Originally from Chicago, Victoria P. Kasdan, executive director of We Care Manatee, spent the last 20 years in Minneapolis before officially relocating to Bradenton in 2013 with her husband Ira. This dynamic woman is not only a licensed R.N., with background in ICU nursing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and health insurance, she's also active in many social groups and a passionate advocate against domestic violence, homelessness and healthcare disparities.
What makes Victoria instantly likeable is that she claims to hear "the beat of a different drummer"—she says she does some of her best singing and thinking in the shower and is proud that she can eat an entire bowl of wonton soup at Yummy House—the latter likely after she's had a good laugh at a stand-up comedy show, one of her favorite pastimes.
Here, Victoria shares how she stays beautiful inside and out.
Describe your morning makeup routine.
My days are full and can vary widely, so my morning routine must be versatile to help me look ready for anything—from direct patient care to meeting with potential donors, a board meeting, recruiting physicians to volunteer their services or even a last-minute TV interview.
I am an African-American woman with sensitive, combination skin and an oily T-zone. I use a lot of organic [cleansers] and beauty products by E’minence, and lean towards Bobbi Brown and Lancôme for makeup. Lipsticks are my weakness—I love to experiment with color and textures on my lips.
Cleanser: E'minence Stone Crop Gel Wash, excellent for sensitive skin with green tea, chamomile and shea butter
Eye Cream: E'minence Hibiscus Ultra Lift Eye Cream—helps reduce fine lines and minimize dark circles
Moisturizer: E'minence Red Current Balancing Concentrate, great for combination skin, hydrates and minimizes oiliness and breakouts
Foundation: Lancôme Dual Finish Powder Foundation in shade Suede 530
Blush: Bobbi Brown powder blush in Plum or Berry
Eyes: Bobbi Brown powder eyeshadow in Rose and Brown; Lancôme Defincils Mascara in Black
Lips: Lancôme Lip pencil in Raisin Berry
I have many lipsticks and glosses by Bobbi Brown, MAC, Chanel—my favorite part!
What did your mother/mother-figure teach you about beauty?
Well, there weren’t many people that looked like me on TV, in magazines or beauty pageants when I was growing up, so my mother often reminded me that beauty comes in all shades. She emphasized that there's more to beauty than what’s on the outside. Kind of like the Temptations song “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep.”
I grew up in the inner city, on the South side of Chicago, and come from a family with limited means. Growing up, our beauty regimen included creative uses for cocoa butter, Pond's face cream and anything from Maybelline. I learned early that you don’t always need expensive products to look and feel good.
How do you nourish your beauty from the inside?
I eat very little red meat, enjoy long walks to reduce stress and drink plenty of liquids, including an occasional glass of my favorite chardonnay, Sonoma Cutrer.
Any treatment that you outsource?
Every few months I treat myself to a facial and massage at Organic Skin & Body Spa in Lakewood Ranch, and afterwards all seems right with the world.
I have regular appointments with hair stylist and owner Ashley Briggs at the Sweetest Little Salon in Bradenton. Ashley trained at Aveda and can work magic on bad hair days—or any day.
I also get a few services at Aesthetic & Wellness Center in Bradenton. Dr. Inda Mowett and her team do a great job
How about your nighttime skincare ritual?
Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes in Pink Grapefruit—I love the smell, and they remove dirt and oil along with makeup in one step.
E’minence Stone Crop Gel Wash and Red Currant Balancing Concentrate
Burt's Bees nourishing lip moisturizer
Once a week:
E’minence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant—brightens complexion with rice powder and lactic acid
Pevonia Botanica Ligne Speciale peel—a light enzyme peel
Do you have a signature scent and what do you love about it?
My favorite signature fragrance is Christian Dior's Dioressence. It's hard to find and I typically order it from Saks. It’s a light but sensuous fragrance with hints of fruit and patchouli.
My other favorite is Prada’s Infusion d’ Iris, which I tend to wear only occasionally. It’s a clean, crisp fragrance with a hint of mandarin orange. I tend to wear it for more casual occasions and for running errands on weekends.
What is the biggest beauty blunder most women make?
Wearing a foundation that isn’t complementary to your skin tone—one that’s too light, too dark, too cool or too warm. It's hard to find the right one, especially for African American women, as we come in so many beautiful shades.
More women should…
Experiment with bold colors. To me, the nude look is not as flattering as some people may think. Don’t be blah. Color makes you feel good, exciting, sexy, and yes, beautiful. If you’re hesitant, maybe just go bolder on the lips, your brows, or a fashion accent. Go bold or go home.