Hi! My name is Kelsey, and some people out there know me as Gia* as well. Either work for me. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, moved around the U.S. for about 7 years and now am back in an area called Kagel Canyon, which is a few miles into the Angeles National Forest. I work primarily as a model, but also work in vintage and recently have gotten more into creative direction for shoots.
A little on my background: I'm mixed race and adopted. I was adopted by amazing humans and I know my biological family as well. I feel really fortunate I was raised the way that I was. My parents were present, loving, open, and thoughtful. That being said, at times it was difficult growing up with parents who didn't resemble me and who identified as white, but I also had strong Latina women in my life too. My mom had different women and family friends staying with us when I was growing up and I feel like so many of these people are my sisters and other mothers and helped me grow up to be the person that I am today. Learning more about my biological mom's story as I grew older was really impactful on me and help me gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a Mexican American woman in this society.
*The name Gia is the name my biological mother was going to name me. :)
What is the first thing you do when you wake up/go to bed?
First thing I do when I wake up is drink a full glass of water and take my dogs outside. I typically stretch while I make coffee, feed my dogs, brush my teeth, and wash my face with cold water. In the evening I stretch before I go to bed, smoke a joint-- maybe two, wash my face, apply a cream and a gel on top. I typically play disco through these routines.
Do you have any ritual health/beauty/wellness routine or products?
Face wash: Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk
Face cream (day and night): OSEA Advanced Protection Cream
Face Gel: CellFood Oxygen Gel
Body: Everyday Oil
Drink a lot of water!
What is your favorite feature on yourself and why?
I think all of my facial (and body) hair. I feel really happy I have big brows, but I feel more proud of the hair that grows on my cheekbones and forehead. I love all the baby hairs and how everything flows together. I don’t want to look perfectly groomed and hair free. I wear my hair on my cheeks, upper lip, arms, stomach, etc. with extreme happiness.
How do your job, lifestyle, and background affect your routine?
My lifestyle is my routine, I live my life simply and I spend a lot of time with my dogs and close family/friends. I try to eat healthy but not obsessively, stay active, write a lot, and read. I don’t like to go out often and I really believe in going to bed early. Work can keep me out late sometimes and I really feel it the next day so I always listen to my body and get a lot of rest! I think my greatest lesson in my late twenties is to not take on too much and overcommit myself to the point of exhaustion.
What do you do to stay healthy?
I hike pretty much everyday, I also go to the gym a few times a week, practice yoga, ride my bike, and I love to swim. I used to work out a lot but took a step back from that about a year ago because it wasn’t how I wanted to be spending my time and I felt that I was stressing out my body.
Any cultural tips/tricks you've learned from family and/or friends?
Natural products all the way! I grew up with a mom who used natural products, believed food is medicine, and to always moisturize. Also Tepezcohuite Cream! It’s a type of tree that grows in Mexico/Central and South America. It’s really great for your skin and helps with burns, rashes, and healing the skin from a wide variety of issues. I used it a lot when I was in college and I had a friend who would visit from Oaxaca and bring high quality jars of it. It really promotes healing and growth of heathy skin. Please don’t ask me for recs to were to find a good jar because I have no idea and would just recommend you to research and find a brand you trust! I was using an unmarked jar from a friend lol!
How do you choose beauty products?
I don’t wear makeup unless it’s for work so I don’t really have control over what is used on me. Besides the products listed above, I don’t really use anything else (unless one of my close friends or mom recommends something). I try to keep it simple! There are soooo many products out there but I would rather invest my money into well sourced food. I think treating your body with good food will reflect that in your skin. I also drink maybe once a year and try to treat my liver like a queen (consume milk thistle!).
What is your ethnic background?
I am mixed! My biological mama is native/ Mexican (Zapotec // Southern region) and my biological father is Syrian and Native American (Shoshone tribe). I was adopted as a babe but know my biological family fairly well. The family I was raised in are American with European lineage.
How do your ethnicity and identity intersect and affect your beauty preferences (or grievances)?
My hope has always been, and will always be, that there is more Latina representation, facial hair, and aging positive language in the beauty world.
If you were to create the perfect beauty/wellness product for yourself, what would it be?
It would be some sort of drink that tastes like chai and provides vitamins I’m deficient in. It would also have some magical, natural ingredient that allowed me to fully absorb them and kept me completely hydrated and energized for 24 hours after drinking it.