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Date with Kate

Fashion, Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Cheyenne Tozzi

20th November, 2016
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Cheyenne and I enjoying lunch at Exchange Restaurant & Bar in Darlinghurst

 

Sydney-born Cheyenne Tozzi began modelling aged 13, moved into TV in 2014 as a mentor alongside Naomi Campbell for The Face Australia and is now a mentor on Australia’s Next Top Model. Tozzi, 27, has also branched into music and this month released Swept Up, the second single from her self-titled debut album. She chats to me about music becoming her main focus, who she thinks will win the Next Top Model finale, and how she “donated” her birthday to the United Nations.

Congratulations on your new single.

Thank you … Swept Up is a soulful summer song that’s all about that feeling of being swept up in love. The response has been really positive. I think most people have experienced that feeling at one stage or another, so they can connect with it.

You are self-trained in singing. How did your love of music come about?

Music is something that I’ve always held close to my heart and it’s been around me for as long as I can remember. I think about some of the best family nights and quite often they’ve involved a piano or a guitar – they’re special memories to hold on to. As for singing, there was always music playing in the house and I’d be humming along. I never went to singing lessons, I wasn’t even really “self taught”, I just sang.

Do you write all your own music? 

All my songs are original, I love writing. It’s pretty cool to be in the studio with the boys [production team Jackie Nice]. With Swept Up, we were in the studio and they had this really cool little riff on the guitar, I started singing and it grew from there and we created this really beautiful song.

Tell me about your album. 

It’s my first solo record. My music is honest and authentic. I think the feel of my genre demands that. It’s soulful. If nothing else, I hope my music makes people feel – whether it’s calm or happiness or the fondness of a memory – I just want people to feel something when they listen to it.

You split your time between modelling, TV presenting and singing. What is your main focus? 

I enjoy everything that I do … I’m lucky to have had a great career in modelling and to have travelled the world meeting inspirational people. I’ve loved being a mentor on ANTM and helping other young girls in my industry, but it’s my music that I’m really passionate about and focused on.

Do you enjoy being a mentor on Australia’s Next Top Model? 

Yes, it’s a great show. We’ve had a really great bunch of girls this year; there are always the temper tantrums and all that nonsense that comes along with having a houseful of 16-year-old girls. And I think we have had some incredible women come on this season, including Miranda Kerr, Elle Macpherson. and just to show girls again what a wonderful career you can create if you’re focused. If you just go 110 per cent and you are worth it, you can go all the way.

What do you love most about being a mentor?

I love that I can be a part of the girls’ dreams in any which way that I can.

Who do you think will win this year’s ANTM and why? 

It’s a tough call, Sabine is incredibly beautiful and unassuming, which people like, but then Aleyna is gorgeous, has the height and all of the tools to succeed.

What’s your advice to the young girls coming up in modelling?

Be nice, and be respectful.

You have donated your birthday to the UN. Tell me a bit about that. 

So you donate your birthday and people donate money to the UN [instead of giving gifts] … My goal was to raise $50,000 but we exceeded that target in two weeks! When you look outside and you read [the news] you think: “If I don’t do anything – not that I can change the world – but you need to make that initial step and maybe I can try and help.”

What was it like to start your career at 13? 

My mum was a model and my aunt was a model, so it’s the environment I was growing up in and knew. I’ve had a great career and I’m still going, I’m still not finished yet in what I want to do.

Is it an advantage or a disadvantage starting so young?

I don’t know … I learnt so much obviously, I’m very street smart, I’m very savvy. I’ve travelled all over the world, but do I think it’s an advantage? I don’t think it’s a disadvantage at all. I’ve had a really wonderful career. I’m not going to now say, “Well, I wish I didn’t do that.” Everyone has their journey and their path.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self now?

Relax.

What was it like being on The Face? 

The Face was great. I think, the dynamic of the mentors against each other was real and was quite fun. Naomi [Campbell] is fun; Nicole [Trunfio] is a sweetheart.

Are you still in contact with Naomi Campbell? 

Yes, I’ve spoken to Naomi a bit … She is one of those [models] who paved the way for everyone and she is a fantastic woman. I think, people take her wrong sometimes, when they say, “Oh, she is too aggressive” or whatever, but she really is a sweetheart and I think she has every right to be that savvy, awesome woman that she is.

What is your inspiration behind your coming fashion label The Code? 

The Code is coming out early next year. We’re doing a small collection based on all the pieces that I think every girl needs. I want the collection to empower and celebrate women.

Who is a Code woman?

The Code woman would be Michelle Obama, Elle Macpherson, Bella Hadid, my mum, business women, doctors. I think she is like all these women who have just nailed it in life. She’s confident and dressed for success.

Tell me a bit about the collection. 

It’s all key pieces … blazers, pants, suits, beautiful shirts, just basic but beautiful pieces that are affordable.

Where is home for you now? 

Home is where the heart is. Wherever the spaghetti is, I’m there! I live in Sydney and we have five dogs, so I can’t live anywhere else – but we travel all the time.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

Dance-offs. And I’m trying to finesse my baking. I’ve been doing that for fun. That’s my fun thing at the moment and a walk with the dogs. I relax, I just hang out.

What has been your biggest pinch-me moment in your career? 

I think it’s always hilarious when people go, “You’re still alive?” As if I’m like 80 years old! When you’re 27 years old and you start that young it feels like forever. I think my career highlight, I’ve done so many awesome things and travelled the world and just met amazing people.

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Exchange Restaurant & Bar, Darlinghurst.

WE ATE Pan-fried snapper fillet with cherry tomatoes, basil, and zucchini flower; Pea, mint and goats cheese arancini; White & brown anchovy bruschetta; Heriloom tomato & goats cheese panzanella.

WE DRANK Saint Andre “Magali” 2014 Rose.

CHEYENNE WORE Tom Ford shirt and skirt.

KATE WORE Dion Lee.

Lifestyle, Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Neale Whitaker

13th November, 2016
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The Block Judge, Neale Whitaker and I catch up at the Lexus Design Pavilion

 

Neale Whitaker is a judge on television’s The Block – which airs its season finale on November 13 – and editor of Vogue Living. Whitaker, 54, talks to me about the most frustrating part of being a Block judge, what makes him cringe, and his top tip to quickly rejuvenate any home.

Who do you think will win tonight’s finale? 

Ah, that’s a tough one. The judges don’t have the best form in picking the winner! Auction day is unpredictable and there are so many variables  – the auction order, the reserve prices and basically the depth of the potential buyers’ pockets. All of the apartments offer the luxury of space and an opportunity to live in a heritage building that’s been restored with integrity.

What has been your favourite room from this season and why?

Kim and Chris [Elliot] delivered the ultimate master bedroom with the proportions of a luxury hotel suite. I loved Julia [Treuel] and Sasha [Wright-Neville’s] kitchen, and Will and Karlie’s master bedroom with the wooden panelling was pretty special.

What have you learnt from being a judge?

From the contestants I’ve learned the importance of budget, careful planning and understanding your potential market. From my fellow judges, I’ve learned to see things through an interior designer’s eye – it’s far more detailed than a magazine editor’s eye.

What is the most frustrating element of being a judge on The Block?

