When I first met Dianne Vavra, VP Press Relations for Dior Beauty, I was a rookie beauty assistant at Cosmo and Dianne had been at Dior for just a few years. We’ve had fun “working” together, like taking press trips to Paris to meet Dior’s skincare scientists in person. (Of course we always squeezed in some shopping, wining and dining.) Twenty-some odd years later, Dianne looks exactly the same. I’m not kidding. She’s one of those women who not only never ages, but never looks frazzled, is never in a bad mood and is always perfectly pulled together. She walks the red carpet with Sharon Stone and Charlize Theron like a pro, but is simultaneously in the trenches overseeing all the public relations efforts of Dior Beauty. Her day starts at 5 a.m. with calls to Paris and ends around 9 p.m. with calls to Los Angeles. Yet, behind-the-scenes, Dianne has her own jam-packed family life, blessed with her two kids, Eve, 13, and Tom, 11, and cursed with a two-hour commute each way daily. Plus, she’s a philanthropist, finding time to support many charities, like Free Arts For Kids. Yes, Dianne is a supermom with beauty and fashion secrets we will all want to steal. So here they are…
Pretty Impressed: Every day sounds like a marathon for you. How do you get up, look great, commute two hours and get to work before 9 a.m.?
Dianne: I wake up around 5:15 am. I pick out what I’m wearing the night before, so I don’t have to deal with that stress of, “What am I going to wear?” My beauty routine is pretty simple. Right now I’m loving the Rodin Face Oil, $150. I never really used face oils before, but now that it’s getting colder, I like the extra moisture. I figure if it worked for the Egyptians, it can work for me. I love Ashunta Sheriff’s Perfect Face Dual Foundation and Brush, $45. She’s a great makeup artist and created this stick foundation that has two shades that both suit you, so you use one as a concealer and one as a foundation. It makes you look flawless. Then Diorshow Mascara, $25, of course, Dior eyeshadows, and I love the Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra Fine Precision BrowPencil, $29. If I’m going for red lips, which I usually do because I’m always wearing black, I wear Diorific Lipstick In Dolce Vita, $36. If I want something more nude and natural, our Dior Addict Lip Glow, $31, is great.
PI: What about your fashion staples? You can’t show up at the LVMH Tower looking anything less than impeccable.
Dianne: In the fall and winter, I stockpile the Club Monaco Julie Turtleneck, $80. It doesn’t have a seam around the neckline so stays up in a flattering shape. It’s also flattering around the arms and has a long waist. I have them in every color! I also like to wear skinny jeans a lot. My favorite are Mother The Looker Skinny Jeans, $196, because they make your inner thighs look really skinny. They’re not officially body shaping jeans, but the cut is so perfect, that when you’re standing, you have space between your thighs, which is always a plus in my book. They’re also not very low-waisted, so when you’re bending over playing with your kids, you’re still covered. Genetic Denim is really good too. The other thing I live in are Wolford Bodysuits, $240. It’s a top that’s a bodysuit. I wear them with jeans, so I never worry about tucking in all the time. They’re really great to wear under a blazer.
PI: How about on rainy days? It’s really annoying when you have to traipse around town and still have to look good.
Dianne: I have this great Fendi trench coat that I got years ago. It’s great because the arms aren’t super skinny, so I can wear a blazer under it. And it has a hood, which is essential. Being a commuter, the hood is key because I’m often caught without my umbrella. I hate carrying around umbrellas, so a good hood is essential.
PI: You’re a big vintage shopper. What are some tips for women who want to shop vintage but don’t really know how to go about doing it?
Dianne: It depends on what you’re shopping for. If you’re shopping for jewelry, it’s important to pick something that you love and that you’ll actually wear. It’s an added bonus when it’s a signed piece. When I first started collecting, I bought things just because they were vintage designer pieces, like KJL, Dior or Chanel, but they sat in my closet. Shopping for vintage clothing is different. I don’t just go for designer, but any kind of vintage that is my style. You need to have a vision. If you see a jacket that you like, but it doesn’t fit you, you can have it fitted. All you need is a really good tailor.
