Meet Dianna Cohen
ON HER MORNING ROUTINE
On weekdays I aim to wake up between 7:20 - 7:40 AM. I get out of bed and make my fiancé and myself a breakfast of egg, avocado, and coffee before he heads to his office. I start my day with 30 minutes of stretching and some foam rolling while listening to a podcast. I grew up practicing yoga, so I really enjoy stretching to move energy around. Stretching is my meditation. After that, I’ll eat breakfast and try to jot down some “morning pages”—basically three pages of ramblings and thoughts to shake out of my brain before I start the day. I find that physically writing in a journal paces me to be more mindful on email and digital communication the rest of the day.
on realizing a career in marketing
I grew up in South Florida and came to New York to attend NYU. I studied Art History and Italian, not realizing I was interested in those subjects for the storytelling, references, and understanding connection between people. I took a marketing class at Stern about eight years ago that Gary Vaynerchuk guest lectured on grassroots marketing in context of his family’s wine business. This was when I realized that marketing was something I could devote myself to as a profession. I grew up thinking I needed a “tangible” skill, but, to me, marketing seemed like this intangible, evolving, living conversation that wasn’t something you could learn or study as a trade. It was rooted in storytelling.
I interned with great companies and leaders like Courtney and Philip Crangi at Giles & Brother (their parents were my high-school art history teachers), Thakoon in production and sales (when Moda Operandi launched), Valentino in PR & Celebrity Dressing (the Oscar season of Rooney Mara and Michelle Williams).
My last internship during school was at Into The Gloss in 2012 which was the convergence of everything I’ve loved and consumed in the sacred space of my laptop. I reached out to Emily Weiss and made her and Nick Axelrod a Tumblr as my project to apply (PSA: if anyone can revive ITGassignment.tumblr.com I will be forever grateful). It opened my eyes to a new way to tell stories and experience an authentic, digital community that was craving a platform to connect and express themselves through beauty and personal experiences.
on the steps that led to starting her own company, levitate
After Spring I wasn’t sure of where I wanted to go and what type of culture I was looking for. I connected with Tamara Mellon as she was in the pre-launch stages of her business and moving to LA. I spent nine months working on the flow and direction of the website, naming shoe styles, mapping press architecture for launch, conceiving activations in NY and LA, building the early stages of the community. It’s what I love doing now: go-to-market strategy. I didn’t realize I could consult from brand to brand. I returned to NY, met the team at Away, and became Head of Partnerships and learned about collaboration, partnership, roadmapping strategy, and growing a brand quickly. A year later, I reconnected with one of my favorite and most respected colleagues, Biz Lindsay, who was at Derris PR on the Spring account and joined Outdoor Voices early. She called to see if I could work with Outdoor Voices. I sent a scope of work and before I knew it, Outdoor Voices was my first client, and my company Levitate was born.
on making the transition to marketing consultant
Through the transition, I had a leadership coach, Christine Sachs. She changed the way I think about myself, how I understand my defense mechanisms, when I’m holding myself back. She empowered me to set up structures and boundaries that allow for growth and independence. I set the bar of how to get paid and what amount based off what my time and knowledge are worth to a business. It takes multiple meetings with a team/business to understand the scope and rate. Sometimes these are structured as a long-term retainer with cash and equity mix, or short-term projects with a flat fee. I recommend finding friends and mentors who do retainer and project work to gauge the market rate of your industry. It’s important to know your value and why you’re doing this to figure out what to take on.
on keeping up with new strategies and techniques
I enjoy listening to podcasts like Guy Raz’s NPR How I Built This and books via the Blinkist app on leadership, performance, and essentialist philosophies. I love and make everyone subscribe to Internet Brunch from Big Spaceship. I enjoy LeanLuxe’s newsletter and Molly Young’s "Read Like The Wind" emails. Bill Simmons is a favorite. I could listen to that guy read a menu. The Rewatchables is one of my favorite pods. I read a lot of the trade publications for work: WWD, BoF, FastCo, Inc, Forbes, Glossy. I also follow brands, influencers, and publications on Instagram for work.
on her style and shopping habits
Most of the time I’m a creature of habit and wear versions of my uniform each day. Jeans (Levi’s, Redone, or Madewell), t-shirt (The Row, Gabriela Hearst, usually long-sleeves from Theory or vintage T), Golden Goose sneakers or Chloe or Tabitha Simmons boots. I love the Barney’s women and how they buy for the store. I love The Line’s curation and Net-a-Porter’s breadth of product. I wear a lot of Acne, Outdoor Voices, and Birkenstocks at home with cozy socks. Madhappy hoodies and tie dye cashmere from The Elder Statesmen and Raquel Allegra make me smile when I throw them on in the morning. I love what the Simon Miller team is doing, and I’ll always be drawn to a beautiful Chanel or Hermes bag to pull it all together. I enjoy discovering emerging brands on Instagram and buying directly: Come Editions in the Marais make killer custom silk jackets, Dinosaur Designs is an Australian brand making fun jewelry, L’Afshar is a Dubai-based designer creating bags that are little works of art. For style inspiration, I looked to Ashley Olsen, Phoebe Philo, Caroline de Maigret, and Emmanuelle Alt through the years. I love Deborah Watson’s personal, playful approach to styling. It’s important for me to feel completely at home and myself in what I’m wearing. Sometimes that means my more simple uniform, but other times I want to feel and look like Jeff Bridges in this bathtub and Harry Styles in this sweater.
