YASMIN SUTEJA LET US SNOOP IN HER WORK, BEAUTY ROUTINE AND HOW SHE FINALLY BEAT ACNE
We’ll stop talking about Yasmin Suteja when everyone else does. But that’s probably never going to happen. She is unlike anyone else we have met before. She has a cool idiosyncratic personal style, covetable wardrobe and a whopping Instagram following of (85,000!), but Yasmin is also a trailblazing creative force to be reckoned with. Yasmin, 25, juggles between art direction, photography and also helms a successful creative and talent management platform called Culture Machine. Suteja unabashedly tackles geographical challenges and continues to grow her creative empire in Bali, Australia, and now New York, along with her brother Kai, who is also very talented and funny as hell (yes, Kai from @ursmumsyadad!).
Here, we talked to Yasmin, the creative director and photographer, about her personal style, her musical future and how she finally managed to beat acne!
ON CAREER :
I started Culture Machine about four years ago now. I just completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at UTS in Sydney, and I moved over to Bali with my mum and started getting photography jobs. Then from that I realised there was a gap in the market for a cohesive creative team that could do everything from pre-production through to post-production, as well as talent management. So I kind of just gradually built from being a photographer to creating a bigger team.
The goal for Culture Machine is very much to represent the youth. I’m 25 and you know kind of started—just called myself a Creative Director and started doing everything. And I’m very much like a champion of just doing it, you know? And just getting out there and giving it a go. So everyone that I work with is young, I work with a lot of people who are still studying, and I love being able to pass on the information that I’ve learned over the years. So we definitely want to kind of present that as a young agency being able to kind of understand the market that I guess clients are trying to reach when they come to us.
RELATIONSHIP WITH BEAUTY & SELF-CARE:
My relationship with beauty and self-care is one of loyalty and commitment! A few bumps in the road in a journey of discovering what’s right for me!
ON GROWING UP IN BALI AND BEAUTY PHILOSOPHY:
I was raised in Bali, and I went to an International School, so all of my friends were from all over the world. So I didn’t really have any concept of "different" or "you’re dark" or "you’re light" or whatever, because all of my friends were from everywhere. And then when I moved to Sydney, it was the first time I kind of realised that I was “different” I guess. And people were trying to place me, and where I was from, and what what my background was. And, and I never and I felt like there was a massive shift in what I understood was beautiful, through moving countries I guess? So yeah my perspective on beauty is I’ve always loved exploring, I guess, or unpacking ideas of what is “traditionally beautiful” because that changes depending on the context that you’re in, and where you are in the world. So I mean yeah, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
FAVOURITE SKINCARE PRODUCTS :
I grew up in Bali where natural skin and hair care were all we ever used! Coconut oil for literally everything. Fresh aloe vera from the plant. And of course cucumber.
There are several products that I am obsessed with, but there are certainly two I cannot live without. It’s a tie between my Vanity Spa Exfoliating Brush and my favourite nourishing cucumber moisturiser from local Balinese skincare line 'Cantika’ made from all natural products. I read an interview with Pharell somewhere he was asked how he manages to maintain his youthful looks right into his 40s. And his response was "exfoliating like a madman”. This has become KEY to my skincare routine. I exfoliate gently with the Vanity Spa Brush every morning and night. It’s made such a difference to the texture of my skin, and has kept breakouts at bay.
Coconut oil is the greatest life hack. I leave it in my hair overnight and wash it out for silky locks. I use it as a makeup remover with cotton pads. I use it as a moisturiser. I also use it to cook all my meals (and avoid using other oils).
My top go-to wellness item is definitely Colloidal Silver. This is a natural antibiotic that comes in liquid form. It tastes just like water. I drink a capful whenever I’m feeling a little ill, especially in the stomach. I also spray it on my face as a toner after cleansing. It’s so good. Zinc is also really important for a strong immune system (very important for me when travelling). Also, papaya is the elixir of health when it comes to fruit! Its anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties are golden, especially with a sore tummy!
