TOPSHELFDIVA OF THE MONTH: BELLA GERMAN CREATOR OF THE BEAUTY NATION
Did you think I wouldn’t be hitting y’all with a new TopshelfDiva of the Month for March? Really, when its Women’s month you think I would cheat you guys like that? In all actuality, I took time to find the perfect woman to represent March. She’s Beautiful, Bold, and the creative force behind The Beauty Nation….meet Bella German.
I was introduced to Bella on Instagram thru following her sister, Radio Personality Honey German. Comment creeping as I regularly do I noticed Bella’s witty personality and humor. Once I started to follow her I was draw to her raw candor, flawless full face beat, and a zest for a positive life.
Get to know all about Bella, The Beauty Nation, and a sense of that bold personality I told you about. I’m sure you’ll enjoy her just as much as I do!
How long have you had a passion for beauty and makeup?
Omg since I can remember! I’ve always been very girly. Probably the most girlish little girl in West Harlem, NY lol. Since kindergarten my clothes had to match perfectly and my curls had to be perfect or if not I would throw a fit lol. This used to drive my siblings crazy. I also knew it was quite serious when I would save my lunch money throughout the school week just so I could have enough money to go to the hair salon on Saturdays! But growing up with a strict mom I was not allowed to wear any makeup until I turned 15 which is the “coming-of-age” for Dominican girls. By that time I was living back in the Mother Island and didn’t have access to many beauty brands so I would dabble with the basics which was lipstick and maybe some mascara. I’d say my true makeup/beauty exploration began after graduating college, in my early 20’s when I relocated back home to NYC. I discovered all these cosmetic brands and my that’s when my very expensive shopping and testing of beauty products began. You can say I was a late bloomer when it comes to the makeup thing, but trust me, I have made up for it!
At what point did you think it can be more than a fun interest?
I decided to take what I love and find fun and give it a purpose and what better purpose than sharing what I know with women that don’t feel confident enough to talk about beauty? I kept meeting women that would tell me “I wish my makeup looked like yours” and I would be so puzzled like “why can’t your makeup look like mine?! Here’s what you have to buy and put it on in this order.” I had a desire to share, to teach whatever I knew and to make women see that they don’t need to be beauty experts to beautify themselves.
You recently started, The Beauty Nation. Tell me what that is and who is the girl it speaks to.
It speaks to ANY woman that wants to talk about beauty and feel beautiful! I want to help, even if it’s in the smallest way, to dispel this concept that to talk about beauty you have to be an expert at it. Who established that only makeup artists, beauty bloggers or magazine beauty editors can talk beauty? For decades we’ve been told “what works” and “how we should look”. Nope, I want all women to feel like they can confidently go to a department store and pick what they like and what works for them, go home, apply it, feel beautiful and own their beauty in their own way. Yea, we can’t do it like the expert MUA tutorials but we can create our own custom look, have our own favorite products we love and we do what works for our features and our beauty and not have to look like somebody else. I kept meeting women telling me that they don’t dare talk about makeup because they were not makeup artists, I’m not one either! Who’s stopping me from talking about what I love? I want all women to feel included in the beauty discussion and speak the language of pretty under one Beauty Nation.
I understand you have a background in PR and Advertising, how do you think that helps The Beauty Nation?
PR gave me the communication tools. I have been doing corporate writing and media management for years which helps with my articles and posts and gives me access to media contacts and networking opportunities that are needed for any successful blog. On the Advertising side, I learned the media production aspect. I look at a beauty print ad in any magazine and I know exactly how it got there from concept, production and placement of that ad. I know the colors used, paper and even measurements of a beauty ad. Same thing with TV commercials, most people see a Perfume commercial and keep flicking through channels, I’ll stop and observe the shots, the music playing in the background, the editing done to certain stills, even how the voice-over or model is delivering their lines lol. If I see a makeup brand launch something, my ad production experience helps me understand why they chose that time of year to launch that eyeshadow palette, for example, and what demographic of females they are targeting. It’s crazy to see everything through a production set of eyes, trust me lol! It’s not as useful for the blog sometimes, but would be very useful if I ever want to go work for a publication or executing campaigns for a brand. I’ll have that advertising in my back pocket, if needed. Always good to have something in your back-pocket, trust me!
You highlight beauty in all shapes, hues, and gender spreading the message of Self-Love. Do you think that message gets lost in translation with social media and bullying?
Get lost? It’s been lost. Social media has become a sad contradiction where people want to gain “likes” and validations but in the process lose their self-worth and self-esteem. Especially for us women. We can post a picture where we think we look beautiful and the comments section can be get filled with harsh comments and backhanded compliments and have us want to take the picture down no longer feeling beautiful. I feel like my curvy ladies go through it the most due to these unrealistic body standards set by such a shallow society. But I am glad that plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Tabria Majors are giving my curvy girls a well-deserved place at the table.
