In a climate of constant go-go-go energy, it can be hard to remember to take time for yourself and simply slow down. However, occasionally, you meet someone so centered and present, it forces you to recalibrate your approach to not only mental health, but every facet of your daily life. Such was the case upon meeting Taiwanese dancer, new media artist, and choreographer Wen Chi Su at 2021’s Art Basel in Miami, who, in addition to partnering with luxe beauty brand La Prairie, also revealed her calming beauty and wellness routine. Hint: It’s much more cerebral than just adding another serum to your skin care lineup.
“[I] respect the timing of my body,” she tells TZR over email following the annual art event (where she debuted her performance piece “Moving Toward The Horizon”). “It takes time for my body and mind to experience things and to re-balance after those. So listening and being mindful of what my body requires is how I define ‘beauty.’”
She takes a more holistic approach to self-care overall, explaining that she indulges in massages regularly, as well as visiting hot springs, and practicing meditation and chi-qong (a practice of slow, dedicated movements, breathing, and meditation). “I believe once the whole body and mind feels taken care of, the skin will be pampered and shine,” she adds.
With the new year on the horizon — and with it, hopefully a brighter, more optimistic year — the artist shares how else she prioritizes beauty and wellness in her life.
How does beauty and wellness coincide in your daily life?
I start and end the day with slowness. Most of the time, my mind goes much quicker than my body, and for my body to understand what happened and to catch up with the mind, it requires slowness — sometimes even doing nothing. Only when my body and mind both feel ready to do something, will I make the decision to go for it.
Wellness for me is to search [for] ways to increase awareness — the awareness of knowing your position in life and the meaning of action. Physically, it is to find the balance of body and mind. Sometimes body needs more attention, [so] I will work more on it; sometimes it’s mind, then I will work to fulfill its needs. The most challenging one is the psychological request, as if listening to your soul — sometimes it take years to work on it.
Sometimes wellness requires non-action, [and] sometimes it needs planning and hard work.
What does your usual beauty routine look like?
If [I’m] not going out, after washing the face, I will apply basic skin care with toner, essence, lotion, and eye cream. If going out, I will do the basic make up [with] BB fluid foundation, lip balm, and l’eau de toilette or perfume — it depends [on my mood].
For my hair [I use] Jurlique Rose Body Oil.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
When I feel myself balanced, grounded, confident. It can be when I lie on the massage bed, [and] I feel myself united with the air around me. It can be when I’m inspired, I feel my body and mind expanded in space. It can be when I danced on the Miami beach, surrounded by the beauty of nature and beautiful people.
What does your daily wellness practice look like?
Wearing the La Prairie White Caviar collection, especially this year, was a great way to experience the collection and enjoy the scent and texture of the products [as well as] immerse myself in the creativity of La Prairie and be in a constant beauty and art dialogue with them.
[I also use] Weleda Arnika Massage Oil [as a] part of my daily body maintenance. It can warm up the muscles and relax them during the sleep. Florame Bergamot essential oil is the aroma that calms me down. When I travel, I will always have one with me. [Burning] sandalwood incense powder, a woody and sweet scent, can make my brain ready for reading.
For mantras, [I say] the Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra [a Buddhist prayer] three times after a physical practice as a reminder that life is elusive, and there is wisdom to see beyond [it]. When in fear and anxiety, before I go on stage [I say] Om mani padme hum [‘the jewel is in the lotus’].
How has your collaboration and work with La Prairie impacted the way you see beauty?
La Prairie has welcomed me into their creative universe [where] the circle shape is very present. It reminds me constantly of the circle of life, that in life we go through up and down cycles, [and that] beauty is not only something glamorous — [there is] also the darker side of it. When I see a woman embracing her weakness, defaults, insecurity, working through the difficulties in life, standing in light out of the hardship, I find that strength beautiful. I’m impressed by how La Prairie worships art and supporting female artists — for me this is very beautiful as well.
Nature, science and art are three pillars we stand for and values we share. Also, [we have] the patience to listen to each other and [have mutual] dedication to art.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned about beauty throughout your life?
Beauty can be a personal journey — sometimes only yourself knows best if you are in a realm of beauty. [It] is a moment of healing and contentment. To have an eye seeing beauty and a heart to sense beauty requires knowledge and discipline. For me, it’s [about] the training of [the] mind and the senses.
What does self-care mean to you as we look ahead to 2022?
My energy in these two years has fluctuated, as it requires enormous energy to balance the changes that came spontaneously and in surprise. The self-care in the coming year will be [about] the reconnection to my family and friends whom I didn’t [see] for some time. Also, I would like to make [my] creative research, reading, sharing, and meeting interesting people the priority.