I'm Black and Model for Victoria's Secret—These Beauty Products Are My Holy Grails

(Image credit: Don Nixon)

For years now, Bravo has been sending 20- and 30-somethings to the Hamptons for the summer and recording their antics to make Summer House, one of my favorite non–Real Housewives Bravo shows. As the seasons went on, I started to notice the lack of Blackness on the show. It was mostly white people running around the Hamptons, drinking too much rosé, and getting into love triangles—typical reality TV show stuff. But on the show's fifth season, that changed. Enter Ciara Miller—who is described by her friend and fellow castmate Paige DeSorbo as "a combination of Naomi Campbell and Mother Teresa"—the show's first Black female cast member. Miller is strikingly beautiful, and the second she opens her mouth and lets out her sweet Southern accent and shares her background as a nurse, you realize how accurate DeSorbo's description actually was. 

As Miller's time on Summer House continued, she quickly grew a community of Black and Brown girls on social media who look to her for all things fashion and beauty, especially beauty. With just one peek at her Instagram, you can see her jetting off to Miami for the Grand Prix, shooting campaigns with Victoria's Secret, and sharing plenty of videos of her in hair and makeup for appearances, red carpets, and press events. This all makes her page a go-to spot for Black and Brown women looking for hair and makeup ideas to try themselves. I figured Miller was the best person to tap for a Black History Month deep dive on experimenting with makeup as a Black woman, brand inclusivity, her ins and outs for 2024, and, of course, which products she swears by.

Keep scrolling to read our conversation.


(Image credit: Don Nixon)

What are your beauty ins and outs for 2024? 

This year, I'm really into glowing skin, so highlighters, highlighters, highlighters. I'm also loving faux freckles, but I have to say lots of blush or that "doll blush" trend is out for me—that and bad extensions.

What beauty must-haves are always in your purse? 

I'm always carrying good, easy lippies, like this Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum. My go-to shade is Honey Glow. I always have these in pretty much all of my purses. Those plus a lip liner. I also love to keep a travel-sized rollerball perfume on me. I hate fragrances that don't last all day, so just in case, I always have perfume with me, and then I typically have Clean On Me hand cream. It's a very specific little mini lotion that smells so good, and it fits in all my purses. Of course, I always have snack.

ciara close up

(Image credit: Don Nixon)

What beauty advice would you give other Black women looking to experiment more with makeup? 

Experiment with color! Don't be afraid to try everything and anything, and take risks to see what really works for you. Unfortunately, the makeup industry was not always created with us—Black women—in mind, which can make the experience of playing with makeup and finding your holy-grail products that much harder. But there are so many great brands now, like Pat McGrath and Fenty Beauty to name a few, that are coming out with products made specifically with women of color/Black women in mind. [These are] brands that cherish and appreciate Black women and their contribution to the beauty industry and want to show that appreciation by making products that we can use and love. [Try] everything, [try] new beauty trends, and [spread] the word. Once you find a really good beauty product, start telling your other beauty-loving BIPOC friends. I feel like I always get my greatest recommendations on makeup from other Black girls.

ciara white tank

(Image credit: Don Nixon)

It's like I'm fighting society's beauty standards of what hair is acceptable for a Black woman on camera while trying to embrace my own hair journey all at once. I'm trying to teach myself that, no matter how I style my hair, I'm still beautiful and worthy and deserving.

Ciara Miller

As Black women, we have a unique relationship when it comes to hair. How would you describe your relationship with your hair? 

Oh my god, chaotic. I feel like my relationship with my hair is so chaotic. One minute, I want my extensions. One minute, I want them out of my head and never want to look at them again. Some days, I want to be natural and wear my curls. Other days, I want to be channeling Naomi with long, bone-straight hair with the middle part. No one can say anything to me about it, by the way. It's a chaotic relationship like it is for many other Black women. But the older that I'm getting, the more comfortable I'm becoming with my hair.

Especially being in TV, it's like I'm fighting society's beauty standards of what hair is acceptable for a Black woman on camera while trying to embrace my own hair journey all at once. I'm trying to teach myself that, no matter how I style my hair, I'm still beautiful and worthy and deserving. Afro, braids, extensions, natural hair—it shouldn't matter. I'm trying to take some of the pressure off myself. Honestly, I hate that Black women's hair is always such a point of discussion. I should just be able to be myself, wear my hair however I would like, and show up to set or to film and do my job like anyone else.

ciara miller far shot

(Image credit: Don Nixon)

What other Black women do you look at when it comes to beauty and style inspiration? 

