[UPDATE: This story was originally published on October 19.]
Armed with loads of charm and Kickstarter contributions, local babe Nana Ghana filmed
L.A. Woman Rising, a doc about 50 different Angelenos waking up and starting their days. It's a complex and compelling project that truly captivated us from the first frame. But, heck — would you expect anything less from a gal who has worked with James Franco and is a regular on the SoCal art scene? Didn't think so!
We've seen Ghana at nearly every museum-hosted function around town (it's hard to miss that gorgeous hair and infectious grin!), and recently we broke down and finally asked her to spill her secrets to looking so fierce, 24/7. Take a peek at her beauty tips and tricks, and we guarantee you'll be copying her style, stat! Hey — if it got Franco's attention, we're all ears.
Photographed by Lani Trock
First and foremost, let's talk about your hair. It's amazing! What products do you use?
"Thanks! It always varies — I use Mane 'n Tail
shampoo and detangler, then I apply shea butter spray. That's mainly for styling and to keeping my hair healthy!"
7 For All Mankind Jacket, Halston Dress, Sunglasses From Downtown L.A.
Do you have any hair icons?
"Basically, it's anyone who is out of the norm, and people who like to have fun."
Just a small sampling of Ghana's many accessories!
Where do you go in L.A. to have your hair done?
"I always visit my friend Ginger in Compton. She only does private appointments!"
Have you ever had any hair mishaps you care to share?
"For sure — just recently I was shooting pretty regularly, and I basically gave up on brushing or washing! My hair was completely dreaded, and it was so painful to untangle. When I finally washed it, all kinds of hair spray and styling pomade went down the drain."
Have you ever tried any other hairstyles?
"I love cornrows, extra-long braids, and I usually braid the sides or the bottom of my hair to give it more of an edge."
What's your morning skincare routine like? What about at night before you go to bed?
"I wake up and wash my face with Black Soap
, which is made of natural shea butter. Then, I use raw shea butter as a moisturizer before I head to the gym. I usually don’t wear any makeup unless I'm going to an audition or a meeting. So, if I do wear makeup, I love my Maybelline SuperStay Foundation
, La Femme loose powder (which I often mix with Talc Powder), and Lancôme liquid eyeliner
. I don't do much before I go to bed — I frequently forget to wash my face or remove my makeup. It makes me so happy when I don't wake up with mascara stains all over my pillow!"
Chanel Jacket, Esprit Shorts, 7 For All Mankind Tank, American Vintage Boots
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning and what's in your cosmetics case?
"It only takes me about thirty minutes to fully get ready. And, my makeup bag includes Lancôme
mascara, New York Color
liquid eyeliner, MAC
lipstick, La Femme
loose powder, Jordana
lipstick, and Black Radiance
How would you describe your style in five words?
"Spontaneous, easygoing, fun, and futuristic."
Where do you love to shop in Lala Land?
"Definitely the downtown L.A. Fashion District and the vintage dollar sale at Jet Rag on Sunday mornings."
Cast Of Vices Rings
Where do you shop online, and what was the last thing you bought?
"I love shopping at Nasty Gal
! And the last thing I bought from there was a rad pair of platform heels."
Where do you love to eat, shop, and play in your hood?
"I always eat at Chaya
, Cholada Thai
in Malibu, the taco trucks on Abbot Kinney, and China Beach Vietnamese Bistro
. When I go out, I love The Other Room
in Venice, and I go dancing at A Club Called Rhonda
downtown. But, I love nothing more than hanging with friends at the beach and sharing ideas or long strolls in the mountains of Topanga Canyon."
Talk to us about your videos, like L.A. Woman Rising.
"My inspiration for L.A. Woman Rising came from my experience living in L.A. and watching the way people move and function in our society. During my time in L.A., I've observed many different types of women and their daily lives. The title started with the song 'L.A. Woman' by Jim Morrison of the Doors.
That song created an image of the individual woman, an object of beauty and desire. But, I believe that L.A. women represent so much more than that. I have studied 50 of them — a homeless woman, a lawyer, a porn star, a doctor, a maid, an actress, a painter, and many more. Whether naked or bejeweled, thin or fat, famous or poor, L.A. women all share the same feelings in the morning, and the film portrays real life in the City of Angels.
L.A. is the perfect oasis for the utopian dream, and everyone is here for different personal reasons
. The only problem is that no one really knows what each day will bring.
This uncertainty and this hope is what L.A. women all share."
What's your work process like?
"It begins very early in the morning — I often find solutions and inspiration between my awake and sleep state. After shooting first thing in the morning for L.A. Woman Rising, I spend the day working on other video and personal projects. That can range from editing or writing, getting ready for an audition, or simply reading or watching a movie at home and connecting with my conscious."
What's your favorite film of all time?
"That's a hard question! I love Bicycle Thieves, Enter The Void, and Old School — my taste is pretty much all over the place!"
We always spot you at MOCA, who is your favorite artist of all time?
"MOCA is one of my favorite place to pass time and discover new art. It's hard to say who my favorite artist of all time is, but I love a lot the art of the 19th century and I especially love Jean-Michel Basquiat. When it comes to filmmakers and video artists, I'm inspired by Doug Aitken, John Baldessari, Amos Vogel, Gaspar Noé, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and Harmony Korine. Oh, and I can't forget about Venice Beach artists Jules Muck and Salomón Huerta."
Motel Rocks Pants, Rick Owens Bustier, Jeffrey Campbell Shoes, Her Boyfriend's Jacket
How do you decide which songs to include in your films?
"Music is my favorite part of the video art-making process. The way I live my life in L.A. allows me to listen to music with a very strong ear, so the method in which I choose music can be very random. If I hear a track I love, I can listen to it on repeat for up to six months! If the song leaves a serious impact, it will work its way into my pieces. For example, while shooting L.A. Woman Rising the song "L.A. Woman" by The Doors influenced the concepts and the vision."
What was it like working with James Franco?
"I love working with James! He's a genius and always positive. He's constantly lifting up everyone around him."
What is your advice for our readers trying to break into the art world?
"Be yourself, love life, everyone, and everything around you!"