Linda Evangelista is the first to admit that she's a certified beauty product junkie. She's tried thousands of creams, serums, this and that, but then one day she was given a product called Erasa XEP30 that was so good, she eliminated everything else from her routine. In short, the lotion eases facial muscle movement like botulinum toxin does (but topically), thanks to the secret tripeptides derived from Australian snail venom. (Don’t fret! Thanks to biomimetic science, the snails are safe and left alone.) In fact, Evangelista loves Erasa so much, she’s now the brand’s vice president, creative director and—yes—spokesperson. She shared her past skincare woes, how she found modeling and what she likes to do in her kitchen besides bake.
So, how did you come to be involved with Erasa?
The husband of my aesthetician Georgia Louise is friends with Jules Zecchino, the chairman and chief product technology officer of BioMimetic Labs, who created Erasa. He gave her a bottle to give to me and asked if I’d try it and give him feedback. And I was like, “Okay.” I mean, I get so many products to try, and I can’t try all of them.
I hear you.
So, I bring it home, and place it next to my bed, because that’s where I get out the laptop and do my researching. One night, I’m in my bathroom and staring at my evening protocol of everything I have to put on my face--never mind my body—and it’s overwhelming. I mean, Georgia did help me with this protocol, but it’s not her fault there are so many steps. I’m a beauty product addict, and I want this to address that, and I want that to address this. And then there are all the layers we have to put on. Now, there are even serums that go over moisturizers, and then there’s a spray that seals it all in. It just doesn’t stop.
And if you dare to skip any of those steps, it’ll all fall apart…
And my bathroom is just exploding with beauty products. It got to the point where my brother put up more shelves for me! So, everything’s lined up, but, to make a long story short, I never did the protocol. It’s just…
It’s too much.
It’s not realistic, even for a vain person, and so, I’d just say forget it, and off to bed I would go. So, I look at this bottle of Erasa and one night I use it. Then the next night and the next night, and this goes on for a couple weeks. Then, one day, I was tweezing my brows in my magnifying mirror and I looked at my skin and thought, “Hmmm. Good day today!” which doesn’t happen often. By the third week, I notice that my melisma, which I’ve been battling for 20 years, has faded. I even brought my mirror to another window to verify it, because I didn’t believe it. But then I also see that my pores look smaller, because I know where every single pore on my face is. And the only change I’d made was Erasa. In fact, I had eliminated all other products. So, I started using it twice a day and my skin continued to get better until I ran out, and I have never run out of a beauty product. So, I called up Georgia and said, “I’ve got to meet the people behind this product.”
And what a nice phone call that must have been for them!
The reason I got so excited about it was because of what happened to the melasma. I knew how to address wrinkles; I had a doctor for that… The pigment thing was a lot of work. I’d get Fraxel regularly. When I finally saw Dr. Roy Gironomous after a few months, he asked if I’d been seeing another doctor (because I hadn’t been in for a Fraxel in way over a year). I said, “It’s Erasa!” And he was blown away. He said I had the the most stubborn melasma of anybody he’d ever seen. But the fact that I’d used up the entire bottle of Erasa, I knew this was special.
Do you have a wish list of specific products you’d love Erasa to come out with?
Absolutely! Something for all the body parts. I want everything to be luxurious, and I want it to be multitasking, and I want it to be like, okay, “You can stop looking now.” You know?
Right. You’ve found your home.
It took me 40-something years to find my scent! You’re looking and looking, and then when you lock it in, it feels so great.
What is your scent? I know, you’re not going to want to tell…
I’ll tell. I like Serge Luten’s Fleur d’Oranger. I think it mixes well with other stuff, like Opium, and it mixes well with Un Lys, the other one that he discontinued but then brought back. I like a lot of the Guerlain ones, and my favorite is JAR Gardenia. I love a white flower. I’m obsessed with white flowers.
Have you smelled Diorissimo?
I have it, yes. My girlfriend bought it for me, and she said, “Linda, here’s your scent.” Wait. There’s a new one that she brought me about a year ago which is a white floral.
Well, Diorissimo has stayed pretty true to its original scent.
