As a longtime fan of Bec and Bridge, theirs is one show at Fashion Week that I always look forward to. I find that I always spot something on the runway that I can immediately see myself wearing whether it be to work or to an event. This year was no exception. I caught up with Bridget Yorston and Becky Cooper after their show to chat what inspired the collection, their standout pieces and that fur runway…
Hi guys, congratulation on the show it was amazing.
Bec: Thanks Kate.
To be finished, how does it feel?
Bridget: It’s a big relief but we are so happy how it went today, it was pretty smooth backstage. No major hiccups, it was a really good energy.
The collection was beautiful. Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind it?
Bec: we were inspired by the iconic surf culture of the 6os and 70s and that’s where we started with the collection. And then we had a lot of fun with the collection and miss matched prints.
There were so many things I loved on the runway but what were some of your standouts?
Bridget: I love some of the shirting pieces and there was one particular dress in the khaki colour. It’s a long dress with a buckle in the middle and it feels so resort [wear] and fresh and I’m really excited to wear that.
I am loving all the flared looks in the show! I also love all the hair and makeup trends… what was your brief to the hair and makeup artists and the stylist prior to show?
Bridget: I think for the hair we wanted something quiet undone, obviously its quiet hard to get that perfect undone look so there is still a lot of work in that but we wanted her to look like she had been in the water all day and she stepped out and it dried naturally and she’s off to a gig – that was the hair brief and for the makeup, we just wanted not too much, we just wanted a dash of colour on the eye. We wanted that puberty blues feel – quiet fresh faced.
You design the collection but then a stylist styles the show. Can you explain a bit about that process?
Bec: It’s an organic process for us. We work with our stylist really closely and for the past two weeks, we have been re-evaluating and changing things. Bridge and I were on the phone until 10 o’clock last night…
Bridge:… still designing things and changing things, you use every minute.
Bec: This morning we were still changing things.
Bridge: We work with [stylist] Kelly Hume and we love working with her. We have worked with her for so many years now and we work really well together. She is really good at bouncing ideas off.
What was the inspiration behind the fur runway?
Bridge: We wanted something a little bit 70s, a little bit rock n roll. Not too serious and that is what sprung to mind and we were able to make it happen which was great.
Opening Fashion Week is a big honour for any brand and this year, Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris saw their label Aje kick off the big event that is Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Ahead of their show I caught up with the Edwina and Adrian to talk about their latest collection, how asking for directions led to the start of their brand and why they ultimately just want to make women feel great in their clothes.
Thanks guys for joining me today. So exciting! Congratulations on opening Fashion Week.
Edwina: Thank you.
It’s a truly an exciting thing. How does it feel to open?
Edwina: It feels very exciting, but definitely a bit of pressure comes with that.
Adrian: Yes, I think at the moment, we’re just a bit tired. I’m kind of dead … but no, it’s a huge honour, it’s exciting.
Why is it so important, why is it such an accomplishment to open Fashion Week?
Edwina: I think obviously to be synonymous with a brand like Mercedes Benz, which is so globally respected and held in such high prestige is obviously one element, for our brands to sit beside each other, is wonderful. But obviously Fashion Week Australia in terms of Australian fashion it’s where all eyes are on Australia, so it’s hugely important.
Yes, but to open it is even more exciting?
Adrian: Definitely, I think in the past we’ve always sort of, “Oh, no, I’ve never really considered opening.” So, it’s definitely a huge honour.
Why didn’t you consider it?
Adrian: I don’t know, I think when you’re work is in Europe, you think it’s something that’s going to happen one day, but it is, it’s crazy. To think we’re the one that does all of it and yeah, it’s a bit stressful.
And there is a lot of hype around the first show as well.
Adrian: Definitely more than every other one. Almost with the pressures being internalised, the other… within the business and we’re sort of being aware of Fashion Week, but this year it seems like everyone is paying more attention.
Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind the collection and what can we expect to see?
Edwina: I think for us, we feel really proud to be Australian designers and to be an Australian brand. I think some brands kind of shy away from the Australian heritage. We’re fiercely proud of it. So, we felt it was the perfect moment this year to celebrate Australia and the beautiful landscape in which we live and all the inspiration it’s given us. So, we really have taken a lot of inspiration from the iconic emblems of Australia and all the diversity of the natural landscape, and also the diversity of all the cultures we have within the land.