When the contestants don’t take our advice and believe they’re being victimised. They’re not! We always try to be constructive and our advice is based on experience and knowledge. We want them to win, not lose.

Why do you think renovating shows have become so popular? 

We’re a nation obsessed with real estate, so the renovation frenzy feels like a logical progression. Renovating is achievable – it’s something we can do to improve our lives and increase the value of our property. There’s definitely a competitive edge there, too, regardless of whether you’re on The Block!

After so many seasons, do room reveals still excite you?

Yes they do! I guess the day they don’t will be the day to hang up my judge’s hat. There is always that sense of the unexpected and of anticipation based on what was delivered the previous week and the advice we offered.

When there is backlash on social media against you, how do you deal with this? 

You have to take it on the chin. That’s all you can do. Or maybe not look. What did Taylor Swift say? “Haters gonna hate.”

How would you describe your own interior style preferences?

It’s a terribly overused word, but eclectic. [My partner] David [Novak-Piper] and I like such a mix of styles and periods but we get a lot of pleasure out of making them all work together to create a home.

What trends make you cringe?

Trends generally make me cringe. That might sound like a strange thing for a magazine editor to say but I believe a home is a really personal thing. I would never buy – or encourage someone to buy – anything simply because it’s on trend.

What is your best advice for first-time renovators?

Plan, budget, plan, budget and then plan again. Just be really sure about what you want to achieve from the renovations. Is it for you or for resale? Be prepared for the renovations to take longer than anticipated and budget for 25 to 30 per cent more than you think you will need.

What are the most popular interior trends at the moment?

Don’t talk to me about trends [laughs]! But, realistically, we’re seeing a lot more colour at the moment and a real emphasis on anything hand-made and hand-crafted. I think we’re also seeing more confidence to mix things up. We’re starting to realise that it’s OK to be individual.

What is a quick fix to rejuvenate your home? 

A new rug is always the best fix for me. When you walk into a room, what’s on the floor is the first thing you register. And think about changing your art and adding a wall mirror. It can double the size of a room. New bed linen is [also] an amazing pick-me-up.

What is a day in the life of you?

Juggling! My main priority is editing Vogue Living, so most days will find me in the office with the editorial team, but I somehow manage to squeeze in quite a few other activities like emceeing and public speaking. Most evenings will find me at industry events, and when we’re filming The Block, I’m in Melbourne every Sunday. Life’s busy.

What led you down this career path? 

Life! I started in the fashion industry, moved into publishing, moved from the UK to Australia [in 1999] and then moved from food magazines to interior design magazines. That’s when I knew I’d found the place where I wanted to be. And then I stumbled into TV! I’ve been very lucky and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.

You were an editor of Belle Magazine and now editor at Vogue Living. How has your role evolved? 

A magazine editor’s role is always evolving. Learning to harness the power of digital and social media is challenging and exciting. That’s not something I really had to worry about in my previous role.

What has been your greatest career achievement so far? 

I’m proud of many of the things I’ve achieved in my career. Perhaps I’m proudest of my longevity and managing to stay relevant. I hope I can keep doing that.

D’Marge named you as one of the most stylish men in Australia. What is your style secret?

I’m sorry to say I don’t really have one! I think my personal style is very understated, quite classic, and intuitive. At 54, I feel I know what suits me and I tend to stick with it.

What is your favourite room in your Surry Hills home?

The kitchen – it’s totally where we live our life! And it will be again in the new apartment we’re just about to move to in Alexandria.

Where is your favourite travel destination when you want to escape from Sydney? 

That’s easy. The south coast of NSW. It’s where I recharge and where I feel the most relaxed. I call it my “happy place”.

What are your plans for the holiday season? 

Our favourite thing is a road trip. We love to put our dogs in the car [weimaraners Otis and Ollie] and head off. This year we’re heading to country Victoria for Christmas, then back home via Melbourne and the NSW South Coast.

What is next for you? 

Whatever comes next! I’m enjoying the opportunities that are coming my way but I would love to do more TV. It’s such a powerful way of communicating. Watch this space – that’s all I’m saying!

The Block season finale airs on Sunday, November 13, at 7pm on Channel 9.  

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO The Lexus Design Pavilion, Flemington.
WE ATE Raw striped trumpeter with salted turnip, mustard & horseradish
WE DRANK Matua Valley Lands & Legends Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ
NEALE WORE  MJ Bale jacket, shirt and white jeans; P. Johnson Tailors tie and RM Williams boots. 
Fashion, Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Sophie Monk

6th November, 2016

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Sophie Monk rose to fame as a singer in the girl band Bardot, has appeared in movies and this year was a judge on Australia’s Got Talent. She now co-hosts The Summer Fling breakfast show on radio station KIIS 1065. Monk, 37, talks to me about her career, the challenges of being in media and her plans to move behind the camera.

What are you up to at the moment?

I’m filing in for Kyle and Jacki O over summer and I’m working on a pilot for my own show. We haven’t worked out exactly the angle yet but it’s pretty exciting.

What’s a day in the life of you? 

Every day is like random and interesting. Some days I would be getting up at 3am or 4am for breakfast radio, and then other ones where it’s like late-night functions or, if you’re doing a movie, that’s just like you have no life for about three months.

You have had a long and successful career as a singer, actor and now radio presenter. What have you enjoyed the most? 

I get bored really easy, so I love to just be able to do a bit of everything … I guess I’m just an entertainer.

What do you love most about live radio?

I love being challenged, I think, and you get instant gratification on radio, whereas you do a movie and it’s like a year later you might see it, and you’re kind of over it by then. You know radio: people are like, “Oh my God, that’s so like me,” and then the more people say that, the more open I am.

Does it come naturally to be an open person on radio or is it something you have to work on?

[The media] just pick on you for little things and people on the street didn’t really know me and I just thought, “Well I’m going to be honest and me because what have I got to lose? … I just thought, “Well, I’m just going to be honest. If I’m a goober, I’m going to be it,” and all of a sudden, I was like, “wow” – actually people reacted well rather than badly … Kyle Sandilands helped a lot.

What was Kyle’s advice to you? 

He would just say, “Who cares what people think – tomorrow is another story, pretty much.” And, yeah, just saying, “There is nothing bad in what you’re doing”… As long as people don’t think I’m a bad person, it doesn’t really matter.

Tell me about your childhood?

I’d say I wasn’t naughty, like drugs or anything – I’ve never been into that – but more cheeky, always making people laugh in the class, and the teachers couldn’t really get control of the class. Then I did dance and singing and acting after school … I was always going to be on the stage, so I used school as the time that was chill-out time, to be honest, and I didn’t learn anything.

What was it like to be part of Australia’s Got Talent? 

I love watching people go out and try their hardest, even just the confidence in people [who are] actually not talented. Sorry but, it’s like, “Where do you get it from?”

Will you do another season?

Yes, depending on what happens with everything. It all comes down to scheduling, timing and whatever. But, yes, I’d definitely consider it.

Tell me about your film Blood Feast, released earlier this year?

It’s a horror film. I shot it right after Celebrity Apprentice. I mean the day after, that night. It was like announced and the next morning I flew to Germany. I’m the lead, Penny. It’s a remake of Blood Feast, which is one of the bloodiest films ever.

