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Hi Wildflower Beauty Edit: Taxidermist Divya Anantharaman's Pinup Glamour

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I met taxidermist Divya Anantharaman when she worked as former taxidermist-in- residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. A few things struck me immediately, besides the fact I've never met another South Asian woman who worked as a taxidermist, Divya exudes a glamorous beauty reminiscent of pinups. Talk to her for a minute about her work, and you'll see she's a woman of many passions, and better yet, she's one of the most compassionate people I know: Divya is a certified cat and kitten TNR caretaker - meaning she nurtures feral or abandoned cats back to health in her Brooklyn home!

Divya Anantharaman

Photo: Gabriela Bhaskar | Makeup: Talysha Moneé

Her work is driven by her passion for art, science, and wildlife conservation.  I interviewed her for my original iteration of Hi Wildflower, (a blog I started with my sister Promiti back in 2013). Throughout her early years as a taxidermist, Divya discovered her specialty: bird and small mammal taxidermy. She's got an upcoming solo show in 2018 focused solely on chickens, of which there are varieties we've never imagined outside of our usual Perdue chicken.

Photo: Erika Hokanson | Makeup: Talysha Moneé

Divya co-wrote Stuffed Animals: A Modern Guide to Taxidermy with fellow taxidermist Katie Innamorato, founder of Afterlife AnatomyAs a writer and perfumer, I completely connect to their assertion that taxidermy is a confluence of art, science and alchemy. While many folks vacillate between fear that animals are being harmed, or feel disgust thinking about the embalming of an animal into a sculptural work of art--Divya's committed to ethical and sustainable sourcing for her creations. At the heart of all of Divya's vision, is a deep and abiding sense of wildlife conservation.

Divya Anantharaman

Photo: Gabriela Bhaskar | Makeup: Talysha Moneé

I can relate to charting unknown territory, to being the first of your kind in a realm that's misunderstood. Yet, her craft is about learning and envisioning the world you want to create. Divya started in a super cutthroat fashion industry, preparing her for her foray into taxidermy as a self-taught artist. While she eventually received professional training from award winning traditional taxidermists, she knew she would only start teaching and selling work after knowing it could hold its own. Throughout all of it, Divya has a gorgeous sense of style and a beauty regimen to keep her fresh and moisturized after a hard day's work.

What is your daily beauty regimen?
I work from home but have a really busy schedule between my taxidermy job, caring for my live pets ( which are really like my children 2 cats, 2 fancy pigeons, and a snake), and being a cat rescuer (which usually means trapping and transporting ferals to get neutered, hand feeding sick senior cats, or massaging kittens nether regions so that they can properly poop) and definitely don't get glam to do that stuff! So my daily "go to work" beauty routine is taking a very hot showers, and moisturizing to the max between all the hand-washing and hot water. I swear by the tubs of raw shea butter, Parachute coconut oil, and jojoba oil. I use rosehip and hyaluronic acid on my face, and put on some desi style solid kajal. I also like smelling like something other than chicken and poop, so I love my Hi Wildflower Night Blossom or Mala perfume, or just a dab of oil based oudh perfume depending on the mood for the day. At night I [use face] wash and use a heavier moisturizer on my face. And if I'm going outside, I use CeraVe SPF products.  

 

Photo: Erika Hokanson | Makeup: Talysha Moneé

"I also like smelling like something other than chicken and poop, so I love my Hi Wildflower Night Blossom or Mala perfume, or just a dab of oil based oudh perfume depending on the mood for the day." 

What is your go-to Hi Wildflower Lipstick? 
My go to is Black Datura (since it is dark and I'll never outgrown certain parts of being a goth kid). However, shooting with Hi Wildflower has definitely made me wear much more color (especially when it is formulated to look on brown skin!) so I love Gulabi Gang and Dianthus is the perfect red when I'm feeling more pinup style! 

What are some new projects you're working on?
I was recently awarded second place in the professional division at the World Taxidermy Show and Competition, so I'm working on improving so I can get that first place next time!!! I'm also working on some birds for a local museum, study skins for scientific use for the Audubon Society, and since it is summer, trying to get ahead of the feral cat and kitten issue in my neighborhood. 
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