Ilana Kozlov is the kind of person you automatically want to be friends with. The cooler-than-you kind of mate who’d happily share with you their insane consignment scores, upbeat company, primo collection of cassette tapes, solid political and social views, and tips on how to apply primary colours to your eyelids without looking like Mr Squiggle has taken up residence on your face. We know this to be true – initially from our extensive Instagram “research”, but more recently from hanging out with her in her beaut L.A. crib this week.

When it comes to the whole beauty/skincare thang, she likes to keep it simple, complementing a tight edit of products with exercise and hydration. 10/10. In her spare time, she likes to make things – jokes, music, art. To unwind, she gets around nature. She loves zip ties. Need we say more?

We took a tour around her home, chatted to her about everything from problematic tokenism in the industry, to her fave travel spots, and got the lowdown on her fave places in L.A. to eat, drink, shop, and chill. (Seriously, if you’re visiting soon, this is pretty much the only guide you’ll need to refer to.) Take it away, Ilana!

What skincare products do you use?
My skin always looks best when I’m hydrated and getting some exercise, but I supplement that with a pretty basic product routine. I start with the Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser and follow with the Malin+Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer. I have a rotation of two serums that I apply before my moisturizer; the Malin+Goetz Recovery Treatment Oil is great for restoring hydration, and the Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum is awesome for brightening. I finish with the Ole Henriksen Moment Of Truth 2-In-1 Polishing Sugar Mask on my lips. For clearing and tightening, I use the Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask.

Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to everyday product?
I don’t normally wear any make-up. I need the freedom to touch my face, and feel crazy if I can’t itch my nose or rub my eye, but if I am wearing make-up I swear by two products: I use the Dior Nude BB Creme for minimal coverage, and the Benefit Cosmetics cheek and lip tint. The Dior Nude BB Creme applies thin, is long-wear, and blends extremely well, so it never looks like I have any make-up on. And so many people say that about their products, but this BB cream is actually invisible. If I’m not being a lazy gremlin, I like to do a bold lip or eye, and I prefer the pigments from MAC to any other cosmetic brand.

What’s your haircare approach? And the products you use?
I just don’t wash my hair for like 5 years and then it looks good. I have really thick hair that takes forever to get oily and gets heavier the dirtier it is, so I just kind of let it get dirty until it’s time to wash it, because I look like a grease monster. I probably should pay more attention to the products hair stylists use on me, because I don’t know how long this method is going to work for me. Haha.

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
Over-plucked eyebrows and overly filled eyebrows… Went through both phases in the same year.

When do you feel your best?
When I’m connecting and grounding myself by swimming, hiking, being naked, petting animals. You don’t have to try very hard to be happy if you’re working on your relationship with nature. Also, making stupid jokes, making out, and making artwork/music… Lots of making.

How do you unwind?
Sleep and zip ties.

What’s that one word that you can’t stop saying at the moment?
“No no.”

Favourite online shopping spot?
The RealReal has a sizeable selection of archive Prada Sport stuff, which I’m obsessed with, and also really good sunglasses. Between those two categories, the stuff is pretty affordable for what it is. Craigslist for everything in life, Etsy for special pieces, and Depop for streetwear and cassette tapes.

What songs are on high rotation for you at the moment?Mmmmm… “Be Brave” by Section 25 is always playing in my house somewhere, “I Feel Speed” by Love and Rockets is magnetic, and everything by Ski Mask The Slump God is really good right now.

Where are your favourite places to shop, eat, and drink in L.A.?
There’s a secret Out Of The Closet in L.A. that has designer miracle pieces. Replika Vintage in Lincoln Heights is amazing! It’s appointment only, but you get the whole store to yourself. Barney’s for shoes, and Goodwill for everything else. I encourage people to only shop secondhand, and I try my best to do that as well, just because it’s a more productive thing to do for the environment. (Fast fashion is so polluting.) Speranza is the best Italian in L.A., and Azla is a great spot in Vernon for vegan Ethiopian! DwitGolMok is my favorite Korean Restaurant, and for pupusas hit up Pico Union – every place is great.

What’s your favourite travel destination, and why? Any recommendations?
I haven’t been to most of the places I want to go to in the world. Kuwaguchiko in Japan is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been too, and Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, is fun. And the Caribbean is always rad.

What’s your earliest beauty memory?
Nail polish is a pretty obvious one, but in high school I would bleach strips of my hair and color them with pastel Sharpies.

If you could resurrect one beauty trend, what would it be?
Whatever Nina Hagen was doing in the 80s… And Greta from the second Gremlins movie is lit.

What’s your most treasured item of clothing/jewellery?
I have a ring I wear on my ring finger than everyone mistakes for a wedding band. I have this vintage burgundy Cavalli corset that I never wear, so I suppose that’s treasured? Also this archive Dries Van Noten jacket that doesn’t look like much but has the coolest print.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Sometimes it’s balance, sometimes it’s love, depending on the conversation and the thing in question.

What are you most excited for in 2017?
I’m not sure! I’m just excited to hopefully stay alive and be in good physical shape.

What social and cultural issues are most important to you at the moment?
I have been given a pretty thin platform to cover a lot of grounds, so I suppose I’ll centralise the conversation around the industry. I think creating a space where people of color, queer people, and models with “alternative bodies” can feel uplifted instead of tokenized is extremely important. The fashion industry develops in tandem with the political landscape (duh), and with that comes the territory to have a conversation. Sometimes designers/brands/magazines/whatever uphold that in a very real way, and other times they just use political issues to build brand clout. What I’m saying is, brands have to move away from using queer, POC, and plus size models as decorative tokens in the straight, white, skinny narrative, and actually pay attention to these communities.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
The New Fuck You is a collection of poems and stories written by queer writers that I always return to.

Who is your biggest hero and why?
Mmm, I’m not sure. Whoever invented zip ties?

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Dana Boulos