ON DEALING WITH ACNE :
When I got to my twenties I began struggling with acne. And this is where I started using harsh chemicals on my skin. Benzoyl Peroxide and all those nasties to try an dry out my skin and hopefully zap the zits away. This didn’t work… I had to look internally to solve the problem. And after years of trial and error with different skincare products, I discovered the root of the problem was an allergy to wheat!
MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE :
Lather Benefit clean gentle cleanser and exfoliate with Vanity Spa Rotating Brush.
Spritz with Colloidal Silver. Followed by Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea. And finish with Cantika homemade cucumber face cream.
NIGHT-TIME ROUTINE :
Night routine is the same, except usually I’ll need to remove makeup from the day using coconut oil and a cotton pad . I’m not too picky with shampoo and conditioner, I usually use what ever is available. But I have to finish with the Neon & Co. treatment oil, which I leave in and brush through. It leaves my hair looking so shiny.
If I was short on time my main concern would be covering up my dark circles. They’ve always been a pet peeve of mine! Partly because I don’t sleep enough and partly genetic. I am obsessed with Napoleon - The One Concealer which has a beautiful creamy texture and an orange tone to counteract the blues under my eyes. This immediately makes me look fresh and well rested! My second product would be lip balm or gloss! I generally use Nivea Moisturising Lip Balm. And if I’m feeling fancy I’ll layer with Fenty Gloss Bomb for a bit of sparkle.
BEST KEPT SECRETS IN BALI :
Oh sooo many secrets to share about Bali! It is health and beauty heaven. I come back a few times a year just to get healthy and pamper myself ! My favourite beauty secrets are the Oxygen Facial at Amo Spa which is literally a dream. It’s the first thing I do off the plane. My skin feels uncontested and glowing when I come out of this facial.
The second secret it Çantika Zest Spa in Ubud. My mum took me there for 5 Hours of pampering. It’s amazing. You start with a full body scrub, and wash off in a bath full of flowers overlooking the tranquil forest. And then proceed to a facial, hair spa, mani and pedi using completely natural homemade products. You come out of it literally feeling like a new person.
And of course, without being biased I have to plug my family businesses! Crate Cafe for the tastiest healthy meals and the best vibe (Instagram here). And Pretty Poison Skate Bowl & Bar for a fun Thursday and Saturday night !
ON FUTURE PLANS :
Future plans, I’m really excited to travel. I’m super excited to be in New Zealand for the first time. I feel like travelling is the best way to be inspired and to expand your craft I guess, and also your network. It’s amazing you get to meet all these other creatives across the globe, and see how they do things. So I definitely want to keep travelling, and focus more on Creative Direction, because I started in photography and I guess creative direction is something that I was doing anyway as photographer. But I want to step back from the actual technical side of it, and work more on the conceptual creative side. And then be able to kind of employ other people to do all the other things and work in a team. And music is something that has always been a huge part of my life, but it’s just been a hobby. But it keeps kind of coming back in my life somehow, someone drawing it out of me somewhere. So I would love to explore music maybe later on down the track, but I don’t play any instruments so it’s kind of difficult because all I do is sing, and that’s why haven’t really ever gone anywhere with it. But hopefully that’s a part of my ‘future.’
Special thanks to Yasmin Suteja
Yasmin wears Stolen Girlfriends Club
Interview | Zeenat Wilkinson
Photography | Sophia Doak
Makeup | Yasmin Baker
Video Interview (below) | Bella Williams
Location | Jellyologist HO
WATCH | OUR VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH YASMIN SUTEJA, AND BTS FROM THE SHOOT
Zeenat Wilkinson is the Founder and Editorial Director of Sauce.
Her work as a fashion producer, writer, and freelance stylist can be seen in the likes of Vogue, Grazia, Nylon and Black Magazine, internationally, and locally in Fashion Quarterly, Viva/NZ Herald and more. 100% dog person.