How were you inspired by this collection?
Adrian: I think that we’re always looking toward nature and art as our two main references and I think this year, we just specifically focused on the natural forms and a lot of the natural flora. It’s definitely an ode to Australia… in a non-kitsch, weird way.
Do you have a favourite piece that I should be looking out for on the runway?
Adrian: It sounds strange, but we were really inspired by the shape of gumnuts. I know it sounds really weird and kitsch, but there’s a few dresses that are really beautiful.
Do you guys always agree on everything? How does the whole relationship work…
Adrian: I would say they’re two different forms of agreement. I think we’re always wanting to get to the same end point, but we have really different ways of getting there.
Edwina: People laugh a lot about that internally. We say the same thing, but in totally different ways-
Adrian: Totally different ways.
Edwina: We think we’re arguing but actually…
Adrian: They said that, “Do you know that both of you are saying the same thing?”
Who wins in a fight?
Do you have quite separate style aesthetics or would you say that you’re quite like minded?
Edwina: I think it’s always been the differences that made the magic within the brand. And as the brand has evolved, its become something we really believe in, there’s this concept of duality. Because there’s duality inside in all of us. You know, like one day you can kind of feel strong, but at the same time you want to be gentle, and you’re kind of a bit wild, but at the same time you need to be a bit tame and I think it’s that kind of play on duality that’s always worked between us as humans.
Adrian: Yeah. There’s always differences. But I think our difference, we know what we want to look like. It’s probably more in the details and it’s not about someone disagreeing with someone, it’s about having two sets of eyes on something and knowing that somebody else’s point of view always has merit and you can see it that way. So, you do see things differently from another person’s perspective.
Could you describe each other’s style aesthetic?
Adrian: Edwina’s got the best style in the world, I think.
Edwina: That’s not true, but thank you.
Adrian: But no, I think we’ve actually got very similar aesthetics. We love all the natural fabrics, we love the same colours.
Edwina: We love the same techniques.
Adrian: Yes, it always comes out … it’s just having two different sets of perspective coming and that kind of forms … I don’t think we’d be able to create what we create singularly.
How did you first meet?
Edwina: So, I was about to move to Sydney to work at Russh Magazine. I was working in a high-end boutique in Brisbane. This poor, lost Norwegian tourist walked in, aka Adrian and asked for directions. And I just remember his style, because it was very different to Brisbane.
Adrian: I was a lot more out there then.
Edwina: Had this long blonde mop of hair, you know, this undone white shirt, really skinny jeans, this big Dolce & Gabanna belt and I just thought, “Oh my, this guy is just not from here.” And it was just funny, because the directions he got given were so bad and-
Edwina: And then it was just a serendipitous moment, that evening we ended up being at the same party together and there was the Norwegian tourist who was Adrian and yeah, we kind of became best friends.
How did you start the brand?
Adrian: So, we started it in Noosa and so I opened a store. Edi and I started working in the store together and Edi actually came down to work for Russh and we sort of had this idea of creating a line for the store. So, I went and created a collection. I came back and it was shocking…. and I was like “Edi, you’ve got to help me style this collection,” and she came back. She said, “I can’t style that.”
Edwina: I wanted to add things and then I said, “These are things I want to add.” So, Adrian quickly, we drew them.
Adrian: We remade it and we came back and so it was more of … that was really where the fusion happened and so we came and we kind of really brought them together and then the first collection, it was amazing, it was so beautiful.
Did you know instantly then that you needed to start the label together?
Adrian: I was magical. It was really beautiful. And we were so young and so inexperienced.
Edwina: So naïve.
Adrian: And we’ve never made clothes before. So, I mean, it’s been an amazing journey to go on. Yeah.
What have been some of the biggest challenges throughout your career as designers?
Edwina: Business, right?
