Her discovery is the stuff of fashion fairy tales. “It really was such a huge catalyst, and I feel very lucky,” explains former model and Botanica Bazaar co-founder Leilani Bishop. “It was one of those serendipitous moments”: a woman driving by to check the surf with her son and stumbling upon a teenaged Bishop with her family. Yet although the fashion world has taken her far from home, Bishop has stayed true to her Kauai roots. “Growing up in Hawaii has impacted my life in many ways—one of the biggest being our relationship to sustainability and understanding that responsibility,” Bishop says, noting that living on a small island forced her to think of her direct impact on her environment.
“I have always loved beauty,” she says, stating why got into the natural wellness, skincare and makeup business. While modeling, the now Amagansett-based maven quickly became aware of all the toxic substances used in makeup through many years on set working on projects ranging from magazine covers and Victoria’s Secret campaigns to gracing the iconic Ellen von Unwerth-shot Hole album cover of Live Through This (runny mascara and all).
“My parents only used organic products [while I was] growing up, and as I’ve learned more about the heavy metals that were in the makeup that was put on my face for years, it has pushed me even further into an organic lifestyle and beauty routine,” she explains. Bishop applies this same perspective to the environment. “Everything we put in our water system enters the Earth,” she says. “Natural beauty is not a selfish endeavor just for our own well-being, but for the well-being of the planet, as long as ingredients can be sourced and harvested sustainably—and as consumers that is our responsibility.”
As part of her get-glowing routine, Bishop uses a holistic wellness approach. “As I have gotten older, I have experienced the effect of what happens when our bodies stop or slow down producing some of the vital minerals that we need to function,” she shares, noting that her supplement regime includes lysine, magnesium, D and B vitamins, plus brands like HUM Nutrition, goopglow and The Beauty Chef.
Together with fellow Amagansett year-round resident Bethany Mayer, Bishops runs the European apothecary-inspired Botanica Bazaar. The shop serves as an epicenter of wellness out East stocking ingestibles, homeopathics, healing remedies and teas, as well as natural beauty treasures ranging from luxurious facial oils to organic makeup.
As for what the beauty guru can’t live without these days? “Using a toner is new to my routine since opening Botanica Bazaar. I can’t live without one now—it is so important for your skin to stay hydrated,” she says. “Drink some kind of nutrient in water every day. Not only will you consume more water, you will also take a minute for self-care, which always feels good and will add health to your system,” she also advises. “Could be lemon water, a nutrient package of some sort or an elixir.” Regular tuneups at Shima in Sag Harbor and a diet of whole foods also helps keep her in top shape. “My parents stressed early on the importance of getting nutrients directly from the source. Gardening has always been part of my family’s life, and when that is not available, farm stands fill in,” she says. But her best beauty advice to offer others? “Don’t compromise yourself, whether it is with your beauty routine or your health and happiness… all of that shows on the face and the body,” she says, clearly radiating a joy-filled spirit herself.
Perhaps the most important reason for that lit-from-within look? A close connection to nature, the surf and being grounded in the year-round community of the Hamptons is key. “Having been here for the last 10 years, raising our son and watching the children he has known since pre-K grow into young adults really creates such a beautiful bond and a great sense of belonging for family and kids,” she says of life out East. “Creating and being creative is also a great part of the off-season, to have the peace to work on dreams and projects.” Sounds like one beautiful dream to us.
Makeup by Kim Weber