Important Notice: this is a declaration of love.
Yes, because Erika not only entered my Instagram to make me glow like never before and advise me on how to spend all my money on the world’s most glassy/glossy/glowy products, but she also entered my heart because she is, simply, and I don’t say it in a cliché way, unique. Unique in the way she acts, speaks, works, and expresses her thoughts. Unique also because she is different, which, for me, is the greatest compliment one can receive.
Between a past filled with music that always remains present, a cool minimalism reminiscent of the Olsen sisters in The Row era, and the comfy pillows of her sofa, we talked about everything: why skincare is so important to her and how it all began, her love affair with self-awareness, and learning to breathe.
Additionally, we entered her bathroom and captured her cabinet of wonders. You are welcome.
What is your earliest memory of the beauty world?
The products of my mom and aunts. My mom always used to go to the perfume shop and buy everything, so they would roll out the red carpet for her when she entered! [laughs] My earliest memory is associated with the women in my family.
Another beautiful thing my mom occasionally talks about is that when I saw a cream, I would apply it to my face. Once, when I was two, I smeared on my face an acid meant to remove warts or calluses… I gave myself a good peeling! [laughs] Then I would run around the house to avoid getting caught!
As you grew older, what was your first beauty obsession?
I always knew that I loved this world; I’ve always been obsessed. But specifically, I remember a Lancôme campaign from the early ’90s, and I wanted my skin to be the same as the model’s. Skin was my main obsession, so products like concealers, highlighters, etc.
My first obsession was the Naked palette, I don’t know if you remember…
When I received it at home, I think I stared at it for 30 minutes before opening it. I threw away my Naked palette not long ago, as well as the Soft Glam from Anastasia Beverly Hills!
There is often talk of self-awareness in the beauty world: growing up, was there a part of you that was difficult to accept? How did you deal with it?
Apart from breaking my nose when I was 10, my lips are my weak point. If some hater points out that I don’t have full lips, I feel insecure. However, it’s not a major complex of mine. Of course, I would like to wear lipstick as well as others, but actually, the more they point it out, the more I say to myself, “Come on, why should we all have the same lips?”.
Living in the world of social media must not always be easy…
In general, I think I have an asymmetrical face, especially after the accident when I broke my nose, so compared to other girls, I see myself as strange and always have to find the courage to accept myself and face that world. I think it’s easier than it seems because all it takes is a bit of self-awareness. We can’t all be the same; in fact, it would be bad if we were.
“all it takes is a bit of self-awareness“
Yes, and I think you, with your profile and your content, work because you are who you are, beautiful and authentic. On social media, I notice that there is always a lot of construction and little spontaneity, so the genuineness in your content stands out.
I hope so! What I have noticed, though, is that if a girl is objectively very beautiful, she automatically has much more success in content, while I am a face that is more difficult to “digest”.
What keeps you in bed in the morning and what makes you wake up?
Unfortunately, I can’t stay in bed in the morning anymore; the era when I could do that is over, I can’t wake up late anymore! [laughs] That’s the downside of aging. What keeps me in bed? The bed itself, with clean sheets. What makes me wake up? The anxiety of getting things done, especially now that everything depends on me. I constantly have to prove to myself that I’m doing the most I can.
How do you experience this? We talk a lot about mental health; we have a dedicated format, so I’m curious to know how you deal with these difficult moments. I think everyone in this era struggles with the anxiety of having to do as much as possible and never being satisfied. Do you have methods not to be overwhelmed?
I never feel overwhelmed, and that’s the advantage of aging because you understand that no one dies if you make a mistake. My method for dealing with this kind of anxiety, though, is to breathe, exercise in the morning, which gives me a bit more emotional stability, makes me more grounded; otherwise, I go around the house all day confused about what I have to do and in what order [laughs]. When you are alone managing the day, and then unexpected things happen, it’s not easy! You have to learn to manage your emotions because if you don’t work and do what you have to do, you don’t put bread on the table.
“That’s the advantage of aging because you understand that no one dies if you make a mistake”
What is the first product that touches your skin in the morning?
So, first step: cleanser and LED mask. Every day.
When talking about skincare routines, there is also talk of “philosophy,” in the sense that everyone has their own. What is yours?
Layering. I have very thin skin, and by layering, I can achieve a result similar to that of the model in the Lancôme campaign [laughs]. It’s as if I have a different type of skin. Layering hydration is my skincare philosophy, a bit Korean, but not necessarily with those products, and not as minimalist as my wardrobe!
When you have some extra time for self-care, what do you do? Are there any products you use for these “special occasions”?
I do double cleansing, then exfoliation, often with the 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliating Peel from Paula’s Choice, then I do a purifying mask, maybe something with clay, then a hydrating mask, and then I often use Sensai‘s eye patches, which I find incredible. In this case as well, I layer treatments: exfoliation, purification, rehydration.
I have an Eisenberg mask, the Fondant Réparateur, which is my favorite product; I apply it as the last step in my skincare routine when I want to use something special. I love its effect.
The Radiance Renewal from Paula’s Choice is also fantastic as a mask, amazing.
As we were discussing earlier, your work also starts from a moment of self-reflection, perhaps it’s also a work of solitude and thought: how do you experience solitude? Is it something you seek at times?
Yes, absolutely. Guess what, the other day I happened to make a surprise to a girl who follows me: her boyfriend had written to me asking if I could meet them because they were coming to Rome for a day. In short, my job involves contact with people, but in a different way than usual: I can respond at my own pace, I can choose not to respond if I’m nervous or in a hurry for other reasons. I live very well with working from home and being alone. I feel very comfortable alone. I don’t know if it’s the result of the pandemic, but I even talk to the walls.
