There's nothing more personal than the skin we live in. 'Natural Beauties' is a celebration of 13 extraordinary individuals—all ages, all complexions, all attitudes—that embody unique spirit and strength of purpose, while representing a shade of our Vital Skin foundation.
This series of self-portraits is dedicated to those who capture our imaginations, ignite our compassion, and inspire us to be fearlessly comfortable in our own skin. To pass the positive energy onward, each 'Natural Beauties' subject has chosen a charity close to his or her heart for a meaningful donation from Westman Atelier. Their contributions, which collectively amount to $65k, amplify causes from Justice for Breonna Taylor and LGTBQ+ youth to clean energy solutions and innovative composting initiatives with big implications for climate change.
Prepare to be inspired.
Michelle Pfeiffer is one of Hollywood's most celebrated actors, with a career that spans four decades and over fifty films, including Scarface, Batman Returns, Avengers: Endgame and, most recently, French Exit—for which critics predict a 2021 Oscar nomination. Yet it's a remarkable passion project that has become her most memorable role yet: In 2017, Pfeiffer launched Henry Rose, a non-toxic fragrance line made in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group and Cradle to Cradle. The first-of-its-kind perfume collection merges safety, sustainability, and 100% ingredient transparency, setting a new benchmark in the largely unregulated cosmetics industry and positioning Pfeiffer as an uncompromising new voice for integrity and innovation in the beauty space. Up next, clean skincare and, possibly, world domination.
“Our health care workers are heroes. Frontline Foods prepares meals using community donations, bringing business back to restaurants and providing doctors, nurses, and medical staff on the frontlines with the fuel they need.”
An artist and self-taught photographer, Yagazie Emezi is known for her intimate, documentary-style photographs of African women and children, at home and in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria.
In 2019, Emezi became the first black African photographer to shoot a cover of National Geographic—capturing a collective of female Rwandan park rangers, a near unthinkable job for women in neighboring countries that are less progressive on gender equality. She has since worked for The New York Times, Al Jazeera and Vogue, covering everything from climate change and COVID-19 to the recent widespread protests against SARS, a police squad known for inflicting violence and abuse on Nigeria’s young and disenfranchised.
A contributor to Everyday Africa, and a member of its advisory board, Emezi is also praised for her personal work, specifically the ongoing photo essay titled “Re-learning Bodies,” which features people across Nigeria and Liberia exposing and embracing their scars in an exploration of body positivity within African culture.
“Stand To End Rape Initiative is a youth-led organization primarily based in Lagos, Nigeria. They are making remarkable strides not only in effectively aiding the vulnerable against sexual violence, but also actively building community awareness while changing government policies.”
Harlow Rose Monroe is a Canadian-born model currently living on the Cornwall coast of England. An ethereal beauty whose soft focus features have landed her on major runways including Dior, Gucci, Valentino, and Tory Burch, she is using her voice to bring awareness to the experience of the trans community. “Transitioning really saved my life,” she has said of sharing her personal journey in solidarity with those who are just starting theirs. “It's our time to feel heard and validated in a world where we still don’t have equality for all people.”
“Trans Lifeline is committed to helping transgender individuals facilitate the basic need to live their truth. Founded by trans people for trans people, it offers direct financial and emotional support to those in crisis. The organization's free hotline is currently the only service in the United States in which all operators are transgender. It’s crucial to have someone to talk to who really understands what you’re going through.”
Environmentalist Pashon Murray has a term for the mineral-rich compost that's at the center of a compelling new climate change movement: "Black gold." In 2010, she co-founded Detroit Dirt, growing it from a small, innovative composting and waste management company to one that works with some of Michigan’s biggest businesses—General Motors, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Detroit Zoo—to reduce their corporate landfill waste.
These days, Murray, a descendant of Mississippi farmers, is among a growing number of experts who believes that repurposing waste and reusing it in our soil can help save post-industrial cities such as Detroit, where toxic chemicals like lead have been seeping into the ground for decades. This fall, she shares screen time with Gisele Bündchen, Woody Harrelson, and fellow environmental activists in the new Netflix documentary, Kiss the Ground, which brings fresh attention to regenerative agriculture—a method of farming that focuses on soil health and its capacity to reduce carbon emissions.
Yet no matter how busy her packed schedule gets, Murray dedicates time to working with local schools and youth. “If I can reach that one person, it’s worth it,” she says. “Our future belongs to the next generation.”
