Real Girl, Real Beauty: The PR Powerhouse Behind EBONY Mag

For some, a job is merely a paycheck. But for South Loop gal Melody Thuston, it's an opportunity of a lifetime. When the Johnson Publishing Company's corporate communications coordinator is not rubbing elbows with Chicago tastemakers, she’s busy reppin’ EBONY and JET magazines and Fashion Fair Cosmetics.
But if Thuston is stressed out, it certainly doesn't show — thanks, in part, to her religious skincare routine and “less is more” beauty mantra. Her keep-it-cool tips, right this way…
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How did you wind up working for Johnson Publishing?
"It’s funny — I was actually planning to become an attorney. However, my senior year (second semester) of college, I decided that I wanted to go a different direction. Once I heard of the opportunity to work for such an iconic brand as Johnson Publishing Company, I couldn’t turn it down. I knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime!"

So, what’s it like working for one of the most influential and inspiring African-American publishing and cosmetics companies — including some of the amazing and powerful Chicago women and men you work with!
"It’s amazing — I love my job! Working with such powerful, smart, and visionary women amazes me every day. Additionally, working with Johnson Publishing Company's staple bands — EBONY and JET magazines and Fashion Fair cosmetics — is such a privilege."

Thuston is wearing a vintage jacket, Blank NYC jeans, and Zara shoes.
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Love your fun 'do! Have you always had short hair?
"I go back and forth with my hair. I recently cut it into a short boy style! Every other week, I wash and deep-condition my hair so that it maintains its natural curls and absorbs the moisture."

Where do you get your tresses coiffed?
"I love Marquin Salon in Wicker Park. Montgomery is a phenomenal stylist and specializes in healthy hair — which I love!"
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So, are you makeup-obsessed since you work for a company that manufactures cosmetics?
"I go pretty light on the makeup; I typically stick to mascara, concealer, and a lip. Nothing too heavy."

What about your skincare routine?
"I take my skincare regimen pretty seriously — only because I have pretty sensitive skin. First, I use Oat Facial Polish and Aloe Cleansing Gel from Naturopathica. Finally, I moisturize with one of its serums and the Beech Tree & Ginseng Daily Moisturizer. For body, my good friend has a line called Skin Deep Natural Body Care — I swear by the Soufflé! It not only moisturizes, but makes my skin feel super soft!"

Naturopathica Oat Facial Polish, $20, available at Naturopathica; Naturopathica Aloe Cleansing Gel, $14, available at Naturopathica; Naturopathica Beech Tree & Ginseng Daily Moisturizer, $26, available at Naturopathica; Skin Deep Shea Body Soufflé, $15, available at Skin Deep.
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What’s your biggest beauty challenge, and how do you work on conquering it?
"Definitely maintaining my nails...I have to really make myself go get a manicure every two weeks! When I do go, I love trying new colors — especially now that spring is beginning to peek its head out. My favorite color to try is any variation of blue!"

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Where in Chicago do you live, and what do you like about your neighborhood?
"I live in the South Loop and I absolutely love it! It's so accessible to every part of the city, and I'm also pretty close to my friends. It has some great restaurants, and it's right near the lake!"
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What’s the best part about your job?
"Being a part of an iconic brand! A brand that not only stands as a pillar within the African-American community, but is also threaded into the American fabric."

Thuston is wearing a BCBG Maxazria top, Zara skirt, vintage belt, and Yves Saint Laurent shoes.
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How would you describe your style?
"A mix of eclectic, romantic, and chic."
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Let’s talk accessories: What are some of your go-to pieces?
"Honestly, I am pretty low-key on accessories. However, I always try to wear earrings. I love vintage earrings — they are my signature piece. If I have my watch, my earrings, and a great bag, I am good to go!"
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Whose beauty/style do you admire and why?
"I truly admire my mother’s style. She always nails it. She is so aware of what works for her, and she knows how to really make a statement without taking away from how stunning she naturally is. Everything I’ve learned style-wise, I get from her."

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Thuston is wearing an Ainsley floral pantsuit and Jimmy Choo shoes.
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Thuston's trusty Michael Kors watch.
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Anything new or on the horizon for the magazines or Fashion Fair that you can share with us?
"Man, there is so much coming up! This year, Fashion Fair Cosmetics is celebrating 40 years of beauty and style. We recently launched four capsule collections, which celebrate black beauty and style through the decades. Each contains various hues of pink makeup specifically created for women who celebrate life with a touch of luxury. The products are amazing and absolutely gorgeous!"

The current exhibit at the Chicago History Museum is really inspiring! What’s been the best part about working on that project?
"Wow! That’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the EBONY Fashion Fair Show Chicago History Museum exhibit. I think seeing these remarkable pieces from top designers including Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, Givenchy, Christian Dior, and countless others is truly amazing! Also, it is exciting to see what is in store for the re-launch of the EBONY Fashion Fair Show in October of this year!"

Fashion Fair Divine Capsule Collection, $48, available at Fashion Fair.
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Do you have a major career highlight you can share with us?
"I have had the opportunity to be apart of launching the EBONY Collection and EBONY Moments. Johnson Publishing Company is the curator of the Black experience — past, present, and future. We house thousands of iconic photos, and we have recently opened our archives to allow consumers to own a piece of history. Consumers can go to the EBONY website and purchase photos of iconic figures such as Muhammad Ali, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and countless others. Being a part of that launch was truly a career highlight."
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What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
"My mother always tells me, 'less is more.' Having natural beauty is so much more becoming than anything artificial."