We have a major girl-crush on Pamela Edwards Christiani, so we had to ask her to partake in our Women’s History Month celebration. Not only is she a celebrated journalist and brand strategist specializing in beauty, fashion and wellness, Pamela is the former fashion and beauty director of Essence and People magazines. You’ve likely seen her on The Today Show, Wendy Williams Show, CBS This Morning and CNN, she currently consults in the fashion and beauty arenas, working with Oprah Winfrey’s various media channels, Unilever, Chanel, Elle magazine and Keys Soulcare. We’re thrilled to give you a glimpse into Pamela’s background, her thoughts about the current state of the beauty industry and, of course, her favorite products.
Karité: Did you always know you were destined for a career in beauty?
Pamela Edwards Christiani: I never planned to be a beauty editor. Frankly, I'd never heard of such a thing before I entered the publishing world. I spent close to ten years of trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and during this time I taught high school English, worked at a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. and studied interior design. I moved to New York without a job or a plan. A year later, I was the fashion and beauty editor at Essence. When I applied for the job I was actually more interested in Essence than fashion or beauty, but that changed quickly once I caught the bug. The directors that hired me later revealed that I had the least amount of experience of all the applicants, but the best test. I think the assignment was to write six short pieces, three beauty and three fashion. I created a mini-magazine, so I wrote far more than six pieces and designed the visuals.
Karité: Have you always had an “eye” for fashion?
PEC: I don't actually remember this, but I do have a picture of myself as a toddler in my mom's heels, pearls and some sort of scarf. It's such a cliché shot, but there you have it. My mom sews beautifully and she and my dad were very social when I was a kid (they still are). I remember countless occasions where my mother would whip up a sequined outfit for a party that evening. It seemed rather effortless to her, but yet she always wanted to look different and special. I know I inherited that gene!
Karité: What are your must-have beauty products?
PEC: I'm obsessed with the original Augustinus Bader moisturizer. It is as good as people say it is. I'm also a new fan of Salwa Petersen's Chebe du Tchad Hair Creme. It's formulated with the famous Chebe hair-growing ingredients and I can feel the difference in the condition of my hair. I also love the scents and sustainability behind The Handmade Soap Company, an Irish family business that creates small batches of divine body washes, oils, soaps and so forth.
Karité: What are your thoughts about how the beauty “landscape” has evolved over the past few years?
PEC: It's awesome and empowering to see WOC step into beauty spaces and fill voids that need to be filled. I love supporting small businesses, especially those run by women and women of color.
Karité: What role does “beauty” play in overall wellness and self-love for you?
PEC: Beauty can be empowering, pure fun, pure necessity, or an escape... It can be a whole lot of things, but I think the most important thing it can do is mirror a happy heart. Happiness is an inside job, so know that no amount of ritual, color or coverage can give you that, but taking care of yourself via beauty rituals can be a wonderful way to love yourself.
Karité: What is your advice for women with an entrepreneurial spirit?
PEC: Go for it, do your research, be authentic and let integrity be the backbone of your business. And listen to those you trust for feedback, including patrons and clients.
Karité: What’s your favorite Karité product?
PEC: The hand cream, for sure!