Tastemaker Profile:  April Uchitel, CEO of ONDA Beauty, co-founded by Naomi Watts, shares her Californian road-tripping adventures, can’t live without beauty products, and enduring love of NYC.

April Uchitel

Tell us about your summer of wanderlust?

We moved from Tribeca in NYC to Laurel Canyon three years ago and said goodbye to our beautiful weekend house in Woodstock NY and hello to a new kind of weekender; our Sprinter Van. Having the freedom to jump into it for a weekend escape and drive a few hours north or south is a total game-changer. The topography of California is incredibly diverse and equally breathtaking. Being able to go from beach to desert to mountains to national parks and forests –  sometimes within the same day – is insane.

Share your ultimate global travel destination? 

Image Courtesy of Amangiri

Morocco.  We went with a large group of friends and moved around from Marrakech to the Atlas mountains – the best part was the glamping in the desert. My favorite hotel is Amagiri in Utah, it’s so stunning, it’s almost surreal. I think travel is the best investment you can make as the memories last a lifetime. My current wish list includes Iceland, Australia, Tokyo, Barcelona, Patagonia, and the Maldives.

You moved from NYC to LA a few years ago, what inspired the change?

My husband Diego and I met here in the ’90s and then moved to New York. After almost two decades Diego was done with NYC and basically gave me an ultimatum. Stay on the east coast but move out of the city or LA. My heart was too invested in NYC to do a total shift and LA ticked all the lifestyle boxes. 

What is the best thing about living in LA?

LA April Uchitel

The indoor, outdoor lifestyle. The kids are always outside in the pool and yard, we decompress in the hot tub every night under the stars, and eat outside pretty much year-round. Diego loves to barbeque and we built a classic Argentine parrilla so he can cook over an open flame. Fryman Canyon Park is one of my favorite hikes and literally a three-minute walk from my front door. I finally got my 15-year old daughter Luella to join me.

You’re a very passionate advocate of women in business and social change, which causes are closest to your heart?

Whether you have 200 or 2M Instagram followers, everyone should use their platform to start important conversations about what is happening in the world around us. I am on the founding team of IAMAVOTER, a nonpartisan movement that aims to make voting cool.  We are a group of about 25 female volunteers from the worlds of fashion, beauty, marketing, PR, activism, and entertainment. We have incredible partnerships with CAA, Disney, AMC, NBA, NFL, and many brands, celebrities, and influencers who are all helping spread the message that democracy works best when we all participate. 

You were on the founding team of a fashion tech company before moving into beauty, first as the CEO of Violet Grey and now ONDA. How has that influenced your own beauty routine?

ONDA Beauty April Uchitel
Image Courtesy of ONDA Beauty

I used anything that anybody gave me, and had no brand or product loyalty. Now it’s the opposite because during my Violet Grey days I fell in love with so many brands and products that were sent for me to road test. I have this crazy crazy tray of serums, oils, and moisturizer on my vanity, and I choose a product according to the way my skin feels that day. I have never been big into makeup other than my signature red lip and mascara. I wear a bold red lip all the time, it’s akin to my superman cape – no matter how I feel, if I put on that bold red lip it instantly elevates my mood. My go-to is MAC Feels So Grand, which applies liquid and dries matte, it stays on forever. I do DermaFlash every couple of weeks, which takes all the peach fuzz off your face and exfoliates and swear by The Cream by Augustinus Bader.  The facials at ONDA, which has locations in Tribeca, Sag Harbor, Notting Hill, and Sydney are also out of this world.

What about your signature fashion style and shopping hotspots? 

My style is tomboy. I love a good stripe tee with army pants or a white shirt and distressed denim.  I can never resist the ease and effortless style of a jumpsuit. I love to support small businesses and of course my friends.  My go to’s are Zero by Maria Cornejo, Shop DOEN, Clare VKULE, The GREAT, and of course ONDA BEAUTY for the best collections of clean skincare.

Your home in Laurel Canyon is gorgeous, a little New York loft meets Hamptons beach house, how would you describe your interior style?

There is a very 70’s ‘Brady Bunch’ vibe to the houses around here, many people raised their children here and are now grandparents. The street is slowly turning over with new renovations and young families. Our house was one of those renos, when we walked in, we just loved the energy. It’s like a breath of fresh air being able to see straight through the house to the back yard and into the canyon. Our home is single level with an open floor plan so it does feel a little like our loft in Manhattan. My favorite place is the living room. We can open the entire back of the house and watch the sky turn pink through the open doors as the sun’s starting to set – it’s really magical.

You also have an impressive art, photography, and book collection. What are the highlights?

If I had to choose, it’s the shot of ‘The City’ photographed by Diego. Spending so many years in New York and having our children there, means we have amazing memories, so I love the fact that we get to see that magnificent city every day. We also have photography by Annie Leibovitz, Robert Polidori, Steve McCurry, Sam Haskins, Richard Misrach and three Irving Penn’s who is my husband’s idol, our son’s middle name is Penn. We recently picked up a super fun piece of art by Ashley Longshore to show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

What are your favorite NYC hotspots?

The Greenwich Hotel April Uchitel
Image Courtesy of The Greenwich Hotel

I love the Odeon,  Estela, Bar Pitti, Il Buco, and taking a seat at the bar at Locanda Verde at The Greenwich Hotel.

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