Better Together: The Byrdie Beauty Team

Meet: Leah Wyar Romito, VP & General Manager; Faith Xue, Editorial Director; Elspeth Velten, Editorial Director; Lindsey Metrus Malhado, Senior Editor; Hallie Gould, Senior Editor; Kelly Gallagher, Senior Social Media Editor

How do you pick your nail color combinations?

Leah: Black and white alone or together–like I’m wearing. I also love pairing something bland with something bright—I have such FOMO over Faith’s neutral/neon combo.

Hallie: I skew pretty classic when it comes to nails—I gravitate towards cherry or brick reds, navy blue, beige, or black. This one might be my favorite combination—a bright red, white, and clear feels very me.

Faith: I usually stick to one color, but if I’m doing nail art I usually try to go for one bright color and one neutral to ensure no clashing. I’m pretty into neon at the moment, so this manicure might be my favorite color pairing of all time.

Lindsey: I generally stick to solid colors in the nude/pastel family (boring, I know). My problem is I'm an avid hand-washer (a result of lifetime germaphobia), and I'm tough on my hands. So I need a color that won't show detectable chips.

Kelly: When I'm doing nail art, I like to have fun with it and often pick a glitter (usually gold) and a fun color. If I'm doing a regular solid-colored manicure, I like to choose colors that feel sophisticated and go with any type of outfit—navy, taupe, gray, olive. 

Elspeth: I am so unpredictable when it comes to picking nail colors! I generally make crazy decisions at the last minute when I get to the salon, but I try not to regret it. You can usually expect me to have something a little bolder on my toes and neutral on my fingers.

In one word, how does a manicure make you feel?

Leah: Polished (pardon the pun).

Kelly: Put together.

Lindsey: Refreshed.

Hallie: Polished. Get it?

Faith: Polished (get it?) 

Elspeth: Put together.

What’s your earliest nail memory?

Leah: Lee Press Ons—French style, of course! I used to watch my neighbors, who were older than me, apply them and just wish my nail beds were big enough to get in on the action!

Hallie: My mother always tells the story of an afternoon when I was really young (maybe five or six?), and my babysitter at the time took me to get my first manicure. She says I ran around for the rest of the day showing off my nails to anyone who would look in my direction. Not much has changed, I suppose.

Kelly: Getting acrylic French tips put on for prom (lol). I remember always feeling like such an adult leaving the salon. My nail style has evolved drastically since then.

Faith: Definitely getting a French manicure before school dances in middle school and high school.

Elspeth: My mom threw me the coolest manicure birthday party ever when I was about 7—she hired a manicurist to come to our house and give my girlfriends and me happy face nails. I haven’t had a better birthday party since.

What role do you play at Byrdie?

Leah: I’m the manager and big-picture, strategic planner. That means minding the numbers—traffic , revenue, etc.—and road-mapping how to meet our goals. But because I spent so many years as a beauty editor, ideating, and editing, I try to bring creative concepts and ideas to the table as much as possible.

Kelly: As the senior social editor, I oversee all the content that goes on our social channels. 

Hallie: I’ve been a senior editor at Byrdie for a little over three years. I write a lot, as well plan out the editorial calendar and Byrdie’s homepage, manage and edit our network of freelancers, and represent the brand at events and other industry events.

Faith: I oversee all of our creative/ trending content—celebrity interviews, ingredient trends, under-the-radar products, etc.

Elspeth: I’m an editorial director working on content quality and growth across both Byrdie and MyDomaine. I joined the teams when they joined the Dotdash family in January!

What makes you better together

Leah: We are such an eclectic, mixed bag and truly greater than the sum of our parts. Every person brings a specialty to the table—combined, it’s an incredibly tactical, creative powerhouse.

Lindsey: We all have such great senses of humor that really mesh together. I know I can say something crazy and outlandish and they won't bat an eye (for the most part). 

Hallie: We’re all really different, but it just works. We each bring something unique to the table and that allows for a lot of really exciting ideas and opportunities.

Faith: We all have different strengths that are very complementary. But most importantly, we all really trust and respect each other and build each other up—I think it’s the most important thing to have in a thriving team.

Elspeth: I think that each of us brings a unique perspective to our workday! The OG Byrdie editors are seriously on top of the trends, and they actually influence me every day­–influencers are real! Since they recently joined our parent company, I bring insight into how Dotdash works. 

In one word, how would you describe your colleague?

Leah: Faith=on-brand. Hallie=hyperaware. Kelly=instinctual. Elspeth=skillful. Lindsey=unflappable.

Three things you’re into right now?

Leah: Rust-colored eye shadow (thanks to Elspeth!). Fatboy Spray Putty (it makes my thin hair look so full). Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena fragrance—it’s the most unusual fragrance I’ve ever smelled, so I used to only wear it on special occasions; but it’s recently become my daily signature.

Lindsey: I'm a bit of a TV-head: Anything Bravo, The Act, and I can't WAIT for the new season of The Handmaid's Tale.

Kelly: My adorable French bulldog Harri, Lizzo's new album, and aperol spritz.

Hallie: Skincare, always. I spend a lot of time taking care of my skin—it feels calming to keep up with a routine each day and fun to experiment with new formulas. Thrifting is another big one. There’s this shop in my neighborhood I spend a lot of time sifting through (Awoke Vintage if you’d like to visit). I hardly ever leave without finding something great.

Faith: Tie-dye, Bodyography eye glitter pigment, barrettes

How do you get your best ideas?

Leah: My best ideas are usually in the shower…I think there’s science that supports this phenomenon! Inspiration is a lot of Instagram—and my team, which is a walking Instagram feed. Everyday they’re doing something cool with their eye makeup or outfits or hair…then I go home and try to do the 40s-appropriate version of that.  

Lindsey: I get my best ideas at completely unexpected times—walking around running errands, watching television, visiting a friend—as soon as a story idea pops into my head, I text it to myself. My own personal text thread is a weird mishmash of topics.

Hallie: Usually from my own personal issues or happenings (or my friends’). I figure if I’m going through it, or they’re going through it, our readers are, too.

Faith: I get inspiration from everything! My Instagram feed, cool girls on the street, random obscure conversations I have with strangers, my group chat with my friends.

How do you press reset and relax?

Leah: Weekly acupuncture is key for me. I’m also a big fan of Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca. And hitting the Jersey Shore as often as possible.

Hallie:  My favorite thing to do when I have some time to relax is watch really good TV and order take-out. I need quiet, alone time to feel whole and well. I could say things like yoga, journaling, and baths—but that’s just not me. I like Chinese food and lounging.

Lindsey: I love getting out of the city and getting some fresh air when I can, as well as kicking back with a few (several) glasses of wine with friends. 

Kelly: I feel most at ease after I spend a day binge-watching my favorite old TV shows ( BIG fan of The Office) and organizing my closet. There's something about the process of going through all my clothes and shoes that makes me feel calm cool and collected—I guess that's the Virgo in me. 

Faith: I have a beauty shelf at home where I store beauty products I’ve been meaning to try, so I’ll usually grab a face mask, slather it on, then listen to some James Blake.

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