PI: What are your anti-aging must haves? How do you still look like you’re 30 years old?
Dianne: Monthly facials with Luzinette at Sadick Dermatology. Actually, it’s more of a medical cleanse which could entail an oxygen treatment, peel or something else depending on what my skin needs. Luzinette actually discovered my malignant melanoma six years ago because she noticed a few weird spots that popped up on my ear and back and told me to get them checked. I never was a sun worshiper so I was very surprised!
PI: Do you do any kind of laser treatments?
Dianne: I’ve done two laser treatments with Dr. Misbah Khan, who’s very conservative. Each visit was about and hour with no downtime, so it’s very easy. I think treating your neck, chest and hands are very important because nothing there’s nothing worse than seeing someone with a wrinkle-free face, then noticing their neck or hands and you’re like, “Ooh.” I don’t do fillers. I see too many botched situations and everyone’s starting to look like each other. The fact that you know when someone’s had some filler is not a good thing!
PI: What about anti-aging skincare?
Dianne: I use Renova, but I’m very careful with it because it dries out my skin. My favorite eye cream is Clé de Peau Beauté Anti-Wrinkle Eye Contour Balm, $140. I also use Dior Hydra Life Beauty Awakening Rehydrating Mask, $40, three times a week. Sometimes I just leave it on overnight, then wipe it off in the morning. And I’ve been using the new Dior Capture Totale Dream Skin Perfect Skin Creator, $110, (on counters in January 2014) and love the results. It instantly makes your skin look flawless and even in tone, but also has anti-aging benefits over time to firm and brighten your skin.
PI: Do you ever buy anything at the drugstore?
Dianne: All the time! I stockpile KIND Bars Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt, $20 for 12. I keep one in my purse at all times. I love Rohto Eye Drops, $6, because the case is so small you can actually stick it in your pocket. Charlize Theron’s makeup artist told me about them. I’m always buying Nature’s Bounty Biotin Vitamins, $12.50, which makes your nails and hair grow out thicker and healthier. Oh, and old school witch hazel is big. That’s what my daughter uses as a cleanser. It’s gentle and refreshing, but not too harsh. Also, there’s a significant Spanish population in Huntington, so my local drugstore has a little section of Spanish products where I discovered Concha Nacar de Perlop Bleach Cream, $7.50. It’s made of ground oyster shells and immediately gets the red out of any sort of scar or blemish.
PI: How do you deal with stress when work is demanding, your kids aren’t doing what you want them to do, and you wish you could throw your husband in the river?
Dianne: You mean every day? I think it’s so important to remember to breathe. It’s such a basic thing, but if I just take a moment to breathe, it helps me get through it.
PI: Do you sleep well?
Dianne: No, because my head is always spinning with a gazillion things. There’s stress from the moment I get up at 5 a.m., because I’m working with Paris, and it doesn’t end until 9 p.m. because I also deal with Los Angeles. Then there’s commuter stress, because you can never predict what’s going on with the trains. I’m lucky because my kids are really independent. I may be home late in the evening and they’ll be OK, but when I’m with them, I’m super present. When you can’t be with them 24/7, it’s so important to pay attention to their story of the day instead of half-listen while scanning your Blackberry inbox. It’s great that they’re older and more self-sufficient, but their workload and social lives are more involved, which makes it even more important than ever to listen and focus on them when I get home.
PI: Do you find time to workout?
Dianne: Two years ago I found Inform Fitness and it’s been a game changer for me. You use the heaviest weights possible with a trainer and you go as slow as you can. It’s not about how many reps you do, but time. Every set takes a minute and a half. Before this, I was working out four times a week. Now, I do this workout once a week for just 20 minutes. The idea is that you’re using your muscles so intensely, that it takes a week to recover. They actually encourage you not to do too much between sessions. Plus, you don’t get sweaty so you don’t have to worry about changing. And I’m in the best shape of my life!