Women We Admire: Hosts of Beauty Mark Web Series, Jess Sanchez + Rachel Hale
Beauty Mark truly is a thing of beauty – the web series (launched early 2019) follows Toronto-based friends Jess Sanchez + Rachel Hale as they interview women around the world making strides in the beauty industry. At once an intimate and honest look into the lives of female entrepreneurs in this burgeoning business, Beauty Mark is about demystifying beauty norms and redefining what it means to be beautiful. We caught up with Jess + Rachel to chat everything from friendship to the importance of diverse representation in the beauty industry, to skincare secrets, and more!
Tell us a bit about you! Where are you from, how did you meet, where do you spend your free time in Toronto?
J: I’m from Colombia but started living DT Toronto in 2008. Shortly after I met Rach at some dungy basement party, I saw her and knew we’d be friends. There was something about her that pulled me, and I’ve always followed those tugs.
R: I am from Toronto, lived here until I was recruited to play basketball at a prep school in Maryland at 16. Jess and I met at a party, multiple parties to be exact, she’s always been her shining bubbly self, how can one resist? I spend my free time doing so many different things but I’d say more often than not I’m at family/friends houses, riding my bike, walking or at home discussing various topics with my love.
What is Beauty Mark and how did it come into being?
J: Speaking of tugs, Beauty Mark started as a huge tug in my belly, a desire to create something that I felt really passionate about. The concept of Beauty Mark is all about exploring “beauty” around the world through the eyes of female entrepreneurs in the beauty space. It’s about demystifying beauty, challenging norms, redefining beauty, widening that spectrum of what it means to be beautiful. I pitched the concept to the producers and then they made it happen!
R: Beauty Mark came to me through mami Sanchez’s glorious brain, she called me up randomly and asked if I would be interested in hosting a show about beauty with her, I’m very very barebones when it comes to beauty so I was a little shocked but I’m always game for an adventure and wanted to “help her out” with her project, little did I know I was signing up for an incredibly cathartic and fun experience!
What does your current skincare routine look like?
J: WHERE TO BEGIN!!!!! I dry brush in the morning and I wash my face with just water. I use an essence, serum, eye cream, a thick moisturizer and sunscreen. I double cleanse at night, oil cleanser (PA oil cleanser is my fav) and then a gentle cleanser after. Twice a week a use vitamin E capsules at night for intense moisture. I use a jade roller and I exfoliate with coffee grounds and coconut oil twice a week (exfoliating as I type this now). I will do sage steams once/twice a week and any other facial I’m in the mood for. I love trying new things but I don’t have sensitive skin so I can do all these things. Basically, I’m a beauty junkie looking for the next glow high. LOL
R: I look in the mirror and compliment myself, sometimes I really get ridiculous with it, ha! Then I dry brush in the AM, wash with water and then apply a mist of rose water and witch hazel toner. Then use a serum, thick moisturizer and sunscreen (finally found one that doesn’t make me white or grey! DM me for details my melanin massive!), bb cream, mascara and cream blush. At night I wash with an oil cleanser followed by a cream cleanser, apply rosehip oil or vitamin C and finish with a thick moisturizer.
What has been the most challenging part of filming + releasing this series? What has been the most rewarding?
J: Filming came surprisingly very natural to me! I thought I’d be nervous or overwhelmed by it, but it was so fun! I suppose you become exposed, very exposed because Rach and I were very honest about everything. The most rewarding part is that people can pick up on our realness! Having Rach and I as hosts signified change and growth -- we’re two thick women of colour talking about beauty. That wouldn’t have happened a few years ago.
R: I am someone who is incredibly authentic emotionally at all times so when I’m tired, upset or need to process or be alone to recharge you can see/feel it, which, thankfully, Chelsea et al patiently appreciated. This was the most challenging for me during the Naturally Speaking episode. When we started filming at the Civil Rights Museum, I felt that being there with a camera in my face was an invasion of privacy and abuse of the visceral anger, pain and confusion I was experiencing. The crew were all incredibly respectful of this and Melony really helped me reframe my point of view to an angle of pride and resilience. I’m so grateful I was there with her for that reminder.
What has this experience taught you about yourself?
