Gabrielle K. Cuesta Temp Photo

Published: October 24, 2023

Last Updated: December 7, 2023

Gabriella K. Cuesta Chats Haircare, Makeup, and More

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Gabrielle K. Cuesta Temp Photo

Based in Florida, beauty and style influencer Gabriella K. has carved out a special space online that sets her apart from the crowd. Known for her iconic ginger copper curls, she’s a testament to the transformative power of haircare as an avenue of self-expression.

Gabriella initially gained traction during her college years when she turned to content creation as a means to explore her interests in beauty and personal style. Her transition from traditional education in fashion marketing to full-time influencing was ultimately driven by a desire to focus on what truly resonated with her and her growing audience.

Beyond her aesthetic appeal, the content creator also engages her followers through candid discussions about the challenges of conforming to societal beauty norms, particularly as a woman of color. Gabriella is pretty open about her early struggles with self-image, especially during her high school years when she felt marginalized for not fitting conventional definitions of beauty. Those experiences not only shaped her approach to beauty—now centered on the idea of celebrating individuality—but also fuels her present-day content, which ranges from haircare tutorials to messages of empowerment.

As she continues to evolve, Gabriella is adapting to new trends while staying true to her core message of self-acceptance and natural beauty. “Some days are harder than others, for sure. Keeping up with everything, you just feel like it’s a competition, but in reality, it shouldn’t be. You should enjoy what you do,” she explains.

Below, we spoke with Gabriella K. about her career, her views on beauty and representation, and the tips she has for those willing to embrace their own natural hair journey.

Walk me through your childhood. What was your introduction to beauty and haircare?

My mom actually made me try so many different things. She put me in a sewing class. She put me in drawing class to kind of see what I wanted to do. I think it was probably the end of high school or the beginning of college when I started to figure out that influencing is actually a thing, and I wanted to pursue it. I was going to school for fashion marketing. Then I just decided that’s not what I wanted to do. I don’t want to work for anybody.

What made me stop is just realizing school is not for me. I realized I was the only one out of all my sisters to not finish college, just not finish at all. I went to study abroad, came back home, and went to school again somewhere else to live the college experience and the party life. Afterward, I realized school was just not for me.

How would you describe your approach to beauty now?

I would say definitely better than I was before. You know, it wasn’t as accepting back then. My hair was not seen as meeting the beauty standard. Now, I feel like it does. So, I just feel it’s definitely better than what it was before, 100%. I can show other girls to be themselves, to embrace their hair and everything overall.

In terms of representation, did you ever see anyone that looked like you growing up?

I’m not gonna lie, high school was really hard. I just felt that the beauty standard back then, especially being someone of color. I wasn’t the beauty standard. I literally always wanted to straighten my hair to be like everybody else. I wasn’t the popular girl, even though I feel like during that time, you would try to be, and even if you tried, it was very hard. No one wanted you to be a part of it if you didn’t look a certain way.

Now is when people from high school before notice you. Not just because of what I’m doing, but just because, “Oh wow, she looks so different now, and ten times better,” or whatever. It was really hard. I’m not gonna lie, I feel like people didn’t want to get to know me just because I wasn’t considered as pretty as other girls were then.

At what point did you decide to start doing content creation?

During college, I posted one video, and even though my hair wasn’t as good as it is now, everyone thought it was amazing before. That’s how it started. I decided to post a video because fashion and makeup weren’t really doing well for me. I was thinking, “What’s going to make it stick?” What helped was showing other girls that their hair was beautiful and encouraging them to be confident.

I posted a video showing how I did my curly hair and the phases I went through, and then I started posting curly hair tags on Instagram. One day, while I was in a friend’s apartment, I saw my phone blowing up. I was like, “This is not happening right now.” From there, I took it more seriously throughout the years.

Your curls are obviously a really important thing in your life — tell me about your hair journey.

I did a lot of research and looked at other people who really inspired me during that time. I took it from there, pondering, “What can I learn for myself to help somebody else?” I realized I had to go through the worst ugly phase possible because my hair was growing in such a way that half of it was super thick, and the other half, at the back, was super thin.

My hair was growing at an awkward phase. From there, the whole process started to get better. I focused on helping other girls feel better about themselves, emphasizing that you have to go through an ugly phase first before getting to a beautiful stage.

Which products do you rely on to keep your curls looking good?

Right now, I really like Rizos Curls because it is Latino-owned, and being Hispanic myself, it feels great to use a product that’s from a Hispanic-owned brand. You can find it at Target, and it’s quite affordable, which is great for anyone who wants to start their journey.

What do you like to use makeup-wise?

I feel like it’s so many different things. I really like Fenty Beauty. I like using companies that have a lot of color range because I feel like that’s really important to be inclusive. A lot of products I definitely use are drugstore brands like e.l.f Cosmetics. It doesn’t have to be high-end because, honestly, I feel like you can get the best of both worlds. Regardless, it’s how you apply it.

Pivoting back to hair, what does a typical week look like for you in terms of hairstyles?

Depending on how I’m feeling, once in a while, you’ll see a bun in my hair or it’s a lot of maintenance. With curly hair, you really have to have patience for it. Some days, I just want to put it up. If I really want to keep my hair looking good all the time, I just wet it a little bit and then just use the diffuser.

I feel like people forget you don’t have to wet your whole hair. So you can maintain it throughout the week, but after the fifth day, forget about it.

What does wash day look like for you?

If I want to put a lot of tender loving care into it, it’ll take me almost four hours. That’s four hours of making content because I want to make content. Obviously, that is what my whole page is kind of about, so I take advantage. I’m doing a mask, doing shampoo and conditioner, shampooing twice.

Then when I get out of the shower, it’s a whole process. I have to re-wet my hair again. You have to re-wet your hair so that you can have the best results at the end. Then comes leave-in conditioner, gel, mousse, and then oil at the end. I usually diffuse my hair for almost an hour or 30 minutes. Yeah, it takes a while, but it’s worth it at the end of the day.

What advice would you give to your followers, especially when it comes to achieving your hair color?

Mine is ginger copper. Last year it was the biggest, everybody wanted to dye their hair ginger copper. But I would say the advice I would give someone is patience is very important. If you’re not willing to put the work in, it might take six months, it might take a year, but that’s up to you. How much are you willing to put in for your hair, you know?

Just be patient with yourself and kind to yourself because, at the same time, you’re not gonna feel 100% great about yourself. You’re gonna be in this really awkward stage of your hair phase. So don’t be too hard on yourself. In the end, it’s gonna be worth the wait.

When you’re not serving looks, fashion is another thing that people have come to love you for. How would you describe your style?

My fashion style is an alluring blend of sexy and classy. I effortlessly combine pieces that highlight my curves. My style also varies depending on how I feel for the day, especially living in Miami. But I do pick out looks from my wardrobe that are classic pieces and that display sensuality to make me feel empowered and elegant in every outfit I wear.