Sandy Sanchez is truly a multi-hyphenate talent. Yes, she’s known for her work as the editor of NYC-based female writing club Novella, but the Salvadoran-American knows too well that she can’t stay in one role at once. As a copywriter at Worn and founder of online vintage shop Época de Rosa, Sanchez is a multidisciplinary powerhouse with a clear mission: help women find their voice.
It’s no wonder that, when it comes to her approach to beauty, she’s a minimal creature, who prefers natural makeup (don’t mind the Glossier glow!). Sanchez also prefers a nighttime skincare routine to a morning face ritual. It’s probably a good coping mechanism for the multifaceted juggler, whose recently-launched business, full-time job, and side project keep her on the go.
Sanchez told Emperifollá about how she got to where she is and why fashion and beauty will always be a part of her multi-hyphenate lifestyle.
I think beauty is that feeling of joy and it’s not even just inner joy, that you feel comfortable and accepting in your own bod, but also just joy of the things around you. I’m very into my senses– how things feel, how things smell, what they sound like. I think all of those contribute to this overarching beauty. I kind of see it as a whole beauty package.
One thing about my routine is that it’s very minimal. I think my favorite beauty product is the First Aid Beauty moisturizer. I’ve been using it for like 2 years. Granted, I haven’t tried many moisturizers but I love that one. My skincare routine I actually only do it at night. In the morning, I just sort of wash my face and some days I just won’t wear anything. Other days when I do decide to wear my normal routine, I’ll wash and moisturize a little bit. But primarily, it’s the nighttime routine that’s kind of like a ritual. I’ll make my lavender tea, I’ll wash my face, I’ll put on my serums, and then I’ll go back into my room and read. It’s a nice, minimal routine.
If I could accentuate just one physical attribute it’d probably be just my hair because I like having it with lots of volume and full. That’s one thing that I don’t mind just like tossing and waving it and making sure that it’s full. I grew up with very curly hair and then it got kind of straight during my elementary years. I never was comfortable wearing it curly so I literally straightened it from 7th grade up until maybe senior year of high school just like every single day. And then, I remember once I left it curly and someone was like, “Your hair is so pretty. Why don’t you ever wear it like this?” I asked myself why am I not just wear my hair natural. I was wasting so much time in the morning to make it look a certain way and it didn’t even stay straight. I just got more comfortable the way that it is.
Style, I think, is self-expression. So, I view fashion and style as a form of art too because you wake up in the morning and it’s about, “How am I going to express myself today?” That’s why I love style and fashion so much because it is a form of self-expression too.
I get a lot of inspiration from women of color on Instagram. I love The Fashion Citizen, they are these Guatemalan twin sisters who live in Phoenix and they’ve very thrifty. So I get a lot of my thrifting inspiration from them. I think Instagram depends on what mindset you’re in because I’ve heard both sides to, that some people think Instagram can be a little bit toxic. But for other people, it’s just a hub of inspiration because there’s so many emerging entrepreneurs, artists, makeup artists… Just any kind of person is on Instagram. I think it’s also the kind of people you follow. You kind sort of tell when people are genuine and welcoming.
On Her Mami
I was never confident enough to really be into makeup and fashion growing up. My mom’s always been into beauty. She loves smelling good and buying lipsticks and eyeshadows and going to the Clinique section at Macy’s. I was just scared to get into the beauty role for long. I think it was mainly shyness. I was very shy growing up. It’s like if I wear lipgloss, is that going to be too much of a big statement?
My mom was always very into beauty and fashion so I have very early memories of her. I was her first child. She had me when she was 22. She was trying to adjust to the U.S., so she had her part-time job and she would like to el bazar and would buy me these little dresses, just adorable frilly little dresses. As a toddler and young kid, I always dressed very frilly and dressy. I liked it. I think it’s when I got a little older that I stopped liking it. But those are my early memories, just seeing my mom very involved. She would always dress me up. I also just liked sketching fashion.
She really did go above and beyond. She grew up poor so I think it was just she wanted to make sure her daughter looked very dressed up all the time. I think that also had to do with it. She had just moved here. It was an adjustment period for her. That was definitely a way [to cope]. I also just love looking at pictures of my aunts and my mom during the 90s because they had so many great looks. The Latina look in the 80s and 90s was so incredible. They would have the high-waisted shorts, big hair, hoops. I also love getting inspiration from that too.
On Her Career
First generation children have a lot of strong stories because a lot of times they are the first to go to school, the first to leave home. All of these things are just such big moments that impact you as a person. I think they make you a lot stronger too. I don’t know if that relates to my fashion identity, but definitely my personal identity. It’s something that I am very proud of and happy about. I think that inspired me to become a writer.
I also loved hearing the stories of my parents. They met through love letters. It took six months. My dad was here [US] and my mom was there [El Salvador]. I just love their story. My dad had already moved to the US but his sister went to school with my mom. They were taking a sewing class. My aunt told her she had this brother in the US and said he was about to be a citizen, like “You should talk to him.” Just trying to set them up. They started exchanging letters. It’s so interesting… love back then. Six months later, my dad went to El Salvador to meet her and get married. He went in December and they got married in like a month. They are still together. They’ve been together for 25 years.
At Novella, I’m an editor. That’s really fun because I get to work on our monthly features. You meet so many different kinds of people too, from the beauty world, the writing world. We are giving women a platform to have a voice. I think that was really missing. It’s still missing in general. Women need a platform to express themselves. I think that’s what really attracted me to Novella at first. I wanted a side project that involved more editorial writing so that was a really great way for me to practice all forms of writing.
I’m also a copywriter at an all-female ad agency called Worn. The CEO is a Latina, which is so rare to find in the advertising world because they are all white men. That’s been good too because our main mission is to give women a voice as well and helping build brands that empower women. That’s just very important to me in general. I want to give women a voice in everything that I do. Now I get to do it in my full-time job and on the side too.
I’m also starting my own online thrift store called Época de Rosa. I’ve loved thrifting my whole life. I’ve always wanted to open up some sort of an online vintage shop to give people a chance to shop vintage because I feel like it’s the most sustainable thing you can do and you find the most unique pieces that way. Sometimes I’ll be thrifting and I find something cute but maybe it’s for someone else. You just have to start things sometimes, especially if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do.
The two main things that have always been important to me are: being able to express myself through fashion and then save space spaces for women, diversity, and inclusivity. For right now, I don’t mind doing all these things at once but in a perfect world, I’ll be able to combine fashion with advertising and making safe spaces for women. I think all those can come together for sure. In the next few years, I’d love to have this vintage shop be an ongoing thing and a more prominent part of my life. But I’d also want to keep helping brands build their voices in a way that they are empowering women.
– As told to Frances Solá-Santiago. Photographed by Maridelis Morales Rosado.