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Emira D’Spain Says “Makeup Therapy” Helps Her Feel Confident

Welcome to Refinery29's Why I Do It, a series where we ask inspirational, successful people 29 questions about what fuels them on and off the clock. Because, let's face it: life is about so much more than chasing inbox zero.
Emira D'Spain isn't just a TikTok star with 1.2 million followers — she's an internet and IRL sensation. At just 26, she's become the first Black transgender model to work with Victoria’s Secret, was named a TikTok Visionary Voice, and is constantly creating relatable beauty and fashion content across her platforms. Here's why she does it.
What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up? Take off my fluffy eye mask and have Alexa blast “Good Day” by SZA.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed? My 15-step skincare routine. It’s excessive, but I always wake up with a flawless glow.
Power nap or power workout? Power nap all the way!
Early bird or night owl? Early bird. On the weekdays, I’m up every morning before 6 a.m.! I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t even have to set alarms anymore.
How many unread emails do you have in your inbox right now? Oh it's brutal... 1,916!
Iced coffee or hot coffee? Venti iced shaken espresso with soy milk, no sugar, duh!
What’s your favorite thing that you keep on your desk or work space? A picture of me and my family from my 25th birthday.
When was the last time you felt like a success? During NY fashion week when I was invited to attend the Harper’s Bazaar Annual Icon Party. I wore the most stunning Marchesa dress and felt like such a princess.
What do you do on those days when you don’t feel that confident? Makeup! I do makeup therapy where I just blast house music and do my makeup while I focus on the detail and precision. It helps me calm down and release anxiety.
What’s one thing you do every day, without fail? Get a Starbucks. Embarrassing, I know. No matter what country I’m in, where I am, or what I’m doing, I will have my Starbucks.
What’s something you wish you did every day? Work out. I’ve been really trying to work out for fun and not because I want to change something.
What’s your favorite piece of advice that you’ve gotten? Never settle. This applies in so many aspects and really drives my ambition. I don’t settle with my career, my friends, my love life — anything.
What’s your least favorite piece of advice that you’ve gotten? Work hard. It’s a myth, because you can work smarter and be so much more successful.
Who inspires you the most? My mother. She’s the most incredible person I know. The hardest working, most kind, and generous. I strive to be half the woman she is!
Who, if anyone, do you try to emulate? I feel like I naturally give off mean girl vibes, so I really try to emulate a super bubbly version of myself to be more approachable! All my friends told me they thought I was going to be super bitchy, but maybe it’s just the RBF!
What’s something people ask you for advice about often? Confidence! I get asked more about confidence than anything else.
What’s a piece of advice you felt proud to give? There’s three pieces and they all tie together: First, we’re all going to be rotting in the ground being eaten by worms, so why not live your life to the fullest. Second, everyone around you is too busy thinking about themselves to be concerned with you. Third, at the end of the day some people will judge you no matter what, so give them a fucking show.
What is your most-used app on your phone? Definitely TikTok, but hey — it's my job!
Where do you put your phone while you’re sleeping? I actually have to leave my phone in the living room to charge because I don’t like electronics in my bedroom at night, I think it disrupts my sleep cycle! Nothing is more important than my full 9 hours, I don’t even have a TV in my room.
What do you do when you feel yourself burning out? Take a break! Nothing is going to happen if you take a few days to yourself to rest and recover.
What’s something you consider a secret weapon? My brain. I think I get profiled a lot for being an influencer as being someone with not a lot of formal education, but I actually graduated with honors from New York University.
Where are you, compared to where you thought you’d be at 12 years old? I’ve certainly reached where I wanted to be when I was 12! I dreamed of walking runways, attending fabulous parties, living in my dream apartment, having the best friends a girl could ask for… and here we are!
If you could change one thing about your professional life, what would it be? For me to stop comparing myself to others. I feel like this industry is super competitive and it becomes a bad habit when you start asking yourself things like, Why didn’t I get invited to X event? etc. I’m working on this!
What’s been your biggest pieces of support, helping you get where you are? My time working in beauty editorial. I learned so much about the industry from all angles: PR, editorial, marketing etc.
What do you do to start your workday? Go on my hot girl walk, get a coffee, and come back to get working.
What do you do to end your workday? My night time skincare routine — it’s the perfect way to unwind and reflect on my day.
What's the last song you listened to? "For the Night" by Chloë and Latto.
What’s the last photo in your favorites folder on your phone? OMG it’s a picture of me at the Mariah Carey concert with Victoria’s Secret.
If you could go back and do one thing differently in your career path, what would it be? I wouldn’t change a thing. Every mistake I’ve made has led me to where I am now.

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