Eva Chen Talks Beauty Routines, Style Icons, & NYC Restos

EvaChen2Photo: Courtesy of The New Potato.
On a quest for the next big thing in the food industry, sisters Danielle and Laura Kosann have begun the journey with The New Potato. Profiling chefs, restauranteurs, and celebrities alike with cuisine questionnaires, the world of dining has reached a whole new level of delish. This week, we catch up with Lucky's Eva Chen.
Our jaw-dropper this week just so happens to be Lucky’s new Editor-in-Chief, Eva Chen, the woman who has not just inspired us recently, but more accurately, all of America. Chen’s been brought on to change the face of Lucky, but the way she sees it, the DNA is right there for her to play with. She’s having a consistent “throwback” with Lucky, simply bringing it back to its roots. There’s a comfort to an editor-in-chief like this, who celebrates all things harmonious about both print and digital. We knew we loved print, but when Eva Chen says, [about magazines] “You want to tear it out; you want to feel it; you want to put the magazine close to your face…” we’re able to put into words just why we love it so much. It’s why digital and print do in fact mesh so well together. They’re the yin and yang of today’s world, and right now Chen is seriously the yin to The New Potato’s yang. Okay, you caught us — it’s another serious girl crush.
TNP: From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
"My dream food day would ideally be a very healthy one. I think that eating healthy is the foundation to good health, good skin, and everything. I almost always have the same thing for breakfast every day. It’s deeply boring — I could literally be in Uzbekistan or the North Pole and I would eat the same thing. It’s usually a poached egg, avocado or spinach, a bowl of berries, and green tea. I drink vats of green tea, which is why I love coming to Kusmi when I’m in Paris, because I stock up. That would be breakfast.
I think in a past life I was a fruit fly; I eat a lot of fruit. I’m a snacker. I graze throughout the day. I always bring fruit into the office. I think my assistant thinks I’m weird because I come in and I’m like, “Would you like a fresh fig?”
I’ll have a snack at around 11 a.m. My office is basically a revolving door of baked goods. I actually had a cronut for the first time last week which is basically a milestone in my life; I feel like I spent all summer trying to get a cronut. In an ideal food day there would be a cronut in there, or some sort of macaroon, or a chocolate croissant — something kind of decadent and delicious. For lunch, I love sushi. I go to a place near the office called Sushi Zen, which is really good and traditional. It tastes really clean and it’s healthy; the seaweed salad there is awesome. It’s just light and happy. I’m also a big soup drinker. One of the best tips I ever got in life was from Jenna Lyons. I actually told her this recently, and she totally didn’t remember telling me — I think she thought I was crazy. She once told me that the secret to busy women is to eat soup, because you can drink with one hand and work with the other. When she told me this five or six years ago I was like “That’s genius — soup!” And ever since I think, “I’m going to have soup for lunch, because Jenna Lyons told me to have soup.” And then I saw her at a party recently and I said “I don’t know if you remember, you gave me this tip about soup and it changed my life.” And she was like, ”What are you talking about?” (laughs) So, that was kind of funny.
Then, probably more fruit and snacks throughout the day, and then dinner. I go to Souen a lot, which is a macrobiotic place. I don’t even truly understand what macrobiotic is, however I love the food there. They do a really yummy scrambled tofu. I love tofu in general. So it would probably be Souen for dinner or this noodle place called Sobaya. I love that place; the Udon there is really yummy. Then for dessert, probably Bubble Tea, or Sundaes and Cones. It’s so good because it’s a Chinese-owned place, and it is ice cream but it doesn’t taste too sweet; it tastes light and healthy. That would be my ideal food day."
TNP: Speaking of soup tips from Jenna Lyons, who are some of your mentors?
"Definitely Amy Astley from Teen Vogue. I worked for Amy for eight years and she is an amazing boss and an amazing inspiration because she really balances it all so gracefully. Teen Vogue is such an important magazine; the mission is very important. Obviously I’ve learned a lot from working with Anna Wintour these last few months (and years). Within the editorial world I’ve had a few encounters with Angelica Cheung from Vogue China and I find her extremely refreshing and intelligent. I love that she approaches fashion from a business perspective. My Mom and Dad are both immigrants; they moved to the U.S. in the '70s and seeing how much work they put into giving myself and my brother opportunities — and their overall work ethic — is my moral compass."
TNP: What’s your drink?
"I don’t drink liquor, but I drink wine. So I would say a good, goblet-sized glass of red wine probably. There’s a bar called Corkbuzz and I go there a lot. The founder, Laura Maniec, is really cool. I think she is one of the youngest female sommeliers in the world. That’s something I want to learn more about — wine. It’s very stressful to me when people start talking about tannins and such, and I just want something yummy! So, anyway, that’s my drink of choice."
TNP: How do you always start your day on a good note?
"Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I eat a huge, bountiful breakfast . It’s always really annoying because when I do these breakfasts with designers or publicists, people always stare at me like a crazy person when I order, because it’s so specific. Two poached eggs, spinach without salt, steamed, or four slices of avocado and a bowl of berries. Sometimes when I feel like I need salt, I’ll get maybe two slices of smoked salmon. It’s just the worst when they bring you a huge plate of smoked salmon and all you want is two pieces. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to waste less food. I always feel so guilty when food is thrown out. I think we’re living in a society where everything is about quick, fast, and disposable consumption, and I just feel guilty when I don’t eat it. That is how I get the day started — that and green tea."
TNP: What would your last meal be and who would it be with?
"I don’t even want to think about that; that’s so sad! That’s a very morbid question, but my last meal would be with my husband Tom, and it would probably be Shabu-shabu. I love anything Japanese."
EvaChen1Photo: Courtesy of The New Potato.
TNP: What won’t you travel without?
"People who follow me on Instagram know I travel with a mass skincare supply. I basically travel with a Sephora. I think traveling is a really great time to try new skincare products, because you’re sitting in a hotel room and you’re jet-lagged, so you’re awake in the middle of the night. So I always travel with tons of products. There is an oil from H. Gillerman Organics called Sleep Remedy. I’m sure it’s lavender and eighteen other essential oils; I always travel with that and douse it on my pillow before I go to sleep."
TNP: What’s your go-to airplane snack?
"I’m a big believer in B.Y.O.S. — bring your own snacks — because airplane food is really bad. So I usually go to Whole Foods before and buy snacks, like wasabi-dusted rice crackers and dried mango. Our fashion director, Alexis Bryan Morgan, always travels with fruit leathers, so now I always have to travel with fruit leathers. They’re delicious and a really good snack!"
TNP: What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you like in each?
"Obviously New York does not get better. I like Sobaya. I love Maialino, Souen, and ABC Kitchen. There’s a dive Chinese restaurant called Shanghai Café that’s really good. There’s a Bubble Tea place called Kung Fu Tea that I love. And Sundaes and Cones.
When I was living in Los Angeles I lived in Venice, so I love Gjelina, Local 1205, The Tasting Kitchen, and Café Gratitude. Also Moon Juice, which is a really yummy juice bar.
I love Shanghai and Hong Kong for food. Taipei is the best city for food. They invented food trucks; it’s the low-tech version — like carts! The food there is so good. There’s one alleyway you just wander into and it’s all food carts and you just eat your face off.
In Shanghai there is a hotpot place called Hao di Lao. It’s so good and there is always an epic, three-hour wait. They give you playing cards and snacks, and you can get manicures outside while you’re waiting.
Obviously I love Italian food, so I always enjoy Milan because I eat pasta and gelato with abandon."
TNP: Any spots here in Paris?
"L’Avenue is always good for a lunch. Le Castiglione is always good for people-watching. Hemingway Bar when it was open at The Ritz was always amazing, I loved how cozy it was!"
TNP: What are five things right now you’re really loving?
"Right now I am loving everything under the sun from Kenzo. They have a collection now that’s an evil-eye pattern, which I love. There’s a new brand of water filters — it sounds so specific and weird — called Soma (I drink tons of water as well). It’s from my friend Ido Leffler, who started the company Yes to Carrots. It’s basically a really beautiful version of the usually clunky water filters you see. It’s really chic. It’s this gorgeous carafe and it’s beautifully designed. It’s a good thing to have, because you want to drink a lot of water but you don’t want to have a wonky, big water filter on your desk. Anya Hindmarch sent me a really cute little envelope collection that has my actual address on it, so I really love that. There’s the brand Whistles out of London, and they’re coming to the U.S. They make the best leather skirts and leather pieces for under $300–400. So, everything Whistles leather. And then Birkenstocks. I’ve been wearing them since I was 14 or 15, and now they’re in fashion and I’m like, “It only took eighteen years — yes!” So, now I feel very vindicated that Birkenstocks are cool. I had a drink with a French Vogue editor last night and I was trying to explain how birkenstocks are cool in the U.S. and she just stared at me like I had eight heads. Our Market Editor, Laurel Pantin, wears those white orthopedic Birkenstocks and she makes them look good! She has amazing style. I love seeing all of Condé Nast wearing Birkenstocks."
TNP: Do you have a style icon?
"My style icons are always evolving. There are the staples like Kate Moss and Alexa Chung. My Grandma has really amazing style; she mixed prints before mixing prints was cool. She has this amazing angora leopard print cardigan that I’m totally going to steal from her. She is a big fan of headware so she has a great selection of hats. My Mom has amazing style as well; she was one of the first people I think to wear Narciso Rodriguez. I love her style. Léa Seydoux looks really good. Diane Kruger; her style is impeccable. Kerry Washington kills it on the red carpet. I think she looks amazing. Olivia Palermo could not look more perfect on a day-to-day basis. Caroline Issa always looks so, so elegant and perfect. I just love her style. It’s mostly the cool downtown girls that I love."
TNP: If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there?
"Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Jenna Lyons (because I’m obsessed with her), Oprah, and Martha Stewart. If anyone couldn’t come, Michelle Obama and Ellen Degeneres would be next up! It would be less of a dinner and more of a book club. I’d like to have a book club with these women — or a discussion group. And I’d just sit and listen to the wisdom."

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