What attracts you to horror films? 

I tend to get cast in them a lot. I think once you’re in that horror circle, it’s such a different genre and the audience loyalty.

What was it like working on Click and Date Movie?

Oh, they were super fun because when you’re doing comedy everyone is happy. But if you are working on something dark and serious, you can get a bit negative.

What did you learn from your experience from winning season four of Celebrity Apprentice? 

You realise you do have to hustle and you do have to delegate to people and you need to know how to find more people …You’ve got to be out of your comfort zone; it might be something you don’t want to do, but if you want to be successful in business you’ve got to push yourself out of that comfort.

When you started with Bardot, did you think your career in entertainment would go for as long as it has?

I think it all happened so quickly, to be honest, to me – and young – that I never really had time to think about it … I don’t know if I ever went “I want to be famous”; I’ve never ever actually wanted that … I always knew I wanted to perform.

What do you think has been the secret to your success? 

I think the ups and downs. I think a lot of people in this industry that maybe are a little bit conceited, have never had a fall. But you’ve got to have those falls so then when you get back up, appreciate it to go, “It won’t last that long,” and then you have another fall and then you are popular again. It keeps you in check … I’ve definitely had ups and downs, massive ones. And so you can just deal with them all, your tolerance is higher. Yes, not as sensitive, and you’re more sensitive to the audience as well, and what they’re like.

What has been the most challenging moment in your career?

Well, just like dating … you are in a relationship and it becomes a job, because everyone wants to interview you about it. It’s a weird world that you kind of go, “Well, that’s what the audience want,” you’ve got to give it to them. But it’s like, “Are you keeping something for yourself that is special?” That’s tricky.

[You are currently dating former rugby league player Eric Grothe.] How did you meet?

I’ve known him a while through family on the GC [Gold Coast].

What do you look for in a guy? 

[Someone who will] make me laugh and make me feel secure and safe, because it’s quite an insecure industry … I think you want someone that just makes you feel good about yourself and is always there for you, no matter what.

Is there anything on your bucket list career-wise still to cross off?

I think I’d like to do a fashion line that’s affordable for the audience …Yeah, well I’m kind of working on it now … It doesn’t bother me whether I stay in front of the camera or behind, I love producing as well.

Is there someone you look up to and admire in the industry? 

I like Kerri-Anne Kennerley. I think she is pretty cool, the stuff she has gone through and how she has just kept [a successful] career.

What do you do for fun? 

Work is my hobby at the moment, but in my spare time I spend it with family. I’m obsessed with my family, it’s ridiculous.

What is next for you?

I think a bit of travel if I can fit it in while building a house for my parents on my property. Mum can cook dinner for me, which is awesome because my cooking skills are the worst.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

I’ve no idea. People say, “You should do that.” It’s like look ahead and then you achieve that goal, but I think I just, I hate to say it, but I think the older you get, you just want to be happy … So it’s just if you are happy and enjoying your life. You know, I would like to be comfortable, meaning not struggling with money because I’ve worked so hard.

 

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Missy French

WE ATE Lemon Meringue and Crème Brûlée

SOPHIE WORE a LXÉ suit.

 

Fashion, Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Samantha Wills

30th October, 2016
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Samantha Wills and I catch up at The Apollo Restaurant, Potts Point

As a 21-year-old, Samantha Wills founded her own, self-titled jewellery company. Her pieces have since been worn by the likes of Taylor Swift and Eva Mendes and appeared in the 2010 movie Sex and the City 2. Wills has been chosen to be a face of marketing campaigns for Optus, Yellowglen, Mount Franklin and Nespresso. This year, she was nominated at the Australian of the Year Awards. Wills, 33, chatted to me about the best advice she has been given, what she misses most about Australia, and how she turned her hobby into a business with $10 million turnover annually.

What is a day in the life of you?

When I’m in New York, it’s very creative focused [and I’m] in design mode. When I’m in Sydney, it’s very much team- and media-focused.

How did it all start for you?

I started the company when I was 21 – 12 years ago. Now we have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris, Korea and Japan, and it started just as a hobby on my dining room table. I started selling down at Bondi Beach market and launched at Australian Fashion Week, very opportunistically, in 2004 with $17,000 of orders. As a 23-year-old, I threw everything I had, got myself into $80,000 of debt and refused to give up.

Did you always dream of becoming a jewellery designer?

I think when I was younger, I definitely always thought I’d have my own business in some capacity and it was always going to be creative. For me, jewellery wasn’t the be all and end all. It was more something that I could hand make myself without formal training, and so it kind of naturally evolved that way.

You’ve had many celebrities wear your designs. Who are some of your favourites that really stand out in your mind?

Definitely Taylor Swift is a huge favourite in American Vogue. Eva Mendes has to be a favourite. She made our signature Bohemian Bardot Ring [into] a global signature. Ever since she wore it [in 2008], it has been our bestselling item. And to have it appear on Sex and the City was pretty surreal as well.

How did the Sex and the City collaboration come about?

We were presenting to media in Los Angeles and … you hope that the right people come past. Patricia Field, the style assistant for the film, came past. They made some notes and then called some pieces in … You can assume those samples will be gone for a year or you won’t get them back because they go into the wardrobe department. About a year later, I had certainly forgotten about it, and we received a card with an illustration of the four girls on the front and it said, “One hand in the air for the big city, thanks for making us look so pretty. Love, Patricia” … I literally had to wait to go to the premiere of the film to see our products up on the big screen.

How did appearing in Sex and the City impact on your brand?

It kind of like evolves the story I think and adds credibility at an international level.

You are the face of Optus’ Small Business Campaign. How did that come about?

It was quite surreal. I think when you get a phone call like, “We’ve signed Mark Wahlberg on to do a campaign and would like you to sign on to the same campaign?”, I was kind of like, “Do you guys have the right number?”

Did you really think that?

Yes, it clicked to me that you really don’t know who is watching your journey and the team at Optus had done a lot of research on the last 12 years of my career and really felt that my story of an underdog from small town Port Macquarie to New York City would really resonate with small- to medium-sized business owners.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Working in fashion, people expect you to have attitude … [so] I think if you can be a nice person and treat everyone like they’re someone, it really goes a long way.

What would you tell your 19-year-old self? 

I think about myself when I was starting the business and the anxiety and the fear and the 20-hour work days … I would try and tell myself that if you look up every once in a while, everything is going to be OK, but I don’t think she will listen.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face? 

There are always challenges as your business grows or you become “procedure successful” – the challenges just differ. In the early days, being $80,000 in debt, as a 24-year-old is incredibly daunting. As the business grows, it’s people issues. You’re only as good as the people around you, so you’re continually managing people as well as the business.

What would your advice to someone starting out in the jewellery industry?

My overarching advice is you don’t want to be that person at the party, three years from now, being like, “Oh yeah, I was always going to do that”. Just start, even as insignificant as the action might seem, do something towards what you’re wanting to do.

Is New York home now?

It feels like home at the moment. I’ve got a great network over here and home is where you build your network. I say New York is my city, Sydney is my town.

What do you miss most about Australia?

