Latinas in Fashion & Beauty on Staying Creatively Stimulated and More

It’s day who-knows-what of quarantine. By now, you’ve likely developed some sort of a routine, even if it’s wake up, eat, sleep, repeat. For those adjusting to working from home, video calls have quickly become common, if not a daily, occurrences.

On top of fielding Zoom meeting invites from coworkers, you may also be getting FaceTime calls from the cool tías in the fam or attending Google Hangouts with your crew. Almost instantly, a situation that required not seeing anyone IRL has somehow turned into seeing almost everyone all the time.

This phenomenon might cause additional pressure to stay ready. After all, you never know when you’ll have to hop on a screen and stare at your reflection for an hour or two. The good news? Pretty much everybody is experiencing this shift in social norms together. So if the sudden onslaught of video calls is taking a toll, you’re not alone.

According to Psychology Today, “Zoom fatigue” is definitely a thing, partly because that and other video call apps drain your brain and your body.

“From a numb butt to an aching back to a dull, throbbing headache and eye strain, hours spent in one position at furniture never designed for long-term sitting can leave us feeling cranky, achy, and a lot worse about life than if we had a break room to roam over to visit, face-to-face chats and gossips with coworkers, and an evening commute during which we could decompress and shed our work identities as we morphed into our social and relational identities,” writes therapist Suzanne Degges-White.

While some states and businesses begin to reopen, it’s unclear if, or when, life will ever return to the way it was pre-pandemic. More video calls may be the new normal for the months and years to come.

We tapped three women in fashion and beauty to see how they’re dealing with the reality of having to be “on” at almost all times. They walk us through their new normal, share routines and more.

Fernanda Alcocer, Designer – ICETEES

Fernanda Alcocer. Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.

Are you feeling pressure to stay ready because people are using video calls more often? 

To be honest, I have been working via Zoom, WhatsApp and FaceTime for a while now. All of our production is in Bolivia at the moment. We are always on the phone and doing video calls with our team back home. You can say I am used to the online office. However, I really miss going out, people watching, touching things, networking, and cool hunting ⁠— especially living in New York. Those are all very important in my creative process and overall business.

How are you staying creatively stimulated? 

They say difficult times boost creative thinking. Adversity forces us to think differently and reconsider things we took for granted. Usually, when I’m looking for creative motivation, I try to get away from my routine. Normally, this will mean traveling or going out in the city. However, with the lockdown, I have discovered new hobbies and ways to jumpstart the creative flow, like cooking, which I never really did before. I love it now. [I’m cooking] lots of Bolivian dishes I was craving. [I’m] painting, which I have discovered satisfies me immensely, and of course some interior decoration. These allow me to “get away” without leaving my apartment.

What’s your current at-home beauty routine?

This past month I changed my routine a bit. I usually don’t break out, but my skin has been acting up. I didn’t want to experiment. After some research, I went for SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Micro-Exfoliating Scrub. I have to admit that stuff works. I exfoliate once a day — generally at night — and use the serum twice a day. Those two — and fresh aloe vera and SPF — has been pretty much all I have been doing these past two months. I have tried to keep makeup to a minimum: a little concealer (Laura Mercier), Anastacia’s dark brown brow pencil and Nudestix in every color. 

Do you have a daily uniform or do you like to mix it up? 

I have been mixing it up. Some days have been sweatsuit days, and others I try to put some pants on. A quick put-together look for me would be some slacks, a cute top, sneakers, and a low bun. If you can add some jewelry, you are done!

Debbie Gonzales, Creative Director — Kids of Immigrants

Debbie Gonzales wearing KOI. Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.

Are you feeling pressure to stay ready because people are using video calls more often? 

Pre-pandemic, we definitely had calls, but we did less Zoom calls. I’m a stylist, and it’s completely at a stop right now because obviously there’s no shows. There’s no shows, no movie premieres, none of that. So it’s been pretty slow. I just did [a video call] last week, which is a new way to look at this career. In the beginning, we were all going through a rollercoaster of emotions. [My colleagues and I] designated time to have these work catch-ups every day in the afternoon. It was therapeutic to have these conversations and express how we feel as we were going through this. It would give us the morning to really focus on ourselves. That was nice, just kind of creating boundaries. It’s been a big eyeopener of how I spend my actual time. If I’m not feeling it, I’m not doing it right now. I was under that pressure pre-quarantine, so it would be nice to come out of this having learned something. So that’s one thing: We’re like, “Okay, obviously there’s work to be done, but we can get it done when we’re fully able to take care of ourselves first.”

How are you staying creatively stimulated? 

