Hi, my name is Stephanie Flor. I’m from New York and I got into traveling around my 18th birthday. I think travel is one of those things that is a “complicated idea ” for many. “I don’t have enough money, no time, I can’t, I’m scared, I’m alone.” But for me I’m never one to hold back, so my first trip I booked that day and headed for Europe with no hotel, no plan, no ideas.
I got into traveling because it’s one of those things that seems outrageous to do but I wanted it to be a reality for my life. I love to read and a book literally said go, do it, go make it happen, and I did. I launched Around The World Beauty in 2012 for my 25th birthday and I said I’m going to to use every penny I have to become a beauty expert. I believe that if I was going to start a company about world beauty I needed to experience it first hand.
GGG: The idea behind your site, Around the World Beauty, is so interesting! What inspired you to seek out beauty customs?
I’ve been a makeup artist for 8 years. I could say I found my passion early in life but beauty was one of those things that fascinated me. I loved that I could change how someone looked with my products and brushes but after working with celebrities and having accomplished my short term goals I wanted to seek more – I wanted to see how beauty was identified everywhere and not from a magazine cover but from everyday people who hold tradition and mythology as part of their everyday lives.
Even though I work in entertainment I was always with a book, watching documentaries, finding self and my connection to this place called Earth. Around the World Beauty is my connection to the world of beauty all around me. I choose to focus on beauty secrets but it’s never just that. My tagline is “discovering your beauty roots,” and my goal is to keep beauty heritage alive. We all have a story and with the modernization of the world I feel part of the movement to keep these beauty customs alive.
GGG: There must be countless beauty traditions across the world! How do you decide where you go?
To be honest that’s the thing, I never decide to go anywhere it kind of just happens and then when I go I learn. My first trip for ATWBeauty was India, and it was obvious because India holds beauty traditions in every aspect of their life. I was at a yoga convention ( I don’t do yoga) by mistake and I met a women who had a retreat and I said let’s do it!. There are countless beauty traditions and when deciding where to go I know there’s something to learn everywhere so I’m open to any place any time. Before I go I do plan on where to stay and do some research but I really get driven by the people I meet along the way.
GGG: Have there been any particularly effective traditional beauty rituals that you find yourself using after learning about them?
Absolutely every single one to be honest. I use coconut oil religiously as Filipinas do and I’m obsessed with my kohl liner from India and I use any excuse to do henna on myself to attract prosperity into my life. The beauty rituals and the stories have become part of my existence, from Pacha Mama in Peru to Swaravasti in India. I use Manzanilla as my hair lightener and turmeric face masks when I feel a lack of glow on my skin.
GGG: What’s your definition of beauty, and has it changed since you started your travels?
Beauty for me is acceptance by discovering your beauty roots – something I struggled with before traveling. It’s changed for me because I’ve traveled to my family’s origins (what I like to call beauty roots) and I’ve found my beauty through accepting my customs, my people, my land. I feel sexier because Costa Rican women aren’t afraid to show their body; I feel spiritual because Ecuadorian women believe in the sun and wind. I’ve traveled and seen so many women that sometimes I look at myself and compare my beauty because there is such distinct features that are just flawless in many cultures– big butts, skinny waist, and great hair. Me being American I’m a bit reserved you could say, but I gain a little bit more and more confidence as I see how women hold pride in their beauty and I take a little from every place I go. I could honestly say I’ve embraced my own features by my uniqueness and roots. Beauty really holds a special place in my heart because it’s a story of women loving themselves and sharing their idea of the world though customs.
GGG: Can you share a life lesson (or two) you’ve learned from meeting all these cool women who share their beauty customs with you?
I continue to learn so many lessons on my travels. I never thought I would learn about myself the way I have. These women who are willing to share with me their stories aren’t just living life from 9-5, they live their life all day driven by kindness, peace, love, and acceptance. I asked someone, “Do you know where NY is?” and they said no. For one moment I said “what?” but then I found beauty in acceptance that they live their life by believing in the now, believing in the beauty of their life right now, not tomorrow, not in the past, but they hold tradition everyday and are happy–truly happy–being where they are. They are not strangers to the world they are the world.
I’m here only for a few more days. I’m heading home to NY and then the Carolinas to see my love but my next trip, crossing fingers, is Tanzania. I met this great girl at the Women’s Travel Fest who said we could possibly do a custom tour to Africa to search for beauty. I’m crossing fingers ATWBeauty could start to host some Beauty Focused Adventures starting 2015.
How exciting! And we’re so pleased that you got to make some good connections at the Women’s Travel Fest! Good luck with your adventures, Stephanie!