Definitely the beaches. I think I was so spoilt growing up in Port Macquarie with these beautiful coastlines and then, in my 20s, in Sydney. When I come back to Australia now I know I look like a tourist because I’m taking a thousand photos of the ocean. I’m in it everyday. It just gives you a whole new level of appreciation for how beautiful our country is.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a lot of external projects outside of the brand, which is really exciting for a personal career perspective… [It has been] stimulating and inspiring to kind of step outside the business, but still have it as the backbone and, I guess, the foundation of everything that I touch.

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO The Apollo Restaurant, Potts Point

WE ATE Walnuts filo pastry coffee cream dessert

WE DRANK Champagne and mineral water

SAMANTHA WORE Misha Collection jumpsuit

Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: EMMA WATKINS AND LACHLAN GILLESPIE

23rd October, 2016
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14: Emma Watkins from The Wiggles, Kate Waterhouse and Lachy Gillespie at Sotto on West, North Sydney on June 14, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media)

Enjoying a healthy brunch with Emma Watkins and Lachlan Gillespie from The Wiggles

 

Emma Watkins and Lachlan (Lachy) Gillespie are best known as the yellow and purple Wiggles. The two began dating in 2013, after Emma became the first female Wiggle, and revealed their romance in March last year and later married. The children’s group are marking their 25th year in show business and embarking on an Australian tour, titled the Dance, Dance! The Wiggles Big Show!, starting next month. Watkins, 27, and Gillespie, 30, tell me about what they’ve learnt from being part of the Wiggles empire, why they initially hid their romance, and their plans for a mini-Wiggle.

How did you both get into entertainment? 

Lachlan: I went to WAAPA [the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts] over in Perth. I did music theatre for three years, then moved to Melbourne and started auditioning … I got an audition for the Dorothy [the Dinosaur] show, in 2009, and I’ve worked with the Wiggles ever since.

Emma: I studied as a dancer. And then, during school, I had an injury, and then I learnt how to make films … I came back and did full-time dance and then I went to uni to do film again, and then I got the audition for the Dorothy show. That’s when I met Lachy, [who] was already Captain Feathersword on that show, and I was a Fairy, and we started touring together. And then, I was taken to Wiggles to do filming and dancing.

Did you watch the Wiggles growing up?

Emma: Yes, on one of the old regional videos on VHS. They cut [to the audience of the live show] and it’s my sister and I dancing.

How did you find out that you had landed the coveted role as a Wiggle?

Emma: Simon [the Red Wiggle] was like, “Murray and Jeff and I, we’re going to retire at the end of the year. We’re starting a new line-up … He was like, “We want to have you.” I was like, “very funny” because they’ve always played practical jokes … He said, “No, we want you.” We went and told Lachy that I was going to do it. From then, it has just been the weirdest, most amazing experience.

What has been the most amazing part?

Emma: It has just become our lives. It’s kind of weird: it doesn’t feel like a job where you clock in at nine and you go at five. It’s seven days a week, we meet children everywhere we go, in the shopping centre, on the plane. It’s so lovely to meet so many families around the world … The mothers used to watch it when they were little and now they’re bringing their children. So that generational thing, I think that’s why the Wiggles are so special.

Did your romance blossom during the Wiggles?

Emma: I really fell in love with Lachy in the first moment … But it took him a long time [laughs]!

Lachlan: No, I knew we had a connection right from the start … In 2012, we basically spent the entire year together, every single day.

Why did you originally hide your romance from the rest of the cast?

Lachlan: We thought it was a respectful thing to do. There is nothing worse … if you’ve only just only started in a world-class organisation such as The Wiggles and then all of a sudden we come out that we are together … We didn’t want people to think we were just doing it for [publicity].

Emma: We didn’t officially say to anyone, but they knew. Anthony knew, definitely!

When did you decide to announce to the public you were a couple?

Emma: It was getting to the point where we were like, “we probably want to share it”, though at the time I didn’t know that Lachy had planned to propose, so … our relationship was announced, and then, about a month and a half later, our engagement. So everyone was like: whoa, whoa. For us, it felt like quite a while.

How is married life treating you?

Emma: It’s fast. I feel that because we tour all the time, we’re together all the time – and we didn’t go on honeymoon – so it feels like it hasn’t really changed much.

Do you have plans to start a family?

Emma: It would be really nice … It really is almost like we have to put it in the tour schedule [laughs].

It is incredible that the Wiggles have been at the forefront in the children’s entertainment industry for such a long time.

Lachlan: Yes, because it’s not normal to be even a band for that long.

Emma: I think that’s why Anthony [Field] is such a genius, because he does try and keep up with the times, whereas a lot of people get stuck and bogged down.

The Wiggles have celebrated their 25 years in children’s entertainment this year. What have you learnt from being part of the Wiggles phenomenon?

Emma: The No. 1 thing is that the children, even if they’re there as a group, it’s important to address the children as though they’re the only person there. They are egocentric; they don’t know they’re there with that many people. So that’s why so many of the songs are really direct … By speaking as if speaking to one, then that’s why they all connect. I think that’s a real skill.

How have the Wiggles changed over the 25 years?

Emma: Even going from just doing a CD to going on VHS, which sounds so ridiculous now, but it was such a big thing then. Then they were the first to do a DVD in children’s entertainment … Now it’s iTunes, and only recently we signed with Netflix to 190 countries.

Wiggles is aired all around the world. Where is the strangest place you guys have been recognised?

Emma: I get a lot of recognition in the ladies’ bathroom, and it sounds weird but it keeps happening to me … I think when you’re waiting, a lot of people recognise because it’s that moment that they stop and actually look at you.

 What do you do in your downtime?

Emma: We don’t have a lot of time not Wiggling – we are touring six days a week, every week – but when we do have time off, we try to go and see our family.

What’s next for you guys?

Lachlan: Well, [we have the] Lachy! show out. There’s a new Emma DVD [Darling for Emma], which a whole feature length of Emma things. We’ve got a new TV series, which started in July, and we’re writing another TV series now. And we also have our Big Show Tour.

Are the original Wiggles members still involved?

Emma: Yes, they are behind the scenes. For the 25th year, we did a fundraising concert for 18-and-overs … You could just imagine, like, an entire pub, full of 18-and-overs having a beer and then singing their favourite Wiggly songs!

Where do you guys see yourself in 10 years?

Emma: I’m still Wiggling because I made a bet with Jeff [Fatt, the purple Wiggle] that I will Wiggle till I’m 60 because he Wiggled till he was 60.

Lachlan: Yes, I hope it goes as long as the original guys did.

The Wiggles’ national tour includes Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, on December 17. Also Perth Arena, November 19; Adelaide Entertainment Centre, November 27; Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, December 3; the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, December 5; Brisbane Entertainment Centre, December 10; Newcastle Entertainment Centre, December 13; WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong, December 20. See thewiggles.com/events.

BITE SZIE

WE WENT TO Sotto on West, North Sydney

WE ATE Seasonal fruit salad, poached burgundy and elderflower pears, organic honey and yoghurt, dried coconut fruits and nuts;

WE DRANK Green juice, herbal tea and cappuccino

EMMA WORE Leona Edmiston dress

LACHY WORE a vintage leather jacket and jeans

KATE WORE Tome dress.

