Courtney Leiva
October 23, 2017 11:00 am
Photo by Donna Svennvik/ABC via Getty Images
Photo by Donna Svennvik/ABC via Getty Images

Fried potatoes, kombucha, and sage smudge sticks may be some of my most favorite things on the planet, but to be truthfully honest, nothing really compares to my love for soap operas. Okay, so my obsession with Mr. Robot (clearly not a soap, btw!) comes pretty close, but I am a born and raised soap opera addict, and I am not afraid to say it.

To sum up my lifelong fixation on soaps, it’s safe to say the whole thing started off as a guilty pleasure. My mom fueled my obsession, as she always had ABC soaps on loop when I was a kid. The split personalities, steamy love scenes, and long-lost sibling plot lines definitely piqued my interest back then, making me a rabid viewer once I hit puberty.

And yes, some of the plot twists were totally over-the-top, but the crazy characters and cliffhanger Fridays were oddly comforting to me at the time, especially since I was a socially-awkward teen who couldn’t really connect with her peers.

Fast forward to 2017, and I am still very much a passionate soap viewer. And while some of my favorite programs have been canceled (R.I.P. All My Children and One Life To Live!), the soaps that are currently on the air still give me my daily fix of drama.

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But despite providing me with great and sometimes absurd entertainment, soap operas also sparked my passion for beauty. The extension-clad, false-lash wearing divas of daytime were always my biggest beauty influences growing up. Plus, some of these fictional characters even worked for cosmetic companies (shout out to The Young and the Restless!) which launched perfumes, lip glosses, and foundation, giving my teen-self hope that one day I too could make beauty my business.

To show you how soaps have turned me into the beauty lover (and possibly writer) that I am today, I’m breaking down four of my biggest daytime beauty inspirations, and recreating their iconic looks.

And I won’t even try to deny it: this is basically a long-overdue love letter to Susan Lucci.

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1Erica Kane

You may have seen Susan Lucci on Devious Maids or in recent Progressive commercials, but I will forever know this goddess as Erica Kane, the reigning HBIC of All My Children. Erica was very much the modern-day Scarlett O’Hara, as she was beautiful, powerful, and of course, all sorts of wicked. Lucci played the Pine Valley vixen for up to 41 years, and despite being only 5’1,” she always rocked a pair of five-inch heels and had voluminous hair for days.

Erica is probably the only soap character to ever reach mainstream pop culture status, as Mattel had an Erica Kane Barbie back in 1999. Even Lil Kim once referred to herself as the black Erica Kane, and Aaliyah had a song about her. In short, Erica was the popular anti-hero you’d love to hate, and she always looked good doing it.

But despite faking amnesia and having at least eight marriages, Erica was also a beauty powerhouse, as she had her own cosmetics company Enchantment, which launched a real-life perfume that viewers could purchase back in the day. And while I never had Enchantment for myself to enjoy, I always dreamed of breaking hearts and launching my own perfume just like Erica someday.

Erica also slayed the beauty department, as her bold lashes, brown liner, glowing skin, and nude lips were practically perfect.

To pay homage to the patron saint of all soap divas, I created a look similar to Erica’s using products like the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($64) to create flawless skin. To get Erica’s gorgeous glow, I used the Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Golden Lights ($6) to perk up my cheeks.

Image Courtesy of Courtney Levia

Erica’s eye look was a little complicated for me to create, as I usually skip on the underliner whenever I wear makeup. Eyeliner pencils do nothing for me, so to create a brown liner look like Erica’s, I used brown shadows inside an old discontinued Tarte palette to carefully shape and define my eyes. Then, to pump up my lashes I used the IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara ($24).

To get that glossy nude lip like Erica’s, I simply paired the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Liar ($17) with the LAUREN + VANESSA Lip Gloss ($24) in Skinny Dip to keep my lips soft and elegant.

While this makeup look seemed kind of outdated for my own personal taste, I’ll admit it was very Erica Kane at the end of the day.

