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This 'Cocktail Goddess' Lives On a Tricked-Out School Bus

NOLA entrepreneur Deniseea Taylor crafts spirits and educates drinkers on Black history. Here, 24 hours in her world

Designed by Hanna Varady

Welcome to Beauty Around the Clock, Marie Claire's weekly peek into the daily lives of some of the most game-changing women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.


Deniseea Taylor, founder of Cocktails by POP, educates her clients about Black culture while they enjoy her libations and personalized cocktail experiences. Here, she shares her beauty routine, business know-how, and what it's like to live on wheels.

Rise and Shine

I’ve got a Great Dane, so when I open my eyes I see a horse. I let him outside, open some of the shades on the refurbished school bus my partner and I live in, make the bed, and drink hella water with a bit of apple cider vinegar.

Morning Maintenance

I spend at least 30 minutes on beauty in the morning. I start off with a homemade face cleanser with cucumber purée, sea salt, tea tree oil and pure cane sugar. I make this every week: it’s super clean and actually affordable. Once my face and neck are clean, I spray my skin with rose spray and I cover myself in Body Whip as soon as I get out the shower.

Hair Habits

I’m full of Black girl magic, so I usually have braids, beads, Afros, or shells in my hair. Greasing my scalp is the most important, and I make sure my holy edges are laid with Happy Edges. My hair is really important to me: I grew up in a hair salon with my mother in Los Angeles, so it’s a way for me to express myself, and the art of doing my hair feels nostalgic.

Go-To Breakfast

Bacon, creole tomatoes, avocado slices and pickled red onions! It's the best. On the weekends, I'll add champagne with a hint of St. Germain.

Sweat Session

I usually walk Ca$h Money, my Great Dane, in the mornings. It’s extremely hot in New Orleans right now, so early morning or late at night is my time to get a walk in.

Signature Look

A red lip, dewy skin, braids to my hip, and smelling like a thousand roses. I’ve got freckles, so I usually don’t wear make up except for mascara and highlighter.

Signature Scent

It's funny, the rose spray I use on my face doubles as a body spray for me. I love the smell of roses, so it’s perfect. I also use a jasmine oil I buy from the random incense men in my hometown of Inglewood, California.

Beauty Icon

Nia Long. She’s aged like some of the finest cognac. As a child I looked up to her, and growing into womanhood, it hasn’t changed. Her looks and professionalism shows the beauty is truly inside and out. She’s iconic!

Wellness Practice

Whenever I feel overwhelmed in any situation, I legit just say HELL NAW. Sometimes you feel you have to please everyone when you're running a business, and I’ve learned that I can’t pour from an empty cup. So no means no!

Staying Informed

I low-key hate the news. I feel like it’s too depressing these days, so I listen to Bondy Blue on YouTube because it’s a mix between news and pop culture that makes me feel like a real adult.

Business Icon

Teyana Taylor, hands down. She’s a true Harlem artist, hustler, and entrepreneur.

Biggest Risk

Living in a damn school bus! I wanted to own something I could actually afford, and have the opportunity to travel and make better business decisions instead of focusing on rent or mortgage payments. Imagine stripping everything you’ve learned about living, and consolidating your entire life. Even the most simple purchases require a lot of thought, because you are limited with space.

Business Beginnings

There was so much I didn’t learn about my culture in school. Once I was an adult and able to dig for information myself, I wanted my work to mean something. I figured if I could entertain while sharing dope knowledge, my business would be influential. Some of the greatest Black artists and contributors of the African diaspora inspire our business. For example, I'm working on a Holy Spirits series, based on cultural influence in cocktails, and a series of cocktail mixers based on iconic African American films and '70s artists.

Night Out Look

I start with my shoes and lipstick: my go-to shades are fire engine red or a moody brown. Once I’ve got those decided, I usually pair them with a slinky, silky top and denim that makes my butt look like a '90s video vixen's.

Bedtime Beauty

I always wrap my hair, come hell or high water. And I'll I cleanse my skin with hot water and rose toner.

Lights Out

Before I fall asleep, I listen to soul music. My go to is Anita Baker; it’s smooth and soothing. There's no voice like hers!


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