Lana Condor, best known for her breakout role in the Netflix romantic comedy “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” is the latest Neutrogena brand ambassador.
The 23-year-old actress has an intense fan base that quickly followed her to YouTube when she started her own channel in February, where she documents everything from eating chicken wings with her boyfriend to a pre-coronavirus trip to Vietnam, the country where she was born.
Condor, along with new brand ambassador Jenna Ortega, represents Neutrogena’s play at harnessing a Gen Z consumer.
Here, WWD talks to Condor about her nascent YouTube career and what she’s reading in quarantine.
WWD: Congratulations on the brand deal. What made you want to work with Neutrogena?
Lana Condor: Neutrogena talks about beauty from the inside out and really values strong, individual voices. That women that have done this before me is fantastic — I am one of the biggest Kerry Washington fans, I’m obsessed with her work. Every word she says is weighted and she has an amazing, passionate point of view.
WWD: You’re really outspoken on social media about causes you are passionate about. How do you view your role as an activist?
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L.C.: I’ve noticed particularly in the past couple of months that young people who follow me really need and want to be part of something bigger than themselves. If people follow me, it’s because they believe in me, and I want to show them what I’m passionate about and believe in — girls’ education, Black Lives Matter, mental health. I spoke so freely because I want to give them a reason to follow me beyond just being a fan of my work.
WWD: What is inspiring you right now?
L.C.: Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed” is changing my life. She talks about taking up space. As women, we’ve been taught to make ourselves fit into a smaller cage to fit society’s expectations of us and how we should look or feel, we’re taught that to keep us smaller to fit in that cage. This has really resonated with me lately, particularly during quarantine. I’ve been in that place to make myself small to fit other people’s expectations and I don’t want do that anymore. I’m going through this metamorphosis to take up space and flourish and be the best I can be.
WWD: And you recently started a YouTube channel. Talk to me about how that’s going.
L.C.: I wanted to start it because I went to Vietnam in December — I went back there for the first time since being adopted and it was the most amazing experience. That was an emotional trip for me and I realized I wanted to share more of myself in an intimate way — random things that people like, like eating chicken wings or my skin-care routine. I want my YouTube to be educational and about current events, but also self-care. I didn’t start really honing in on a self-care routine and taking care of myself until the past couple years, and I very much wish that I had started that self-care journey earlier in my life.
WWD: What’s your skin-care routine like?
L.C.: I’m a huge advocate for sunscreen. My mom used to tan and now she has sun damage, and now she’s so intense, like “Lana, you must wear sunscreen.” I’m excited to share with people why they need to wear SPF — if they don’t listen to their parents, maybe they’ll listen to me.
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