Why Empowering Kids with Inspiration is the Greatest Motivator to Do More Good


Facials and art education don’t seem to have a thing to do with each other, but to Venice, California-based esthetician Alexandra Wagner, they’re completely linked.

 For one it’s because she’s both an artist and skin savior. Beyond that, she’s using her successful skincare business and product line to give back in a way that’s allowed kids all over the world to make art.


It all started eight years ago when Wagner raised money through her business to take art supplies to a children’s center in Cambodia. As she explains it, the reaction she got from the kids “broke her heart wide open.” Now, every Signature Facial she gives and anti-aging White Tiger Serum and White Tiger Cleanser she sells include an art kit donation in a place ranging from Watts, Venice and Downtown LA to Kenya, Hawaii and Peru. Here, Wagner shares her story. We are completely inspired.


How did your personal journey with art begin?
From a young age I had a very strong connection to art. I had an uncle who was a painter and he used to buy me all kinds of art books. Art saved me in school. It was my favorite subject and the one I related to—the only one that really excited me. It allowed me to express myself and escape the difficulties of growing up—to feel connected to myself. I was lucky I went to a public school that had art classes, and lots of supplies to choose from. In high school, art was my main focus. Then I went to Savannah College of Art and Design and received a BFA from University of Colorado.

Obviously art has played a big role in your life. Why do you feel it’s so important? 
All children should have the opportunity to experience art in some way. I can’t imagine a life without art—it’s such an important component to a well-rounded education. It is a different way of seeing things. Certain children find a strong connection to it, and it will become the most important subject to them. When I moved to Los Angeles I learned that 29% of public schools here offer no study of arts disciplines, and that most students don't have the access to art that is required by law. I work with non-profits that bring art into the lives of children who don’t have it through their regular schooling. The art kits give the kids supplies to take home so they have a creative outlet.

How did you get the idea to take art kits to kids around the world?
In 2008 I traveled to Cambodia with my best friend who is a doctor. We were both getting out of long-term relationships and needed a trip that was more than just a vacation—one where we could donate our time and give back in some way. We went to the Maddox Chivan Children's Center, which is part of the Global Health Committee. They work with children who are infected with and/or affected by HIV. I raised money through my business and took a bunch of art supplies to do a project with them. The kids got to experiment with paints and supplies they’d had no access to before, and it brought so much fun, color and spontaneity into the present moment.

photo // Rhondak Native

We did 25-foot paintings on canvas and they all got to work together on it. Many of the children had serious health challenges so this kind of different experience was amazing. What I didn't realize is what a profound impact this trip would have on my life. These kids had so much love and kindness and appreciation for the experience, it honestly broke my heart wide open.

How did that inspire you?
After coming back, I realized I had to somehow incorporate the giving of art into my business. I wanted my clients to be able to see something tangible they were donating as I felt it would make a greater impact. In 2012, once I was able to grow my business more, I started giving the kits. They contain a quality pad of paper, watercolors, oil pastels, colored pencils, sharpeners and erasers. Depending on the project at hand and the age of the kids, the supplies can be changed.

Where did you start the outreach?
I had a client who was on the board of Inner City Arts in downtown Los Angeles and they were the first non-profit I worked with. I believe it is important to give here in Los Angeles and I work with several non-profits here. Also, travel has been a big part of my life for many years, and I figure if I’m going to go explore a new part of the planet, why not do something special and help kids there that don’t have access to art. They’re kids—they’re excited to get supplies anywhere in the world.

What has been your most special experiences that have come of this?
Last Valentine’s Day we gave 100 kits at an LA school after the non-profit I worked with did a mural there. One of the girls was so excited. She said, "my dream came true,” and hugged her kit. In Peru, we gave kits to the Queros mountain children. One of the boys went in the other room and started drawing right away. He drew an airplane—he was so into it. He was carrying around his kit like a professional artist. It was awesome.

Learn more about Alexandra Wagner Skincare and her inspirations. 

photo // Joe Shillington

Always in search of the perfect beach, the most daredevil feat, the best meditation spot and the world’s most delectable slice of pizza, Kathryn Romeyn is a soulful traveler. Read along on her quest of Wellness Wanderlust, as she goes boldly with an open heart and mind.