Photo by Frances Beatty

Meet Jennifer Van Son – a GTA-based photographer!  Jen and I met briefly long ago, sharing a few brides early on in my mobile beauty career; but as you know, wedding days are hectic and crazy … and you meet a lot of vendors, but don’t really get to spend much time with them. We’re all busy on a bride’s big day!

It had been a few years since I had worked with her, but fast forward to late summer 2019 and another photographer friend, Jo-Anne Haley, had mentioned that the cute little Whitby studio she shared with another photographer was looking for a third tenant. I saw that as the universe speaking to me as I was making the move to Whitby myself and wanted to move my in-home studio … well … basically, out of my home. I quickly answered the posting Jo-Anne had sent me and lo’ and behold … the person on the other end of the email was THE Jen Van Son!

So, I’ve never said this to Jen personally (hi Jen!) but I think she’s the epitome of cool. I remember meeting her at the studio to go over details before I signed the lease and when we started chatting, I thought to myself that she totally nails the whole “cool girl chic” image. I remain jealous.

Her instagram feed – like any photographer – is filled with beautifully curated content, but also gives a hint into her personal life (kids, dogs, vacations – more checks on the cool list!) and behind the scenes inspiration on her professional life. I’m really honoured that I can to share a creative space with Jen … but also, super honoured that she agreed to this interview!

What did beauty mean to you growing up, and what or whom were your major influences?

My mom never wore much makeup (she’s beautiful on her own) but I was always very intrigued by the way you could look so different in so many ways by using it.  I had a couple of aunts who wore amazing bright blue ’80’s mascara/eyeliner and I just wanted to be like them.  I’d say as a small kid the women I knew were my biggest influences and to me beauty just meant being comfortable in your skin but also bold when it came to trying new looks.

What role does beauty play in your life at this moment? How has it changed over the years? What do you focus on to feel like your most beautiful self? (e.g. skincare, makeup, hair, mental well-being, physical well-being?

Beauty (meaning skincare, makeup, etc) is and always probably will be a bit of a creative outlet for me.  I’m super busy so I don’t have a lot of time daily to indulge but focusing on having healthy skin, hair, and a strong body always makes me feel my best.  My look now is much more low key & natural with a little help from lash extensions ;).

What are your thoughts on beauty in social media and what do you wish for or hope to see as beauty evolves each year? (e.g. inspirational, aspirational, overdone, attainable, unattainable?)

There’s a LOT out there but this isn’t new, it’s just a new format.  We used to rely on magazines & tv for information, now it’s online.  I think social media is a great place to go for inspiration if you can remember that people usually only put out their very best online.

Describe your journey with beauty as each birthday or decade passes.

As I get older I care less about what people think.  I try to keep my routine simple and efficient but I still have a drawer full of fun makeup for when I go out.  I’m more concerned about how my skin looks now vs trying crazy eyeshadow colours, but that’s a normal part of aging (I think).  Having said that as I get older I have more confidence to rock a bold lip or try something new!

Explain your current beauty routine, and please feel free to provide examples of looks you want to learn, procedures you want to try, or treatments you are curious about!)

I have very sensitive skin (currently in a flare up of redness & dryness… ugh) so I start with my skin routine in the morning. I have lash extensions so most days I fill in my brows and maybe use some tinted moisturizer (NARS is my favourite) to even out my skin, then a touch of blush or bronzer.  I’d love to try Microneedling to improve skin texture, although I’m scared it would be too much for my sensitive skin, I may need to go for a consultation to get some help there ;).

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse : Margot Robbie
Favourite Product : NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer & Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade
Your Splurge Item : Monat Hair & Skincare
Best Beauty Skill : I can wing an eyeliner like a boss
Worst Beauty Skill : I’ve never NOT failed at self tanner

Photo by Frances Beatty