Picture a badass marketing girl.
What do you see? A traditionally dressed executive on her cell constantly, doing research and talking strategy? What about a beauty writer for some of your favorite publications? Like Vogue, Hypebae, The Coveteur. You picture the beauty editors we see all the time, right?
What if I told you both of these people liked a good Thrasher tee and some Jordans? If you thought it couldn't be true, meet Siraad who is both these people and then some. Proving that anything is possible when you keep pushing to figure out your goal, Siraad has weaved her way throughout the beauty and fashion industries and now works by day for Clinique. She's also penned some of the most informative beauty pieces for women and men. So of course, CGS had a few questions for her.
We stopped by Vivrant Beauty in Harlem, home to some of the most luxe beauty products. Jump into some of Siraad’s favorite products and sneakers below.
CGS: You have a dope, eclectic style where you mix streetwear in with unexpected pieces. How did you get into the streetwear/sneaker scene?
Siraad: To be honest my love of streetwear and sneakers started when I moved to NYC after college. In high school, I was actually a girly girl – I was even a cheerleader, if you can believe that – but once I moved to the city my style switched up a bit. There are so many different people and interesting styles here, it’s hard not to get inspired. So while I still throw on a pair of heels from time to time, I’m definitely more comfortable in a pair of Js or Flyknits.
What do you think are the key elements of a dope streetwear look?
Since it's freezing in NYC right now, a statement outerwear piece (that keeps you warm!) is major. A practical bag to stash all your essentials in, lipgloss, face mist, phone, and notebook, in. I love a cozy hat and of course a fresh pair of kicks. Oh and a pair of sunglasses!
What are your favorite brands right now? Any top 5 sneaker choices?
Lately I've been living in these 3x1's fringe jeans. I think they're so fun and the fringe is really unexpected since usually wear them with a pair of sneakers and a hoodie. Stereo Vinyls is a cool brand I found in Korea when I visited last year, their hoodies and t-shirts are super cute. Growing up I was never really into Vans but over the last year, I’ve become obsessed with them; I actually just bought a pink pair which is super ironic since I don't like pink.
1. Vans – Only the Old Skool low-top classics.
2. Common Projects – These are always in rotation because they’re so clean and go with everything.
3. Flyknit Airforces – Literally the most comfortable sneaker ever.
4. Comme de Garcon PLAY Converse – The hi-top black ones are my favorite, since I usually wear all black.
5. Air Jordan III (Black Cement) – Simply a classic!
We definitely stalked your Instagram when you traveled east. As one of the biggest centers for streetwear consumers and brands to emerge, did you find any dope streetwear inspiration or brands?
Oh my goodness South Korea was insane and definitely one of my favorite trips, ever! Everyone there, the guys and ladies, are so well dressed it’s insane. The stores and style is just on another level.
As far as cool brands, I discovered this music collective Strictly Vinyl run by DJ Soulscape which has an amazing shop, rm360, in Seoul. In addition to having an impressive collection of vinyl records, they have cool t-shirts and hoodies, so of course I had to snag a few of those when I was there. Stereo Vinyls, is another brand I discovered while I was there, and I picked up this sweatshirt in Korea. The street markets were also a great place to find inspiration and random accessories, like the glitter socks I’m obsessed with, for super cheap!
All the gems. You have created some of the most dope content for women, WOC especially, in regards to beauty. How did you get into beauty and what keeps you interested?
My career path has been anything but traditional. I always knew I wanted to end up in beauty, but if you told me a year ago I would be writing about it I probably would have laughed. But having taken a while to really figure out exactly what I wanted to do, it’s finally coming together.
I’ve been obsessed with beauty, skin care in particular, since I was a kid and I’ve always been an avid reader, which is why I think writing has been so fun for me. I get to meet so many interesting and cool people who are doing amazing things in the beauty industry, like my friend Desiree Verdejo who owns Vivrant Beauty, that it’s a dream career for me. The fact that there’s always something new and exciting happening in the industry, from product launches or apps made for us women of color, keeps me excited and always interested.
One thing women often face in the culture is being objectified or their femininity questioned because of their interest in streetwear, have you experienced that? How did you deal and what are your thoughts?
So funny you ask this because I was just having this conversation with a friend the other day. It's a shame that women are still forced inside of such a small box – we can't possibly love to rock kicks and still be feminine, which of course isn't true. My thoughts are that, it’s a load of crap! Women are so complex and versatile that it's absurd that we have to choose between being ultra-feminine or a tomboy. Thankfully, I’m at a point where I really don’t care what people think – I wear what I want, how I want. People will either like it or they won’t, but that’s on them.
Has working in marketing within the industry made you a better writer about beauty? What are your goals with your writing?
I definitely think working in marketing, and even fashion, has made me a better writer. Early in your career it’s easy to get discouraged if you’re not doing exactly what you want, but I honestly believe it’s those random experiences that allow you have a unique perspective that your peers won’t have.
As for writing, I want to keep writing about issues and products that women of color care about. There aren’t enough beauty articles and stories about and for us, and I want to write those! My ultimate goal though is to eventually write a book, but I think I’ve got a little bit more time before that happens. haha
We have to steal some tips from you! What are your top skincare suggestions for a healthy, glowing look?
First things first, make sure to drink water – and lots of it! I once read that Gabrielle Union drinks a gallon of water a day, so that's what I started doing. LOL I'd also say to make sure you get enough sleep and eat lots of fruits and veggies because that glowing radiant look that everyone wants, really starts from the inside out.
As far as products, I suggest finding a good cleanser – right now I'm loving this one by Tatcha. Invest in a good serum, Herbivore Botanicals has a great one, and make sure to moisturize. And if you only do two things, make sure to take off your makeup before bed (use this!) and wear a SPF every day, one my favorite is by UNSUN.
Lastly, what are your #CGSEssentials?
1. iPhone – Such a lame answer but my family doesn’t live here in NYC, so having my phone means they’re only a phone call away. My calendar also keeps me on track, so I need that as well.
2. Friends – I’ve been in New York City for almost 7 years so my friends have become my family and hanging out with them always makes me feel better.
3. Lip balm and red lipstick – No one likes dry lips, so I always make sure to keep a few different lip balms in my bag. I also like to keep a red lipstick stashed as well because it can easily pull a look together and if I’m not feeling too great it instantly makes me feel better.
4. Working out – Working out has always been a way for me to maintain a sense of calm, so I’m pretty adamant about getting in a few sessions in a week. But last year I really started to step it up and work with a personal trainer and taking different classes. Lately I’ve gotten really into pilates and try to do it a few times a week.
5. A fresh pair of kicks – Few things feel better than throwing on a fresh pair of kicks and they certainly make a statement.
As we seek to always encourage and uplift other women, any words out there for the girls reading this?
My advice is:
1. Don't let a single no deter you from perusing your dreams, if you really believe in it fight for it.
2. No one else is you, which means your voice is totally unique and there's power in that.
3. Don't expect anything you didn't work for, you've got to put in the work to get results.