The entrepreneur, podcast host, and self-proclaimed “nomad” shares her in-flight beauty secrets and favorite escapes with fellow globetrotter Bianca Valle.
Name: Olivia Perez
Job Description: podcast host, entrepreneur, philanthropist
If you want to be clued in to the best brunch spot in New York City or uncover a hidden gem where the who’s who hang out on a Saturday night in Los Angeles, ask Olivia Perez. The LA native who now calls NYC home launched Friend of a Friend, a newsletter that delivers need-to-know information about the best in beauty, fashion, travel, and beyond, when she was still in college at NYU. Now, Perez—who contributes to Forbes and co-founded System of Service, a non-profit she launched with trainer Joe Holder—is calling upon her extensive Rolodex (which includes longtime friends Gigi and Bella Hadid) to fuel her latest endeavor: the Friend of a Friend podcast. “It’s a wild ride!” she says of her interviews with the “next generation of luminaries” like Hunter Harris, Molly Gordon, and Hannah Bronfman. Naturally, the globetrotter found the perfect partner in Air France who regularly sponsors the podcast’s episodes. “I probably travel for work every other week,” says Perez. “I’m definitely a nomad.”
Bianca Valle, a fellow millennial multihyphenate (she’s a painter, photographer, writer, wellness advocate, and more), is a friend that Perez keeps on speed dial to discuss everything from nutrition to skincare. Valle also makes herself available to the masses via her Nutrition by Bianca hotline, where anyone—be it a friend of a friend or otherwise—can schedule a 20-minute appointment to talk with her about all things health related. In fact, the conversation below began with Valle offering Perez some advice for “starting the antibacterial process from within” by eating loads of ginger, garlic, and lemon.
Here, the two jetsetters reveal their must-see destinations, in-flight beauty routines, and why they’ll never fight for the window seat. VIOLET GREY listens in.
BIANCA VALLE: LIV, WHERE WOULD WE GO IF WE COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE TOGETHER? I FEEL LIKE IT HAS TO BE SOMEWHERE UBER HEALTHY. AUSTRALIA?
OLIVIA PEREZ: I would do an Australia trip with you. I always follow your travels [on Instagram] and I love the way you experience a place because you are so invested in the culture. I remember watching your Mexico City trip and being like, Oh my god! But I think I’d want to go camping with you or some sort of adventurous trip where we are in nature and not on our phones. Wherever we go, I want it to be very Zen and chill because you are the master at providing those vibes.
YEAH, MAYBE WE SHOULD SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS.
That’s so funny because one of my first thoughts was an Iceland trip where we could climb all of the cool glaciers, watch the Northern Lights, and be cozy!
YES, TEA VIBES! WHAT HAS YOUR FAVORITE TRIP BEEN THUS FAR?
I traveled to New Orleans a couple years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite places in the world. It’s an extremely eclectic city for a lot of reasons. The food and culture is definitely a diamond in the rough in terms of America. More importantly, the people are some of the kindest in the world and really welcome you into the city as if it were your own. People would invite me over for gumbo or just to hang out on a Sunday. It was nice to see that in our own backyard.
WHAT IS ONE PLACE EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT IN THEIR LIFETIME?
I went to Siem Reap in Cambodia close to 10 years ago. I loved that city a lot. There's a ton of poverty there and that's extremely difficult to see, but at the same time there's something energetically very beautiful about being at Angkor Wat. The people are very eclectic and fun no matter what their situation is. They love their city, they love the tourists coming in, and they were very welcoming. I ended up taking a little boat on the river that runs through Siem Reap. There's literally a town on a river where people live in houses that are floating on the water. It's one of those moments where you're so out of your comfort zone and in such a beautiful place that all of the little things just kind of fade away. It's probably very different now. It's funny, I traveled to all of these incredible places before social media was a thing. I feel really grateful that I was able to do that. I think the way people enjoy destinations is really different now because of social media. It’s about capturing a lot on your phone versus being fully immersed in a moment. Of course, that's a sweeping generalization because not everybody does that.
