Brilliant. Innovator. Trailblazer. These are just a few words to describe a woman who has made one of the most impressionable marks in the skincare world. Known for having founded The Institute of Skinnovation, Dangene has had her hand in the esthetics industry for over two decades creating a visionary presence that continually impacts the future of skincare. Fueled initially by a personal journey with her own skin, Dangene has impressively merged state-of-the-art technology with customized, head-to-toe skincare programming to create the Institute. As she continues to evolve and transform the industry with what feels like a fervor that won’t stop, we are curious, what’s next?
January Olds: When you were a young girl, what was your earliest memory around beauty?
Dangene: Oh, I have no idea how far back you want me to go, but when I was two years old, my family was visiting my aunt in Chicago and somehow I managed to get ahold of her manicure scissors and decided to give myself some bangs! So, I guess I’ve had ideas about how I wanted to look, or how to go about creating a look, since I was about two years old.
JO: What were your dreams?
D: When I was young, my dream was to move to New York City, live in a high-rise and own my own business… I had no idea what the business would be really, but I knew that’s what I wanted. My Grandfather was from Brooklyn and self-employed and my Father was self-employed so I never imagined working for someone else.
JO: We know acne played a key role in your interest with skincare but what other factors gave you the passion to pursue a life around skincare and beauty?
D: They’ll think it’s so funny that I’m telling this story but, I used to dress up my friends for their proms and dates and even just because! I used to treat them like they were live dolls. I made some of their clothes, I did their hair and makeup and nails. I just had a vision for each of them and wanted to make that vision come to life. I always feel lucky that I ended up with this amazing group of friends that let me do that with them.
JO: What’s the hardest part about starting your own business?
D: When you have this idea and you start developing it without anyone else to help facilitate its growth, it can be lonely sometimes. I knew I was building something great. I was learning what worked and what didn’t and developing a business all on my own so I worked for 12 or 15 hours at a time and my friends and family didn’t really understand what I was creating or why I wasn’t around.
JO: The easiest?
D: When you love what you do– like really love it– it never feels like work. Even your worst day is still a really great day.
JO: What do you use daily when it comes to skincare?
D: I use a bubbly cleanser, gentle toner, and a serum that helps reduce redness and promote hydration. Then at night, I use the January Labs Retexturizing Night Cream. I’ve found that it really helps to brighten my face and gives me a beautiful morning glow.
JO: Is there anything you believed twenty years ago about skincare that still rings true today?
D: “Well I’ve been using eye cream since I was 12 (and I mean that in all seriousness!) and I am sure it’s made a difference–there’s no such thing as ‘too young’ for eye cream. Also, we have proven that consistency is key in any skincare practice and that every person should be on a program for their individual needs. Skin rejuvenation are for people of all ages and skin types and will always be my go-to treatment.
JO: If you had a billboard and could put anything on it, what would it say?
D: We Change People’s Lives by Making Them the Perfect Version of Themselves.
JO: You’ve helped thousands of people with acne, how does that impact you?
D: I don’t really think in terms of what I’ve done–I think mostly of all we have yet to do. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to help so many, but I’m always looking forward to the people we haven’t met yet… the faces and lives we haven’t changed–and that’s what keeps us going.
When you hear her name, you’ll be tempted to feel like you instantly know her. But where a lot of us had the luxury of existing as whoever it was we wanted to be, As a Hemingway, Mariel had to truly pave and create her own identity. The youngest of three and of course the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, Mariel’s life depicts one that is rich in creativity, endurance and meaningful history. From her early days as an actress, to today as an author, activist and entrepreneur, she continues to lead by example. When you hear her speak, you can hear a well of wisdom from her life experiences and a peace that only exudes beauty and brains we are so drawn to. There’s a light in her words and we are so excited to learn just a little bit more from this wonder of a woman.
January Olds: If you had to describe your childhood in a few words, what would you say?
Mariel Hemingway: My childhood was a combination of the beauty and nurture of nature and the chaos of a home of good intentioned dysfunctional people.
JO: What is the biggest difference when looking at your life today?
MH: I’m not living in the same universe any longer. I’m happy, free to speak up and create on my own. The similarity is that my connection to nature is still my grounding rod. I am in love with my life and my amazing life partner, Bobby Williams and it all just keeps getting better.
JO: From acting to writing to speaking and advocating mental health and beyond, what have you found to be a common emotion within yourself you embody when you’re operating in each of these platforms?
MH: I operate (or at least intend to) from a place of finding and perhaps better said sharing from my inner truth.
JO: “Running from Crazy” was based on your experience growing up around mental illness--what was your intended hope in sharing your story? What has been a surprising discovery?
MH: “Running from crazy” was a documentary I co-produced with Oprah about my family, their suicides and their struggles with addiction. I made it so others (all others) would realize how human beings are all connected and not alone.whether we are celebrities or not we all have the same emotions pains or stories. Even if the outcomes don’t look the same the inherent emotions are the same. We all have struggles and we need to tell our stories in order to free ourselves from the burden of their impact. I write a more detailed book about it called “Out Came the Sun”.
My biggest discovery is finding out how many people share similar stories and often the same pain but how when one sees someone else healing it enables them to heal.
JO: How would you describe a mindful life?
MH: A mindful life is a life lived in the present. A life where you breathe before reaction or explosion where you are grateful and honoring of your journey every day.
JO: Tell us how the perfect day starts out for you and ends.
MH: My perfect day begins by watching the sunrise from our back porch, a quiet meditation then a liter of water and a bullet proof coffee or maybe water first coffee then I watch the sunrise in meditation. I end the day by writing about the day and take an inventory. Then prior to sleeping I imagine the following day filled with ease and joy as I drift off.
