Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's Maybelline—or maybe she's Lisalla Montenegro, for whom it's a little bit of both. The jaw-droppingly beautiful new face of Maybelline New York, whom I had the pleasure of sitting down with last week, has been modeling practically since birth, so clearly, she's born with it. But unlike some of her catwalking peers whose entire beauty regimens amount to two words—"sleep" and "water"—Lisalla is also refreshingly into makeup. In fact, she's downright giddy about it. Which, as she sits across from me excitedly unleashing the contents of her makeup bag, makes her seem less like a superhuman glamazon and more like just another girlfriend I'm swapping beauty tips with. Albeit one with dazzling skin and a waterfall of ridiculously lush hair.
Another one of this Brazilian beauty's refreshing qualities: She's remarkably humble, repeatedly noting throughout our interview how grateful and proud she is to serve as a Maybelline spokesmodel. "When I signed with Maybelline, I broke down and cried!," she says. "I called all my friends and my mom, and then my mom was crying too... I was just so excited, I couldn't stop smiling. My dream has always been to star in a Maybelline ad. And now that I am, I just can’t believe it. It's the best brand in the business to work with." And let me tell you, this 22-year old doesn't just talk the talk—she's owning her new role. "I really try to live what I do," she says. "I love to wear makeup, I love to workout and eat well... I just want represent this brand as best I can." And represent she does! Lisalla dished to me about the makeup she can't live without, her favorite New York haunts, and her homegrown recipe for glowing skin. And when you're done reading this, check out her chic website, lisalla.com.First impression of New York City: "I felt like I’d been here before. It just immediately felt like home. I love all the different people, the changing seasons, the food. It's impossible to be bored here because there's always something new to try."
Favorite neighborhood to live in: "East Village, where I used to live. Now I'm in midtown, but I have my own place so, it's a trade-off!"
Favorite neighborhood to shop in: "Soho. Agent Provocateur has the most unique lingerie, and Jeffery New York—oh, I could be there for hours just trying on shoes. I loooove high heels."
First Maybelline ad: "Color Sensational Lipcolor in 2010."
Day look: "I like fresh, healthy makeup for day. I wear Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation—it looks so natural and it's hydrating—Lash Stiletto mascara, and Color Sensational Lipgloss in Born With It.
Night look: "For night, I add more color. I'll put on Expert Wear Blush in Apricot Flush and the gold shade from Eye Studio Cream Shadow in Petal To The Metal—the little bit of sheen looks special, and I love that you can just swipe it on with your finger. Then I add Expert Wear Soft Eye Pencil in black, Volum' Express Falsies Mascara for lashes so major you can spot them from across the street, and I’m ready to go."
Best pick-me-up for when I'm feeling blah: "A good bright lipstick. Pink, orange, red—don’t be afraid of color, just go for it! One of my favorite shades is Color Sensational Lipcolor in Red Revolution."
Best beauty tip from mom: "I didn’t really learn any makeup tricks from my mom—in fact, I taught her how to take care of her skin. She taught me more about eating right and being healthy. She doesn't wear a lot of makeup, though now she's into lipstick because every time I go back to Brazil, I bring her new Maybelline lip colors."
Best beauty tip from me: "In Brazil, we toss white rice into a pot of cool water, mash it up, then pour the water into a bowl. Splash your face several times with the rice water, then rinse with clean cold water. This rejuvenates your skin and makes it glow like you wouldn't believe."
Favorite fellow Maybelline spokesmodel: "They're all so special! But I’ve grown especially close with Julia Stegner, Jessica White, and Emily DiDonato. What's great about the Maybelline girls is they're not competitive—we're all good friends and hang out together."
Favorite way to unwind: "I workout to relieve stress—it gets my mind off of things. I love to do Capoeira, a Brazilian type of martial arts, with my trainer Alex Verga at Mushin Martial Arts on 5th Ave."
Biggest triumph: "I taught myself how to speak English. I was 18 when I came to New York and I didn’t speak a word of it, and one agency told me if I didn’t speak English, they would send me back to Brazil. So I became determined to learn the language and do what I came here to do—and I did!"