Her discovery is the stuff of fashion fairy tales. “It really was such a huge catalyst, and I feel very lucky,” explains former model and Botanica Bazaar co-founder Leilani Bishop. “It was one of those serendipitous moments”: a woman driving by to check the surf with her son and stumbling upon a teenaged Bishop with her family. Yet although the fashion world has taken her far from home, Bishop has stayed true to her Kauai roots. “Growing up in Hawaii has impacted my life in many ways—one of the biggest being our relationship to sustainability and understanding that responsibility,” Bishop says, noting that living on a small island forced her to think of her direct impact on her environment.
“I have always loved beauty,” she says, stating why got into the natural wellness, skincare and makeup business. While modeling, the now Amagansett-based maven quickly became aware of all the toxic substances used in makeup through many years on set working on projects ranging from magazine covers and Victoria’s Secret campaigns to gracing the iconic Ellen von Unwerth-shot Hole album cover of Live Through This (runny mascara and all).
“My parents only used organic products [while I was] growing up, and as I’ve learned more about the heavy metals that were in the makeup that was put on my face for years, it has pushed me even further into an organic lifestyle and beauty routine,” she explains. Bishop applies this same perspective to the environment. “Everything we put in our water system enters the Earth,” she says. “Natural beauty is not a selfish endeavor just for our own well-being, but for the well-being of the planet, as long as ingredients can be sourced and harvested sustainably—and as consumers that is our responsibility.”
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