Photo: Demetria L. Lucas
After writer Demetria L. Lucas published her first book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life, her inbox was flooded with 38,000 questions from women seeking her empowering, no holds-barred take on relationships. Lucas, who stars in Bravo’s reality series Blood, Sweat, & Heels and was previously the relationship editor at Essence, decided to add life coach to her resume to make sure her advice really meant something. “I wanted to empower women to know that ‘No’ is a full sentence,” says Lucas. “I wanted women ask for what they want, and to tell them it is OK to be alone if they aren’t getting what they need from a partner. I really just wanted to instill confidence in them.”
Lucas’ newest book Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love compiles 250 of the thousands of questions she has been asked, to create a relationship manifesto of sorts. I caught up with Lucas to find out what her beauty dos and don’ts are when it comes to relationships. Is it OK to tweak your partner’s appearance? When should you let a new guy see you without makeup? Demetria’s candid, empowering advice below.
Sara Bliss: I love the title of your book ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty.’ Explain what it means to you.
Demetria Lucas: The word ‘pretty’ is really a shorthand of all of the special things that women bring to the table—our attention, our care, our cooking, our praying, our loving nature, our listening skills, that shoulder to lean on, and our time, especially. These are things that are very valuable in relationships. So, what I’m suggesting for women is don’t waste your time, your energy, and your resources on the wrong person. Make smarter investments in relationships.
SB: What are your beauty rules for dating?
DL: When you start dating, I think everyone puts a lot of effort into it. You put on your pretty skirt, pretty jewels, the makeup, and you make a big to-do about everything. We get a little further into the process, and a lot of people begin to get more relaxed, which is OK. But I think it’s important to know that your mate is very visual, just like you are, and that you have to keep yourself up. You have to keep the hair, keep the makeup, keep the boobs high, and the heels on. Not every day, but just remind him what he has, and what he gets to look at.
Related: Mastering No-Makeup Makeup
SB: We just did a story about how half of women say they won’t let their partner see them without makeup for the first year. When do you think is a good time for a boyfriend to see the real you without makeup?
I think if you’re ready to have sex with someone then you should be able for them to see you without your face on. It doesn’t make sense to try and wake up the next morning and apply the mascara and fluff the hair, and all that stuff. You have to be comfortable being yourself.
SB: What if your partner likes a certain look on you that isn’t your favorite? For example, they love you in straight hair, while you prefer curly? Do you think you should change?
DL: When it’s something that’s really minor like putting on red lipstick, or not blowdrying your hair, or going straight— a little temporary change that you can make to appease your partner, do it every once in a while. There is nothing wrong with making your partner happy as long as it’s not demanding, like “Do this or else.” But more of a “Hey babe, I really like that red lipstick.” I think it applies in the same way [for us]—we might have a favorite cologne or shirt or haircut that we like, so we can ask our partner to do little things, too.
SB: Expand on that. What do you think about tweaking your partner’s look, like asking him to get a new haircut?
DL: If he’s up for it you can say, “Hey babe, I think this haircut would be really flattering.” Or “Let’s get a manicure together and take care of our hands.” When you have a partner who is really resistant and says, “I like my hair how it is” or “I don’t want a manicure, I like having man hands” be careful about pushing them too far.
Photo: Demetria L. Lucas
SB: What should you do when your partner’s looks or weight changes in a way you’re not thrilled with?
DL: Weight is an issue that comes up in relationships. People get too small or too big, but there’s a proper way to have that conversation. It’s not, “Hey I’m not attracted you anymore.” That’s definitely wrong, but if you can say to your partner, “I’m really concerned about our health. I want us to be physically fit. I want us to be in great shape.” Use words like health, not attraction, not just pointing the finger. It’s a lifestyle change that you’re going to make as a couple.
SB: Do you have any beauty don’ts for relationships?
DL: Don’t let yourself go. Sometimes we get comfortable in relationships and we don’t dress up as much and just sort of get complacent. You just have to remember that people are very visual. Like when your partner first saw you across the room, no one thought, “Oh, I wonder what her brain is like.” Your partner can love you to death and sometimes be like, “Mmm, things aren’t quite like they used to be.” We all change over time, but it’s just important that we keep making the investment in ourselves to look our best.
SB: You’re filming the third season of Blood, Sweat, & Heels for Bravo. What have you learned about beauty and confidence from being on TV?
DL: Oh gosh, nothing. I think the show does everything possible to tear all of the women who are featured down. I think keeping up my confidence is something that I have to do independently of the show.
SB: How do you handle being in that type of atmosphere?
DL: I really have to surround myself with people outside of the show who really care about me and build me up. My actual friendships that have been made in the real world, and not for TV, make me confident. My writing makes me confident. I think about those things and I try to put the show aside.
Related: Beauty Tips from Beautiful Women
SB: Do you feel that there is added pressure on you as a life coach and relationship expert to be perfect?
DL: When I first started out I might have felt that way, but one of the things that I think makes me relatable as a writer and a coach is I’m really clear that I’m not perfect. No one ever has it all figured out, and the people who act like they do are pretty obnoxious. I like being transparent about the things that I’m dealing with, and I think that makes my readers and my clients more willing to open up to me. Coaching isn’t about saying, “I do all these things right.” I sometimes say, “I don’t know how to get to X, but I know you don’t take that route, so maybe going in another direction works better for you.”