J: I (we) can do anything. Everything is a manifestation of what we choose to believe. You see what you describe, you don’t describe what you see…...
R: This experience has taught me an unquantifiable amount of things, but mainly that life by design is available to us all and the more authentically you show up as yourself and truly listen to your intuition the more what is meant for you will come to you.
Do you have a favourite episode? If so, tell us what makes it so special to you.
J: That’s such a hard question to answer! I love them all! Beauty Bakerie is such a fun story, the CEO’s story is truly one of inspiration and a group of our friends share the screen with us to talk beauty in a very real way. Jordan was incredible, but so was Mississipi, omg all of them! I refuse to pick.
R: NOPE! No ma’am, I will not, I CANNOT! They are all so special that’s like picking a favourite child (I assume). Each episode is so uniquely special and powerful, they all have such varying transformative qualities. BUT! I will say it’s been so nice to hear what episodes resonate with the viewers, it’s so personal, the absolute best part of doing this show has been the reactions and comments we’ve received about the impact it’s had on people, man, there have been so many tears of joy.
What do you do to stay grounded?
J: Yoga, painting, laughing.
R: I visit nature, be quiet, listen, journal, create something, move, sweat, play, check in with my partner, friends and family for a gut check or speak/see with my healer.
This series does a beautiful job talking about the lack of diverse representation in the beauty industry. As women of colour, how did this underrepresentation manifest in your sense of identity growing up? Do you think the rules of representation are changing or have they stayed the same?
J: The rules are definitely changing, and there is more representation happening. The fact that Rach and I are hosting can speak to this. However, the sustainability of this representation happening long term is still questionable. I feel like a lot of brands are doing it because it’s a trend, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Let’s get it done.
R: Growing up there were so many obvious and subtle ways lack of representation manifested, it’s still a practice of constant un-doing. One way I can vividly remember is after a bath I would drape the towel over my head and stroke it as if it was my hair, I wanted straight hair soooo badly simply because that’s what was celebrated as beautiful on TV Shows and in magazines. The rules of representation are definitely changing, can we say “cancel culture”?! The spectrum is widening and although this trend is getting the conversation going, the real impact will come when BIPOC and allies are either in power positions or truly being listened to, seen and respected by decision makers. We have a long way to go but loving all the conversations being had and insight being shared.
What’s your favourite DIY skincare secret/hack?
J: Coconut oil with coffee grounds to exfoliate all the BS!
R: I make my own deodorant! Love that I can customize it’s scent and ingredients.
Beauty Mark does an amazing job shining a spotlight on female entrepreneurs making strides in the beauty industry. What kind of impact has meeting these women had on you, personally? Professionally?
J: The show was life-altering. Meeting these women, sharing space and stories is not something I take lightly. They all impacted me in a way that makes me want to grow and contribute to the conversation in a much more impactful way. Professionally I want and will do more. Personally, they taught me that it’s all about balance. Things take time, the work never ends, so make sure you love what you’re doing. They all made me want to be better, more graceful, more intune with myself and those around me.
R: The reason I love the show so much is because of these incredible women and their dedication to and passion for their craft. They are all representations of being in flow and following intuitive guidance to become who they were meant to be in this world. What is more inspiring than that personally or professionally?
Anyone who has watched the series knows you always ask your interviewees this, so your turn: what does beauty mean to you? When do you feel your most beautiful?
J: Touche! Beauty to me is real when the self-judgement is less and the glow is more! I feel most beautiful when I am at home painting and doing a face scrub. I am most beautiful when I honour who I am and the things I love to do.
R: It’s funny cause I never thought about this prior to this show! Beauty is being, owning and accepting who you are authentically. I am most beautiful when I am being, owning and accepting who I am authentically, whatever that may look like externally changes from day to day, but it always feels intuitive.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
J: Stop resisting. Face your discomfort and be patient.
R: You have everything you need already.
Who are women you admire?
J: Rachel! My mom and women who have the courage to radically accept who they are.
R: Aww Jess! For real though, we have a special journey in this world together, so blessed. My mom, what a powerhouse! My sister, dang, my whole crew, the entire Beauty Mark crew, sheesh. There are so many women I admire it’s impossible to name them all. I hate to sound like a broken record but it comes back to authenticity and acceptance of oneself.
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