The bullying with our young girls also worries me. In my teen years there was nobody publicly judging me or shaming me for how I looked in front of thousands of people. It deeply saddens me when I hear of young girls harming themselves because they cannot deal with social media bullying and disapproval. I also feel that social media has made our teens (and even a lot of grown women) feel that “likes” are what validate beauty. I say all the time that social media has been a gift and horrible curse.
Before you started The Beauty Nation who were some other bloggers who inspired you to go for it?
I feel like the lines have gotten blurred between makeup blogs and beauty blogs. Makeup blogs, to me, is makeup application, tutorials, makeup product features and makeup reviews which is what most makeup artists IG pages reflect. Some of these MUA are so talented it amazes me and they have my upmost respect. I did and still follow some makeup artists like @MakeupShayla @Viva_Glam_Kay and @IrisBeilin but these are not beauty blogs, at least to me, as beauty blogs entail not only makeup but hair, nails, skincare, etc. Think the closest thing to a beauty blogger I ever followed is @Farahdhukai as she covers and does tutorials for hair, makeup, nails and all types of DIY ideas for beauty in general. I love her page! She posts so many useful tips. She’s also the creator of the Farsali Elixir which a lot of us love! So I admire her also as a business woman. But honestly? I don’t feel no blogger inspired me. It was the real women that I kept meeting and their lack of confidence to have a beauty discussion that inspired me. I wanted to create that space for them to speak up and say what products they loved and which they hated. I love when they comment and tell me “Hell no don’t buy that!” or DM products they absolutely love.
Tell me about 2 stand out experiences that have impacted your life today?
Can I put in two years? LOL
2004 when I relocated back to NYC. I felt like I had been living a temporary life in Dominican Republic as weird as it sounds I knew that once I came back to NYC my real life would start. So when I moved back I feel like I finally I felt at home and started shaping my life as an adult and building the woman I am today.
2017!!!! Omg what a year that was! True eye-opener! I basically cleaned out my life. Contact lists, dropped anything toxic, stopped investing in anything one-sided, the year I realized I had finally fully moved on emotionally from all past situations, started loving myself more, and learned how to say “NO” which was so hard for me! I was a perpetual over-giver even to the shittiest people and I feel like I reached the right level of maturity. I tied up loose ends and stopped investing in dead ends. I call it the year of “me”. I almost feel like I was re-born because nothing even affects me the same way. I don’t react the same way or even feel the same way about things that before would get me fired up and cause me to react. My energy is so pure and calm right now. My feelings are correctly aligned and my goals? They are totally different! But of course in 2017 I launched The Beauty Nation and I cannot wait where this little blog of mine may go. Let’s see!
What does a typical day in the life of Bella German look like?
It’s not as glamorous as people imagine it to be lol. I try to wake-up early and go the gym which I typically fail at lol. I work at an advertising agency doing ad management for a cosmetics brand so I head into the agency at about 9:30am for my day-to-day. Throughout the day I make time to work on different blog posts and keep up with all The Beauty Nation’s social media accounts. This includes replying to DM’s and comments from my followers as I like to stay connected to the ladies that follow me and show me so much love and support. I also do a lot of product research as I try to stay up to speed on new product releases and read other bloggers’ reviews. After-work I usually have networking/beauty events to attend. I squeeze the morning workouts that never happen in the midst of it all! I do make sure to end my day with my religious beauty routine. Removing my makeup and applying all types of serums, lotions and potions takes like an hour every night, which I have to narrow down a bit, I know lol. So yea, on weekdays, I’m pretty busy and exhausted but all worth it!
On weekends? I still to do the social media aspect of the blog but I try to remember that I do have a personal life. This is when I try to spend time with my sisters and friends and unwind. Also, on weekends I make these weak attempts at dating and tending to my personal social media lol but honestly it’s not really my priority right now. If I attend a beauty related event on weekends then it has to be for a major brand or something that only happens annually like a beauty trade-show.
How important do you think social media and collaboration is to building a business and a brand today?
You cannot build a brand without collaborating. Through collaboration you not only grow your following but you learn! I have learned so much from other bloggers and women in the beauty business. And also you have to Network! Network! Network! In my case it’s important to connect with other brand publicists, beauty bloggers, makeup artists, hairstylists, etc.
How would you describe your personal style and where are your favorite places to shop?