Adrian: Yeah, I think the balance between business and creative is always, it’s a really difficult, and then you start out being … we obviously had the business from the start. So, we had the first store and we had that balance between, I’d say… you’re young and you don’t have any stress on you and then it goes through that period of, “Oh, God, I’ve got [to] actually pay people and I’ve got to actually feed myself.” And then you get staff and you’ve got to think of them. So, you just kind of lose some of the creativity, but then it’s really beautiful I think, in our case, the creativity, it’s waves and I think that now, where we’re sitting, we’ve just opened our 17th store yesterday.
Adrian: Thank you. So, it’s kind of at the stage now, where our business is in such a strong position that it’s allowing us to be completely creative again.
What would you say has been your biggest pinch -me moment within your career?
Edwina: This is about to be one [opening Fashion Week], I think.
Adrian: Oh, yeah, definitely. This is a big one.
You’ve dressed some pretty amazing people. What is the one that stands out in your mind?
Adrian: I think it’s great when people wear your clothes, but I also think it’s just as great like when somebody comes into one of your stores and feels like a million dollars and walks out. When people, like some of the messages you get, they’re pretty amazing. Just as amazing as when a big celebrity wears them.
Adrian: Someone? Oh, we got Kate Moss did.
Edwina: Oh, yeah Kate Moss. Just recently Katy Perry has been big. Linda Toll, I love her.
Is there someone, alive or dead that you wish that you could dress one day?
Adrian: Everyone. Everyone should be wearing Aje once in their life.
Edwina: Everyone. The whole world.
What’s the plan after Fashion Week?
Adrian: There’s a little break. We’ve got a few more stores that we’re rolling out by the end of the year.
Oh, exciting. Where about?
Adrian: Oh, gosh, we’ve got New Zealand opening, that’s our first international store. We kind of feel like it’s one of our states, but it’s definitely international…. So, that will be kind of the first in the international expansion.
Will you expand further internationally?
Adrian: Yeah, definitely. We’re looking into it, we’re just going to do it carefully. You just have to make sure that all your ducks are in a row when you do it.
When you’re not working, you guys hang out together as well?
Adrian: Yeah, we still see each other so much.
Edwina: But we’ve become more anti-social.
Adrian: It takes a lot to get us out these days, but luckily we still all hang out together.
A model and former professional athlete Kris Smith is these days busy juggling his longtime ambassadorship with Myer, working with Vitamix and the imminent arrival of a baby with girlfriend, personal trainer Sarah Boulazeris. I recently caught up with Kris in the kitchen as he whipped up a meal for me whilst we chatted about becoming a dad for the second time, the unconventional way he and Sarah got together and why he’s about to embark on a new career in the fitness industry.
Kris, what is a day in the life of you at the moment?
At the moment it’s all preparation for baby coming…I generally wake up, take the dog out for a big, long walk, hit the gym, and then I’m doing my personal training course.
Congratulations on the pregnancy! I remember you, when you had little Ethan, and I remember thinking “Oh, he’s such a good dad.”
Yeah, I’m definitely a good dad, but I turned around to [Kris’ partner] Sarah, and I said, “How often do they feed? Is it every two hours?” and what do you do? And I understand that there’s three cries, like the hungry, the nappy changes, or the tired, and you quickly learn those three. Then I’m going, “How often do they eat?” and “How often do they do this?” and “How often do they do that?” And they’re so small and frail and dainty, and when can I take them to the pub? And that one didn’t go down too well, but no, it’s a real exciting time, and Sarah’s been absolutely incredible.
Is Ethan [Kris’ son with ex-partner Dannii Minogue] excited?
Very, very. I said to him, “Okay, would you like a brother or a sister?” He said, “Well, I’d like a brother. Oh, but I’d love a sister, too,” so he’s got that perfect answer. It’s like he’s been told what to say, but he generally feels that way, so he’s very excited.
Kris takes the Vitamix A3500i Ascent Series High Performance Blender through its paces
Is that a bit daunting to be new dad again?
Well, I don’t like sleep anyway, and that’s the thing. I bumped into some friends this morning, and they’ve got their baby there. The baby was 24 weeks old. Said, “How’s it going?” They said, “He sleeps right through,” and Ethan did the same thing, but you’ve got to be really careful who you say that to because parents hate it. So I’m thinking if the first one slept right the way through, this one has to have all the attributes of the complete opposite because my mum told me that I never slept until I was five. My mum would be in bed, she’d feel a slap on the face, and it would be me, and I would say, “Come on, let’s play. Let’s play,” until I was five years old, so I’m hoping that isn’t replicated in our house.
