I’ve never met Melinda in person. We connected through social media. The one thing that stood out about her was that she speaks her mind. It’s so refreshing. In this age of political correctness – most people edit what they say in fear of offending someone. I like people who have the courage to voice their opinion and stand by it.
She is an Aesthetic Coach, health and beauty expert, writer; news commentator; she has a love of books, shoes and is a self-proclaimed Chef. If you’re hungry – don’t visit her Instagram page – it will only make you hungrier.
Melinda Farina – The Beauty Broker
Founder, Integrated Aesthetics Consulting
“Everyone had work done, and they all had stories.” – Melinda Farina
I love the story behind your business model. The art of listening and absorbing information and stories – seems to be a dying art. In the age of social media people seem to have so much information thrown at them – nothing is retained. It goes in one ear and out the other. Sometimes it doesn’t even go that far.
What was it that gave you the final push to start Integrated Aesthetics Consulting?
We have transitioned to The Beauty Brokers Inc. now, which is a branch off of IAC. 14 years in the making and up and running, I’ve always had an extremely keen eye for aesthetic perfection, lines, dimensions, symmetry, anatomy. It started when I was young, watching my father who was a builder and a perfectionist in his trade, then moving into working with the best aesthetic surgeons in New York.
You begin to see through their eyes.
I knew each had their special niche and I just kept meeting patients who had no idea who to go to for what procedure – this issue always resulted in them just picking the biggest “name” of the bunch.
Creating my company was solely to tackle this problem, build an avenue of direction and education for patients to learn and understand which surgeon did which procedure the best for their specific needs and WHY. When you are exposed to beautiful and botched faces and bodies day in and day out you start to understand the who’s who of the what’s what!
This is what makes one an expert – consistent observation for a prolonged period of time.
So far I believe this ideology has worked! “You do not want to go to the breast surgeon for nose surgery unless you want your nose to look like a boob” – the line I am famous for using constantly! It’s a bit more complex than just this alone – but this is the layman’s description.
I like to feel confident from the inside and outside.
Beauty can be found in confidence but I would be a hypocrite if I said – outer appearance didn’t matter. I takes time to look good – hair, makeup and outfits. When I am put together – I feel better. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but let’s be honest that just isn’t true.
The world of dermatology is quite expansive – so many things to know. When clients come to you – in general – how aware are they of what they actually need versus what they think they need?
Well – unfortunately, people actually believe everything they see on the news and read in tabloids. They compare their own skin situations to that of trending celebrities. They also have a tendency to google their skin conditions and scare themselves into hysteria after WebMD has diagnosed them with some rare skin disease. You get it.
Skincare is part dietary, part hormonal, part habitual and part genetic.
I have been in the game long enough to know exactly what is happening as soon as I meet a patient. Skin conditions are repetitive, once you see one thing occur it helps to piece the other puzzles together. There are also common misconceptions of the latest laser and technology trends. It’s not for everyone. I like to break up the way we treat patients into age clusters and start with subtle fixes. Skincare is a customized approach. It’s not a “go hard or go home” game when it comes to treating the skin- it’s more of a “let’s find the root cause of YOUR issue first” it’s exploratory and investigative.
I love reading about new beauty products. I have my favorites – but as they say everything is replaceable. I love your beauty product posts and tips – especially the one on Dry Brushing for Glowing Skin.
What are 2-3 beauty tips you recommend for all women.
I swear by Evian Aqua Thermale spray after a shower (it purifies my skin from the harsh NYC water).
The greener your diet the more your skin will glow. Beautiful skin is 80% dietary. The cleaner your diet the cleaner your complexion. I chug down a glass of Vibrant Greens: Green Vibrance daily.
FACIALS ONCE A MONTH- religiously.
Practice good hygiene: change your pillowcases every 3 days, keep your hair off of your face, keep clean fingernails, shower immediately after the gym and after sex, don’t smoke (men hate it and it will age you), don’t abuse alcohol it’s dehydrating and aging! Stop!
“I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps.” – Frank Sinatra
I love New York City. There is always something to do – no matter what time of the day or night. If you had to recommend some of your favorite spots for shopping, dinner or drinks – what would they be?
Now you’re talking – this is MY city – as Carrie Bradshaw would say NYC is my LOVA so I have had the time to romance his town and accrue some favorites.
I stick to the usual quick pickups from Zara and UniQlo (if on a serious budget), Major fan of Barneys NY -especially for scents and jewels, The Shoebox, Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco, All Saints and Theory are my go-tos.
I shop at LF for quirky little treasures.
I am always sipping coffee and buying new books at McNally Jackson.
Christian Benner makes the best leather jackets and burnout rocker tees.
My best friends are a group of 15 fab gay men and designers so I always have a stylist by my side at all times!
