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.
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.