on her skincare routine
In the morning I cleanse with Cerave and pat dry with tissue. I stopped using towels to dry my face. I apply a toner from my dermatologist or serum. I was gifted Cellular Life Lotion from La Prairie and it’s magical. I like Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and apply Christine Chin Perfect Hydrating Creme. I’ve been going for five years to Ingrid at Christine Chin for facials. The extractions are no joke. She changed my face when I started seeing her. I switch between Drunk Elephant C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream and Kiehl Midnight Recovery Eye as day and night creams. I floss every night and love Sonicare Electric Toothbrush. The travel kit self-charges so it never dies. Buly 1803 makes an incredible toothpaste.
on her makeup and beauty routine
I keep it fairly simple. I layer La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, and Laura Mercier Liquid Foundation in Vanille with a beauty blender. Then Benefit Dandelion Blush at the apples of my cheeks. I use RMS highlighter on cheeks, nose, and bow of my lip. I layer with a swipe of Glossier Haloscope Moonstone. I swear by Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer and layer with RMS Swift Shadow in Garden Rose. I’ve tried dozens of formulas over the past few years. My magic combo is Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Stingray as a base across the lash line then Maybelline Stiletto Lash in Blackest Black. It’s affordable and the best liquid liner I’ve tried. I have one in each bag so I can touch up anytime. Then, Shu Uemura eyelash curler, Glossier Lash Slick, and Balm Dotcom.
on her nightly routine
I shower every night before bed. In-shower I use Dr. Bronner soap. I love Flamingo razor, their shave gel, and Diptyque body scrub. I use Bioderma Sensibio to take off makeup and cleanse with Cerave. Sometimes I use Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze to exfoliate. I finish with moisturizer and eye cream. I take Seed, Bluebonnet Biotin, Nature Made Iron, and Nature Made Magnesium every night. I listen to the same playlists as I wind down for bed. Lots of Frou Frou and Thievery Corporation. I have fresh ginger tea and answer a few emails. I like working between 10PM and 1AM when it’s quiet and no one is online. I hard boil some eggs for the morning, tell Alexa to turn off the lights and shut everything down, and then it’s time for bed. I sleep on a silk pillow and use the Tomorrow Sleep sleep tracker.
on her haircare
I geek out on the science of hair and ingredient lists. I’ve used Oribe for years. The Signature Shampoo and Conditioner are my go-tos. For deeper hydration I use Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask. I use the hair oil I’ve been developing for about a year (for myself right now!). It’s Argan-based with avocado oil, eucalyptus, and ginseng. I’m still perfecting it, but I love the hydration, shine, and texture it gives my hair so I don’t have to do much after it air dries. A good brush is critical. Mason Pearson Nylon and Boar bristle brush is a staple. I love Oribe texturizing spray and Drybar dry shampoo if I’m a few days in.
on her favorite books
I’ve had Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut since 10th grade. I admire how Vonnegut world-builds across his work while still being grounded on Earth and human nature. I wrote a letter to him in the back few pages thanking him for being a writer. He passed away about a week after I wrote him the letter! So it goes. Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren and Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman are books that I read for the first time recently. Their approach on life and death are principles and philosophies I’ve adopted and revisit. I recommend Wabi Sabi to anyone interested in making peace with impermanence. I also recommend The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
dianna’s favorite movies
Little Miss Sunshine (dir. Valerie Faris), Short Term Twelve (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton), Step Brothers (dir. Adam McKay), Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (dir. Peter Jackson)
dianna’s favorite places IN new york city
White Rose Collective for hair by Teddi Cranford; Christine Chin for facials with Ingrid; Tenoverten - nails at the Tribeca/Soho locations; Yogamaya - favorite yoga space, love the energy and teachers; Legacy Records - neighborhood coffee and drinks; Radiance Tea House and Books for tea and a bite after museums; Shuko - favorite sushi spot; ATLA - the micheladas here are perfect during the summer; Una Pizza Napoletana - pizza from the heavens; Abraco - cappuccino + olive oil bread; Lucien - dinner with friends; Cafe Altro Paradiso - lunch meetings; The Grill - I had dinner here the night of my engagement, so I love this spot and the service for a classic New York night; Freehand - breakfast or drinks; Tatsu Ramen - cheeky Ramen with pork; Xi’an’s Famous Foods - N6 noodle dish forever; Soho House New York- late night with friends, early drink meetings, movie screenings; St Mark’s Comics; Angelika Film Center; Metrograph; MoMA; Aperture Foundation; Hayden Planetarium at Museum of Natural History; SNL is one of my favorite New York experiences and spaces to walk through those halls; Comedy Cellar - I used to go on Monday and Tuesday nights during college, don’t go as much anymore but it holds a near and dear place in my heart; House of Yes - out/dancing; Totokaelo, The Line - shopping; Abc Home, Calliope - homeware