What does being a Myer ambassador mean to you?
It means everything. I came to Australia on a six-week holiday with Danni just seeing if I like the place, and I never left, and within the first four weeks of me being here, Myer wanted to meet with me, and then they met with me, and then they liked me, so they offered me a six-month contract after four weeks of being in Australia. They offered me six months, and I was over the moon because I’d never done anything like this. I’ve been there nine and a half years now. It’s the longest job I’ve ever had.
What do you love most about it?
I love being around people, so any event, dinner, charity organisation, race day, that they have that I can meet new people and my job is to make sure people are having a good time, which is what I want to do throughout my whole life, so it seems like a perfect fit, and I like everything it’s done. And I’ve met some incredible people doing it.
You and Sarah are very focussed on fitness. Is healthy lifestyle important to you guys?
Definitely. It’s great that she’s so engulfed in health and fitness, and she does all the cooking at home pretty much. Yeah, she’s that incredible. She’ll wake up at 4:45am. She’ll make breakfast for herself, and then she’ll make breakfast for me for when I wake up.
Can she move in with me please? So is your Vitamix an important part of your kitchen?
It is. We never had one before or never had anything that resembles a Vitamix because I’ve lived by myself for so long, and once we got one in, I’m kicking myself, saying, “Why did I not know about this 10 years ago?” Now I got all the fruit that goes in there, the smoothies, the vegetables that come out great. We throw pumpkin in there and make pumpkin soup and just about everything literally goes in there. Protein shakes after the gym. It gets used pretty much once, if not twice a day, it’s at least every day.
What’s the best aspect of it?
I just think the ability that it has. It just simplifies absolutely everything because I do get dragged into the kitchen. Sarah doesn’t like touching chicken, so if I’ve got to shred the chicken, I’ll go chuck it in the Vitamix.
What’s your go-to recipe when you’re cooking?
My go-to. See, my go-to recipe has always been, it was always chicken pasta, I believe. Yeah, like a carbonara one.
Do you make that with the Vitamix?
No, I’ve not made that for about 15 years. It used to be my-impress the girls signature dish. And it’s the only thing I could do other than beans on toast, and that’s not as impressive, but in the Vitamix, I’d reckon the pumpkin soup. Sarah taught me how to make pumpkin soup. So what I do now, I mush everything up in that, and it purees it. It saves me an incredible job of mashing it up and then draining it. And it does absolutely everything. And then what I do, I pan fry some light chicken breasts with a curry sauce, and then that goes in the pumpkin soup. We love spice. I would just chop that and let it sit on the top.
Having a laugh in the kitchen
What’s next for you? What’s on the horizon?
Well, the thing is yeah, the baby’s going to engulf a lot of the time, but I’ve got some stuff that I want to do in and around fitness. I just want to get a couple of places open because when you’re waiting in between jobs in an environment, industry like this, it can be quite frustrating and you’ve got to have a lot of patience, which I don’t, so I think it’s time for me to finally invest my time and effort into some form of fitness, whether it be a gym or a female studio or an online application, wellness centres, and things like that.
So what do you love most about Sarah?
Everything. This is going to sound really awful, but I’ve never had a partner that I’ve laughed so much with every day. There’s always something stupid that one of us does that just sets you out in fits and giggles. And for me, I don’t take life too seriously anyways, so it’s an important fact for me. And we laugh a lot, and she’s caring, considerate, and she’s just wonderful, really.
So any wedding bells any time soon?
Maybe. Yeah, we have spoken about it. Would you believe, we’ve only been together a year?
I know, I was trying to work that out because I remember when we were in Bali together last year you guys had just met.
Yeah, we saw you in Bali, and that was pretty much our third date… She hates me telling this story, but it came through the opportunity to go to Bali and it was for two people and we did.
And then when did you know that she was the one?
