The One Thing
Our series The One Thing is a Sparknotes version of the products, rituals, and moments your favorite celebrities and influencers swear by—their go-tos, must-haves, and can’t-live-withouts. So go ahead—take a brief, intimate peek into the lives of your favorites through the things (and people, and moments) they hold dear.
Princess Nokia has never been afraid to be herself. The rapper and singer's catalogue spans genres—she slips between a quiet thoughtfulness on "Gemini," and confidence-boosting anthems like the hard-hitting "Diva" with ease. Both her look and her sound may be ever-evolving—and often copied—but her sense of self is unwavering.
That's what makes Nokia—born Destiny Frasqueri—the perfect voice of Gilette's Venus' newest rendition of "The Pube Song." The accompanying video features animated pubic hair and is an effort to normalize hair down there. "I was actually really honored," Nokia tells Byrdie. "Because I'm an animated and very humorous person that likes to de-stigmatize standardized Western beauty standards. I felt like it was very fitting and very special for me, to contribute to this project."
Ahead, Princess Nokia talks beauty standards, her love of watercolor, and what keeps her grounded.
The One Thing That Changed Her Relationship With Her Body Hair
"Growing up, I was made fun of for having body hair. I was encouraged to shave. It was considered unhygienic to have visible body hair growing up as a teenager, especially in an urban community. It was considered a 'no, no,' right? So when I discovered feminism in my teens, I realized that concept was a constraint. And it doesn't mean that having a preference for no hair is bad either. I just realized that there was a choice, and there were options.
"Sometimes I like to be shaved. And sometimes, I absolutely like to show it off. Or like, it's not even showing it off, it's more so I don't care if it's there. I don't care if I lift up my arms and there's a little piece. If a man doesn't find that attractive, or a person or at a show... it does not matter. My connection with my body started to become deliberate, liberated, and free. As a young adult, it just allowed me to be so comfortable with myself, and allowed me to really reclaim my body as my own."
The One Body Product Always in Her Shower
"I love the Gillette Venus ComfortGlide razors. They allow me to enjoy shaving... that used to be such a big, big thing for me when I was younger, to shave and not use the greatest technology and tools. I might experience serious ingrown hairs, or a poor razor might irritate my skin, and not knowing how to exfoliate my body created more redness. For a long time, I just didn't want to bother with shaving, because it came with all of these kinds of prerequisite circumstances afterward. So I'm really enjoying the Comfort Glide, she's the girl. She's so clean. It's really nice to have like good metal technology that serves the skin. And I will say like Bio Oil as a hydration oil for my body."
The One Beauty Discovery She Swears By
"I learned that my face and my body absorb product really intensely. So, I've just started accepting that I don't want to overbear my skin, and less is more. I've been in a really easy beauty routine for performance and for daily life. I've trimmed down my beauty routine to like 15-20 minutes, and it's been really helpful. Just knowing how to like really find what works for you, and not be in front of the mirror for an hour."
The One Product She Loves for Healthy Hair
"I like Bronner's Castile Soap ($8) for shampoo. Because it's just got no parabens, no sulfates, and helps my hair maintain cleanliness without serious chemicals."
The One Product Always in Her Bag
"I always keep homemade rose water and a little Florida Water in my bag. I learned that the best way to hydrate your face is to moisturize it first. So I have been going to town moisturizing my face extra before my oils, and it's been really effective. And I like Florida Water as a fragrance, and as a refresher on my body—not my face, however. I really appreciate its healing properties and its cleansing properties."
The One Skincare Product She Can Count On
"I really like Cetaphil lotion. I've been dealing with hyperpigmentation and severe eczema my whole life, and it's extremely stressful. It's the best lotion I've ever used for myself, but it took a long time to find it."
The One Beauty Trend She Loves
"I really love a bushy, upturned waxed [soap] eyebrow. I just wish my eyebrows grew more—that is the one part of my Caribbean heritage that is not quite hitting! There's tons of hair on my arms. Not enough hair on my eyebrows. And funnily enough, there's a part of my eyebrow on the top that doesn't grow in.
"So, I love a natural sick eyebrow. I used to use a pencil, and I was really not the greatest. So now, it's kind of like a whole new relationship with my eyebrows. I just brush them up and put a little soap wax or eyebrow gel on them. And that's just been another game changer for me as well."
The One Thing That Keeps Her Grounded
"I like to pray a lot. I like to give gratitude every morning. That's my attribution for any success, joy, or peace that I have in my life. I've been able to make time for myself every morning, despite what I'm doing—whether I'm touring, whether I'm at home, whether I'm depressed or not. I make time to go on my yoga mat, to speak my heart out, to see the universe.
"It's kind of like free therapy without a second opinion. And it is absolutely fantastic. I think that helps me maintain joy, that helps me to be in the present. It allows me to remove my ego, it allows me to be so grounded in my work, which can breed a lot of ego, a lot of pressure, a kind of insanity. I do feel really grounded. And I feel really powerful. And I feel really peaceful."
The One Thing She Does to Wind Down
"I love to just wind down at home and watercolor, and work with natural dyes. I'm really into arts and crafts at home. I'm not the best painter, but I like to just throw on a nice record—yesterday, I put on the Placebo album—then I just worked with natural dyes that I foraged the park nearby. I'm learning how to tie dye with fruits and flowers and berries. So I just do stuff like that."
The Beauty Look That Makes Her Feel the Most Like Herself
"It's constantly changing, but my current one is I've just been wearing Sweetgrass medicine braids, which is kind of like a Native American style of hair braiding. And I've been really into some simplicity right now—that might change, my look always changes. Sometimes I'm super hyper-femme, and I like to do, you know, wigs and makeup. At the moment, I've been really happy with a bare face and with my sweetgrass braids. I went on stage with them, and I felt beautiful. I felt like myself.
"There's a part of [the look ] that's indigenous beauty, and minimal beauty, and a very classic girlish innocence. I remember turning 30 and realizing that I don't need to do that whole guise of 'You have to stop playing with your dollies, and you have to stop being a little girl.' Like, yes, those are things that you have to eventually step up and get away from as you grow older. But for me, if I'm in Sweetgrass braids, it represents my connection to my inner child. It's my connection, but it's also just a simple get up and go."