CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: During Winter Music Conference, I hung out at the Motorola Music Lounge hosted by Sirius XM at the W South Beach with Lorelle Kahn, one of the event organizers; At the fabulous Paradise Farms in Homestead with the equally fabulous proprietor, Gabriele Marewski, for a Milagro Tequila food-pairing session with mixologist Jaime Salas; In the VIP area of the Motorola Music Lounge with DJ trio Krewella, Yasmine Yousaf, Rain Man (Kris Trindl), and Jahan Yousaf.

Beauty is like a drug; that’s an argument Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s leading thinkers on evolutionary psychology, made recently to a packed house at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center. Beauty—be it music or a pretty face—can prompt the brain to flow with a soup of dopamine and other chemicals that are associated with reward, much as it does with certain recreational drugs. Science also tells us that humans tend to perceive qualities of health and youthfulness as “beauty,” and we here in Miami, with all our fitness and bare skin, are pretty dialed in—I realize that every time I return from travel and take a look at the locals.

Our May/June issue honors the upside of gorgeousness, and also looks for a bit more. Attractiveness is a foot in the door, but you have to prove yourself from there. Cover star Olga Kurylenko is stunning, but she’s no wallflower, and as we found out, intentionally curbed her modeling career to put in the hard work required for acting success. Our annual “Real Miami Beauties” feature story looks at six local women of all ages who are navigating life in Miami with grace and class. Not only are they easy on the eyes, their achievements—as well as their philosophy on inner and outer beauty—prove that while some beauty is skin deep, the really important stuff has to do with who we are. As Coco Chanel put it, “You can be gorgeous at 30, charming at 40, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”

We’re a town built on that aesthetics-brain connection: A thousand shades of blue in Biscayne Bay as you drive across the Julia Tuttle Causeway aren’t exactly a bummer, and the modeling industry played no small role in attracting money to Miami in the ’90s. Today, every nightclub wrangles a parade of eye candy to fuel the vibe, and thus the spending—good looks are an economic lubricant. It’s not all about hot bodies, however. Fantastic architecture is popping up around town, from the pending Herzog & de Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) to Zaha Hadid’s plans for the high-rise at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard, which include an “exoskeleton” design that cannily breaks up the monotony of condo balconies with long, graceful lines…. dopamine, baby.



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