TOTALLY. I’VE HAD A LOT OF THOUGHTS ABOUT TRAVELING, INSTAGRAM, AND THE NEW AGE WE’RE IN. I THINK THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH IT IS WITH ACCEPTANCE. SO MANY PEOPLE ASK, “WHY IS NO ONE PRESENT? WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE SELFIE STICKS?” IF THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE NEED TO ENJOY THEIR VACATION, LET THEM. HOW EXCITING IT IS THAT WE NOW HAVE THIS TOOL TO CAPTURE AND REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT RESONATES WITH US. IF WE CAN DOCUMENT THESE MEMORIES, WHY NOT?
I think Instagram is a huge utility. There are so many benefits to it and being connected to the world is amazing. But going to Siem Reap with no knowledge of what the city looked like or what to expect made it more magical for me. I was able to discover it for myself. Now, I have my phone in my hand 24/7. It’s about capturing the moment and little tidbits of inspiration for me, not other people.
I ACTUALLY HAVE TWO. MY FATHER IS FROM MEXICO CITY AND I HAVE FAMILY THERE, SO I GO A LOT. I ALSO HAVE TO SAY PARIS BECAUSE I STUDIED ABROAD THERE WHEN I WAS AT NYU. I WALKED THOSE STREETS EVERY DAY FOR SIX MONTHS. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TRAVEL PET PEEVE?
The food choices. I probably travel every other week and I feel like there are such limited options. It's so brutal and sometimes I don't have time to pick something up. It's really difficult to find real sustenance. My worst enemy on a plane is salt. I’m already inflamed and swollen all the time. I have Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disease that causes a ton of inflammation.
VIOLET GREY'S TSA-FRIENDLY
“I probably overpack more when it comes to beauty products than clothes,” admits Olivia, who is “never shy” to bring what she needs. This spill-proof pack of TSA-friendly wipes soaked in micellar water will help her come clean and erase makeup without stripping skin.
Olivia prefers a window seat, which puts her at a greater risk for UV exposure. (FYI: The sun’s rays are even more damaging when you’re up in the air.) This lightweight sunscreen provides protection and moisture. Plus, it’s formulated with citrus, basil, and bois de rose extracts for a fresh and uplifting scent.
“Being on different time zones wears my body out and I can always see the impact under my eyes,” says Olivia. Not a fan of slippery sheet masks, these cooling hydrogel patches tackle dark circles, puffiness, and stress lines minus the mess. The only bags Olivia will need to worry about are the kind claimed at the carousel.
This multitasking serum helps counteract the drying effects of long-haul flights. Infused with nourishing baobab, antioxidant marula, and brightening camellia oils from South Africa and Japan, this featherweight and fast-absorbing formula delivers a hefty dose of hydration that won’t sit on top of skin.
Criss-crossing time zones calls for major moisture. “On a night flight, I wear absolutely nothing just as if I was going to bed at home,” says Olivia. This leave-on mask protects bare skin, soothes irritation, and plumps fine lines—allowing Olivia to wake up to a luminous complexion upon touchdown. The delectable rose scent also provides a welcome respite from recycled cabin air.
“I’m very picky about my brows and they always need to be in place,” says Olivia of her arch obsession. The micro-fine precision brush in this subtly tinted formula grooms every hair for full and flawless results that never look stuck down or penciled on.
“I have thin hair, but a lot of it, so my hair is extremely sensitive to water,” says Olivia. “It could end up really frizzy for days after just one shower.” A little static won’t stop this jetsetter! While she often gets a blowout before a big trip, these portable sheets will keep Olivia’s strands smooth and free of flyaways wherever she is in the world.
Olivia already takes turmeric supplements before and after a flight, but this survival kit from The Nue Co. will help fight the effects of jetlag. It comes complete with five products that promote restful sleep, relax tense muscles, support digestion, and boost immunity without taking up too much space in a carry-on.
“As a result of sleeping on different pillows” and racking up frequent flyer miles, Olivia’s biggest concerns are breakouts and rough skin. This two-step peel featuring a blend of five acids reveals a softer, brighter complexion in just two minutes—making it the perfect way to freshen up after settling into your hotel. Plus, each pad is perfectly dosed for easy exfoliating on the go.