#ShowUsYourBag

Tia engineer + model

@themodelengineer

What’s been your confidence journey?

I made the mistake of wearing different types of clothing and presenting myself in a different way because I found that I was the kid left on the field after all the teams were full. And that was a tough feeling. But now I go into a room, and I have the confidence of, “Listen, I'm taking all of my Black girl with me.” If you want to work with me, you hire me. You're getting the brains, you're getting the beauty, you're getting this brown skin—you're getting all of it, and I'm not changing it for anyone. I’d shrink or try to fit into smaller spaces or be invisible, and I love myself too much for that. The people that raised me and loved me my whole life love me too much for that. I realized that I love myself too much to go into a room and pretend that I’m not who I am. My confidence is just…I'm not perfect. I'm not the tallest. I'm not the shortest. I'm not the most brilliant in the room, but you can be yourself because that's all you have.

What’s your newest product obsession?

A female friend of mine put me onto a men's skincare line, Jack Black, and I love their lip balm. It's the first thing in the morning; it's right before I go to bed. I have every flavor. I need something that’s restorative. I don't know what they put in it, but within an hour, I'm like, “Oh my God, my lips are back.”

What’s one of your skincare essentials?

Glycolic acid toner. Exfoliating my skin reveals a healthier-looking, glowing me. And so I want to be exfoliating all around the day, 24-7.

What are your thoughts on skincare tools?
Of course, the techie in me loves all types of technology. I have one of the Jillian Dempsey Gold Bars, and it's amazing. It vibrates, but also you can use it to get in there if you want to do a little gua sha. I love it. In the morning, it’s better than a cup of coffee. I’m brushing my teeth with one hand and Gold Barring with the other; it's just part of my routine. I use my Gold Bar every day, if not a couple of times a day, morning and night. It just feels really good.
What’s part of your self-care routine?
I love a good intentional catch-up with my friends. But sometimes it’s like, Let’s come together and paint our nails. I know that sounds silly, but it's feeling that we're doing something together, even though you're loving on yourself. It could be a sheet mask on your face. Or we’re all deep conditioning at the same time. Even if you're not at the spa, you can still create a little spa moment.
"In the morning, my Jillian Dempsey Gold Bar is better than a cup of coffee. I’m brushing my teeth with one hand and Gold Barring with the other; it's just part of my routine."
Do you have a secret to ensuring good hair days?
I’ve spent a small fortune on Olaplex. I've been using the line for a while; it just does what it says it's going to do. I’m an engineer, not a chemist, right? This is not my science, so I don’t pretend to understand. I just want my curls to be fluffy and moisturized and defined. And I live in Los Angeles, where the water is really hard and harsh. The sun is harsh. Honestly, the products work. I feel like I have a new, baby-fresh head of hair after using them.
How do you evaluate the beauty products you purchase?
I pay attention to brands that are a couple of things: Do they cater to a diverse community? And are they manufactured in a way that's conscious of the environment and of humans?
How do you get ready for summer?
Being prepared in summer is not the same as winter. Winter, you can just put a red lipstick in your bag and go. Summertime, you might need a couple of things to stay fresh and together. I love a face wipe, just in case you want to reapply something or you find yourself playing with water guns, you can get the mascara off your face. Being prepared is good. Staying hydrated is also a trick.