Last year, editor/writer Christine Pride kicked off her Race Matters column on Cup of Jo, in which she shares wise, thoughtful advice on everything from friendship to adoption. Readers regularly requested her beauty uniform, so, here, Christine reveals the best exfoliator, her funny hobby and her upcoming novel…
First of all, thank you for being our Race Matters columnist.
I LOVE doing the column. It has given me such a meaningful outlet to talk about important things. I read every comment. I find it really, really gratifying.
I’m so glad. What is your general beauty philosophy?
If I like a product, I’ll use it forever. My sister gets samples at Sephora and Birchbox — she has a million one-ounce things, I wouldn’t know where to begin!
Let’s start with skincare.
At night, I wash my face with Aveeno Brightening cleanser. It has just the right amount of exfoliant. Then I put on BeautyStat vitamin C serum, followed by the BeautyStat moisturizer. The line was created by a Black chemist, and it really changed my skin. Then, a couple times a week, I’ll use the Bluemercury m-61 1-Step exfoliator towelettes. I’m also obsessed with these. I’ll use them two nights in a row before a big panel or Zoom. I see a big difference.
What about makeup?
I use the MAC Studio Fix powder foundation. I never wore concealer before but someone gave me the Glossier concealer and I started using it a few years ago and was like, Oh! This is why people put concealer under their eyes! I use Glossier Cloud Paint in Storm for blush and their highlighter stick in Topaz.
And for eyes?
A beauty product that has made a big difference is RevitaLash. It really helped grow out my lashes. And Dior mascara is my eyelash game. I’ve tried so many different mascaras, but Dior is the best.
Tell us about your career.
I’ve been an editor on and off at book publishing houses for the past 17 years. When I was at Simon & Schuster most recently, I edited and published a book by Jo Piazza. We became friends and realized we worked well together. So, while I was still full time at S&S, we started writing a novel together — We Are Not Like Them.
Can you tell us about the book?
It’s the story of a lifelong friendship between a Black woman named Riley and a white woman named Jen. When the novel opens, Riley has just moved back to Philly for a news reporter job and Jen is married to a police officer and pregnant with her first child. Her husband is involved in a shooting with an unarmed black teenager. This event throws their friendship into turmoil. They have to do a lot of racial reckoning — like many people have had to do over the past year. They are a stand-in for these conversations, impasses and understandings, so the book will hopefully give people in book clubs a lot to think about in terms of race in America right now and what their blind spots might be. And we also hope it’s entertaining! It’s an emotionally layered, celebration of female friendship. It comes out on October 5th.
It’s also a little like standing naked on a stage. We’ve tackled a hot-button subject that’s not easy to write, read or talk about — so it’s exciting but fraught. We’re eagerly awaiting the reception.
What was it like to write with a friend?
It was hard! So much harder than we had expected. Logistically, we never lived in the same state at the same time. We were working in Google docs. Plus, merging writing styles and solving disagreements about what should happen, who these characters are — and adding race on top of that. We had to work through a lot of tough moments. It was a good lesson for me because I’m so conflict avoidant and she’s much more direct. So, it taught me a lot about how to get through these challenging moments. And then they do go away! You can hit rough patches and move on. We feel good that we were able to do that.
Do you feel closer now?
Yes. We were writing during the pandemic and George Floyd — the stakes were high for everything. Conflict can bring you closer; it was a gift for our friendship. You have to have a range of human emotions in any relationship.
Recently, I saw your Instagram post about dressing up during the pandemic.
I’m trying to find moments of joy! Honestly, living alone and being single has been the hard part for me. There was a great piece in the New York Times saying that even if you’re not dating, the idea you might meet someone out and about — at a restaurant, on a flight — and that tiny bit of hope every day that your life could change and be different, was something I definitely missed this year. You don’t have a lot of possibility sitting in your apartment.
Have you gotten into any hobbies?
I’ve always been a person that’s like, I should get hobbies! I work a lot? Is reading a hobby if I do it for a living? I’m also a TV fanatic. I think I’m a better book editor because of all the TV I watch. Having your finger on the zeitgeist is important.
What books have you loved?
I read 20 to 30 books a year for pleasure and then all my work reading on top of that — it’s a lot of books. Every book I’ve ever published is a favorite, but in terms of beloved books published by others, I would include: Americanah, Random Family, Just Mercy, The God of Small Things, The Middle Place, Let’s Take the Long Way Home and Educated. I love stories with emotional texture, a global angle, and a deep dive into relationships, culture and social justice.
How do you care for your hair?
I get it relaxed every few months at a Dominican place in Harlem. Relaxing causes shedding and breakage, so I try to use products that strengthen and moisturize my hair. If I’m wearing it curly, I get in the shower and let it air dry; then I use Ouidad Leave-In Conditioner and Curl Cream, plus Jane Carter Nourish and Shine for moisture. If I’m blowing it out, I use Redkin Anti-Breakage Leave-In Treatment and Biosilk Moisture Serum. After I blow it out and flat iron it, I spray it with It’s a 10 Miracle Shine Spray for shine.
Anything else you love overall that we haven’t chatted about?
I really, really, really like to work out for mental health. That was a challenge at the beginning of the pandemic. Out of desperation, I got a Peleton, and I love it so, so much. I get cravings for the endorphins. I like the crazy intense classes. I want them yelling at me! I want to feel like I’m going to die!
Thank you so much, Christine! We love you.
(Top portrait by Christine Han.)