JO: Do you have any daily rituals?
MH: Part of my morning routine is that I put a mask on my face every morning. I watch sunrises and sunsets and I meditate daily.
JO: What have you learned most about yourself in the last year?
MH: I learned that I know what I’m good at and I don’t have to do things I’m not good at just to be approved of.
JO: What role has “beauty” played in your understanding to yourself? And to the world?
MH: I feel beauty is an important part of our well being, our health and balance not beauty as vanity but beauty as an element. Beauty begins and ends in nature when we connect to that we find our true beauty.
JO: What makes you feel beautiful?
MH: I feel beautiful when I honor my routines when I connect in the outdoors and when I laugh.
JO: What are a few of your favorite products that you can't live without?
MH: Masks are imperative both moisture and activating masks from natural sources. Serums too are important for skin health. Add a little face yoga everyday and life is good.
JO: Nutrition, meditation, and mindfulness are core passions and values of yours. What ignited them? Does one come easier than the others? Vice versa?
MH: Mindfulness, meditation and nutrition are all equal in importance and help create balance and frankly they all work together to create the greatest well being.
JO: You have two daughters--what would you say has been the best advice they’ve given you?
MH: My daughters are confident and they are straight shooters they help me to not apologize for who I am. They’re far more courageous than I was at their age and they are catalysts for my own courage to walk in my power.
JO: I LOVE that!
JO: What felt once impossible to you and now feels possible?
MH: Creating a legacy of awareness on how to live life. I feel like I’m on the precipice of creating avenues to share more of what I have learned in my years and what I am continuing to learn. Becoming is the word of late that inspires me to self honesty and opening others up to their own becoming.
Beauty and strength are the parts of a woman that create a powerful one. It’s the kind of woman I hope to embody and also the kind of woman who also greatly influences me. When I learned of TyLynn Nguyen, I was drawn to her story instantly and how she has transitioned from diverse yet relevant industries and doing so both seamlessly and successfully. It’s easy to see her effect in such female-focused industries. First her modeling career and now design, fashion and lingerie--to be specific. Having been coined the woman who brought “sexy back” through her refreshed approach of the importance of the slip dress and with attention from Vogue and a plethora of today’s present-day top models, Nguyen has definitely caught our attention and we got to ask her a few questions to learn just a little more.
January Olds: When you were younger, who inspired you most?
TyLynn Nguyen: My mother inspired me most as a child. Her style, make-up, jewelry... all of it used to create these lavish fantasies in my mind about what glamour was. She was in the army so she had this incredible juxtaposition in personality I really love.
JO: Who inspires you now, why?
TN: Time to myself. I cherish this time because I have so much creative energy running in my veins, I need to sit still and absorb it. I have a child like imagination and because of past experiences I have to honor how I channel this energy.
JO: Describe what beauty is to you?
TN: Beauty is God’s promises. Beauty is my children’s laughter. Beauty is my husband kissing me on my neck. Beauty is pure expressions of love.
JO: What makes you feel beautiful?
TN: Sexy lingerie, my attitude towards myself, and a spiritual moment with my husband. I always go to those places when I’m feeling less than what I know I am.
JO: What was one of the most transformative memories for you in the last decade? And in the last year?
TN: My most transformative memory was the year 2015. I was pregnant with my 2nd child and wasn’t in love with my job at the time. I was a model. I sat down at my sewing machine and asked God for guidance. I went to school for Fashion Design and I heard a strong “Remember. This is why you went to school.” I started sewing and created my first bra and panty samples for my line. Greatest time of my life.
This year my most transformative memories have been getting pregnant with my 3rd child and my Paris trip to show my SS18 collection. I’m really excited for all that is to come. And grateful for the ups and downs I’ve experienced thus far.
JO: What is your morning routine?
TN: I wake up, kiss my husband, wash my face, brush my teeth, get back in bed and wait for my kids to run into our room (usually around 6am), get back up, get dressed, get the kids dressed and teeth brushed, make breakfast, pack lunch, take the kids to school, then head into my office. I love the morning. I feel like these are the routines my children will remember the most.
JO: Do you have a product you never leave the house without using?
TN: La Prairie duo. It’s sunscreen and night cream. I use the sunscreen every day. I also use your mask (Glow & Go) 2x a week to refresh my skin.
JO: Three items in your purse that you could not live without.
TN: Cocokind olive oil stick for my lips, my new fragrance oil (coming soon), and my saint laurent glasses
JO: As a designer, where do you look to for inspiration?
TN: The 90s supermodels, literally all of them.
JO: What other designers influence you?
TN: I take so many design influences from my own experiences...it is hard to pin point designers that I am influenced by. In general women I am influenced by are Princess Grace Kelly, Carine Roitfeld, Jackie Kennedy, Caroline Bassett, Madonna, Joan Mitchell, to name a few.
JO: How do you want women to feel in your designs?
TN: I want women to feel empowered, regal, and sexy in my designs.
JO: With a growing family, how do you find balance and productivity?
TN: No idea, I just do it.
JO: What do you want to teach your children when it comes to success.
TN: I want them to define success on their own terms. Connectivity and peace of mind are my definition of success but it could be completely different for them. As long as they can truly say they are happy, that is what I hope to teach them.
JO: What have you considered a hard lesson to learn?
TN: Not everyone is going to like me and that’s actually a good thing. You need opposition to grow.
JO: What brings you joy?
TN: My family. Anything and everything is for them. So grateful for the life God has given me.