To put it plainly, 24 year-old Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio is blazing trails in the beauty and fashion industries and bringing new accomplishments to fruition at a whirlwind pace, from walking the Bottega Veneta Spring 2022 runway to posing in an NFT dress on a digital V Magazine cover to commemorate lives lost to anti-trans violence in America this year. Taking to the runway for the first time during São Paolo Fashion Week in November 2016, she now has major brands clamoring to work with her and she’s been featured on the covers of Vogue and Sports Illustrated.
Sampaio’s latest endeavor positions her at the top of the luxury beauty space, as the new face of Armani Beauty, the iconic brand that has been giving your beauty routine a boost for 21 years with cult favorites like the Luminous Silk Foundation and Eyes To Kill Mascara.
“It means many things for me,” Sampaio tells TZR over Zoom about her new role. “Being the face of Armani Beauty makes me feel accepted and valued for who I am as a person and a professional. It feels like a collective has stepped forward to celebrate the right for my community to live, work, and do what we need to.” Sampaio is now the first transgender model casted at Armani Beauty, and has felt a deep connection to beauty and makeup throughout her life. “It’s through makeup that I’ve grown my connection to my true self and built my confidence,” she says. “To be chosen as a face for Armani Beauty carries a profound personal meaning for me.”
That connection pours into her skin care routine as well, with a dermatologist who makes taking care of herself fun. “I get very inspired by going to my dermatologist because he helps me stay my most beautiful self and he helps me figure out ways to take care of my skin,” Sampaio says. And when she can’t get in for an appointment, she makes sure she’s doing the basics, which go a long way on their own. “I really see a big difference when I’m just drinking a lot of water, eating healthily, getting good sleep, and taking care of my body and mind.”
Those tips sound simple, but they’re not always top of mind when managing a cross-continent work schedule. Constantly jetting around the world has made Sampaio take stock of what’s really important in life as well as learn ways to recharge so she can show up as her best self. “I work and travel very intensely, so when I have some down time, I try to disconnect by spending time with people I love and doing activities that bring me joy,” she says. “I have a relaxing shower, with some music. Then I take the time to go through my detailed skin care routine. I love making a ritual out of caring for my skin and body. I consciously spend time caring for myself as an act of self-love in these ways and they help me to recharge my mind and spirit.”
Peace is a priority for Sampaio, but she struggles with the fact that so many in the LGBTQIA+ community are still being targeted with violence and discriminatory legislation (although representation in beauty, entertainment, and fashion is slowly improving globally). “Trans people around the world are still greatly disrespected, marginalized, beaten, and killed every day,” she says. “There are still many places in the world where it is a crime to be trans and this needs to stop.” Sampaio believes this is a fight everyone needs to get involved in no matter how they identify or where they’re from. “It cannot only be trans people supporting other trans people and only Brazilians supporting other Brazilians,” she says. “We live on one planet and we are one human species.”
Her aim is to continue to use her platform to push for trans representation in beauty, as well as helping the industry be a better and more accurate reflection of the world around her. “Beauty is everywhere and it’s diverse,” she says. “I’d like to see a deeper commitment to embracing inclusivity through product development, the choice of brand ambassadors, and campaign creative.”
And if you’re a burgeoning model or creative who is afraid to put yourself out there, Sampaio wants you to get clear on who you are before you pursue getting into the game. “It is a challenging and very competitive industry,” she says of the modeling and beauty industries. “There will be moments of doubt and rejection. The only thing that will get you through this process is knowing with all your heart and soul that this is what you want more than anything. Equally important is having an amazing group of people who support you personally and professionally. They must respect you as a human and believe in nurturing your talent.”
Below, a selection of Sampaio’s must-have beauty picks that she takes with her everywhere she goes.
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