The Freestyle Ski Star Eileen Gu Has a Warning About TikTok Diets

Is the ski world ready for the next Shaun White? This iteration is 17-years-old, just got into Stanford and also models for a living. The freestyle skier Eileen Gu recently took home two gold medals and a bronze at the X Games (the first woman ever to win three medals as a rookie). She repeated her success this month, winning another two golds at the World Championships in Aspen, Colo., where she is training. You may also have seen her in a variety of fashion magazines, including the cover of InStyle China.

Here, the busy teenager, and Estée Lauder ambassador, reflects on simple makeup and the potentially scary influence of TikTok.

Foamy Cleansers and Goggle Lines

I have this cleanser from Estée Lauder — it’s called Perfectly Clean — I use morning and night. It comes in a blue bottle. I like it because it’s foamy. I don’t know if it does anything extra, but the foam is so nice and fluffy. I’m also obsessed with the Estée Lauder Nutritious Super-Pomegranate Night Crème Mask. For the most part I have really clear skin. I get some breakouts, and I get goggle lines, but that’s it. But I’m from San Francisco. I’m used to sea level-type moisture. Coming here to Aspen, humidifiers are my best friends. I’m sitting next to one right now. This mask is so moisturizing, though.

During the day, I use the lighter lotion from the same line. I also apply sunscreen at least twice a day. I use the Neutrogena Sport Face sunscreen. Normal SPF is, like, 15. This one is SPF 70. Being out there in the snow and the high altitude, I can’t do regular sunscreen.

I saw on TikTok a technique where you can massage your face with your fingers. I talked to my Chinese grandma about it, and she was very enthusiastic. If it’s Chinese grandma-approved, it must work, so I do that before I go to sleep.

Super-Natural Makeup

Normally, I just do my eyebrows. I use this Benefit pencil with a spoolie at the end. I got it at the airport. I get everything at the airport, ha! My favorite lip balm is a tube by Carmex. That’s it when I’m training. I tend to sweat, and then I end up looking like a panda.

When I’m competing, I use mascara and a little eyeliner on my bottom line. I started lining just my bottom lash line with a black eye pencil when I was in seventh grade, and I kept at it. If it’s a night out, I do my top lash line. I do this blended wing with the pencil. I’m not skilled enough to apply liquid liner well.

I don’t wear blush. I don’t own foundation. I have a CoverGirl concealer that’s, like, $5 at the drugstore. I always wish I was better at makeup, but it takes time to watch a tutorial, and then I get really frustrated and start throwing things. I’m just super- natural now for better or worse. But it’s low consequence. Worst case scenario, my friends don’t think I look that great.

Keeping It Light and Fresh

I love fragrance. My favorite is Kenzo Flower. I’ve used it since I was in sixth grade.

Not Too Blond, Please

My natural hair color is dark brown. I got it dyed for the first time in my freshman year, and I got highlights. It was pretty natural, but every time I got highlights, I added more and I got lighter and lighter and I became blond, and that’s not what I wanted. Then I dyed my hair black, and it was so dark it was almost blue. It was my emo phase!

Recently I started highlighting it more again. I don’t want to go full blond. It’s just a little flavor. When I get my hair done, I always ask for a deep conditioner. My favorite one to use at home, though, is TRESemmé. I’ve tried all different ones — the keratin therapies, too — but I like that one.

TikTok Diets

Diet is something I definitely think about as an athlete and a model. In both of my jobs, my body does the work. I haven’t talked about this very much, but last year I was struggling with eating. Being skinny isn’t really that great if it’s compromising your strength. I’m naturally very lean. I just wasn’t eating enough, or I wasn’t eating the right way. I was counting calories and thinking about food all the time.

What happened was that during the early months of the pandemic, I got stuck on those TikTok videos that document “what I ate today,” which was all disorders! It wasn’t even so much that I wanted to look like those girls, but I realized later that I was truly being influenced by them. I was looking at what the girls were eating, and then I looked at what I ate in a day, and it looked like so much! One girl was eating, like, one piece of white bread a day.

The thing is, the culture of being a teenage girl these days — not even in modeling or the ski industry — it’s very competitive. At home, I could be in the school lunchroom eating my mac and cheese, and some girl will be shaking her salad right next to me. Or if everyone is eating a Caesar salad, the conversation is “Oh, I’m eating the same salad but with no croutons.” And then someone else will say, “Oh, I’m eating a salad without croutons, and I’m taking out the avocado.”

It was a big moment for me, growing up with social media and TikTok, to realize that something was wrong. I’m sponsored by Red Bull, and they assigned me a nutritionist. I now FaceTime her about once a month. I just ran a blood test when I was in Austria, and everything looks great. I definitely eat more now — I’m 5-foot-8 and 120 pounds — and I’m eating about 2,000 calories a day. It’s really a maintenance level for me, and then sometimes I need to eat more.

Also, I look the exact same. The numbers on the scale are the exact same. But I feel so much happier and healthier. Today I spent four hours on the halfpipe. It was closed for training, so I couldn’t take the lift and had to hike up each time. That’s pretty tiring. But I felt great.

Food Groups

I eat everything in balance. I am huge about the environment, but it’s such a conflict for me. Yes, I want to support the cause, but how much tofu can I eat? I probably eat red meat three days a week, and then I eat fish or plant protein. The interesting thing to come out of all this is that I discovered I love food. I’m going to Stanford, and I’m going to study journalism because I want to do food reviews. They say do what you love! I love skiing and I love food.

Training Mode

Right now my training days are pretty intense. I ski from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I take lunch in the middle, but it’ll be a sandwich I take to eat on the hill. I also run because it’s part of my daily routine. I actually was a competitive cross-country runner for seven years. At one point I had to pick between running or skiing. I’m definitely glad I picked skiing. Maybe I was good at running in San Francisco, but the world isn’t San Francisco. Now I run because it feels good.

I’m getting surgery on my hand after the ski season — I broke the metacarpal on my pointer, and I tore my UCL ligament on my thumb — but then I want to run a marathon.

Sleep Tracking

Recently I got this Oura ring. It tracks my sleep and exercise. I’ve worn an Apple Watch before and thought it was too much. I like that the Oura is super-low key — subtle.

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