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Interview

Polish Up with Flaviana Matata

Meet Flaviana Matata – the stunning Tanzanian model with brains, courage, and a bountiful heart.

You may recognize this stunning Tanzanian beauty from the glossy pages of Elle, the runways of Tommy Hilfiger, or the iconic Miss Universe stage– but you’ll quickly learn that Flaviana is so much more than just a model. From intelligence and courage to heart and soul, Matata embodies all the virtues that the scarecrow, tin man and lion lacked! Her intellect is reflected in her hard-earned electrical engineering degree; her fearlessness is evident in her position as CEO of her own nail care company, Lavy (which is cruelty-free, non-toxic, and nonprofit, by the way!); and her magnanimity rests at the heart of her eponymous NGO, the Flaviana Matata Foundation, which works to empower and enrich the lives of Tanzanian girls through education. Fashion model? Yes. Role model? Most definitely. We chat with Doroth– err, –Flaviana about her beauty routine, her ambitions, and her inspirations.  

YOUR DAY
Morning routine…

I wake up and say a prayer, go through my phone and check my email, and then I’ll catch up with family in Tanzania while making a shake or cup of tea.

Evening routine…

I like to relax in the evening, wash my face before bed, say a prayer, then go to sleep.

Your “you” time…

I like to calm my mind by getting off of my phone and energizing my body at the spa.

YOUR LIFE
Personal passions…

To help as many people as possible, specifically giving back and helping young girls better their lives. I am also very passionate about my nail polish line Lavy, which gives back to young girls in my home country of Tanzania.

Favorite travel spots…

Zanzibar and Egypt. And my dream travel destination is Bali (one day!).

Plans for the future…

I have a bunch of plans, but one of them is to expand Lavy and sell product beyond just Africa.

YOUR FOOD
Your go-to healthy snack…

Apple or banana.

Your indulgence…

Tiramisu!

Favorite restaurant, in NYC or elsewhere…

Le Bilboquet.

YOUR BEAUTY
Must-have skincare/body care products…

Cleanser and moisturizer – it is so important to keep your skin clean and hydrated.

Favorite makeup products…

I absolutely love the brand bareMinerals because their products are very natural and clean.

Favorite perfume…

Tom Ford Black Orchid.

YOUR INSPIRATION
Individuals you look up to…

I really look up to Tyra Banks, as she has shown that she is more than just a model and has gone on to start her own business ventures. Deborah Lippman is also one of my biggest mentors; she is an incredible businesswoman and has been so supportive throughout my career.

Why you decided to pursue a career in modeling…

I was actually scouted when I was in school. I was studying engineering at the time and my plan was to pursue a career in engineering. Education is so important. I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to go to school and a lot of my studies have helped me with how I run my businesses today.

What inspired you to start The Flaviana Matata Foundation…

I was inspired to give back to my community and give young girls in Tanzania the same access to the education that I was so lucky to receive.

Images of Flaviana courtesy of The Lions NY

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

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