I’ve always called my style “aggressively girly” lol. I wear makeup, I have long nails, I like big hair! I am the poster child for a girl that likes to look made-up. I’m not easily missed when I walk in a room lol . I respect the ladies that rather be more organic and don’t wear makeup or bother with their hair and nails. I’m sure they have way more time and save tons more money than me! So kudos to them but the natural life was not made for me. . I do tone it down when needed, like work and church. Sometimes I’ll wear my loud curls in a straight style if the event calls for a demure more polished look and my boss banned my nail art lol. For work I don’t wear much make-up as I like to give my skin a break but any night event? It’s a straight humble beat, honey. I call it humble because I know I’m no makeup artist but I can hold my own with a full face. When asked to describe me, the word EXTRA is quite commonly used. But what can I do!
As for my favorites places to shop Sephora takes most of my salary, of course. You can also catch me at MAC counters in a city near you or Ricky’s Beauty Supply hoarding hair products. L’Occitane, Fresh and Credo Beauty are some of my faves for skin care. People also sleep on Korean skincare stores and they have great masks and products! The Face Shop is one of my favorites. I can also spend HOURS at Target beauty aisles. Bed, Bath & Beyond also have a good beauty section, often over-looked, if you ask me.
What are your #CertifiedTopshelf favorite trends right now (fashion or beauty)?
My favorite beauty trends right now I’d start with lash extensions! I’m addicted to them. It’s so bad but having pretty lashes 24/7 is so tempting! I’m also digging the Ombre lips trend. I like playing with lipstick and mixing and matching colors and also even adding some pigments to add a little dazzle. But sometimes I end with some weird color and I just laugh at myself. I also like Henna tattoos, I don’t do it as much in winter but I’ve always been fascinated by it and I like that it’s temporary. I have commitment issues with real tattoos so during the summer months I get a lot of Henna art done. What can I say, I like to embellish myself! LOL
Knowing all that you know today what advice would you give teenage Bella?
Ahhhhhh this is always a tricky question! But at 13 I had a girl (still remember her name and all lol) that used to bully me for no apparent reason. One day, fed up, I confronted her and asked her why she didn’t like me! And I’ll never forget this, she said: “I hate you because you’re “pretty”. That was the 1st time ever that I became conscious of the fact that the way that I looked could bother somebody and make them angry. After that I tried to make myself “unpretty” to make the girls stop bothering me! I would wear my hair in a bun and wear big baggy loose clothes so my body would not show. That would make me truly sad as I was always very girly yet I had to go to school looking a certain way to “fit-in”. If I could go back I would scream at myself for letting anybody guilt me into thinking it was not OK for me to look the way I looked. I would have never changed my appearance to make other people comfortable. And I know there are tons of teen girls out there probably doing this! Changing their appearance, hiding their natural beauty so others could be OK with them being in the same room.
I would also be mindful of friends and making sure I had friends that reciprocated in the same way. Throughout my teens and 20’s I’ve been the trusting, reliable, loyal and very over-giving friend and most friends have turned out quite, well, simply put…Shitty. For example, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for my high school best friend and she ended up marrying my high school crush! Like how tragic is that! LOL (He looks like sh*t now so I dodged that bullet! Ha!) So yea I would go back and make sure I pick my friends better and make myself more aware of who’s being a good friend and who’s being a selfish friend and just using you. Thankfully, I still do have friends from my teens that are still great friends today so I’m grateful for them. But things weren’t even as catty back in the days so I could only imagine what young girls are going through now. But life changes and your friends most likely will. I hope they know this and cherish the good friends that do stay.
BONUS: Every woman carries a makeup bag for touch ups; What’s in yours right now?
I think I carry a makeup luggage set lol. I literally just opened it to answer this question and here you go! And yep all these items are in my jumbo makeup bag:
- Travel size L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream, my favorite hand cream of all times
- Travel size Prada Candy Perfume
- Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil
- Shobha Rosemary Water Wipes
- The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray
- Beauty Bite Agave Lip Balm, never catch me with chapped lips, no ma’am!
- Caudalie Beauty Elixir, which I use to quickly spray my face with some instant radiance when needed after a long day
- Kat Von D Lock-It Blotting Powder, I love it but I have to find a cheaper version!
- Disposable eyelash brushes for my lash extensions
- Nars Blush highlighting blush in “Hot Sand”
- Fenty Beauty Killawatt highlighter duo in “Mean Money” & Hu$tla Baby
- Morphe M439 Buffer Brush which I use for blush
- Real Techniques Setting Brush which I use as highlighter brush
- MAC Lip Liner in “Nightmoth”
- MAC Lip Liner in “Stripdown”
- Revlon Matte HD Liquid Lipstick in “Seduction”
- Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint
How can you not just love Bella..like seriously!
Until next time,
xoxo – Summer Terry