I'm definitely a big fan of Lori Harvey. Everything she does when it comes to beauty and fashion I just love. Of course, there's Jasmine Tookes, Jourdan Dunn, and the other Black and Brown Victoria's Secret Angels, [who] are always beauty goals. Honestly, Tracee Ellis Ross is always on my mood board. She's always experimenting with her hair and trying new things. I also love Quinta [Brunson] and the hair looks she has been going with lately. Since we just had award season, I have also been seeing a lot of Zuri Hall, and she always has amazing hair and style choices.

ciara miller

(Image credit: Don Nixon)

Walk us through your typical everyday makeup look.

My everyday makeup routine is pretty quick and easy. I will mix my foundation with my moisturizer to make my own BB/CC cream to give me that light, glowy veil type of finish that I want. I'm big on very bright under-eyes, so after that, I go in with my concealer and top the face portion of my makeup off with a very light blush just to give myself some color. Next would be the mascara and my most important step, my eyebrows. Sometimes, I forget to mention eyebrows when discussing makeup because, to me, doing my eyebrows doesn't count as makeup. It's a nonnegotiable necessity. Even if I'm running out to go get my packages, I have a brow on, but yeah, definitely filling in my brows, and maybe I'll dab highlighter on with my fingers.

With doing TV, red carpets, press days, and photo shoots and being in a hair and makeup chairs constantly, it can be hard on your skin and hair. What skincare and haircare products do you use when your skin needs a little TLC? 

I always make it a point to go to my dermatologist. I go to Paul Frank, MD, on the Upper East Side and in the West Village, and I will do a facial with him. I am a person who struggled with acne my entire life, and hyperpigmentation has also been something that I've struggled with. I do pico laser for my hyperpigmentation, but at home, [it's] always a tranexamic acid I also love a mask. The Clarins cryo cool mask is really good to just refresh your skin and make your pores look smaller. Let's be real—no one likes large pores. I'm also a big fan of FaceGym. I definitely try and swing by there before events. For my hair, I go to Sally Hershberger NoMad, and my girl will give me a steam treatment.

Shop Miller's Holy-Grail Beauty Items

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

"Even when I don't want to spend $30 on it and I want to reach for the $7 tube, I'm gonna spend the $30 because this mascara is worth it. It's that good. I used to think $30 for mascara is crazy. Now, I do it religiously. "

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation

"I love this product so much, especially in the summer. It's basically like skin, and I can wear very little product and get that even, glowy look. It's so lightweight and wearable. I also am super impressed by the shade range this product has. I wear shade 460W."

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Matte Buildable Coverage Waterproof Concealer

"I'm telling you. As a girl who loves bright under-eyes, you need this product. Think bright, bright, bright. I want to walk into a room and have people ask, 'Did a light just come on?' But nope, it's just my concealer."

Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Waterproof Easy Shape & Fill Eyebrow Pencil

"Talk about a brow that doesnt move. You guys know I take my eyebrow game seriously."

One/Size On 'Til Dawn Mattifying Waterproof Setting Spray

"The Patrick Starrr One/Size Setting Spray, it's … on all night until dawn. Now, I used this product before Beyoncé came out and said that she was using it on her Renaissance Tour, and after that, you couldn't get this product for months. I was pissed. … I usually keep an extra bottle on hand, but I was running low, and then Beyoncé announced that she used it once on her tour, and it sells out. What are the odds?"

Tarte Freckle Pen

"As I mentioned, I'm loving faux freckles for 2024. This product makes getting the look that much easier."

Assistant Editor

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Grace has always been a lover of all things fashion and beauty. Upon receiving her first degree in visual communications from FIDM in Los Angeles, she moved to New York City and continued her education at LIM College, majoring in fashion media with a minor in society and culture. Grace has worked for PhotoBook magazine, Insider, and Harper's Bazaar. As a writer, Grace has had pieces published covering topics including racial justice, fashion, politics, and current events. During her free time, she loves wine tasting, creating content for her social media, spending time with friends, traveling to new places, and Pilates, and has a love for reality television, especially The Real Housewives. Grace is the person in your friend group everyone goes to for recommendations for the best place to grab drinks in NYC on a Friday night or the best hotels and restaurants to try when traveling to a new city. While fashion is her main love, she loves all things wellness and lifestyle as well. Her ideal sunday is brunching with friends then walking around furniture shopping and listening to a podcast. As the assistant shopping editor at Who What Wear, Grace loves finding the best buys out there for the WWW readers.