Rodin Beauty's Creator on Vertigo, Steak and Smuggling Jars

From left: © Fredrika Stjarne; © Leslie Kirchhoff; © Claudio Arnese 
Linda Rodin, creator of the cult-favorite beauty line Rodin, on vertigo, steak and the weird jars she hides in her sweaters. 

I love meat but stopped eating it for 40 years. And then five years ago I got severe vertigo, and I went to my doctor—who is a vegan acupuncturist—and he said, “I think you have to eat meat.” And I asked, “Would you ever eat meat?” And he said, “If I were you, I would.”

In New York, there’s Keens or Quality Meats—Peter Luger if you can get in, which you can’t. But I eat dinner at 5, so usually I can get in anywhere. When I was growing up, if you weren’t at the table at 6, they thought you had been abducted or something.

A good general rule is to look at the ingredients in whatever you buy. But when you get nutty, it kills the joy. If I’m at a restaurant, I’m not going to ask, “Where is the lettuce from? Who killed it? Did it suffer in the sink?”

I lived in Florence, I lived in Rome and I lived in Murano. I speak the language. But I don’t go back to Italy very often, which is scandalous.

The sad thing when you’re traveling is that you can’t bring back cheese, bread and vegetables. It’s tragic. But I do pack up anything remotely portable. I once bought homemade olive oil from Corsica and hid the weird jars in my sweaters.

Nine years ago, I decided to blend all the oils I love and see what happened: argan, calendula and more. Then one day my nephew asked, “What are you doing with all these bottles?” I said, “Oh, I make face oil for my friends.” And he asked, “What do you charge and what’s the formula?” I said, “I give it away. And the formula’s in my head!”

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