It wasn’t long after that [Bali]. We came back and I thought, “The holiday romance potentially, that’s all gone. Let’s see what real life is.” And then I’d find myself, I’d go to bed at night, and then she’d be at her place, and I’d just go, “Why is she not here?” And without being needy and wanty, I’d just go to bed and think. I’d text her and go, “Well, why are you not here?” She goes, “I don’t know,” and then very quickly she moved into my place, and then very quickly after that fell pregnant, and now we have the dog, the big house, and the baby on the way. The nursery’s set up.
Cooking up a storm
What’s your number one fitness tip?
Just keep going. Times when you don’t want to go is usually the time the best time you do a session. The biggest mistake for me is picking your phone up first. So you pick your phone up first, and then you scroll at the weather. Before you know it you’re on Instagram and Facebook, and there’s an hour of your life, wasted. And then you’re tired again. You just roll back over, so my first thing is, don’t think about it, just go. Absolutely. Yeah, because like I say, there are times when I don’t want to be there, and they’ve been the hardest sessions I’ve trained for.
What’s in store for 2019?
Well again, there’s hopefully a big announcement coming in which I’m going to start doing early next year. Potentially got some more TV filming, which I can never speak too much about them because they keep them under wraps, but I want to pursue the fitness. I want to ensure we get a happy, healthy baby into the world. And yeah, just knuckle down and just chase dreams that I want to do in and around fitness and all of that.
How good. Congratulations again on the baby news.
Try Kris’ Vitamix recipes at home for yourself
Enjoying a refreshing Nojito
1 whole lime peeled
1/2 cup lime juice
6 tablespoons honey
8 to 10 mint leaves
1 teaspoon ginger freshly minced
To place in individual glasses:
6 wedges lime peeled
36 mint leaves
2 bottles of plain sparkling water
Place 1 whole peeled lime, lime juice, honey, ginger and 8-10 mint leaves in your blender container.
For Vitamix Start on speed 1, turn machine on and slowly increase to SPEED 10 for a few seconds until smooth and creamy.
In six individual glasses – place 1 wedge of peeled lime and 6 mint leaves.
Muddle (gently press down with a wooden implement) to extract the juices just a little bit.
Add 4 to 6 tablespoons of the blended mix to this and top with sparkling water and desired amount of ice cubes.
You may want to garnish with more mint and ginger.
This recipe can be made in the NEW Vitamix Blending Cup, simply use 1/3 of ingredients.
From killing it as a supermodel to founding the hugely successful skincare company KORA Organics, Miranda Kerr certainly knows how to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to. During a recent trip to Sydney, I caught up with the mother of two to chat about how she built KORA from the ground up, what she wishes everyone knew about organic products and her number one beauty tip.
What’s a day in the life of you?
It’s a juggle… being a mum and running a business, no two days are ever really the same, but I do my best to try and keep to a schedule and navigate through the day as calmly as possible.
I usually wake up around 5:30am when Evan gets up. This gives me a chance to do my meditation while he is in the shower and the kids are still asleep. Hart generally wakes up around 6am and Flynn at 6:30am.
We then have breakfast together and get Flynn’s bag and lunch packed for school. I try as best I can to schedule in work and meetings during the day while Flynn is in school so that I can I drop him off and pick him up in the afternoons.
At the moment I’m working mostly from home because Hart is only five months old and I’m still breastfeeding. I feel it’s so important to be present with him when he’s awake, and try to get work calls done while he’s napping.
Welcome home. What is the first thing you do when you arrive home in Australia?
Thank you! It’s so lovely to be back. The first thing I do when I come home is see my family. This recent trip was to bring Hart over to meet my grandparents, it was really special.
Your organic skincare line, KORA organics, has had amazing success. Did you ever imagine your brand would become so popular and successful?
Well, I initially got into the organic skincare space because I was looking for products that were certified organic and natural, but I couldn’t find anything on the market that delivered results, so I decided to create my own range as a passion project. KORA was my first baby!
I don’t think I could have ever imagined how much we were going to grow back then, because I was just focused on creating products that were safe, non-toxic and that delivered results rather than the bigger picture of expanding the business globally.
Since we launched in Australia in 2009 with David Jones, our customer base has grown rapidly year-on-year as people are starting to be much more informed and educated about organic and cruelty free products, and generally adopting a more sustainable and natural way of life. In the last financial year our online sales alone grew 900%. We don’t advertise, so it’s all word of mouth and recommendations. That’s the greatest compliment to know it’s all about the integrity and efficacy of the products.
