APERÇU Insights: vol. 1 w/ Farrah Fleitman of @gildedmirror

Our inaugural, Miami-based, interviewee creates edgy, often beauty-focused content that's seriously out of this world. Farrah pairs her dreamy imagery with eloquent diary-esque captions that make you feel like she’s your instant - and coolest ever - best friend. We’re huge fans of her talent for effortlessly exposing the details, both the magical and the beautifully mundane, that leaves us captivated and craving her next post.

How did you get into beauty & fashion content creation? 

It was right around Christmas 2017 - I’d had one of those dismal days that inevitably leads to a retail therapy session. It was kind of a bleak time in my life honestly and I recall walking into a Sephora and seeing a set of gold brushes housed in a jewel-tone, metallic confetti party clutch. I bought it and took a picture of it next to some tinsel hanging in my apartment. I thought that all 67 people on my personal Instagram would think I was dumb for sharing a makeup-related thing that brought me joy, so I decided to take a chance and start a new account that day, and the rest is history. I think art, beauty, fashion and creativity has always ruled my universe, from the days of moodboards on livejournal/tumblr and equal parts polaroid & Sony cybershot photoshoots in the mid-2000s. I just never felt conventionally pretty or stylish so I suppressed that side of myself quite a bit until recent years, and it pretty much changed my life.

What motivates you on a typical day?

The knowledge that there’s something beautiful to see or experience on a daily basis, and that’s across a whole spectrum. Like - I’m motivated by the little things: having a lemon poppyseed muffin with a cup of black coffee in the morning, the swaying palm trees on my commute to work, kissing my husband goodnight, it’s all something to cherish. He and I, we never had much growing up, but I’m motivated by life steering us in a better direction these days. In my day job, I’m an advocate for those overlooked, forgotten, or f*cked over by the legal system - I work to get them the resources they need and I make sure their stories are heard. In my digital, online world, I share a visual diary but I also bare a piece of my soul in hopes that it will speak to someone else, and that I can inspire them to feel better about their own journey in life. Simply put, I’m just motivated by the many ways we can all lift and inspire one another during our time on earth, I find it all beautiful.

Do you have any go-to tricks you use to get out of a slump if you're feeling unmotivated? 

The simplest things, like a good-smelling bubble bath, opening all the windows, lighting my favorite candle, and taking deep breaths with the intent to actively center myself, it puts my day on a better path. Also, there’s something very fun and therapeutic about blasting my favorite record and putting makeup on, either a vibrant, glittery eyeshadow look or applying red lipstick for a pop of color to subtle, glowy skin. It makes all the difference. I also acknowledge that I can’t consistently feel creative or productive every single day - burnout is real and it’s important to take the time to replenish oneself and realize that you can’t operate at full steam 24/7.

Can you speak a bit about your mission to be kinder to yourself? 

Undoing years of speaking disparagingly about myself is no walk in the park! I have been through quite the odyssey when it comes to healing trauma related to body image, confidence and the way I carry myself. I once looked in the mirror and saw nothing but torment staring back at me. It’s a painstaking process to teach yourself to inherently love your body because it’s home to your spirit. I could no longer be cruel to it, or shamefully hide it, but instead love, appreciate and respect what my body does for me on a daily basis. Scrutinizing its faults is useless and I’ve come to realize that the flaws are all misperceived. Throughout this journey I learned that nobody else can assign a standard of beauty to me. No one can take your beauty and no one can take your power or break your spirit. It exists somewhere deep in your soul and once I realized that, I felt that speaking those unkind words to myself no longer served me. I’ve chosen to now look at myself through a lens of love, and what others think of me isn’t my problem. I can only focus on what I think of me.

Do you have any self-care rituals that you live by? 

Experiencing chronic mental and physical illness, it hasn’t always been easy to care for myself, but I’ve really grown to love and appreciate the rituals that make me feel whole again. The weekdays are so tough on me with my demanding job, but on weekends, I love to wake up early and go on small adventures, like finding a new antique shop or museum to explore, treating myself to lunch at a new spot in the city, or driving by the coastline and taking in the ocean view. Now that I’m fully vaccinated, these self-care dates I take myself on come with even more peace of mind. Self care also entails knowing when to stay home, rest, and reset.

Farrah in Suarez Fern

Can you speak to a few of your personal take-aways from 2020 that you definitely want to carry into your post-COVID reality?

This past year was a particularly poignant reminder that life is precious. I’ve always tried to make it a point not to take existence for granted but now more than ever I want to fill my days with meaning. It could all vanish in the blink of an eye and that’s not lost on me. 

Are there any particular women inspiring you this week/month/year? 

It’s so tough to choose! There are so many gorgeous people wearing gorgeous garments, creating unusual art, conjuring up makeup looks that constantly push the envelope or people using their platform to shake the airwaves and enact true change throughout the community. I admire so many innovators and voices out there. I can’t even single any out because I’m truly inspired by so many women and the endless gifts they share with the world.

What's on your bedside table right now?

L’Occitane almond hand cream and also Byredo black saffron hand cream, a tin of smith’s menthol and eucalyptus balm (no matter how many lip products I have I always seem to revert back to vaseline lol), The Feelist CBD body cream, a Stevie lighter, a glass of water (I don’t drink enough) and a small notebook with blue gradient pages (I don’t write in it enough)

Describe your perfect Saturday afternoon. 

I’m picturing good food, good weather, good beer, a good band playing, all the friends I haven’t seen since 2019, laughter and all the best energy. I just realized I have basically described a Bud Lite ad, sorry. Lol

Do you have any pieces in your wardrobe and/or past trends that you'd love to resurrect this Spring season? 

I wish I could get back all of my grandmother’s disco/space-age/70s beach resort clothing or all my myspace-era attire. If only I’d known!

Top 5 Summer must-haves? 

  1. Would it be cliche to say a pair of sunnies for every outfit?! Not to be biased but my Aperçu Suarez pieces are a daily reach and I’m so psyched for the Quann styles - they’re perfect for this time of year. 
  2. Funky prints a la Julia Heuer, Marni, The Attico (have you seen their abstract pattern asymmetric swimsuit?!) Missoni, and the new season Prada scarves. I’m also into any eccentric/unusual jewelry, particularly these green enamel heart earrings by Safsafu I saw recently on SSENSE, and really any rings by Ambush, Mondo Mondo, riice studio. 
  3. Any colorful bags/totes- neon orange, bright yellow, hot pink, kelly green and electric blue are all speaking to me so much lately. 
  4. Nodaleto Evie lace-up pumps or any chunky black boots (Ganni has a great pair), Amina Muaddi metallic heels, Bottega Veneta lavender almond pumps, or those Miu Miu silver sneaker heels, they’re perfect. 
  5. Kaleidos “flower punk” eyeshadow palette cause that particular vibe of their recent collection, it’s THE vibe. 

All images by @gildedmirror