“The ecosystem is diverse and operates harmoniously, but the human race is fighting racism and destruction. I think we should learn from Mother Nature and take action with regenerative practices. The fact of the matter is, you can’t have a climate resilient movement without equity, diversity and inclusion.”
Farida Khelfa, the French fashion icon and documentary filmmaker, has a life that reads like a Hollywood screenplay. As one of 11 children born to strict French-Algerian parents in the 1960s, Khelfa famously left home for Paris at age 16. A striking six foot figure with sculptural features and a magnetic gaze, she became one of the first Arab women to rise to the helm of the modeling industry in the early 80s. Khelfa worked closely with designers Azzedine Alaia and Jean Paul Gaultier and photographers Helmut Newton and Jean-Paul Goude, to whom she was both muse and creative collaborator. In recent years, she has turned her original eye to documentaries, producing films about Gaultier, Christian Louboutin, and the Sarkozy-Hollande election campaign of 2012, as well as short films focused on women and youth in the Middle East.
"Everyone deserves dignified housing, regardless of social or economic circumstance. Organizations like the Abbé Pierre Foundation supported my parents when they immigrated to France and during my childhood. It means so much to me to give back to them."
Fans of Joseph Altuzarra’s impeccable tailoring will tell you why they’re loyalists of his fashion label: The American designer’s perfect blazers and covetable separates feel both feminine and feminist, sensual and powerful.
A past recipient of the CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, Altuzarra, who is half French and half Chinese, often draws from the women in his life when crafting his seasonal collections. For fall 2020, he took inspiration from a box of garments given to him by his maternal grandmother, Jeanette, containing the clothes she brought with her when she emigrated from Shanghai to America in the 1940s. Altuzarra then asked four generations of women in his family, from his mother Karen to his cousin Lily, to wear the collection for a series of portraits taken at home. The most striking model from the shoot? Undoubtedly his one-year-old daughter, Emma.
“I was blessed to have a loving family that embraced me when I came out to them, but this is not the case for everyone. Family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can have extreme effects on LGBTQ+ youths, who are 120% more likely to experience homelessness and represent as much as 40% of the homeless youth population. The Ali Forney Center provides outreach, housing, and medical services for homeless LGBTQ+ youths that gives them the tools to thrive independently.”
Tali Farhadian Weinstein is a prosecutor and criminal justice reformer running for Manhattan District Attorney in 2021. At 44, she has a deeply personal history with New York City that spans four decades and fuels her passion for defending its immigrant communities.
Born in Iran, Farhadian Weinstein arrived in the United States seeking religious asylum with her family on Christmas Day, 1979. Influenced by the free legal assistance they received along the path to American citizenship, she went on to earn a law degree from Yale University. Farhadian Weinstein later served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before working under President Barack Obama's administration, first as Counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder and then as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Boaz, and their three daughters.
“Every woman has the right to live free of violence. VIP Mujeres empowers Latina victims of domestic violence to reach and sustain their full potential. Domestic violence was already a public safety crisis in New York City before COVID-19, exacting a physical, psychological, and generational toll on so many vulnerable individuals. The outreach services VIP Mujeres provides will help women across the City live life on their own terms.”
If you aren’t familiar with the photographer Inez van Lamsweerde by name, you already know her work: Her arresting fashion images leap from subway stations and billboards for Gap; in music videos for Lady Gaga; and on the covers of Vogue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, or Elle—for which she recently captured Vice President elect Kamala Harris. The Dutch photographer shoots alongside Vinoodh Matadin, her partner in work and life, to cast an empowered lens on pop culture’s most recognizable faces. On set, they race around subjects such as Julianne Moore, Mariah Carey, and Kate Moss, documenting a dynamic range of emotions. Each photograph may be different but van Lamsweerde’s gift for capturing a subject’s spirit is felt in every revealing angle.
“Because equality can never be taken for granted.”
The major American artist Michele Oka Doner cuts an immaculate figure on the streets of SoHo, where she is often spotted in a draped white dress, slick chignon, and bolt of carmine red lipstick. Transcending the ordinary is also a metaphor for her work, which spans five decades and claims space inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Known for her large scale installations, which draw their intense beauty from the natural world, she is equally adept at turning found objects like fossils, stone, wood, and even bone into sculpture; in Oka Doner's hands, a mother-of-pearl photograph becomes a spellbinding wall-size ink drawing, while a tangle of sterling silver-cast branches takes on an uncanny likeness to table coral.
