Leah Ferrante’s Life in Color
Take one look at SoCal girl Leah Ferrante’s Instagram and you’ll fall into a colorful wonderland filled with blue hydrangeas and painted with rosy red lipstick. We followed Leah's rainbow road to learn about her love of color, where she gets her eye for design, and her vibrant adventures all over the world. Read on to find out why if there's anyone we trust to know the best lip color on the market, it's Leah.
BIKINI: What do you do in life outside Instagram?
LEAH FERRANTE: Outside of Instagram, I’m a student at UCLA studying interior architecture and design. I'm also a makeup artist and I recently took up photography as a hobby.
BIKINI: Well, now we know why you have such a good eye! What do you want to do when you finish school?
LF: When I finish school, I want to open my own interior design firm. I’m really interested in residential and hotel design.
BIKINI: What’s your dream design project?
LF: My dream design project is restoring an older Spanish style home here in California. I want to have the most beautiful Spanish tiles inside and outside, and I would like to custom design each piece of furniture that I put in the home. My passion is in the details, so I want to choose every finish that goes into the space. I would also design the landscape around the house, making the garden and pool area the most serene place to relax. Most importantly, I would make sure the stucco is redone in a salmon color.
BIKINI: What’s your favorite place in LA?
LF: I have two favorite places in LA. The first one is in Malibu at the top of the hike at Point Dume. This is my real life happy place. I go there whenever I need to get a break from the LA city life, to meditate, to breathe in the ocean air, and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean. I see dolphins almost every time I go.
My second favorite place is the Hotel Bel Air. It’s a little sanctuary off the beaten path in the heart of Bel Air. The hotel grounds are very beautiful to walk around and the hotel bar and lounge usually has live piano music. It’s the perfect place for dinner and drinks!
BIKINI: Have you always lived in LA? Where else have you lived?
LF: I’ve now lived in LA for three years. Previously, I’d spent some time in Shanghai discovering their fashion culture. While there, I travelled through the Western Mainland of China, which was a lifechanging experience for me. But originally, I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada.
BIKINI: You have amazing style. What’s your fashion philosophy?
LF: I would say my fashion philosophy is classic with a subtle edge and the use of bold color. Growing up, I was heavily influenced by my grandmother. She was the definition of chic — well traveled, well read, extremely well dressed, and had more jewelry than anyone I've ever known. My personal style is always evolving and I'm constantly searching out new inspiration.
BIKINI: When did you first fall in love with color?
LF: I fell in love with color through makeup. When I first started working with makeup, I saw the effects that color can create and I was very intrigued. I started to experiment with mixing products to create more colors and learned how to use color to create optical illusions. That initial intrigue of color has developed over the years, down to the emotional response that color can evoke. I apply that knowledge of color in my personal style, makeup, and interior design work.
BIKINI: What’s your favorite lip color?
LF: Red is my favorite lip color, and my all-time favorite lipstick is the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. It’s been my favorite color for a long time. I wear so many different lipstick shades and brands, but I love this color so much and I always go back to it.
BIKINI: Where do you find inspiration for your interior design work?
LF: Travel is my most influential inspiration. Exposing myself to the design cultures of different places has been so important in developing my personal style and taste. Even when I don’t have any trips planned, I like to take long drives to see new places. I once drove from Vancouver to Los Angeles and saw the most amazing things, from the natural beauty of the landscape to the little towns and cities along the way. I don’t recommend going for that long of a drive, but even driving a few hours to the next city to see the historical sites will inspire you. Another source of inspiration for me is antique and vintage furniture stores. I recently purchased a chair from Morocco in an antique store and the chair adds such an interesting layer to the space it now lives in.
BIKINI: What's your favorite photo from your best-ever trip?
LF: It's so hard to say which trip was the best ever. I have taken some incredible trips in the past year. Recently, I did a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, where we landed on the Canyon floor and flew back at sunset. It was an unforgettable experience. I love doing adventurous trips. I had wanted to see the Grand Canyon for a long time, and it was so overwhelmingly beautiful and humbling. My favorite photo is the one of me sitting on the Canyon floor wearing all red, surrounded by the rich colors of the land and the blue sky in the distance.
BIKINI: What’s your favorite photo on your entire Instagram?
LF: The one of me in my multicolored skirt in front of the beautiful hydrangea flowers. I had just left high tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. It was just one of those perfect moments! I have such a deep love of color and this photo really captures that.
BIKINI: High tea in Canada, helicopters in the Grand Canyon — you have some amazing adventures! Where’s a place you haven’t been, but want to?
LF: I love to travel and I want to see so many places. I’ve never been to the Maldives and it’s very high on the list. I’m already working on planning a trip there in 2018! Marrakesh, Morocco is another place I’d love to visit.
BIKINI: What’s an Instagram account whose use of color you admire?
LF: I really love @michaelaferrante's page. I think the color is so well balanced.
BIKINI: What photo do you think is the most beautiful image you’ve ever captured?
LF: Like I said earlier, photography has recently become a hobby of mine. Sometimes in photography you get lucky and capture the most amazing moment.
This summer in Sardegna, my friends and I had just spent the day on the water, and we decided to go to a local restaurant for an early dinner. I decided to wait in the car while they picked up our order. All the sudden, my girlfriend came running out with two giant watermelon slices to share with me. It was then that we both knew this was going to be one of those perfect moments in time.
I immediately got out of the car and we had an impromptu photoshoot. It was pure luck that the restaurant had pink stucco exterior walls and she just happened to be wearing pink Gucci sunglasses and a crisp white shirt. That combined with the two giant slices of watermelon and the perfect golden hour lighting was pure magic!
The photo got almost 30,000 likes when she first posted the image, it has been reposted countless times, and it was published an online in W Magazine. Many artists have recreated the image in their illustration work. I am truly honored to have captured an image that has sparked such a wide range of inspiration in other artists.