2Dorian Lord

Like Erica Kane, Robin Strasser’s Dorian Lord on One Life To Live was another favorite soap diva of mine, as she was equally fabulous, cunning, and always dressed in gaudy jewels and ridiculously awesome outfits.

And while Dorian wasn’t exactly involved in the beauty biz, (she served as Llanview’s crazy mayor at one point) her makeup choices definitely spoke to me as a teen, as her thick liner, lashes, and dramatic lipstick choices were always glamorous. To this very day, I still have an old 2005 brown Estée Lauder color I bought back at Lord & Taylor which was, of course, inspired by Dorian herself.

To capture Dorian’s fun look in 2017, I would, of course, have to go heavy on the lips and eyes and create a clean face to help complete the look. I used products like the Armani Luminous Glow Foundation and some of Nars’ Orgasm Blush ($30) on my face. For eyes, I used practically the same products I used for my Erica Kane look but was sure to add a little of the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($22) onto my lids to make the look appear a little more dramatic.

Image Courtesy Of Courtney Leiva

To get Dorian’s bold lip, I wanted to use a color filled with attitude. The Estée Lauder Pure Color Lipstick ($22) in Pocket Venus gave my lips a cool crimson hue Dorian would probably wear herself.

This is another look I wouldn’t wear on a daily basis, but it was a fun way to tap into Dorian’s personal style and pay tribute to a character I adore with all my heart.

3Jessica/Tess Buchanan

One Life To Live also gave me iconic characters like Jessica Buchanan, who really took the whole damaged blonde persona to a whole new level. With four different split personalities to deal with, heiress Jessica Buchanan was definitely the complex character I idolized back then. She was sort of like a psychotic Paris Hilton that never was. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t exactly the best fictional role model, but she made long platinum blonde hair and locking up your twin sister in a secret room look oh-so-good.

Whether she became her lusty party girl personality or found herself reverting back to her teenage years, Jessica always wore the latest and greatest clothes of the 2000s, with lingerie tops, shrug wraps, and sky-high heels to boot. And her beauty choices were also on point, as she always pulled off glossy lips and Bambi-like lashes like a pro.

To steal a page from Jessica’s beauty book, it was crucial for me to create two looks to emulate her very different personalities. Party girl Tess was always my favorite alternate personality, and her bold beauty choices were always supposed to offset Jessica’s clean and almost innocent look.

Image Courtesy Of Courtney Leiva

To create a look Jessica would approve of, I started by creating a clean face using the Garnier 5-In-1 Skin Perfector BB Cream Oil-Free-Light/Medium ($12.99) and some Tarte Filtered Light Setting Powder ($34). Then, to keep my eyes soft and neutral, I used a nude shadow inside the Sigma Fall Slowly Eyeshadow Palette ($27.30). I also used the IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara again to give my lashes volume. To complete the look, I used a soft pink peony gloss from LAUREN + VANESSA ($24) to keep my lips simple and sweet.

Creating a Tess-inspired look was a completely different story. Since Tess was Jessica’s mischievous, bad girl personality, it was key for me to create a look that screamed hot emotional mess. I, of course, used my Garnier BB Cream and Tarte Setting Powder again to create a clean face and then piled on the Nars Orgasm Blush to give my cheeks that over-the-top, rosy glow. To create Tess’ sultry eyes, I used my Stila Liner to create a thick batwing-like cat-eye.

Image Courtesy Of Courtney Leiva

Tess was also known to wear bold red lips, so to create that come-hither pout, I used the IT Cosmetics Blurred Lines Smooth-Fill Lipstick in Party Girl ($24) and the IT Cosmetics Your Lips But Better All-Day Waterproof Lip Stain ($20) to get that dramatic red lip.

Although this was probably one of my most favorite looks to create, I definitely wouldn’t wear Tess’ crazy lady makeup unless I had hearts to break and trouble to cause, which I clearly don’t have the personality for.

While soap operas have always provided me with my daily fix of drama, they also gave me some massive beauty inspiration that I will always hold close to my heart.

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