 

Photo by Ben Rushton
Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: MICHAEL KLIM

16th October, 2016

Michael Klim and I talking about life outside the pool and his skincare range, Milk & Co

Michael Klim has won six gold medals across  the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. The Polish-born Australian swimmer retired from swimming due to injury in 2007 and has since focused on building his skincare range, Milk & Co. Klim, 38, chatted to me about his life outside the pool; continuing to work on his business with his estranged wife, Lindy Klim; and his new girlfriend, fashion designer Desiree Deravi.

What are you up to at the moment? 

It’s a pretty exciting time for me…Milk has been going for about eight years and it has been a really successful year from an export point of view. We’ve got about 13 different markets altogether now from US, Scandinavia, Korea, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. We changed the name of the men’s range; it’s now Klim by Milk & Co, with new packaging and a new campaign … We launched a fragrance as well, in September. [I’m also] obviously putting my mind and my efforts with being with the kids as much as possible.

You’re based in Bali but where is home for you? 

Home is where the kids are … Dad has got an investment property in Melbourne that I rent off him at the moment. So [I’m] between Melbourne and Bali, half and half.

Do you run the business from Bali or how does it work?

I’ve built a pretty good team … of people that have been in the industry and who [are] a lot smarter than I am. I keep doing what I’m doing in sales, but the team is capable of running itself.  I [do] love getting back into the office [to] get the morale up.

Did you ever think when you were younger that you would be creating skincare? 

Not at all. I mean the funny thing is I was approached by a couple of other skincare brands to be their ambassador around 2006 … I thought, “There must be something in there if other brands [are doing it]” so I said “I’ll just try my own”.

How did you originally get into skincare?

Oh, sort of by accident, initially … When you’re swimming outdoors in chlorinated pools, your skin is always dry and flaky, and also the Aussie climate [doesn’t help]. There was a bit of an opportunity eight years ago as the men’s skincare market was growing quite a lot and there wasn’t anything out there in the market that was designed by blokes for blokes.

With so many brands on the market, what do you think sets your range apart from others?

High in quality, all natural, made in Australia, so the affinity with Australian products overseas is huge, especially in Scandinavia and South Korea.

How has your life in the pool helped you with what you do today?

I had no idea about skincare, so I asked a lot of people a lot of questions and found mentors and saw where they had made mistakes and I could learn from them … Ultimately, like in swimming, I had a crack [and] decided, “Well, I’ll put my money into it and stand behind it” … I just wanted to see it through and make sure it’s a success.

You had so much success in the pool. What do you feel was your biggest achievement?

Oh, it’s hard to go past the men’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay in Sydney [Olympics 2000]. We were the underdogs and the Americans had never been beaten … To have Ian Thorpe going over the top of Gary Hall and winning by less than point one of a second on home soil, it was just phenomenal.

Was there ever a difficult transition to life after sport?  

Yes, definitely. It’s your identity, always, even to this day, like you walk down the street and people yell out, “Oh there is that swimming guy” … So you want to move on with life and progress, but your identity is always going to be that … There is a big void, the five or six hours a day, and it’s taken out … When I was swimming I never got stressed. I only saw a sport psychologist once I retired, not when I was swimming!

What did it teach you when you retired?

My comeback [to London in 2012] was probably more rewarding because I had no expectation with the crowd … it was all about the journey and showing the kids that you actually have to enjoy [things] to get something out in life.

Will your children follow in your footsteps? 

At the moment, after Stella’s [Klim’s 10-year-old daughter] red carpet performance at the Logies [[n May], I would say she wants to be famous. And Rocco is very much into tennis and swims a bit as well, but loves his tennis. Frankie [is] a self-taught swimmer, she doesn’t want any lessons.

Earlier this year you announced that you and Lindy have separated … How are you both coping?

It’s still fairly fresh, but we did it because we wanted to be happy … [We have] moved on, and I think we’re mature enough that we consider to make sure that the business is in the right hands and kids are looked after.

Do you still work together?  

Lindy is still part of the business, she is a shareholder and so has an involvement. Obviously, my focus has been with the men’s range lately, and Lindy’s obviously focused more on the women’s and babies, but we still cross paths, and we obviously raise the kids … So, at the moment, business as usual. I mean, obviously we put a lot of time and effort into the business, so it would be silly to undo all that.

How did you and Desiree meet?

We met in Bali through mutual friends.

What’s your idea of an ideal date?  

I’m not sure if I really have an ideal date; sometimes the best dates are the least expected. With my “raging” days done and dusted, I really enjoy exploring and trying out some of Australia’s best eateries over a nice glass of red. With three kids who are all early risers, it’s a good night when I can be tucked away before midnight.

What do you do for fun? 

Health and fitness is a big part … With kids, trying to fit in a session in the gym is kind of a luxury. So I try and exercise and look after myself physically. It’s always going to be part of my routine. Since I moved to Bali, surfing has become definitely a big part of it.

You don’t keep up the swimming training you used to do?

No. It’s just impossible. I was swimming twice a day and in the gym every second day as well. I was doing maybe 25 hours of exercise a week and now, if I get four or five a week, I’m lucky … If I don’t exercise regularly, I get really grumpy. People can send me out the door or I send myself out the door. [Exercise] is such a big part of our lives, sort of gives you that structure as well.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Sitting on the beach in Bali, but that’s already happening now … Stella will be 15, so I’ll probably be shooting away some boys from the front door!

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Hunter Gatherer, North Sydney

WE ATE Poached New Zealand Hake, Rodriguez chorizo, potato, mussel broth with saffron; Rangers Valley inside skirt steak, café de Paris utter, cress; Green beans, romesco sauce, Charred Camden corn, paprika and lime butter.

WE DRANK Sparkling Mineral Water

Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: SARA DONALDSON

9th October, 2016
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Sara Donaldson and I having lunch at Four in Hand, Paddington

Sara Donaldson is the blogger behind fashion and beauty blog Harper & Harley and has a combined reach of more than 800,000 followers across her social media channels. She was among the main cast on the reality TV show Fashion Bloggers and recently launched an online fashion store, The Undone, with business partner Georgia Martina. Donaldson, 27, chats to me about blogging fame, why finding balance can be a struggle, and her biggest surprise at having an online shop.

How did you first get into blogging? 

I was at university and I was reading really old school blogs. Growing up in Brisbane, there was nothing really going on there, so I just started blogging while I was at university and working part-time as a sales assistant … Then I moved to Sydney and I had a full-time [marketing] role but I was still blogging … And then I finally gave it all up and just did my blog.

What was the defining moment when you decided to take on blogging as a full-time career? 

Five years into Harper and Harley, it was at a point where the industry had changed [so] I could monetise my blog in such a way that I was earning more from my blog than I was with my full-time job … I was quite reserved in stepping away from having another job because I felt like it was a safety net. I didn’t want to launch into it because I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go.

What are the main ways you monetised your blog? 

Affiliate networks like RewardStyle or ShopStyle, and then also doing sponsored posts for the brands.

What opportunities and doors has blogging opened for you? 

Well, being part of Fashion Bloggers was incredible… [and] it’s just wonderful that I can call amazing brands and designers my friends.

