Venezuelan-born, Los Angeles-based creative director Eliana Gil Rodriguez is a dead ringer for Penelope Cruz. Seriously. It takes a pretty discerning eye to tell them apart, and we’ve done a double take while strolling through her feed on more than one occasion.
Her Instagram feed plays a fairly sizeable part in why we spend so much time on the internet procrastinating. It’s an aspirational-image-lurking-vortex waiting to happen, combining beautiful self-portraiture (aka super babing selfies) with incredible architectural and style throwbacks. Perhaps the most lit part about it, though, is the reference she makes to the all-time greatest TV show, Arrested Development, in her bio — in our opinion, that’s the best judge of character there is.
We’re pretty enamoured with the mega honey — as you can probably tell — hence why we asked our mate Dana Boulos to shoot her in her dreamy L.A. home, before calling her up to ask a million questions about her beauty and breakfast regime, her must-watch shows at the moment, and what beauty means to her. If you’re only going to do yourself one favour today, it should be getting acquainted with Eliana. See below.
What’s your skincare routine (tell us about the products you swear by)?
Typically, I’ll use the Eve Lom Cleanser if I’m dry or wearing a lot of make-up, the Aliangé Daily Devotion Cleanser if I want a squeaky clean, or both to double cleanse, once a week. Then I’ll use Thayers Witch Hazel Toner, followed by a serum: Aliangé’s Hydrating B3 Serum, or one of the Supers from Glossier. To moisturize, I’ll use Aliangé Jellyfish DNA Repair Serum (which is divine) under SuperGoop Everyday Sunscreen for day, and Aliangé Vitamin A Night Lotion under Weleda Skin Food at night.
Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to everyday product?
I don’t wear make-up every day, because I don’t want to depend on it to feel like myself. That said, I do love make-up, and if I’m going somewhere special, I’ll even things out with RMS Un-Cover Up, then use Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk under my cheek bones and on my temples. I set my brows with Sephora Collection Brow Freeze, a clear wax pencil, which is the best for achieving glossy, upright sprouts. And always a lip/cheek stain! I love LipTone Get It Tint or RMS Lip to Cheek.
What’s your haircare approach? And the products you use?
Honestly, I don’t do much to my hair except braid it now and then to prevent it from getting tangled. I love Sachahuan Scalp Shampoo; it’s the best if you’re ever flakey. And I like Davines Love Conditioner, but I’ll use Pantene in a pinch.
What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
When I was 14, I got a tattoo and pierced my nipple and thought I was the fucking coolest. I also over-plucked my eyebrows, but I’m pretty sure we all did that.
When do you feel your best?
On vacation in the Mediterranean having an amazing meal with a slight afternoon wine buzz, of course.
How do you unwind?
If the above option is unavailable, I’ll settle for a good workout or a trip to the Korean bath house. L.A. has a bunch of Korean spas, and they’re not only heavenly, but also cheap enough to frequent.
What’s your favourite breakfast food?
What’s that one word you can’t stop saying at the moment?
I say “chill” a lot. I prefer my slang to be outdated.
Favourite online shopping spot?
Netflix or Spotify? And what are you loving right now?
I just switched to Apple Music. I’m in love with Kendrick Lamar’s new album.
What’s your favourite travel destination, and why?
That’s a tough one. Italy has the nearly unbeatable trifecta of landscape, architecture and food. Last summer, my boyfriend and I spent nearly a month exploring Puglia and the Amalfi coast, and it was the best trip of my life. I also adore Costa Rica, and my mom lives there now.
When did you move from Venezuela to Los Angeles, and how did you find that move?
Well, I actually moved to Montreal from Venezuela when I was little, and bounced around there a bunch before moving to L.A. in 2009. To be completely honest, L.A. was really tough for the first couple of years. Society here can be a lot more individualistic than what I was used to growing up, and it took me some time to find my people. But I love L.A. now. California really is one of the most incredible places.
What do you miss most about Venezuela?
The wildlife and the food. L.A. desperately needs more Venezuelan food.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
What’s your earliest beauty memory?
My big sister ripping out a 90s Got Milk ad with Tyra Banks and getting the exact same haircut. I was in awe and swore that I too, someday, would have big, highlighted, supermodel hair.
If you could resurrect one beauty trend, what would it be?
I’m trying to bring back the straight brow. Like that graphic, Audrey Hepburn brow. I feel that arches are overrated.
What’s your most treasured item of clothing/jewellery?
Honestly, I try not to be too precious about things. I’ve moved and left everything behind so many times that I’ve stopped being so attached to stuff. It’s quite freeing.
What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
When something is pleasing or interesting to look at. It could be literally anything. But I’m particularly interested in how people, especially women, cultivate and curate their own beauty. We all make creative decisions on how we present ourselves. You get to be your own never-ending art project.
What are you most excited for in 2017?
I’m launching my clothing line, Gil Rodriguez, that I’ve been working on for a while. A lot of people don’t know that my background is in design, so it’ll be fun to put that out into the world. I’m also working on a perfume collaboration, and it’s been a longtime dream of mine to develop a scent, so I’m super excited about that.
Who is your biggest idol, and why?
Idol is a really strong word, but I have a lot of admiration for Joan Didion. I just don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who can describe something, whether it be a great love or a shopping mall, in a way that’s both matter-of-fact and visceral. She’s fucking hypnotic.
Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Dana Boulos. With thanks to Eliana Rodriguez.