Let me tell you about Tennille Murphy, the 42-year-old Instagram star and flight attendant who has the most radiant skin I've seen. Truly. I know, I know—a flight attendant with a glowy complexion? Sounds like an oxymoron given that the majority of flight attendants' time is spent in dry, recirculated cabin air. But that's exactly the reason I needed to chat with Murphy—because whatever she's doing, I want to be doing.
Turns out, her secret weapon is the Estée Lauder New Advanced Night Repair. "As a flight attendant, my presentation is very important, and I can't look worn out. With just one dropper of the serum, my skin looks radiant and plumped with hydration again," Murphy tells me. Keep scrolling to read our interview and learn more of her tips for staying fresh-faced from takeoff to landing.
What exactly is a celebrity flight attendant?
A celebrity flight attendant is essentially a flight attendant who works on a private jet for clients who happen to be celebrities. On average (pre-COVID) I fly about 15 days per month. The schedule can vary from month to month and really depends on my boss’s schedule. I usually learn my upcoming flight schedule at the beginning of each month, but I also need to be flexible and prepared for changes to that schedule at any time.
How did you land your job?
I have my stepmom to thank for helping me get into the industry. Actually, both of my parents have careers in private aviation. My dad is a retired flight engineer, and my stepmom is the vice president of Charter Sales. So about 11 years ago, when I found myself as an unemployed single mom, my stepmom helped me get my foot in the door of corporate aviation. I started out as a ground attendant where my role mostly consisted of prepping the plane, which includes everything from shopping, handling the catering, creating flower arrangements, and making beds. These duties helped groom me to eventually become a successful flight attendant. It helped me learn about aviation from the ground up. This phase was also instrumental in helping me work up the nerve to start traveling and being away from my children for the first time. Initially, I flew for lots of different clients but ultimately met my boss and was hired as his personal flight attendant.
What do you do before and after your flights to keep your skin radiant?
During a busy flight, there is no opportunity for mid-flight skincare, which is why I rely on the long-lasting effectiveness of my a.m. and p.m. skincare routines. I start out my flight day with a big glass of wheatgrass water to give my body some liquid sunshine to glow from the inside out. To prep my skin for the day on the outside, I like to use my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair as part of my morning routine too. The environmental factors on a plane can be super harsh on my skin, and this lovely serum provides eight hours of antioxidant protection against environmental stressors. After each flight, I always do my full layered skincare routine no matter how late I arrive in a new city. During this routine, I like to reapply my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair to quickly repair the signs of tiredness from my long day.
Arguably the worst part about traveling is dealing with jet lag. How do you handle it?
Sometimes I’m not in a city long enough to need to adapt to the time change, but when I am, it really is about forcing myself to get on the new schedule right away. For example, when I’m flying to the east coast, I’m instantly at a time deficit. That means I have to get myself to sleep as soon as possible so that I’m able to get up early the next morning. My biggest tips for decompressing are using my meditation app, eating something comforting, and of course, jumping into my skincare routines.
What are the best and hardest parts of your job?
The best part of my job is the inherent perks of private travel. I don’t have to deal with the typical airport hassles like TSA luggage restrictions, travel-size bottles, or body scans. The airport experience is very concierge- and white-glove service. The hardest part of my job can be consistently fulfilling any type of request ranging from food to amenities from any city in the world while on a tight deadline. While it can certainly be a challenge, it’s a role that suits me perfectly. I love the challenge of anticipating the needs of my passengers and providing them with the ultimate five-star experience.
Just by looking at you, I would never know you’re such a frequent flyer—how do you keep your complexion so glowy and youthful-looking?
A long day of flying can be especially brutal on my skin. Not only have I been wearing makeup all day, but I usually haven't been drinking enough water, either. On such days, I like to treat myself to a layered skincare routine. I always start out with one of my favorite face masks. Once I’ve completed that and used a toner, I like to apply my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair to help restore hydration to my skin. This serum provides 72-hours of hydration with hyaluronic acid to combat dryness. As a flight attendant, my presentation is very important and I can’t be looking worn out. With just one dropper, my skin looks radiant and plumped with hydration again. In between all of my product layers, I mist my face with rosewater to help my skin absorb all of the lovely products, and my last step is moisturizer or dry oil.
What’s one product you’ve used that has provided the biggest result?
In addition to a healthy diet (that's skincare too!), I’d have to say that sunscreen has provided the biggest long-term impact to help prevent wrinkles and damage to my skin. And if you’re looking for something to help improve the look of damage, like wrinkles, one of my latest favorite skincare products is Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. I’m just so amazed by the hydrating power of this product! The way it works to protect and restore my skin is a game-changer for my life on the road.
So you obviously eat well, too. What’s your diet like, especially when you’re traveling?
I eat a plant-based whole-foods diet. These are foods that I can easily identify like leafy greens, avocados, and lentils. I don’t eat dairy or eggs as a regular part of my diet, but I will occasionally have a baked good that contains either one of these ingredients. I pretty much avoid processed or refined sugar, butter, and fried foods. I also don't eat red meat, pork, or poultry and don't drink alcohol. For the most part, my diet is consistent when I travel. For every trip, I bring along a bag of Tennille-friendly foods like raw vegetables, fruits, hummus, salad, kombucha, and homemade popcorn. On special occasions, I enjoy wild seafood and enjoy sushi dates with my daughters. As disciplined as I am, I think that balance is important, and I’m not hard on myself when I eat something outside of my normal diet. For example, during my last trip to Italy, I enjoyed gelato on the daily! My diet has become a lifestyle for me, so when I stray occasionally, it’s easy to get back into the routine.
Be honest: Are you an over-packer or a packing pro? What are five things you will never travel without and always have in your suitcase?
Some might consider me an over-packer, but I like to think of myself as an exact packer. In a normal non-pandemic year, I travel half the time. In order to continue to love my job and lifestyle, I like to bring along all the things that provide the comforts of home. In addition to the obvious skincare essentials, like my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, and my makeup products, other things I bring along are slippers, so my feet never have to touch the hotel floors; my universal charging outlet; an electric toothbrush; a cashmere sweater because it’s luxurious and brings me comfort on the road; and photo equipment, including a tripod and remote trigger, so that I can take my blogger lifestyle on the road.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your job?
Many see the glamorous side of travel and assume that it’s easy and that I’m pretty much on vacation every day. While I do enjoy exploring new cities, there’s also a lot of work and preparation that goes into every trip. I do love and appreciate the alone time that’s inherent with my travels, but it doesn’t feel like a vacation without my family and friends. Imagine being in a truly remarkable place, but you can’t share the special moments with your loved ones.
In terms of looking after yourself, what do you wish you knew or embraced in your teens, twenties, or thirties?
The biggest thing I wish I embraced as a younger person was that it’s okay to prioritize my needs. As a young mom, I spent much of my later teens, twenties, and even parts of my thirties caring for everyone else around me without making time for myself. Over the last 10 years or so, I have finally learned that self-care isn’t selfish.
What beauty words of wisdom do you swear by?
Beauty starts from the inside out. To me confidence is beautiful. The more you nurture your self-esteem through self-care, the more your beauty will shine from the inside out.
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