What is the secret to your blogging success?

I’m was an early adopter. It’s also about having consistent content and making sure that content is really premium. You can’t just throw up a bunch of stuff in the air and hope that does well. You have to make sure it’s all done professionally … You have to give your readers advice or give them something that’s a bit special.

With so many blogs out there, what sets you and your blog apart?

I think it’s the black, white and grey [colour scheme].

What is the best thing about what you do? 

Being able to travel, just being independent, not having to work for anyone else but yourself. It’s wonderful. Everyone should have a chance to do that, if it works for them.

What’s the worst part about what you do?

I think it’s just not being able to stop. Even if you want to, you can’t stop.

What is it like to have a career that many young girls dreams about? 

I receive emails all the time from girls in high school that want to be a blogger and they want advice on how to do that.

What is your advice to an upcoming blogger?

Create great content … [But] don’t think you’re going to get instant readers or instant followers. It’s not about getting the highest number of followers on social media … The industry is very fast and, just like a model, your lifespan is quite short. So make sure you have the education. I feel like I’m really successful because I had my marketing background and my experience in the workplace.

What’s your plan for life after blogging? 

I feel like there will be a time in the next few years [when] the industry will change or maybe I [will] have moved on to something else. Running The Undone is so important, and making sure the business doesn’t have my face all over it, so that I can step away, because I do struggle with the fact that I can’t step away from blogging. I can’t take a holiday… It is a 24/7, 365-day job.

You launched The Undone in July. How did you transition from fashion blogger to online store owner? 

I built [Harper and Harley] with an online shopping angle and it was about building a wardrobe that was really diverse and everything paired up with each other. I was able to divert sales on Harper and Harley for other online stores, up to a point where I’m like, “Well, why am I sending it to someone else when I could have it myself?”

Was it always your career goal to open a fashion store?

No. I’ve been [a blogger] for 7½ years and I needed the “phase two” to happen … It’s a big deal for anyone in their 20s – or anyone really, these days – sticking to something that long. So I just needed something else to re-energise me.

How is The Undone performing as a business so far? 

We’re really happy with our first few months of trade. The Undone has such an advantage compared with other new retail outlets, with a ready-made audience due to the Harper and Harley platforms, and we’ve definitely seen that come through via our sales for the store.

What have you found most surprising in terms of having your own online store?

I thought I knew how fast the fashion industry operated, but now that I’m part of the retail-buying process, it’s becoming much more apparent to me. It’s a never-ending cycle, you’re constantly working on two or three seasons at a time: the one you physically have on hand for your customers, the one that’s about to arrive and the one you’re buying for.

Will you still concentrate on your blog now you’ve got The Undone?

It definitely is a struggle because The Undone is so exciting and I want to be doing that full-time and give that all of my attention, but I can’t forget about Harper and Harley. It’s still such a big part of what I do. I have to definitely balance between the two for a while.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

Hanging out with my dogs and my boyfriend … We go to the dog park in Manly with a coffee and just chill there for a little bit until we’re exhausted … We’re not big party people.

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO Four in Hand Hotel, Paddington

WE ATE Spanish Mackarel, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Anchovy Butter; Pumpkin, Chessnuts, Endive, Kombu Butter; Iceberg Lettuce, Egg, Radish, Chives

WE DRANK Sparkling Water

SARA WORE Natan and an Iro leather jacket

Fashion, Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: CAMILLA FRANKS

2nd October, 2016
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Camilla Franks and I catch up over lunch at Catalina Rose Bay

 

Camilla Franks opened her first boutique in Bondi Beach in 2004 and has since gone on to create a clothing empire recognised internationally. The Australian fashion designer’s label is known for bright silk kaftans with crystal detailing and has just released a new collection, Jambo Jambo. Franks, 40, tells me about Beyonce Knowles wearing her clothes, having tequila shots with Oprah Winfrey, and how she retaliates against fashion “copycats” who steal her designs.

Where is the strangest place you’ve seen one of your designs? 

We were in Morocco, somewhere in a tiny town in one of the back streets … We walked into this tiny little shop that had knick-knacks and artifacts and antiques and everything and this guy was like, “You’re in a native costume from Australia. You’re wearing Camilla.”

Who was the most exciting celebrity to wear your label?

The two women that really embody what my brand is about – honest, real, empowering, strong, independent – are Oprah [Winfrey] and Beyonce [Knowles].

What was it like to meet Beyonce? 

Oh, it was beautiful, just beautiful. She is very warm, she is kind of just very real and like one of all of us, she just happens to have this extra huge talent. And the same with Oprah. I met Oprah recently and same thing: it was very real. Before I knew it, I was doing tequila shots with her and talking about life.

How does that come about to have big international celebrities wear your designs?

It comes from different things … Beyonce saw it in Harvey Nichols and my sales agent at the time in London said, “Oh, Beyonce has just been in Harvey Nichs and fell in love with it and has bought a few pieces.” And then next minute we saw it [in the press] … When Oprah visited Sydney, [she] remembered the brand … I woke up on a Sunday morning, there she was front [and] centre on the paper wearing [Camilla]. So I think if you put it out to the universe, the universe aligns in some magical way.

When someone like Beyonce or Oprah wears your clothing, what does it do for your business?

It gives you that global attention, that’s for sure. We definitely see a spike in sales … When our online store was a bit of a donkey – it’s not any more – it used to crash the online store.

Your brand has a distinct style. Do you ever feel pressure to follow mainstream trends?

I’ve never wanted to conform to society’s rules … I’m proud of myself and happy that I’ve done it my own way.

How do you feel when you see other designers replicate your designs? 

It pisses me off … I get really upset, I get hurt …They are not something you can just mass produce and that’s what a lot these copycats are doing, and it costs a lot of money to fight them. But I fight most of them.

Do you fight back? 

Oh, it brings out the lioness in me … Any of our wholesalers that start stocking any of the copycats, we pull from them within two seconds.

You started your brand in 2004. Did you ever expect the success of Camilla? 

No, it has gone beyond my wildest expectations.

What do you believe makes your brand so popular? 

I think the Camilla vision is about sort of awakening and unleashing that adventurous spirit in the heart that lies in all of us. When people talk to me about my brand, they always say, “It makes me feel alive, it makes me feel spirited, it makes me feel adventurous, it makes me feel like a woman.”

What inspired your new resort collection?

My time [in Africa] truly awakened me. The vibrancy of colour, the beauty of the land, and the spirit of the people. I found inner peace in the arms of the tribeswomen, and was transfixed by the bohemian melting pot of Morocco.

What is your favourite piece from the collection?

That’s a tough one. I really love the Check Mate Peplum Tailored Skirt, which I wore to my MBFWA [Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia] show.

You are such a free spirit. Tell me about your childhood and how you grew up. 

I think you always inherit something from your family. My parents travelled the world for many years; they spent eight, nine, 10 years in a caravan. In school I was an anti-conformist. I was a bit of the rebel without a cause. You would always find me in the art room or in the headmistress’s office!

Tell me a day in the life of you? 

