Brooke Nalesnik’s biggest passion in life is helping others. The 24-year-old from New Orleans works as a speech therapist at an elementary school, where she helps children find their confidence through language. Brooke’s able to help and inspire them because she herself has rediscovered confidence this past year. After tirelessly struggling with sudden skin issues in adulthood, Brooke turned to ORIGINAL Foundation to help her feel like herself again — and she hasn’t looked back.
Inspired by her story, we flew Brooke out to NYC to participate in our #IAmAnOriginal campaign — a celebration of the 25th anniversary of ORIGINAL Foundation. We sat down with her on set to learn more about her skin journey, her passion to help children and her best-kept secret to a successful morning.
Can you share your skin journey with us?
I had a lot of confidence issues growing up, and my one thing I was usually really confident about was my skin. And then it took that from me. About a year ago, [I got sudden] blotchiness. It was red, it was acne, it was little pimples here and there. I changed medicine, skincare, [and] face wash. I was in the dermatologist’s office like, every month and they were trying new medicines and nothing was working. I think [using] clean ingredients and everything really has made a difference in my skin. It’s still not 100% perfect, but it’s come so far.
When did you discover ORIGINAL Foundation?
I started using bareMinerals when I was around 13. My aunt was very into it and she introduced me, too. I had been using it for years, but I stopped. [When my skin was having issues] I tried to cover it up with very full-coverage makeup, and it just looked cakey — and nothing was working for me. [ORIGINAL Foundation] made me feel like everything was one tone. It was really light. I didn’t feel like extra stuff on top of my skin, which was already irritated.
How does ORIGINAL Foundation make you feel now?
Confident. Before, I feel like I would put all these different products on my face and I would still look at myself and [would think], “This is not me.” I like when I look like my skin but better, and on the inside, it makes me feel like I’m back to who I used to be.
What’s your daily beauty routine when you’re working?
I wake up, I put concealer on, I throw foundation on really quick, a mascara and I’m out the door. I don’t have time to sit down and do liquid then powder.
You’ve nailed the quick routine…
It’s funny because, I really never wear a lot of makeup to work, but some days if I have something to do or when I have the time, I’ll [put on more makeup] and the kids will be like, “Miss Brooke, you look different today. You look so nice.” It’s so cute.
What do you love most about your job?
My job requires a lot of compassion and a lot of patience. I truly love helping others. My older cousin has Down syndrome and she’s really inspired me to work with special needs children. I watched my cousin come a long way when she was younger. And so I want to be able to provide that for someone else. So I try, even on my hardest days, to be compassionate towards those children. If I can make just a small [impact] in someone’s life, then that makes me happy.
What’s a good way that you start your day?
I like to listen to music in the morning to get me awake. Right now it’s the “Frozen” soundtrack.
Does your love for Disney help you relate to the kids at work?
Absolutely. I think that’s what keeps me young, in a sense. It also helps me be more patient when I’m at work. In the past, parents have said, “Thank you so much for being so helpful. Some people aren’t like that.” But I think I just see it from a different side, and so I like to give [the kids] that time and that special opportunity.
What is one good beauty tip you’ve learned?
Less is more. I feel like the best and most beautiful looks come from when you have barely anything on and you just look naturally pretty. I like the “no-makeup” looks. That’s kind of what has changed my life. I used to think that I had to pile on the makeup and make [people think], “Oh, like she has her makeup done. She looks nice.” Now, I find that I get the most compliments when I barely have anything on my skin.
Who do you go to when you need a good laugh?
Recently, it’s been my kids in school. They’re young, so they don’t really think a lot before they say things. The tiniest things make them giggle and they think it’s hysterical. When they make up a joke or when they tell you like a story, I’m just like, “Oh my gosh, I did not think that’s what was going to come out of your mouth.”