What beauty products can be found on your bedside table?
I have Pagina Bianca by Paola Bottai, which is a skin scent that I also spray on the sheets, a cuddle for sleeping; then the Lip Sleeping Mask from Laneige, the Lip Booster from Paula’s Choice, and the diffuser with lavender essential oil, to give myself a calm down [laughs]. But it never works!
What do you have too much of?
Blush. Too much for me, but not too much for content. It’s a very fun category, in my opinion. Also foundation, at the moment, I have too many.
What is the product/device that you can’t wait to try right now but haven’t yet?
Actually, I just bought the one from Medicube, a tool to intensify hydration, I’m waiting for it to arrive. I would also like an LED panel to sleep on; regardless, I would invest in LED technology that has changed my skin, and it is certified to work.
What would you say makeup is for you? Is it also a way to express your creativity?
It depends on the day. Sometimes I feel that my hands have to do things, and for that reason, I feel the need to put on makeup. Other times, however, makeup is a moment of relaxation, reflection. There are times, too, when I don’t feel like wearing makeup! But I’m used to it, so I do it anyway, even though I don’t think it’s necessary to wear makeup to go out. I really like seeing people without makeup much more than those with makeup.
“Sometimes I feel that my hands have to do things, and for that reason, I feel the need to put on makeup”
A beauty epic fail.
The biggest mistake I made, looking at old photos, was not combing my eyebrows. I had them all down, messy! Then, I always had the wrong color base, too light, with black pencil on the eyes.
What is your favorite texture when it comes to skincare? And makeup?
Milky textures are my favorite, but also rich creams like balms. As for makeup, there are new textures that I really like, like the balm from Westman Atelier, which looks like a balm but is a gel. I like transparent things and glitters!
If Erika were to write the meaning of “glow/to glow” on the dictionary, what would she write?
Radiating health? [laughs] “Glowing” definitely means shining, but in the sense of exuding energy and light and, really, health.
The last book you read or the one you think everyone should read.
I’ve kind of lost the habit of reading because my life has always been a bit hectic, both when I played music and now. However, there is a book that I hold dear, and it’s “Il mare non bagna Napoli”, a beautiful book.
And what about podcasts?
I listen to them all. My top 3: “Indagini”, “La città dei vivi”, and then “Love bombing”, which talks about all the dynamics of emotional dependence and manipulation through various testimonies, in relationships, at work, as well as in sects, for example.
What about music now, how do you experience it?
Still bad. But making music is hell. That’s also why I dress in white.
I’ve been through so many troubles and bad situations, especially because of my emotional weakness and the fact that I was always open to others’ advice, to the point that others ate away at me. I always felt uncomfortable, and I sort of enjoyed being dark in my way of being, I kind of liked being sad, a post-adolescent syndrome, in short. Then, when you understand that it’s cool to feel good too, you convince yourself that maybe that’s not how things should be faced. So, I said to myself: let’s try to cheer up a bit!
Anyway, I’ve always liked white; my band was called Milk White!
Then, in Rome, as soon as you enter a recording studio, they treat you as if you were going to Sanremo the next day, they put a lot of pressure on you, it’s all competition. Especially when you are small, inexperienced, and not very centered, you let yourself be carried away by this negativity, and it’s really bad because instead, in the studio, you should do something beautiful that you like and enjoy it.
With my guitarist, for a period, we moved to London, and there you have a lot of opportunities: if you send emails asking to play somewhere, they respond. We played in cool venues, and I remember the first concert we did there: I had a dress with the label still attached, as someone in the audience pointed out when I came off the stage [laughs], and the manager of Maxïmo Park had asked for information about who we were. It seemed like a joke! Here, unfortunately, it’s different; you have to invite people to come to the stage, and the competition is intoxicating. When you get tired, you lose the sense of what you’re doing: you realize that you’re not doing it because you like it, but because you’ve been told that you have to get somewhere, but you never get there, and in the meantime, you’ve lost your health and energy. We were also lucky because we made a record with Velvet, who really taught us how to be in the world: they are exactly how people should be.
“Let’s cheer up a bit!”
I think in your line of work, you often put yourself to the test, and it’s always different every day, coming into contact with parts of yourself that are new or facing new challenges. What is the last thing you discovered about yourself?
That I can do things even without being emotionally conditioned, tied to my emotions regarding my image: when I edit my videos, I can look at myself as I would look at another person. I’ve learned that I can detach myself from myself, which is important because otherwise, I couldn’t do this job. With music, I didn’t have that detachment, and I felt really bad. When I listened to the recordings, it was never as I had imagined, and I thought that something like that couldn’t come out of the studio, even if it still did. However, to move forward, you need a more critical and less emotional look, also because perfection is not important, especially if you have something to say, which is what matters most.
What scares you the most?
After experiencing the music scene in Rome, I’m not scared of anything anymore! [laughs]
Actually, and it’s one of the reasons why I can’t write songs anymore, I can’t be egotistical, I don’t think I have something so interesting to say to others, so the fact that there are people who follow me and think that what I have to say is relevant scares me, I don’t like it. I don’t like being in the spotlight, which is absurd for what I do. When people compliment me, I always think that if I had found someone who had said what I said, I would have complimented them too, but I don’t want to be considered someone who has something to say. You know, social media has given many people the opportunity to unleash all their egocentrism, just like music, because if you write songs about what happened to you or what you feel, you think it’s very important for others to listen to it. It’s not something I want for myself, though.