in conversation with

Samaris Pagán

We spoke with Samaris Pagán, a passionate multi-faceted creative who is doing all the things and exploring everything the city of New York has to offer. With a background as a beauty editor and writer, skincare and makeup are just one of her areas of expertise. She shares her career journey, self care must, and how she gets things done with team STRÅLANDE!

Photos provided by Samaris Pagan, artwork by STRÅLANDE

Growing Up & Making The Jump To New York

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but my family moved to Puerto Rico by the time I turned 4. I spent my entire life there up until a year and 8 months ago. Puerto Rico is where I was raised, went to school, college - my whole growth took place there. But on the other side, moving to New York kinda punched me in the face and told me you haven’t grown at all. It was a necessary thing…moving to New York. Puerto Rico is a beautiful place, but it’s a bit like a bubble. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and do things on my own. Puerto Rico’s culture is very family-oriented. We love to help each other out and go above and beyond which is great. But I didn’t know how to do a lot of things by myself, moving to New York helped me do that. It’s been fun to get to know my new home which is crazy to say out loud, always.

I do feel comforted by the New York lifestyle that is less focused on marriage and children, in a sense. What I love about here is that people just don’t have that pressure to have it all together, you know? Culturally I’m Hispanic and everyday my family asks me where’s your boyfriend? When are you having children? Living in New York has given me the freedom to be able to still grow and learn. When I moved, everyone expected me to do a bunch of things in my first year and I was like no. It’s my first year in a place I’ve never been to. I need to immerse myself, take it easy, get to know things, people, and places. Now I feel like I can do all the things.

Turning 25

I’m 24. I’m about to turn 25 in October (Libra power!) and completely terrified. In Puerto Rico, turning 25 (or as we call it “la peseta” which literally translates to the quarter) is kind of a scary age for us. When one of my friends turns 25, we make a big deal about it. It’s the last time you can fuck up and be forgiven for it. 25th birthdays are a rollercoaster of emotions like: 'Oh my God I’m 25, I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t know what I’m doing.’ Although I feel like I’m on track, from a cultural perspective, I’m still screaming on the inside: Oh my God I’ll be 25 soon!

Current Profession

I freelance write once in a while when I have time but I have a full-time job. Pre COVID-19, I was working at Everlane as a full-time sales ambassador and stylist. My day-to-day is servicing customers and making sure that those day to day servicing duties are being maintained. I’m also a part of the styling program of the store which involves confirming and handling appointments and their respective metrics. I also dabble in makeup and do freelance jobs for friends and other creatives I’ve met along the way.

On Being A Freelance Makeup Artist

I’m no expert. My friends, who I usually freelance for, know the kind of things that I do. Very minimal but sometimes a little pop of color here and there. I definitely have a branding to my makeup artistry. I love having the chance to participate in photoshoots, they give me joy and I appreciate the creative energy that it holds.

Career Journey

My career journey started around my second or third year of college. I started out as an intern at a media publication back home in Puerto Rico, then moved on to be their beauty writer and editor. Hurricane María kinda paused my plans. There was just so much going on politically, economically, emotionally, and I didn’t find myself ready to do anything. So I stayed in Puerto Rico and I was working a bunch of retail jobs to make enough money to move to New York. Then, when I finally did, I moved to Brooklyn and continued on my retail journey. From there, I started freelancing for DORÉ, which was fun. I was with them for about 7 or 8 months, which again to me was the dream. I never thought I would be able to do that. It sounded so ludicrous to me and then it just happened. It was so great to be in a room full of creative women who were so outspoken.

Night Routine

I’m a night owl. When I get home from work, I still feel inspired in some way. I always carry a notebook with me. I try to write often, even if it's the dumbest thing. I need a shower to clean the day off of me. I've started to get into shower gels. I never used to be a shower gel person but I just got this eucalyptus one from Necessaire. It smells so good, it’s the most soothing thing. I’ll put it on and it just lingers all night. As far as skincare, Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser...for the rest of my life until the day I die. That is what saves my skin and keeps it in check. It cleans so well and it smells great. I love it!

Another highlight in my skincare routine is oils, I love them so much. I’m currently using the Herbivore Botanicals Phoenix Oil. It’s great at rejuvenating my skin, I wake up and look glowy and fresh. I mix the oil with any moisturizer I have. My all-time favorite is Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich but right now, the Nuria Defend Overnight Recovery Cream is a second favorite, it has changed the texture of my skin for the better. I have this little lavender roll-on oil situation that I use if I’m having trouble sleeping or a headache. I'll put it behind my ear, on my wrist, and get a good little whiff. Sometimes, I listen to music while I sleep. I use this app Breethee that basically plays soothing music to get you to sleep and it works like a charm. 2 minutes and I’m out.

Self Care Moment

Now since we are staying indoors, I take time to enjoy the simplest of pleasures. Like, I can actually make coffee. I used to go out and buy coffee every day. I’ve also been trying to read more. I just picked out Outline by Rachel Cusk. Again, just trying to do those simple things I would put off because I didn’t have time. Candles have been another “treat yourself” moment. I used to stop myself from spending too much on a candle, but now I need that aromatherapy. It’s so necessary. Right now I’m burning an Apotheke candle from a collaboration they did with Jessica Szohr. Rose garden goodness!

Quarantine Outfits

A lot of button-down shirts. I feel the most put together. In terms of bottoms, I try to wear trousers and not jeans or sweatpants. I love COS’s button downs and trousers. I’m heavily inspired by Scandinavian fashion so their minimal and functional approach to clothing is always present in my outfits.

Finding Inspiration and Writing

Finding inspiration is always a bit hard for me. I’m having a bit of a slump at the moment but I try not to punish myself for feeling like that. What’s helped me lately has been music. I love discovering new artists and making up playlists on Spotify. I’m a big fan of karaoke and singing in the shower. A few artists I’m loving at the moment are Feng Suave, Lianne La Havas, Arlo Parks, Kilo Kish and Berhana.

I have no organization when it comes to writing. I use a little notebook from Muji and the app Evernote on my phone. I don’t have a particular routine. If I have an assignment with a deadline, it’s focused and driven but if it’s a random surge of inspiration, I’ll do it anywhere I am. I’ve written so many things on the subway, it’s not even funny. And I’ll pull out my notebook and pen for some reason and I can’t read half of it afterwards.

What Would You Be If You Were A Cocktail

I’d be a Moscow Mule. It was one of the first drinks I had that was instantly refreshing. That is what I want people to think when they meet me. I don't make it myself because I can’t be bothered but there's this speakeasy bar back home called The Mezzanine and they have my favorite mule, especially because it’s $5.