Actress Azie Tesfai has been a fixture in the industry for close to a decade, but with her current role as Nadine Hansan on the CW hit show Jane The Virgin, she is quickly becoming a household name. As a first generation American (her family emigrated from Ethiopia and Eritrea), Tesfai is literally living the American dream. But this beauty is more than just a pretty face with impeccable dramatic timing. She’s also founder of Fortuned Culture, a jewelry line with “foundational roots in social responsibility,” which originated out of a need to raise money for a meal program that would benefit children close to Tesfai’s heart. The success of that campaign ignited the company, which now designs prolific and symbolic jewelry collections in partnership with multiple charities. It’s mission: “To create long-lasting advancements for people in need.”
The actress and philanthropist took time out of her busy schedule to answer our pressing 7 Questions on style icons, beauty splurges, covetable closets, and more.
1. You’re asked to host a dinner for 3 of your fashion icons; where does this stylish soiree take place and who do you invite and why?
On a couch, in the most relaxed environment so we could have real, honest girl talk! I’d invite Lucille Ball because being funny is always fashionable, and she’s a comedy icon; Sophia Loren because she epitomizes being a woman. I think women’s sensuality isn’t what it used to be. The way Sophia dresses, speaks, and carries herself oozes 100% beautiful woman; and Diane von Furstenberg because I’m a woman who has more than one job, and I’m fascinated by women who can juggle it all gracefully. She has built a fashion empire while also having a family. That’s something so many of us currently aspire for.
2. Every girl has a bad hair day; what’s your “save-the-day” hair product?
I turn to a good wide-brimmed fedora, and as an added bonus, it can not only save a bad hair day but a breakout as well!
3. Hair salon or nail salon; which visit or service is your can’t-live-without beauty splurge and who takes care of you like no other?
I have to go with a hair salon. I always feel better after getting my hair done and my hair stylists also serve as therapists. I leave feeling better from the inside, out! My set stylist [in particular], Tena Parker, is the best; I’ve spent most of my time with her this year. I joke with her to superstitiously hit me in the head with her curly wand before we start shooting; it’s our daily good luck ritual.
4. Fill in the blanks: Growing up, I was such a tomboy because I constantly wore uniforms from the various sports I played.
5. If you could raid anyone’s closet (living or dead), who would it be and why?
My mom’s closet (and I do!). She keeps so many incredible pieces that have been passed down within our family. Her collection is beautiful and timeless, and it also has high sentimental value. In addition, her pieces represent my culture, which I love so much.
6. Beach or mountains, and what are the three essentials that you pack for this getaway?
Mountains: The greener the better. I’d pack my iPad because I run my own charity jewelry line, Fortuned Culture, so I always have to have access to email to run my company. I’d also pack a good book; right now I’m reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and a warm, oversized cashmere sweater (Club Monaco has some great, simple ones at good prices).
7. If you were on your way to a gala and someone stole your entire makeup bag, what product would you scramble to purchase, regardless of country or time of day and why?
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Golden; it gives the perfect, even finish to make you look like you have flawless skin!