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Meet Vanessa Lee of The Things We Do in Arts District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Lee.

Vanessa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was about ten I started reading my mother’s Cosmopolitan magazines, and by age 12, I was equipped with proper knowledge of bikini waxes, DIY oatmeal masks, and 15 ways to get him to commit. My favorite articles were the ones about beauty and skin. Of course, I wanted to share this newfound wisdom with all my girlfriends, so I started having sleepovers where I would prepare egg white and lemon masks for everyone. We were beyond our years, battling sun damage and sagging skin. I always say that this was the beginning of my career.

My grandmother was a beautician in the Philippines, and she was amazing at helping others feel beautiful. She passed away when I was young, but what I do remember about her was that she was always put together; curled hair, nails painted, always wearing dresses and pearls. My mother jokes that the beauty know-how skipped her and went straight to me since I was often the one to help my mother get ready.

As I got older, I knew that I wanted to be a creative of some sort, but my parents desperately wanted me to take up a career in the medical field. I became a cosmetic nurse because it allowed me to be in the medical world while going back to my first love, which was helping others feel good about themselves through beauty treatments. I started off working with lasers and moved my way into injectables.

As I gained experience, I felt like I didn’t quite fit in with my work peers when it came to injection style. I always focused on a more natural style and worked on highlighting unconventional beauty just as much as conventional beauty. I developed techniques to highlight the features of women of color, instead of the typical Eurocentric formulas I was taught and focused on skin treatments that were safe for all skin types.

My goal for my patients was to have a true advocate in the beauty insider world who protected them. I worked hard at my skill and treated me, patients, well, and I started to display who I was as a provider on social media. My career was healthy and thriving at the time I jumped on IG about three years ago, but I had no idea that the platform would take my career to the level it has reached!

I am constantly booked out solid for more than six months, I have trained hundreds of providers with my signature techniques, I will be opening a beauty concept bar this year called The Things We Do with a mentor of mine, Dr. Steve Yoelin, and I will be debuting a new skincare line later this year as well! It has been an amazing journey so far, and I feel like I am just getting started.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have heard that nothing truly great in life comes easily, and this has been true for me! There have been an endless amount of struggles, but each of them teaching me a very important lesson in how to grow and push through to something good.

A major struggle of mine was learning to balance work life and home life. Between being a mom of two, wife, and being a private contractor with a business that was heavy on social media, it’s an understatement to say that I was drowning.

What helped me was consciously setting time limits for specific tasks and making sure that family and my well being always came first. I found that I performed better at work and became more focused once the more important things were taken care of.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I always wanted to work in an atmosphere that authentically reflected inclusivity in the cosmetic medical field and encouraged true creativity. I never quite found that in the workplace so I decided to make my own work home.

I founded a beauty concept bar called The Things We Do. I named it after one of the most commonly said phrases by patients after treatments. We offer a very unique menu of facials and treatments that combine holistic practices like facial acupuncture and my signature facial balancing injectable techniques. We also offer facials that I have curated that incorporate a mix of Eastern and Western beauty secrets.

The Things We Do is a practice that thrives on individuality; there are no set formulas for our clients, we listen to you and customize a beauty plan that restores inner and outer balance and appreciation. It is self-care taken to the next level.

What were you like growing up?
I can definitely say that I have always been Lucy to an Ethel. I have always had a bolder plan and made my own rules.

As a kid I would make up dance choreography before I knew what that even meant, I would sing at school talent shows; I loved performing. What I loved more than performing was connecting with friends.

I didn’t grow up with siblings, so my friends became my family, and we are a very social bunch. Connection was more important to me than anything, and it still is.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 787 S Alameda St. Los Angeles 90021
  • Website: vanessaleern.com thethingswedo.co
  • Email: info@vanessaleern.com
  • Instagram: @vanessalee_rn @thethingswedo.co


Image Credit:

Tayler Smith, Jeremy Janairo

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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