What has been your biggest pinch me moment with your KORA business?
One of my biggest ‘pinch me’ moments would be launching into the US market last May in over 360 Sephora stores, and the incredible growth we’ve had in the past 18 months. KORA Organics has expanded from being in 300 retailers across Australia just 18 months ago, and by the end of 2018 we’ll be stocked and in more than 2,500 stores, across 25 countries. It’s a WOW moment for sure!
Tell me a bit about the new products launched in 2018?
In 2018 we launched the Noni Radiant Eye Oil. I love this product! It contains kahai oil, which is a natural retinol that helps improve elasticity and smooth fine lines. Coffee seed oil to revitalise and reduce puffiness, tomato fruit extract to brighten the eye area and of course my hero ingredient of noni fruit extract which contains over 100 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. My favourite part of the eye oil is the special rose quartz ball applicator, it’s super soothing and uplifting.
I’m really proud of the results… when we did consumer testing over a 4-week period, 90% noticed fine lines around the eye area appeared visibly softened and 93% noticed visible improvement in the eye area looking healthier and smoother.
We also recently launched a 2 in 1 Turmeric Mask. I’m obsessed with exfoliating and also face masks, so I wanted to create a product that could be used as both a physical exfoliator and a revitalising mask. I essentially wanted a product that delivered a post-spa facial glow, that can be done at home or when traveling, in one simple step and in under 10 minutes. It contains natural AHA’s from papaya enzymes and aspen bark to stimulate cell renewal, as well as rosehip seeds and quartz to polish and peppermint to control sebum production and for an invigorating tingle. You can really feel it working while it’s on! It’s honestly the best exfoliating experience I’ve ever had; I am so proud of this product!
Selfies with a supermodel
What product could you not live without?
Agh, all of them! But the Noni Glow Face Oil is one of my must have products, I use it religiously every morning and night… so does my husband! He loves it too! I also love the balms, both the Noni Glow Face Oil and Body Balm have won beauty awards recently in the US (Allure Best of Beauty), and here in Australia (David Jones Best of Beauty), which I’m really proud of.
KORA organics only utilises certified organic and natural ingredients. Can you explain why this is so important?
It’s something I feel very passionate about because what you put on your skin soaks directly into your bloodstream. People are now so aware of eating organic and non-processed / non-GMO foods for example, but they don’t think about all the chemicals in the everyday products they are using and putting on their skin. The thought of unnecessary chemicals in my bloodstream is one of the driving factors of why I created KORA in the first place.
But it’s important for consumers to know that there is a BIG difference between products that are Certified Organic, like we are through COSMOS-Ecocert, and products that claim to be Natural or Organic or have those words on their packaging… many products claim to be organic, but actually only use one or two organic ingredients. Unless products are certified by an independent body they come with no guarantees, because using the terms Natural and or Organic on packaging or in marketing is currently unregulated.
Due to the lack of regulation within the beauty industry, manufacturers can misleadingly label their products as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ even though they contain processed, toxic and chemically enhanced ingredients – it’s just false marketing!
Certified Organic is the most heavily regulated ingredient system and only Certified Organic guarantees no toxic synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals are used in production of ingredients. Organic producers and manufacturers also are subject to rigorous certification inspections by third-party inspectors such to ensure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust.
Where do you foresee KORA organics to be in five years time?
My dream is for KORA Organics to become a household name that provides, safe, clean, Certified Organic products that deliver effective results and uplift our customers. My focus will also be on continuing to cement our position as the leader in the clean beauty industry. I also want to continue to focus on growing our range.
What is your number one beauty and skincare tip?
Less is best! Don’t camouflage your natural beauty with layers of make up, instead focus on achieving healthy, radiant skin. Healthy skin is the most beautiful skin! Our skin is our largest organ and it supports the life of all our other body parts. It plays a vital role in maintaining our immune system and works 24/7 to take care of us, protect us and keep us healthy. It makes sense to look after our skin with products that replenish it and fill it with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
I believe that the health of our skin is also connected to our mind and body – for example when we are stressed or tired, or eating unhealthily it shows on our skin. We try to encourage our customers to look after and nurture their mind and body, as well as their skin for best results. Our brand philosophy is to “feed your mind, with positive affirmations and self-love”; “feed your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best”; and “feed your skin with products to help detoxify, nourish and revitalise”.