I love Diorissimo. So does Donatella [Versace], I remember she used to wear that one. I also like to wear Kai oil in the summer, but I always sort of go back to Opium, which was my first perfume. I was 16, and I asked for a bottle for Christmas.
What’s your first beauty memory?
My mom had us all in extracurricular activities, and I used to take figure skating and tap, but my dance school closed when I was 12, so, my mom was like, “I’ve got to find something else for you to do.” People would tell her, “Oh, Linda’s tall and she’s pretty, she should be a model.” There was an ad in the paper for this modeling school. So, I went for the interview, and they accepted me. Such a scam.
How old were you?
Twelve. They accepted me into the modeling school, but my mom couldn’t afford the class. So, she put me in the self-improvement course, which was cheaper.
You’re breaking my heart…
No, but it’s great. I think everybody, all boys and girls, should have to take this class. I know how to go down stairs, how to get in a car without showing your crotch, how to set a table, and I also learned everything about grooming and tweezing. And, boy, did I learn how to tweeze! I ended up with these thin, thin brows. I also learned how to do makeup. I learned what went into the tote bag that the models would take to jobs, like underarm shields. All the things models need. Eventually, I wanted to work as a model, but they wouldn’t book me anything because I hadn’t taken that course. So, my mom saved her money and put me through modeling school.
What jerks. Did you love modeling from the start?
Well, there were some evil and mean people, and I was so nervous. But I learned how to do runway, I learned how to walk, and I learned the ten poses. There’s ten different steps.
It’s all I can do not to turn my camera on right now…
It’s a crazy story. When I started doing runway, there were runway girls, and then there were print girls. And I loved fashion so much that I wanted to do runway and print, but I didn’t feel very accepted in the beginning. Some girls were really, really nice to me. Iman was there, she was both, actually, print and runway. Lisa Rutledge was really nice to me. Also, you had to be able to do your own makeup, and I knew how to do my own makeup, because I learned at the Marguerite Bant School of Modeling!
And you knew how to walk the runway?
I knew how to undo a button with one hand, how to take the jacket off, how to slide it down and put it over my shoulder. I knew how to do all of that, but I don’t think they do that anymore. I remember this one Isaac Mizrahi show where there was supposed to be a thunderstorm. We started out with some kind of bag that turned into a trench, which we had to put on and tie up. Isaac was so pissed at the other girls, because they were a mess, but I got mine on perfectly, and that’s because I went to modeling school. Do you need to go to modeling school?Absolutely not, but I think it’s not bad to learn about grooming and manners. I’m teaching my son manners.
Okay, more beauty questions: Who does your hair?
Sharon Dorram, for color.
Who cuts it?
Oribe just cut several inches off, but you know how I keep it this long? Every time I go to work, I always ask for a trim and they always say, “Well, can you just go try your clothes on? We’ll do it after that.” Then they say, “No, we need to get you on set now, we’ll do it after work.” Well, it never happens after work. Nobody cuts it. It just keeps growing and growing and growing. My friend Jamal Hamadi, who you just met, he cuts it sometimes.
What are you currently obsessed with?
The election. I’m also obsessed with my Thanksgiving menu.
Do you cook?
I do, and I had Thanksgiving in Canada at the beginning of October, so we celebrate twice. It’s my favorite holiday.
What do you like to cook?
I’m into baking again, and cake decorating, which I gave up for so long. I can do wedding cakes.
Evangelista Cakes. I’d eat those. Have you ever done anyone’s wedding cake?
My brother’s. And I took a floral decorating class. I also crochet.
I’ve done blankets. I’ve done blankets, and scarves, and pillows. And I’m back to my tap-dancing.
You are full of surprises…
That’s how you work out?
No, I throw it in there, but it is cardio, and I have concrete floors, so I can go all over my apartment. I would have loved to have been a Rockette. I go see them every Christmas, because I’m just obsessed with them.
What do you tap dance to?
Led Zeppelin and rap, and really odd things, so…
Do you have a favorite Led Zeppelin song that you tap dance to?
I don’t have one, whatever’s on.
All I want for Christmas is a photo of Linda Evangelista tap dancing in her kitchen.
Maybe just the feet. I’ll see what I can do.
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