L’Artusi, Marea, Pizzeria San Matteo (to die for – shout out to Salerno!), San Pietro, Masa, Taverna Kyclades – Mmmm now I am hungry!
Dear Irving, Aldo Sohn Wine Bar, Pierre Loti, Bar Jamas. Any new speakeasies that have a cool bartender with a good story – I am into, bring it on. Too many to mention – but I am THEE “go-to” for my friends when it comes to cool date ideas.
The number one beauty tip my mother gave me as a teenager was to wear sunscreen and protect my skin. You are a big advocate of sun safety as well. What is the number one tip or piece of advice you give to your clients when it comes to protecting their skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays?
A silk scarf, a fashionable hat, a colorful cover up, big sunglasses, St. Tropez Sunless Tanner (get a friend to help you apply) carry lemon juice wipes of you get streaky!
Check out the chemists/pharmacies in Europe they always carry incredible products for sun spots, screens and hyperpigmentation. I am a big fan of Institut Esthederm – Paris has some wonderful professional lines!
Healthy living is an important part of your life. Let’s talk a little about that.
I grew up with two parents who always made sure we ate well-balanced meals together and exercised every single day. I grew up with a Nonna and Nonno that grew a huge vegetable garden and fruit trees, we always ate fresh vegetables and fruits.
The more vibrant the colors the better they tasted.
My Nonna taught me to smell and feel fruits and vegetables and what to look for. We never owned a microwave. Eating quality organic fresh food in the Italian culture is the foundation of raising a healthy and happy family. My eyes were wide open at an early age to not consume or buy processed foods laden with chemicals or preservatives.
You cannot go wrong if you were raised right.
#CHEFBEAUTYBROKER: dishes, tricks, family recipes, beauty food tips.
I love the foodie pics you post – so colorful. That is how food should look like! You’re all about farmers markets. What are some of your favorite dishes to cook?
Ah! I stick to a Mediterranean diet – a lot of fresh tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, fish. I start there and get creative! I splurge on ingredients. You will never catch me in a Shop Rite, Gristedes or Trader Joe’s – yikes! Support your local farmers – ALWAYS!
In one of your posts – you urged people to explore the options of oils to cook with – stating many have detoxifying benefits. I had no idea cinnamon oil existed or all the benefits it had. What are some of your favorite cooking oils?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Excellent for the hair skin and nails, full of nutrients – buy authentic and imported from Italy or Greece.
Organic Coconut Oil: Cleansing for the gut.
Organic Grape Seed Oil: I rub down my kale with it – it’s aromatic and yummy – and also great for conditioning the skin.
Organic Macadamia Nut Oil: Great detoxifying and dietary agents.
I research the origins of oils by climate and usually buy imported every time. Always read reviews and research international chefs picks. My best friend Liz also feeds her dog a teaspoon of coconut oil a day and she swears it keeps his teeth healthy and coat shiny. Ha-ha!
Tip: Store your oil in a dark dry room temperature place or they will spoil.
I do a lot of circuit training now, but a few years ago I was at a kickboxing gym. What do you love about boxing?
Oh how I miss boxing! I missed an entire year of it last year due to a water skiing accident that left me with a completely crushed right elbow. Lately it has been a ton of PT rehab for me. I love the stress relief that boxing provides – it helps you rid yourself of built up aggression and tension. I am also a huge fan of rowing and TRX training. All of it requires focus and coordination – each of these workouts is great for the entire body as well.
We have a few things in common – we’re both Italian and we have a love for shoes. Let’s talk about that next.
Both of my parents are Italian – my Mother is from the South and my Father is from the North. I love my family to death – but sometimes they can go a little overboard on the advice – personal, career or about life in general. The edit button is lost on Italians.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten? Solicited or unsolicited.
I was raised observing the “DO UNTO OTHERS” rule of thumb, which I actually have tattooed on my left forearm (my only tattoo).
Best piece of advice came from my brilliant big brother Nick.
“Let cooler heads prevail” he would tell me – meaning stop and think, really think, before you react.
It’s saved me in many situations since he has hammered this into my brain. It makes you the better and wiser person in the end of every situation if you practice this religiously. He is a very successful business man and I respect him infinitely.
You recently spent some time in Italy – what are some of your favorite places to visit. And what are some of your favorite regional dishes?
I have over 200 family members that reside along the Amalfi Coast. We have currently reconnected in the past couple of years, 20 years after my Nonna passed. We are rooted from Napoli, Vietri, Salerno and Cetarra.
Spending time visiting the historic parts of these towns makes me feel more connected to the soul of my family.
