Agatha Relota Luczo

Agatha Relota Luczo

International models and mothers Zoya Loeb and Agatha Relota Luczo (pictured together, below left) became fast friends 20 years ago after being mistaken for sisters during castings–a bond that only deepened once they both became moms.  Here, Zoya asks the 2023 Mama Box curator and Furtuna Skin founder about business, motherhood, and extra virgin olive oil. 

Zoya: So I have a short list of questions to ask you. Do you recall when we first met?

Agatha: I can't remember the first time we actually met. I feel like we've always known each other forever. You're like family and godmother to my youngest, Anica.  

Zoya: My first memory is going to a few castings in New York, and the photographer or the casting director would say, "Oh, your sister was just here." I'd be like, "I don't have a sister," and I would be very confused. They said, "Wait, you and aren't sisters? You look so alike." So I kept hearing the name, and seeing your cards, and people kept believing we were sisters. I can't remember the exact moment when we met in person, but it must have been in New York.

Agatha: I remember going to photo shoots and being told the same thing. People would say, "I worked with your sister yesterday," and I would respond, "She's not a model." They're like, "No. No, your sister, Zoya." It kept happening, so I said, "I have to meet this Zoya." And when we finally met, we became instant best friends.

Zoya: You were one of the first people I told when I was pregnant with Vivian. You were so excited and told your mom, who baked me burek [a Croatian savory pie with spinach]. I was craving a little slice of home, so it made me so happy. Going back to you, we often hear brand founders say that they decided to clean up their beauty routines when they found out they were pregnant. Did motherhood have anything to do with Furtuna Skin's origin story?

Agatha: Yes, motherhood inspired Furtuna Skin. When I was pregnant with my first child Rosalia, I was told what you eat can impact your baby, and I soon realized that this applied to the skin too. Through our pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, I learned that certain ingredients had been found to absorb directly into the bloodstream. I got rid of almost all of my products but couldn't find anything made from naturally derived ingredients that was also efficacious. I knew La Furtuna Estate [the 800+ acre organic farm in Sicily that Agatha owns with her husband, Steve] could unlock something special with its bountiful flora and fauna and thousands of olive trees. When I met my co-founder Kim Walls, a master formulator and clean beauty pioneer, and showed her a list of the plants available, Furtuna Skin was born.

Zoya: Becoming pregnant was a huge wake-up call for me, too. As a model, I always exercised and ate well but didn't think about the impact of ingredients while getting my hair and makeup done or doing my skincare routine. How has your beauty routine changed since becoming a mom and founding your skincare line?   

Agatha: Well, for me, it's become a lot faster.  One of our primary goals is to create fast-acting, multi-benefit products. We ask ourselves, how can we deliver a typical 6+ step skincare routine in three easy steps?  For anyone that wants a lengthier routine, we have that as well, but I think most people, especially moms, want a simple morning and evening skincare routine that they can be consistent with. In the morning, I drink a tablespoon of Furtuna Skin's EVOO on an empty stomach and apply our Micellar Essence, Face & Eye Serum, and Biphase Moisturizing Oil, followed by a zinc-based sunscreen. I wear minimal makeup. My go-to brands are Westman Atelier and RMS Beauty because they’re clean, hardworking and buildable. In the evening, I bookend my routine with our recently launched Cleansing Oil Balm and finish with our Nightly Renewal Cream. We travel a lot as a family, so having a simplified routine makes that much easier.

Zoya: Exactly!  As a model, pre-kids, I would travel with so many products.  I love that Furtuna Skin has made my life so much easier. My favorite is your Replenishing Balm which I just found out is so effective for treating sunburn. What's your favorite product?

Agatha: That's really tough, but it's probably between the Replenishing Balm and the Biphase Moisturizing Oil. I love our oil so much. It gives an unbeatable glow. I mix it with Gucci Westman’s foundation to make my own tinted oil and I also use it on the ends of my hair.  

Zoya: You mentioned that you take a tablespoon of EVOO every morning and I know you recently became a double-certified olive oil sommelier.  Why do you love EVOO so much?

Agatha: Its health benefits have been studied extensively with some research suggesting that it could protect against heart disease and combat cancer. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that improve gut health, antioxidant benefits that help prevent photo damage, and sterols that reduce trans-epidermal water loss, locking in skin moisture.  The most important thing to remember is that not all EVOO is created equal. Furtuna Skin’s EVOO is specially optimized for skin. I take it on an empty stomach so that my body gets the full benefit of the nutrients without any other food interference. I have been doing this for the last five years, and the ritual has transformed my hair, skin, and nails, and I also have more energy and mental clarity than ever before. I also apply it topically through our skincare products and it really protects and brightens skin, and hydrates it like nothing else.

Zoya: I read that Furtuna Skin is pioneering regenerative beauty. Can you tell us more about this?

Agatha: Regenerative beauty is a relatively new term. You may have heard it as it relates to healthcare or agriculture. Why it's important is that it's helping to move the clean beauty conversation forward. Regenerative beauty isn't simply about not doing further harm, which is what clean and sustainable beauty is about. It's about radical improvement. It’s about harnessing regenerative agriculture practices that focus on farming in harmony with nature––which is what happens on La Furtuna Estate, where Furtuna Skin's Wildly Potent ingredients are grown. 

It’s about taking into account the ecosystem of the land where beauty ingredients are grown and sourced and improving the lives of the farmers and the surrounding communities for generations to come. For skin, it means taking a radically different approach that addresses the whole skin environment, not just a surface area. It’s about pro-aging and advocating for and addressing all areas of wellness that improve longevity. 

Zoya: Incredible. You’re really setting an example for your children in how to run a business. Tell me, what's your favorite thing about being a mom or what are you most proud of in your motherhood journey?

Agatha: I don't even know where to begin when I talk about being a mom. I love it. I always tell my kids, when they go to bed, I say, “thank you so much for choosing me to be your mom.”  It’s a privilege to shape these incredible human beings. It’s really important to me and Steve that we raise our kids to value family, tradition and to consider other people’s perspectives, so they have a better understanding of the need to help others and future generations.

Zoya: Whenever I tell people about you, they are in awe. You're an incredible mom, Agatha. I don't know how you are such a hands-on mom of four and run your businesses Furtuna Skin and Bona Furtuna, but you do it with such grace, beauty, and love, and I'm very proud of you.

Agatha: Oh, my God, Zoya you're an incredible mom also. I say the same thing about you, and you're the nicest person I know.

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