From Editor-in-Chief of VOGUE Latin America, to creative consultant and founder of LATINNESS, Kelly Talamas brings her editor’s eye to all that she does. She has been key in defining - and embodying - the chic Latin style that has taken global fashion. We sat down with her to talk must-have Latin designers, building a powerhouse career, and, of course, her best beauty secrets.
What is your hometown, and where do you live today?
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Currently, I’m living in Panama.
In a few words, please tell us about your work and your mission.
I’ve been an editor for over 15 years, and more recently, a creative consultant for both international and Latin brands. I’m a journalist to the core, so what I love most is discovering new creative projects and communicating those individual stories I find fascinating.
Since my first move to Latin America (Mexico City) in 2011, my angle has always been highlighting the beauty and creativity I discover in my day to day, both as an industry insider and an active participant in each city I’ve inhabited or traveled to. I think as a foreigner living in a new country, one always appreciates a culture, its nuances and its idiosyncrasies from a different perspective than a person who grew up completely immersed in it.
From Editor-in-Chief of VOGUE Latin America, to founding your own platform LATINNESS, to your work as a creative consultant, you’ve been at the center of the world of fashion throughout your incredible career. What do you think sets Latin American style and luxury apart?
There’s a certain elegance and sophistication to it, but without too much seriousness. Of course every country, and even cities within the same country are vastly different, but generally speaking, we have more fun and aren’t scared to play with color, volume and texture. There’s a new wave of Latin designers that are brilliantly taking cues from their individual culture’s rich history of tradition and craftsmanship, yet translating it to designs that feel very modern and relevant.
What are the stories you are most excited to tell through LATINNESS?
With LATINNESS, my partner Cristina Cabarcos and I, had the idea to create a platform that encompasses all of our Latinity as a region. Although often grouped together, each country in Latin America is a distinct universe with its own history, culture and traditions that shape its identity. Our objective is to highlight this diversity and showcase the numerous interpretations and versions of “latinness” through a creative lens, meaning the stories of creative Latin talents creating beauty both in and outside of their native countries.
From a Mexican entrepreneur who is shaking up the tequila industry with one of the first female-owned and run tequila brands, a Bolivian chef who is preserving her country's culinary heritage through her foundation, or an Argentinian singer who paved her path to international success by creating her own genre of music– we’re interviewing Latins who are writing the present and future of our region through their talent and ingenuity. The stories are endless!
What is one of the most important career lessons you learned when leading VOGUE Mexico & Latin America?
Your integrity and reputation are everything. Stay humble, honest and be kind to everyone. You never know who you may cross paths with again. My first job was as a receptionist at a local magazine because it was the only position available once my internship was over and it gave me an opportunity to contribute to the magazine. A few years later, I became an Editor in Chief.
Although it doesn’t work out that way for everyone, there is so much value to starting at the bottom and understanding the work that goes into each position. You’re never above any job or anyone. It takes a lot of moving parts to make any business successful.
Now, in your work as a creative consultant, is there a principle or advice you tend to share with the designers you work with?
I always advise them to stay authentic and pull inspiration from their own personal story, and I don’t only mean one’s own culture, but more specifically, their own trajectory and background as an individual. No one has the same version of any one thing, place or experience, and so only you can create something that’s unique to yourself.
There’s so much noise and distraction out there these days with social media. The best way to create is to look elsewhere for inspiration and pursue things you truly love and that move you.
It’s no doubt that Latin designers are the experts when it comes to Summer style. Which Latin brands will be your go-tos this season?
Bolazo, Agua by Agua Bendita and Palomiino for easy day-to-night pieces. Maygel Coronel for swimwear, Nothing, please for basics like tank tops and t-shirts and my Colombian mochilas (Hunting Season if I’m dressing up more).
In a few words, what is your beauty philosophy?
Keep it simple.
What beauty lessons have you inherited from your mother, family, or culture? How have your Latin roots played a role?
Growing up in Miami, we lived in the sun and spent long days at the beach, but my mom always emphasized the importance of sunblock, especially on the face, neck, chest and back of your hands because it’s where a woman shows her age.
Other than that, my mother always insisted on us being as natural as possible when it comes to beauty, which I’m grateful for.
That being said, it’s all relative. As latinas, we tend to feel unkempt if our nails aren’t done or our hair is not perfectly polished. I’m currently on holiday with my family in Europe, and I’m always intrigued when observing the differences in cultures when it comes to beauty standards. Although I’m largely generalizing here, as latinas we’re often more conscious of details such as maintaining a perfect manicure and blow out than Europeans tend to be.
What beauty lesson would you like to pass down to your daughter?
I’m teaching my daughter to embrace her natural curls. For so long I used to be ashamed of my curls, but since becoming a mother, I’ve made huge strides in reconciling with my natural hair.
I want her to always feel comfortable in her own skin, and am conscious that I must first practice what I preach.
What are the highlights of your skincare routine - any products or ingredients you can’t live without?
An eye cream and moisturizer are always a must, but I love trying different products and alternating day and night skincare routines depending on the climate I find myself in or my skin’s needs at any particular moment. My skin tends to be on the drier side, and so I’ve found that hyaluronic acid helps a lot with maintaining that dewy glow.
I also love a good oil for bedtime when I feel my skin needs to be quenched.
Which Joaquina Botánica formula have you enjoyed the most and why?
The Hydrating Glow Oil is one of my favorite oils, especially when I travel to drier climates. It feels like I’m applying the tropics on my skin. I also love the Whipped Cleanser– the texture is absolutely delicious.
Favorite self-care or mindfulness ritual?
Taking time out to exercise– Pilates is my go-to. There’s nothing like breaking a sweat!
A good book and music are also very therapeutic for me, and spending some time alone in nature works wonders.
Your favorite way to stay active?
Keeping up with two kids under 5!
Favorite destination in Latin America?
So hard to choose, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for those cities I’ve lived in– Mexico City and Bogota. Going back always feels like coming home.
Follow Kelly for more inspiration at @kellytalamas