It usually starts at 6am – I go visit or go catch up with my training buddy, we have that hour of power training, and then I try to fit in about 20 minutes of meditation to put the organised chaos into some kind of perspective and breathe a little deeper. Then I feel like one of those balls in a pinball machine and I bounce from marketing to design to production to finance to board meetings. And then I get home quite late and I just sort of put my incense on and face flat on the pillow, and then repeat.

What do you do to relax when you’re not working?

I’ve got this beautiful meditation coach. We do voice play together, which is wearing all the different hats that you wear as the person you are. He is really a philosophy coach. I train a lot. I do a lot of yoga [and] I’ve got a 60-kilo dog and a 30-kilo dog, which keep me busy.

Who do you admire? 

Brene Brown [American author and public speaker] is someone I’m just so addicted to at the moment. I was shown this Ted talk and she basically encourages you to own your story and get real. She has written these books about vulnerability, shame, guilt and everything called The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

It’s not advice that I’ve necessarily been given, but it’s advice that I have taken. I love Richard Branson’s book Screw It, Let’s Do It or [the quote] “You can’t do epic shit with basic people”. So I tend not to surround myself with basic people. My team is full of colourful people.

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Catalina, Rose Bay.

WE DRANK Champagne Pommery Brut Royal

WE ATE Natural oysters, with eschalot and red wine vinegar; Natural oysters, with lime, chilli and tobiko; Crispy skin cone bay barramundi with spanner crab ravioli, enoki mushroom, avruga, sage and eschalot cream; Moreton bay bug, fettuccine nero, sofrito, semi dried tomato and tarragon butter.

CAMILLA WORE a Camilla kaftan

 

 

Beauty, Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: Zoë Foster Blake

25th September, 2016

Zoë Foster Blake  is an Australian author, beauty editor and owner of skincare range Go-To Skin Care. She is also an associate producer of The Wrong Girl, a new television series show based on her best-selling novel. Foster Blake and her husband, 2Day FM co-host and comedian Hamish Blake, are proud parents of their two-year-old son, Sonny. Foster Blake, 36, chatted to me about how her novel transformed into a television show, her top beauty tips, and how she “sort of broke my body” having her first child.

What have you been up to?

I have a few projects. Amazinger Face [her book], I just got that out and pushed that baby out to sea, and I’ve also got The Wrong Girl [TV show] … Jess Marais is the star and we’ve got a brilliant cast.

Tell me about The Wrong Girl. 

[It] was my last novel I pulled out just before [the birth of my son] Sonny and it got picked up to be made into a TV show … Jess Marais is the lead and Hamish is in it … It has every chance to be a really excellent show. It’s about Lily who works in breakfast TV as a producer and this handsome new chef comes in and it is a love triangle. It’s a female-centric story about a career girl. The love story is there, but it’s secondary to her career and her life and her hiccups and her learnings.

Did you ever imagine that your novel would be made into a TV show? When I was younger, 25/26, I was like, “Well, this book has to be a TV show.” I was so arrogant and I just was like, “It’s obvious.” It never happened, of course [so I] let that go. I was like, “It’s a small country, small industry, there is not a very high chance of happening.” So when I got the call that they were interested in optioning it out, I was like, “Kidding?”

You never put it forward to the producers? 

No, so the producers, they also did Love Child and House Husbands and The Code and they were looking for a fresh, romantic drama, comedy drama and they chose The Wrong Girl.

Have you been hands-on in the TV process?

I am an associate producer, so I sat in on story meetings with the writers and we would just spitball ideas and come up with lots of narratives. Obviously there’s a lot more to a TV show than just a book … I think adaptations are a bit tricky for the screenwriters because they’re worried about upsetting the author. But from day one I’m like, “This is amazing, I love it.”

What is a day in your life? 

It varies, depending on whether I have Sonny or whether I have a workday … I like being at home while Sonny is young, so that I can see him through the day and have a cuddle … [At] 6:30pm when [Hamish] comes home, then he does bath, bottle, bed and I get some work done and do dinner. We have dinner together, a glass of wine and then we watch our [TV] shows.

Tell me about your new book Amazinger Face.

Amazinger Face is excellent, but … [the original book, Amazing Face] came out five years ago, so … some of it was out of date, in terms of products … [and] I’ve changed my opinion on some things, more specifically [why] physical sunscreen is so much better than chemical [sunscreen] … Also I’ve had a baby and there is pregnancy beauty I can talk about now.

What would be your No. 1 beauty tip?

Something that you get the most amount of impact for the smallest amount of effort, and to me that’s lipstick! But really, even before that, have good skin and you can wear less make-up. So, splurge on a professional treatment … once a month and then you can just basically use the basics – sunscreen, moisturiser, exfoliation and face oil.

Is there one beauty product that will never go out of fashion?

Lipstick is always in, whether it’s matte, creamy, glossy and so on. I think [eye] liners [have had] too good a rap for too long. I think it’s very unflattering on most women. Black liner around the eye makes your eyes look smaller. I think you should reassess, if you’re a really big black liner user, maybe even just doing the top line, not lower, or try a brown or a plum or even a navy.

What has been your career path to get to where you are today?

It was pretty conventional in some ways. I came up through the magazine ranks, from kids mags to teen to women’s to high fashion, and then I left and went digital, in beauty … I went all the way to get into freelancing … and had written five books or something by then … With Go-To, it was a bit of serendipity but ultimately I sort of thought, “Just put blinkers on. Don’t think about all those other great skin care products and just do what you wish you could do”.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in running your own business?

Not being able to switch off. You do get to work from home and work your own hours, but you never really turn off. I’ve got an amazing team, but I sort of am involved in every aspect of the business.

Did you ever imagine it would be this successful?

No! I never thought I would be a businesswoman in that sense … I love being creative director, but my favourite bit is the copy. I just want to do the copy and the marketing and at this point we’re still so small that I’ve got a hand in everything.

How do you juggle everything?

It is a juggle … My main thing is just to only do one thing at that time and try and be good at that … In the mornings, I don’t turn [my phone] on till 9, trying to just be with [Sonny] because he is only going to be small for a minute and then he won’t want to play with me!

Is Hamish a hands-on dad?

Yes, he is really involved and engaged and invested and I love this generation of fathers. We’re really lucky because they’re around, which is a big thing. [Hamish] is running his own career … He is full-time on air at the moment, but his career is the kind that could be vastly different from one year to the next … It keeps things exciting. But he is so conscious of being with Sonny and having quality time.

What’s the best thing about motherhood for you?

Well, the love and having a family, going from two to three is special and you feel like a little team … I think it brings more meaning to your life, but not just in terms of the child, but what you do outside of that. So, if I’m going to work on a project, then it has to be pretty good to take me away from Sonny.

Do you have plans to grow your family?

Yes … we want at least another kid, but I was always going to leave quite a gap between the two. I also sort of broke my body with Sonny … I’m still sore even sitting here talking to you because [of] my hip … So I want to get my body super-fit and tight, not tight but like core strength, so that it doesn’t break again … And also, I think as a career woman, I have to go, “Well, when does it fit right?” Last time I did this shitty job [at timing] – I had a book and a skin-care line and then a baby! …. It was terrible timing … It’s a lot of things to consider because it’s not just [the birth], it’s two years of your life. It’s the pregnancy, birth, it’s the breast-feeding … It’s all of that. So, I take it seriously.