In the beginning, we did “21 Days of Love,” where every morning we would wake up and talk about how we were feeling, what we wanted to do, and challenge ourselves. It really put me in this place of feeling creative and inspired. I was like, “I have no excuse, we literally have all the time in the world now to focus on everything.” I’ve been reading a lot, listening to more podcasts. I’ve been on a movie and TV show binge. I’m working on a visual project. I wanted to get more inspiration through documentaries. Seeing other people’s stories is very inspiring. I’ve been super into composting, which has been my little baby project. I’ve painted. It’s almost like I’ve gone back to doing the things I used to do pre-career like as a kid, you know? [Back] when we just had time, and it was almost like we were the most important thing, which is a weird realization.

What’s your current at-home beauty routine?

I’m pretty natural and minimal anyway. I’m trying this Cholas x Chulas eyeliner. I love to do a little concealer and highlight is very important to keep those cheekbones looking good on the Zoom calls. My brows are natural, and right now I’m using this Maybelline lip gloss. It looks natural but still gives you a little extra pop. I have trouble with a bit of acne, and I’ve been trying to find the most natural option. I wash my face with water, put on toner, then I have a Tatcha deep cleanser. Then I put vitamin E and a touch of moisturizer. I keep that natural, fresh product base. 

Do you have a daily uniform or do you like to mix it up? 

We’ve been in quarantine for some time. The weather has gone from gloomy, cold, and rainy, so that was sweats season. I didn’t want to get dressed at all. I might dress it up with some earrings if I was on a Zoom. But it was sweats season. Now, it’s in the 80s — it’s gonna be into the 90s this week. So it’s shorts or leggings. It’s workout clothes most of the time as well. It hasn’t really got too much dressier than a T-shirt with a little design on the side, or maybe a little bit more fitted. It’s definitely a quarantine look.

Brittany Chavez, Founder – Shop Latinx

Brittany Chavez. Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.

Are you feeling pressure to stay ready because people are using video calls more often? 

I feel like I get ready less than I did pre-quarantine, which is great. If the other person’s not adamant or pressed to go on Zoom call, I don’t do a video call. I want to avoid burnout at all costs, and I don’t need to see people’s faces if I don’t have to and vice-versa. So no, I don’t feel pressured.

How are you staying creatively stimulated? 

So many things. My homegirl is into nail art, so then I got really into nail art. I bought myself a nail kit. I change my nails every few days or so, just having fun with them. I’m really into cooking and playing music. My co-founder and I will be in the kitchen. Like today, we’re going to make rice and beans, plantains, and chicken with onions and tomatoes. I’ve just been in ultimate self-care mode. I purchased vitamins. It’s important that I’m in tip-top shape mentally, especially as a founder. We just brought on a social media intern. She and I will have daily standups. We throw out cool, creative ideas about how we can bring forth community and engagement on our socials. That’s been a lot of fun. Also, I just call a friend. I’m blessed to have this circle of dope fucking women I can call up. That’s been really helpful. I had a great one-hour call with my best friend, who lives in Egypt, while I was in the bathtub. I’m just making sure I stay happy as much as I can.

What’s your current at-home beauty routine?

I’ve been ordering products on Shop Latinx. We have this brand called Bela Doce. It smells like I’m on an island. There’s this facial cleanser and blue serum — it smells like the ocean. It’s so nice. My whole face routine has been this Bela Doce brand. Organic, sustainable ingredients — they’re just so good. I also use Burt’s Bees pomegranate chapstick. I like my lips feeling moisturized all the time, but also I like the hint of pink or rosiness. I’ve been taking a lot of bubble baths. It’s my “me time” because my phone and email go off constantly. I’ll listen to a Spotify playlist and light my House of Intuition candles. We just added bath bombs to our marketplace. I’ve been using those to relax. I’ve been trying to go pretty natural in terms of makeup. Curled lashes and eyebrow gel — my eyebrows are looking crazy. And then chapstick and this cream highlighter I put on my cheekbones and there we go, I call it a day.

Do you have a daily uniform or do you like to mix it up? 

I’m professional from the shoulders up. I went to Target and bought myself a pack of Hanes boxer-briefs and a new, fresh pair of house shoes. I’ve been wearing different T-shirts, like cozy cotton T-shirts by this brand on Shop Latinx called Jen Zeano Designs. When I’m on these Zoom calls, I get to flaunt my brand. There’s this shirt that says “Morena.” It’s really cute. This other shirt says “Latina Power.” I like to support the brands in my marketplace, as well as myself. I do my hair with Rizos Curls, I put on my Hija De Tu Madre necklace, and I’m good to go.

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