I’m Michelle Del Rio, a designer with an eponymous label. I also work in marketing and casting to support my brand, and I have a background in architecture. I hated it because of all of the rules—rules that don’t apply in fashion. I have a hard time with anything “perfect” or “balanced,” and I don’t find conventional beauty beautiful. Beauty, for me, is something off-centered. Something that doesn’t make sense but does make sense. Art, though, I have to eat every day for breakfast! Whether through music, going to see performances, or historical research—it’s essential that I digest as much as I can.
I live in New York City now but I’m originally from Ventura, California. During my childhood, there were difficult times but I don’t regret any; they shaped the person I am today. As did my mom, who is a warrior, and my brother, who is a healer. They have taught me everything I know, shown me how to understand the world through a humble lens, and kept me grounded through rough times.
They are the most meaningful part of my life. I also find meaning in empathy and alone time. Empathy gives me perspective when getting to know and understand someone, and alone time reflecting and having moments to myself keeps me afloat. I’m a loner at heart, but I’m trying to not be so shy in social settings.
I feel most alive when I'm laughing really hard, and I feel most beautiful after a relaxing shower when my serums and cream are on and I'm cozy in bed wearing sweatpants with a cup of tea. I love the look of healthy, glowing, bare skin—and I don't wear a lot of makeup. The Ritual Serum always feels so luxe on my skin and gives me a nice glow. I always do my eyebrows and some lip color, nothing crazy.
Getting older, I have realized that conventional beauty isn't something I find beautiful. I used to straighten my hair in my early 20s and hated how big and frizzy it would get. Now, I embrace how wild it can appear. It's sensual.
It’s cliché but the greatest lesson I have learned so far is being myself. By being myself, I have attracted the people I want in my life; no Instagram facade, no pretentious fashion talk. Just silly, goofy me. Staying true to my values has been a big lesson for me, especially in New York. Here, that goes a long way.
My greatest advice is to follow your passion and create for the love of it. Don’t worry about what others think or whether or not your work will be successful. Create because it brings you joy.
I hope for more travel this year and in the future. I’m not sure New York is forever, I want to live abroad one day—see more, meet more people, be surrounded by a different language. For the world, I hope for more compassion!
Michelle Del Rio photographed by Carolyne Lorée Teston.