Sitting in the kitchens of my Zia’s and wine tasting with my elder Zio’s, as they tell me old stories of my family is the best part of it for me. Learning their methods in the kitchen is why I visit so frequently. When eating at an authentic Italian table – the origin of each vegetable and fruit is always announced “this is a tomato from Paestum” this is a lemon from Positano” they all taste very different. They take pride in their produce. As a visitor to Italy – you must befriend the natives – find someone with a boat and explore all of the hidden cobblestone paths that lead you to the hole in the wall family owned restaurants with only 4 tables.
There you will find the best meals and the warmest smiles and become a part of a new family forever.
In Sud Italia make sure you always have a boat – in Nord Italia rent a Moto. All of the off label shops in these towns are best to buy clothes – best fabrics- richest silks and leathers for small prices! Favorite shoe shop in Milan is GUJA! Wow – just wow. I always purchase sunglasses and fragrances in Capri and Positano and a pair of handmade sandals. It’s a must! Pagani is my new favorite sunglass brand as of late!
I have a little shoe problem. I like mixing it up too. Wearing heels with a camouflage pant or my Adidas sneakers with a jersey tank dress. I am long overdue for a New York City shopping trip – obviously it has the best shopping.
How would you describe your style?
Classic and smart. I am a practical shopper and I try to always purchase quality timeless pieces. I am always feeling fabrics – I like fabrics with structure, substance and grain. You will always see me feeling everything in stores haha my friends make fun of me because of this. I inspect things closely before I buy.
What are some of your favorite shoes?
Always Italian – Casadei, leather Prada drivers, handmade sandals from Positano and Greece, Jeffrey Campbell boots, GUJA Milano heels – the leather has to be right on a shoe – quality leather is very important.
You are a close friend of Irina Shabayeva – she is one of my all-time favorite contestants from Project Runway. She did this Aspen look that I absolutely loved. What is Fashion Week like in New York City? That is on my bucket list – but until then, I will just live through you.
New York Fashion week really has changed over the years – it used to be much better. However, venues have gotten a bit more creative in current years. I do a ton of backstage coverage working with the beauty teams. I adore the creativity of NYFW.
Supreme artists working as a team.
The NYFW scene on a whole is truly an inspiring sight to see and fashion and beauty bloggers seem to have taken over. Prepping for Fashion week takes weeks of sleepless nights and bloody fingers as designers perfect upon their looks. I am always intrigued by what inspires their new line – Irina has a pretty cool vision board that she works off of. Watching that board come to life is incredible!
A few of my closest friends are designers, assistant designers and celebrity hair and makeup artists.
It’s magical to witness their artistry first hand.
The Project Runway designers are exciting to watch because you can really watch them grow and turn into superstars.
Irina is an artist – she keeps everyone anticipating what her next move will be.
You are into statement pieces. Sometimes that is all you need – one ring can be the perfect accent for an outfit. What are some of your favorite ring accessories?
So if I wasn’t “The Beauty Broker” I’d probably be off trying to produce a TV show on rare antique jewels and open up a tiny shop in an ancient Italian village. I feel like Indiana Jones when it comes to jewelry. When I was a little girl I’d take a stick and dig holes in the ground praying I’d find buried jewelry – such a freak – I know.
I am heavily influenced by my grandmother (not sure if you noticed this) the women in my family were avid collectors of handcrafted gold and rare stones.
I love BOLD AND GOLD.
The more original and heavy the piece the better. Most pieces custom made by famous Italian artisans long gone. Many heirlooms in my family. If a piece doesn’t have a good story, history and special significance to it – you will not see me wearing it. I also guard them with my life! You can’t find new pieces like that anymore- they just don’t exist.
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paolo Coelho
I love reading – other than working out – it relaxes me. One of my favorite authors is Paolo Coelho – I think he is just brilliant.
What are some of your favorite reads?
I have three types…
The strong feminist writer: Joan Didion, Sonia Sontag, Cheryl Strayed and Patti Smith they were and are some badass powerful females and talented writers! I love their writing style.
The powerful entrepreneur biography and autobiography: I’m a big fan of Mark Cuban and Steve Jobs stories. Michael Gerber is a brilliant business author to read as well.
The Essayists: Currently reading a collection of essays by various renown writers and edited by Sari Botton on loving and leaving New York and leaving and returning – it’s entertaining and hilarious. I love when I can relate to a writer.
I also love poetry by Frost – he is simplistic and humbling.
You practice meditation. How has it helped your life?
I live in the loudest and craziest, most fast paced city in the world – need I say more? Sometimes you need to tune it all out and find your center again. It’s good practice.
There is a blogger that likes to ask this question – because he thinks it says a lot about a person – so I am stealing this from him. Describe yourself in five words or less.
“I will always be me.”
Originality is key in life. No imitation versions allowed.