Pritika Swarup

Into the Wild With Pritika Swarup

The model and Ayurvedic beauty expert breaks down the natural ways she nourishes her life.

You’ve seen Pritika Swarup around. As a model, she’s worked with Michael Kors, Manolo Blahnik and Fenty. As a social media star, she’s amassed 840k followers while posting her work with the global medical foundation, Operation Smile. And if you were headed to an econ class at Columbia University, you might have peeped her, too—she graduated with a financial degree last year.

Now Pritika is the founder of Prakti, a beauty company that celebrates the traditional Indian healing remedies she learned through her family’s matriarchs. Here’s how she defines Ayurvedic beauty, what she does to get “unstuck” from her computer, and how dogs make everything better.

We’ve talked with Radhi Devlukia-Shetty about Ayurvedic food. How is Ayurvedic beauty different?

It’s like a way of life! When people look at it on a grander scale, it's basically everything from your diet to your skincare to breathing exercises. How do you take care of your body? How do you find mental clarity in the connection between your body and your spirit? So I think Ayurvedic beauty is about how you can nourish your skin and your soul at the same time.

Is there a simple way to do that?

Oh, yes. You know, in Indian culture, beauty is more about a ritual than about a singular result. There’s aromatherapy, there’s facial massage, there’s mixing in your custom ingredients or combining powdered herbs with water. This is about how beauty becomes a part of how you process your energy, and how you take time for yourself. Is it meditating for five minutes? Is it exfoliating and kind of visualizing your whole slate being wiped clean? You develop the routine that works best for you, and where you’re at. Ayurvedic beauty isn’t a blanket statement. It looks different in every individual’s life.

How did you learn about it?

I had a big advantage—my mom is an Ayurvedic doctor! She literally taught me everything—homemade remedies, masks, how to ground up orange peel with a little vitamin C extract… That’s where I really learned about using the nature all around me as part of my beauty routines—things like rose oil, arnica, gardenia, turmeric. The natural world is still, amazingly, this untapped wealth of knowledge and healing. Science says so. Our brains and emotions say so. It’s just the truth!

Pritika Swarup

Do you have a favorite place in nature?

As a New Yorker, I make a real effort to go to a park every day, because I’ll catch myself feeling exhausted or stuck, and I know a walk outside will get my juices flowing again. Hearing the birds chirping really renews my spirit, too. Obviously, I love the ocean and the beach, but in my day-to-day life, just sitting on a terrace at home, closing my eyes, and feeling the air flowing is really restorative. Sometimes, that’s all I need.

What’s your favorite vegan swap?

Ohhh… I am from Virginia Beach, and we have a fro-yo place there called Sweet Frog. Almost all of their flavors are vegan, or come as a vegan option, and it makes my life so happy.

Do you have a favorite animal fact?

Has anyone talked about dogs yet?

Not yet!

So I am very biased, because I grew up with German Shepherds. They are so receptive to your mood, it’s like they have a sixth sense for empathy. This isn’t a fact, exactly, but in my experience, when I would come home from a really bad day at school, they would just know. I’d sit down with my homework, and our dogs would just come right up to me and sit at my feet, like, “Hey, please don’t be stressed; you’re not alone. We love you.” German Shepherds can really understand you on a deeper level that sometimes, even other humans can’t get to. I think dogs are truly the best animals in the world.

At Wild Elements, our motto is, “Let good grow wild.” What does that mean to you?

Give back to your community, and your community includes the earth. That needs to be the foundation of everyone’s lives, and letting it grow wild—I think that means there’s never a set limit on what you can give back, in terms of compassion or time or ingenuity. Goodness can really go everywhere!