Who do you look up to and admire?

I really like funny women. I’m drawn to women like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig, Amy Schumer. They’re writers, they’re producers, they’re actresses. They’re brilliant, funny, excellent women.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

It’s my mum’s. It always still rings in my head: “What you think about, you’ll bring about.” So you have to be really mindful of what you think. It’s easier said than done and it works both ways.

The Wrong Girl premieres on Wednesday, September 28, at 8.30pm on Channel 10. 

 

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO The Meat & Wine Co.

WE ATE Marinated chicken pieces with a mild Portuguese spice blend; Argentinean spiced chicken breast, supreme-cut and pan roasted. Served with a thyme, garlic and shallot puree, sautéed greens, new potatoes, garlic stems and chimichurri; Sautéed broccolini with pan roasted almonds and cultured butter.

WE DRANK Mineral water

ZOË WORE Rodeo Show and Céline.

 

Fashion, Beauty, Date with Kate

DATE WITH KATE: ELLE MACPHERSON

18th September, 2016
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Elle and I enjoying green juice and salads at the Intercontinental Hotel, Double Bay

 

Elle Macpherson might be still known as The Body but these days she spends less time in front of the camera and more time building her business empire. She has created WelleCo, her own supplement range, and was in Australia this week to launch her new lingerie line, Elle Macpherson Body. The 52-year-old chatted to me about how she juggles the demands of family life with her business ventures, and shares insights into what most people don’t know about her and what she would change about herself.

What are you doing during your trip to Sydney? 

I am thrilled to be back in Australia for the launch of my new lingerie business … I have a busy itinerary; lots of press engagements in Sydney and Melbourne … [and I’ll be] spending some time to see family, and even a quick trip to New Zealand!

What is a typical day for you? 

Every day is different for me. I travel so much, so nothing is ever the same. Typically, though, I like to be up by 5am and my first thoughts are always around setting my intentions for the day. Before emails and work, I make sure I meditate, then connect with the kids and follow my wellness regime. When I’m in Miami, I’m in the office around 10am and work until 6pm. Family time is important to me and so we have breakfast and dinner together. I do the morning school run and often the afternoon one and watch my son play sports – I use the hour drive to make business calls.

Congratulations on Elle Macpherson Body. What can we expect from the new lingerie line? 

Thank you – yes, it’s been an incredibly exciting time launching the brand here and internationally. Elle Macpherson Body is Australian lingerie with a strong, modern aesthetic … it’s the antithesis of traditional lingerie. There are lots of gorgeous details like paper-touch fabric, geometric laces, rose-gold hardware, but I never forfeit fit for fashion.

What made you decide to move from Elle Macpherson Intimates to create your own company with Elle Macpherson Body? 

After many years of licensing, in my heart I felt it was time for me to build my own business – I wanted to put everything I have learned over this time into practice and I didn’t want to find myself in the future looking back wishing I’d done things differently. It was not easy to walk away from the security of a licensing income stream. However, I had come to the realisation that the involvement I had for 25 years had unfortunate limitations; it would never enable the structural changes I needed to make my own business evolve in the ways I’d been longing for.

Why did you decide to partner with an Australian company?

I wanted my partner to be an Australian company as this is my heritage and it means a lot to me. I’ve lived all over the world, but Australia is still home.

What elements of the business did you work on?

All of them! Being co-founder and co-director has meant that I have worked with Simon [de Winter] and the team on production, design, retail strategies, fit, marketing and budgeting. I’ve certainly learnt a huge amount, but I’ve also been able to bring together all the things I’ve learned along the way. I have 25 years’ experience in the lingerie category.

What is it like to work with your ex-husband, Gilles Bensimon, who is responsible for the marketing imagery of the campaign?

[He is a] long-time friend and mentor … I absolutely love our campaign and had fun producing the shoot with Gilles. Gilles and I chose our model, Kirsten, for her natural athletic body – a new type of sexy.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?

That transition from the billboard to the boardroom has been the most rewarding challenge.

How did you transition from model to businesswoman? 

Looking back on 30 years in business, I believe that a natural curiosity, courage to try new things, a strong interest in business and a sense of adventure has led me to a very diverse career. Modelling has opened doors and I’ve been fortunate to meet inspirational creative people, encouraging me to bring my ideas to life. Timing is everything – I believe in trusting instincts and listening to my team’s perspectives.

What defines business success for you? 

There’s more to success than meets the eye. Many people might think it’s been moments in my career like being on the covers of Sports Illustrated, being on the front of the newspaper with Princess Diana, hosting TV shows and financial reward. I’ve also felt those things were symbols of success. But that’s only part of it. Today, my idea of success is making the journey towards happiness and fulfillment. It’s a deeply personal experience, but I value things like having the courage to take risks, to explore, and the willingness to go through the ups and downs in life and still find joy in the process.

What does it mean to have your own business now? 

I had to prove my credentials just like everyone else. Our partners both in Elle Macpherson Body and WelleCo all had to agree I could participate as an active partner. I had to prove I was more than the just a spokesperson … I asked myself and my business partners … to have faith in me to help me grow these businesses and to creatively and strategically direct their paths. I take it as a huge compliment that they saw potential and had faith and encouraged me to step up to a more responsible role.

What are you most proud of outside of your work? 

The most important thing to me is my family: my children, stepchildren and my husband. I also have deep connections to my parents, brother and sisters – these relationships are vital to me.

Who do you look up to?

I look for inspiration from strong independent women who are connected to their heart, like Arianna Huffington and Maya Angelou.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Someone once told me: never believe your own press. I agree!

How do you stay in shape? 

I love to get outdoors into nature and enjoy fresh air, so lots of hiking, biking swimming skiing and watersports … I also believe in beauty from the inside out – good nutrition, the value of sleep and lots of love and laughter.

What is your top beauty secret you’ve learnt while modelling?

My mum would say “water, water, water”!

How do you balance parenting with your busy schedule?

Like every parent, I do my best. I’m not perfect, but love and a sense of humour works wonders! With a busy schedule, I prioritise the children and everything else falls into place.

Where do you feel is home for you?

Home is where my heart is – usually wherever my family is.

What’s something that most people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?

I speak fluent French, want to learn how to play the ukulele, wish I had a vegetable garden and like to surf longboard. I love true stories – both in movies and books; would love to prepare a Ted talk on things I’ve learned along the way.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

My kids would say my singing voice – I personally don’t think it’s that bad! And sunblock! Too many years unprotected from the Aussie sun shows on my skin today.

What is up next for you? 

Our plan is to continue growing and building the Elle Macpherson Body brand. I’m loving new categories like socks and hosiery and sleep… Watch this space!

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO Intercontinental Hotel, Double, Bay

WE ATE Heirloom Tomato salad with Roasted Quinoa, cured cucumber, aged balsamic flakes, charred salt, micro parsley; Tasmanian Salmon Gravlax with Baby Fennel, orange fillet, caper berries, lemon gelee, petit red elk

WE DRANK green juices.

ELLE WORE an Ellery shirt and Isabel Marant pants.

KATE WORE a camilla and marc top and miu miu leather pants.