Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Photos by Karen Hernandez for The Style Line
With vision, persistence and sincere passion Toni Ko
has positioned herself to be at the forefront a beauty revolution. In creating the accessible-luxury makeup brand NYX Cosmetics the spirited entrepreneur has left a mark in the industry that is sure to last for a lifetime and as she mentioned in our interview with her below, “I always say that happiness is a by-product of make up. When we look good, we feel good; and when we feel good, we become nicer. Make-up is all about self-expression and its artistry. Artistry equates to creativity.”
Toni’s expertise, creative acumen and social media savvy piqued our interest as we soon wanted to learn more about her typical day-in-the-life along with what it’s been like to work and live in the bustling city of Los Angeles. We met with Toni at her airy, sun-drenched apartment to capture both her life and style in action and below you’ll see a few snapshots from our experience. Read on for the full (exclusive) interview featuring Toni’s insights on creativity’s role in one’s personal style and professional endeavors, California style and how to effectively utilize beauty to bring out your best, brightest and most beautiful self.
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED July 2015 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT AND INTRODUCTION
I am a serial entrepreneur,
fashion and beauty enthusiast, travel addict, and proud mother of Bruce the Bichon Frise. When I’m in Los Angeles, I tend to be a recluse outside of work. Alone time really gives me the quality peace and quiet to dream up my next big venture. In between projects, you might find me boating along the Amalfi Coast (I have a newfound appreciation of la dolce vita!) or horseback riding in the Cayman Islands. I love to explore exotic parts of the world, but no matter where I am, you will always find me in a killer pair of high heels.
Talk to us about life in Los Angeles. How has the city had an impact on your personal style and professional endeavors?
I LOVE LA! I’m an Angeleno for sure and proud to be one. Being in LA has impacted me greatly. I mean we have Hollywood! But for me, having lived downtown for several years, I am getting to experience first hand its resurgence. The restaurant scene is insane—it’s almost impossible to keep up! And now with Tom Ford having held his fashion show in LA this year, we’ve been put on the map for more than just jeans and t-shirts.
It’s such an exciting time to live here. As for professional endeavors, living in LA proved to be extremely beneficial. LA has the shortest transit for all deliveries from overseas. Time is of the essence in trends and being able to receive merchandise quicker than east coast companies was always a benefit.
What would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs to utilize in their own endeavors?
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
I wish people asked me about make-up. I would love nothing more than to talk about make-up all day, every day!
What do you think people should be asking more of when it comes to beauty?
People should be inquiring more about how to accentuate their most gorgeous feature and camouflage any minor imperfections. It’s important to remember that more doesn’t always mean better in the world of make-up. You can wear as little or as much as you’d like, as long as you are playing up your best feature.
What story do you hope to tell through this endeavor?
Dream big and go for it. When I started NYX I didn’t have much, but I had a big dream and I believed in myself.
How do you celebrate personal style?
My personal style is best described as rocker on top and ballerina on bottom. I love to mix girly, super femme with edgy, rocker chic (think pearl necklaces with a leather jacket). I truly believe that every style should be celebrated. Just because someone else has a different style than you, it doesn’t make that style wrong. Difference is a good thing. Can you imagine how boring this world would be if we all wore the same thing?
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
Truly timeless style and taste is putting together the pieces that best flatter your body shape. For instance, in my heart I really love the shabby chic style, but I would never wear it because those styles just don’t work well on me. The same goes for leggings. I love the look of leggings, but I would never wear them because I don’t have the body type for that look. I turn to fashion magazines and blogs for inspiration, and when I see a style that I love, I cut out the look and pin it to my vision board.
How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and how has your work in the beauty world contributed to this shift in thinking?
I always say that happiness is a by-product of make up. When we look good, we feel good; and when we feel good, we become nicer. Even a simple gesture of a smile or saying “hello” to stranger walking by can create a domino effect in our society. Make-up is all about self-expression and its artistry. Artistry equates to creativity.