there for sure. But I’m hoping that the people in charge feel that if they can make a change, they will. Because it’s a responsibility.
But if the industry isn’t going to move, we’re going to move it! It’s also our responsibility.
Who were your first beauty icons? Who do you see as a beauty icon now?
My grandmother is the definition of graceful and elegant. She went through some crazy things in her life. She had to get a tracheotomy, which is where you have a whole in your neck. She has diamonds around her hole! It’s not even a thing. That is how I want to be forever!
And in the world, I’ve always had a deep obsession with Penelope Cruz. She’s so ridiculously beautiful and I also just feel like she’s really strong – which I love about her – or at least she plays a lot of strong women in the roles she picks. And I love that. I love that she seems super spicy.
When do you feel beautiful? What makes you feel beautiful?
I’ve always felt the most beautiful when I just wash off my face from the day. It’s a moment for me. I spend a good 20 minutes on my beauty routine every night. It’s just me and the mirror and god. It’s my time to plug in and decompress and not stress. I feel so pure. There’s a sweetness there and I feel beautiful during that time.
When don’t you feel beautiful? What makes you feel not beautiful?
If I haven’t slept enough or if I eat things that I know my body is not going to like, I feel it immediately. I don’t feel good. I just feel gross. Even meditating – the days that I meditate, I just radiate beauty in a way that I can’t if my inner-guidance systems are all over the place. When I meditate, I get clarity, I get calm, I can focus, I can be more of service. I connect with something bigger than myself. I think that beauty is an inside job.
What is your beauty regimen? Has it changed over your life?
I try to go makeup free as many days as I can during the week. I usually just do a really good cleanser and moisturizer and a little bit of eye cream. But for the days I have to wear makeup for the work I do, I wear a lot of Tarte makeup. I do a little bit of concealer and a bit of BB cream to correct uneven spots and I do a LOT of mascara. Then a light cheek stain and sometimes I’ll fill in my eyebrows a bit. It looks like an enhancement, not too much makeup.
Any beauty advice you’ve been given that you particularly appreciated? Any that you particularly did not?
My mom was such a stickler on keeping my face as free of makeup as much as possible. And not from a negative place. Just in that you only have one face. And that’s just in my DNA now.
And for advice I did not appreciate, I was on a shoot once and the makeup artist trimmed my hairline. And I had toyed with the idea of doing that a few times because you see with models, bare face, so clean, no hair. But this is who I am, I have a lot of hair. And it’s fine. So he did that to me and I kind of kept it up for a couple of weeks, but it felt fake. It wasn’t for me. It wasn’t me.
Who is beautiful to you?
We all are. Honestly. I’ve been through a lot of things with my body and it’s up to us to be able to see beauty in everyone, including ourselves. I really believe we all are beautiful.
What is beautiful to you?
What’s the most beautiful to me is someone having the courage to truly be themselves. Literally just thinking about it, I could start crying. I get so emotional because I feel like people have a hard time loving themselves and taking care of themselves as it is. When you’re stuck with a challenge or you’re just different – or you have something, and all of us really do, that you’re fighting against and trying to embrace but you don’t know how… The moment that people embrace that about themselves is literally something that I could stare at in awe for a lifetime.
I live in New York City and you see people who are in a wheelchair, people who are blind, or people who are transgender for example– you see all of that and it’s like holy shit, you just woke up one day and were like — this is me. Not only is not going to hold me back, I’m going to love it. That to me is the most powerful, profound thing that you can ever experience.
For this post I used the products featured below. Please note this post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and 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.
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).