By Rachel Marlowe
Fresh off a flight from Tokyo for the launch of Aman Essential Skin, Kristina Romanova is a walking advertisement for her latest venture. Makeup free, yet sporting a preternatural glow, the former model is CEO of Aman Essentials, a lifestyle brand inspired by the chain of luxury resorts.
Born in Volgograd, Russia, Romanova had a typical middle-class childhood. “Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, so I guess I got the desire to be independent and build a business from them,” she says. “My parents would always tell me, no matter what happens in your life you should always have a passion and personal goals.” At the age of 15, Romanova was scouted by a local modeling agency, and just one year later, having never before traveled, she arrived in New York City.
Her career took off at lightning speed, and during her first fashion season she walked the runway for Ralph Lauren, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Alexander McQueen, and Marc Jacobs. “That experience really gave me a chance to see how they worked on the collections from conception to bringing them to life,” she says. Similarly, her time in the makeup chair granted her access to some of the best artists and skincare experts in the world, while her jet-setting schedule schooled her in the art of travel. “I experienced Aman as a client first,” she says. “I could see that there was a missed opportunity there and I had a whole vision of what it should be and how I could bring it to life.”
Launched in 2018, Aman Essentials is the result of this vision: a separate business entity with a 360-lifestyle offering, distributed outside of the Aman properties at retailers including Neiman Marcus and The Webster. The latest offering, Aman Essential Skin, was developed over the course of two years with the Japanese luxury skincare company KOSÉ, with packaging designed by longtime Aman collaborator, architect Kengo Kuma. Built around two hero ingredients, Japanese rice bran extract and Japanese indigo leaf extract, the range includes five key products with more in the works. “I have been a longtime fan of the Japanese approach to skincare, especially how much attention they pay to environmental protection. They’re the perfect partners.”
Now a mother of two and running a business with a team of 14, Romanova splits her time between Miami and Ibiza. “I came to Miami for the first time while modeling,” she says. “I immediately liked the city. It was just so sunny and happy. It also seemed like a perfect place to raise children because of the incredible lifestyle, and the proximity to New York, London and other international locations. It ticked all the boxes for me.”
As for the future, she has several new launches on the horizon. “It’s been incredible to look back at where we started and where we are now,” she says. “But sometimes it’s hard for me to acknowledge what I have achieved, so I’m learning how to give myself a pat on the back.”
Model: Kristina Romanova
Photographer: Stewart Shining
Stylist: Tracy Taylor
Hair and Makeup: Barbara Moura
Stylist Assistant: Kendall Meleski