Meeting Meriam Ahari was serendipitous. She packed her bags and left her job in publishing in New York and moved to Manila with her boyfriend, Shane, in October 2014. Prior to coming to the Philippines, my husband Kevin received an email from a friend about Meriam’s big move. It turned out, Meriam’s mom and Kevin have a common friend in Washington. The connection may sound bizarre but since I’ve met Meriam over a year ago, we have become really good friends! Beyond our shared passion for everything related to beauty, Meriam is a warm and kind-hearted free-spirit who is just so hard not to like! Take a glimpse of her newfound life in Manila and some of her beauty secrets (including why she always has thick, sexy hair!), as well as skincare must-haves. – Lia, Glamourbox CEO
1. What is your day like as the Beauty Editor of Cosmo Philippines?
I spend my days attending events, writing at my desk, or on set for shoots. People think being a beauty editor means visiting glamorous spas and playing with makeup all day, but a lot of hard work, stressful deadlines, and long hours go into the magazine. It’s actually rare that I have time to get a facial or have my nails done, so I usually end up sending other editors to go in my place.
2. What beauty item can’t you live without?
There are so many! My hair couldn’t survive without Klorane dry shampoo and Oribe texturizing spray. Unfortunately, neither are available in Manila so I have to stock up whenever I go home to the States. I wear a cat-eye every single day, so I guess black liquid liner would be my makeup must-have.
3. What’s your one beauty indulgence?
I will pay good money for a quality anti-aging product that contains higher levels of retinol. The best are from Peter Thomas Roth, Paula’s Choice, and SkinCeuticals. I also get an annual body wave. It’s a bit of an investment, but if it means having better hair days the rest of the year, I’m all for it.
4. What’s your daily skincare regimen?
My skincare regimen is pretty basic. I wash with a Clarisonic and exfoliating cleanser twice a day, then apply eye cream. I follow with sunscreen in the morning and a retinol serum at night. Depending on how my skin reacts to the weather, I’ll spot treat dry skin with rosehip oil and a facial mist.
5. Best beauty discovery from abroad?
I love my Clarisonic facial cleansing brush. It removes oil, dirt, and makeup up to six times better than cleansing with hands alone. I get so upset whenever I switch it on and find out the battery has died. My skin never feels as clean without it.
6. If you were to raid someone’s closet, whose closet would it be and why?
There are fashion bloggers I admire for their styling, even though I wouldn’t wear the same outfit myself. My style is very Brooklyn, edgy, a bit masculine, slightly Bohemian, and I don’t wear any color except black…So, maybe anyone who wears a lot of my favorite designers—Alexander Wang, Balmain, Chloe, or Celine?
7. Coming from New York, is there anything about Manila (or the Philippines) that caught you by surprise?
Yes! How talented and capable people in the publishing industry are here. I came from a beauty team of seven editors when I was working at Glamour magazine in New York. When I moved to Cosmopolitan Philippines to be the sole beauty editor in charge of 15 monthly pages, I thought I had encountered the impossible. But I learned from my coworkers how to work quickly and efficiently.
There’s also a hierarchy in New York. Because magazine teams are much smaller here, Assistant and Associate Editors are responsible for not only administrative duties and writing, but also for things Directors overseas would normally do, like self-edit, direct shoots, and guest appear on news programs. In fact, editors in the Philippines even sit in on stills shoots, source their own lead photos, personally ‘pull-out’ products from stores, fact-check, and lay out their own pages (I was used to individual departments performing these tasks at my publishing company in New York).
8. Favorite spot to unwind on a Friday night in the metro? Your go-to cocktail /
poison of choice?
I’m a big fan of anything low-key. My favorite is grabbing a bottle of wine or margaritas with friends while eating dinner outside. My friends and I live near one another so we usually head to the closest place from home, like Chupacabra or Tambay. My go-to cocktail is vodka on the rocks. If it’s been an extremely trying week, I love to zone out with a good movie in one of those premiere theatres.
9. Local destination on your bucket list and why?
I would love to see the Rice Terraces in Banaue one day. Also, Batanes looks like no other place I’ve seen in the Philippines—the greenery and hills remind me of Ireland.
10. One word that best describes you?
I had a hard time answering this question so I asked the three people that know me best—my mom, best friend and boyfriend. They each gave me a list of words, but one they all had in common was ‘heartfelt.’
Follow Meriam’s beauty editor’s escapades at @cosmomerm on Instagram.