For the Miami International Airport, Oka Doner created a half-mile-long terrazzo walkway featuring two thousand cast bronze elements in the shape of shells, seaweed, and other underwater creatures. Titled “A Walk on the Beach,” it is just one example of her fascination with ocean life—and her call to save its most rare and vulnerable species.
“The Gil and Nancy Voss Marine Invertebrate Collection is a monumental trove of underwater creatures, an unseen endowment, a priceless asset to the field of science. Almost a million specimens in 93,000 glass jars reveal the wealth of the still unexplored vast ocean world that surrounds us and upon which life depends. We must not lose what we haven’t yet even begun to understand.”
Grace Mahary is not your average fashion model. A sought-after presence on runways like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and in magazines like Vogue, she has found herself looking toward a fresh source of inspiration in recent years: renewable energy.
In 2017, Mahary founded the non-profit Project Tsehigh, which works to correct energy impoverished communities in Ghana, Ethiopia and Eritrea, her parent’s native country in East Africa, by installing solar panels in farms, homes, churches and schools, some of which house hundreds of students and yet have no electricity. Since its inception, they’ve offered solar-powered milling machines to women in hopes of helping them one day run their own businesses.
At home in the U.S., she continues to model, and has used her voice to raise awareness around systemic racism and gender inequity in the industry. The latest addition to her list of accomplishments? Mahary is also a certified sommelier whose Instagram feed is worth surfing for your next great glass of wine.
"Electricity is a basic need which 1 in 5 people in Africa still do not have. Combating the negative effects of fossil fuels, Project Tsehigh provides clean energy solutions to developing or food insecure communities around the world."
There’s a reason women love Nili Lotan’s easy chic pants, crisp shirts, cashmere sweats, and silk slip dresses: They’re the effortlessly cool closet staples that look great and feel even better, the clothes you actually want to live in everyday. For the better part of two decades, the Israeli fashion designer, who has three shops in New York, has been a best-kept insider secret, running a robust business almost entirely on word of mouth. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence, and Gigi Hadid, she keeps an otherwise remarkably low profile: Nolan doesn’t do runway shows or pay for ads. Instead, she puts those funds into giving back. Every month, she donates 10% of sale proceeds to a different charity. Most recently, November purchases benefitted Every Mother Counts, an organization that fights to make childbirth safe for all women.
“All life begins with a mother.”
Jade Eshete got her big break five years ago, when she was cast alongside Elijah Wood in the popular BBC series, Dirk Gently. Before that, the Brooklyn-born actress, who is of Guyanese and Ethopian descent, was a model, dancer—and structural engineer, working in construction building schools and subways in New York. It didn’t take long for her to realize her true passion was acting, and after landing stage roles on Broadway National Tours for The Color Purple and Hair, she made the leap to big network television, appearing on HBO’s High Maintenance, Netflix’s Ramy and, most recently, Showtime’s Billions, in which she shines as a shrewd high-finance mastermind with a gift for strategy. Now, Eshete seems destined for multi-hyphenate status—starring in the award-winning psychological thriller “Materna,” which she co-wrote and executive produced.
"In today’s reality, it's easy to get lost in a sea of despair. Standing with Breonna Taylor gives me hope that we can change things.”
With a sylphlike frame and deadpan delivery, Selma Blair has a way of infusing even complicated characters with disarming vulnerability and a hint of self-knowing humor. It’s a quality that the actress, who rose to fame in cult favorite films like Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde, has brought to more recent roles in film and television, including Netflix’s Another Life.
The irony is hard to miss: Off-screen, Blair, who commands 2.5 million followers, is impossible not to love. Whether talking about her 9-year-old son, Arthur, or her life-altering multiple sclerosis diagnosis, she is in turns poetic, compassionate, funny, and wise. A voracious reader, Blair regularly quotes her favorite authors (Joan Didion, Annie Lamott) and details new book discoveries. Scroll through her feed and a recent post shows her holding activist Glennon O’Doyle’s best-selling memoir, Untamed. No surprise there—It takes a brave heart to know one.
“A bookshop has been a constant reprieve, a temple for writers and the people who make books possible, including those who get them to us, in shops that shelter our minds from storms outside. We have never needed stories, ideas, and artists more than we do now.”