With Miranda during her recent trip Sydney
Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy, Hart. How have you been juggling your career with a newborn baby?
Thank you! He’s gorgeous and we’re all in love and doing really well. I find it really important to prioritise and organise my schedule around both Hart and Flynn so things run as smoothly as possible and thankfully I have a wonderful support team around me.
What is it like to be a mum a second time around?
I absolutely love being a mum and having a newborn, although it is very different this time around as I have to balance my time with both of my children. It’s really important to me to be able to make sure I am spending enough quality time with both of them, as a newborn is so dependent on you I am so conscious of meeting Flynn’s needs too.
Have you taken time out from work since having Hart?
Although I have remained actively involved in my business, KORA Organics, I did take some time off right after Hart was born to really enjoy this special time and bond as a family as I believe it is so important.
Good vibes with crystals and healthy snacks
You keep your personal life pretty private, why is this important to you?
I have chosen a career in the public eye, but I believe my children deserve the right to choose whether they would like that or not. It is important to me to respect their privacy and freedom of choice until they are old enough to make these decisions themselves.
What’s something that people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?
I’m obsessed with cleaning and organising!
What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
People often think that I am just the face of KORA Organics, they don’t realise that it’s my own company that I built from the ground up.
There are so many brands out there these days that are fronted and promoted by celebrities. It’s important to know that KORA Organics isn’t fronted by me, it’s owned by me. I self-fund it, invested all my savings into it and I’m across the day-to-day operations from product development, marketing, packaging and customer service. Actually, I even see every online sale because I get an alert on my phone, I see the full transaction – what they’re buying, if they’re return customers and where they’re shipping to!
What has been the best advice that you’ve ever been given?
It came from my husband! When I was first approached by Sephora in the US for them to stock KORA Organics, I sat with my team and did the numbers…. and it was going to be a substantial upfront investment for the raw ingredients, packaging and additional staff. I had already invested a considerable amount of money and my savings into the business (still to this day haven’t taken a cent out – I just keep reinvesting), and I was worried if I should self-fund the expansion or look for an investor, but he gave me the confidence to take the risk. It’s the best decision in business I have made as it’s also provided a platform for me to expand globally into stores and my vision isn’t diluted by having outside investors.
Bite-sized morsels of goodness
What are your go-tos for being a stylish mum?
I like to keep it simple; a great pair of jeans that flatter the figure (I prefer a high waist and slim leg), white t-shirt, tailored blazer and white sneakers… but to update this look from school drop off to a lunch I’d swap out the sneakers for a great embellished pump to dress it up. I like to be classic and comfortable.
For a busy, tired mum what is your go-to pick-me-up?
I add my KORA Organics Noni Glow Skinfood Supplement to water and shake for a delicious and nutritious drink. It contains noni extract and also many of my other favourite plant foods for healthy skin and general wellbeing such as: acai, blueberry, mangosteen, pomegranate, matcha green tea, rosehip, chlorella and elderberry flower. It comes in convenient single serve sachets that are easy to use on the go, providing me with beauty and wellness benefits from the inside out!
Do you have a personal trainer?
I like to mix up my exercise routine so I do have a few different trainers that I do yoga, reformer pilates and ballet workouts with. But to be honest, I’ve been taking it easy after having Hart so that my body can heal which means and just doing light workouts and a lot of walking these past few months. It’s important to be kind to yourself and your body and give it the time to it needs to rest and recover after birth. I’m ready to get back to the grind though so I’ve just started scheduling some more intense exercise regimes for the coming weeks! Cardio on the bike, swimming and reformer pilates will be my go-to.
What’s the number one thing you wish someone had told you about parenthood?
Be kind to yourself and try not to put any pressure or expectations on yourself. Each pregnancy, birth and baby is different. It’s exhausting, but the most rewarding experience of your life.
She’s a modern day slashie— singer, songwriter and actress Sabrina Carpenter already has three albums to her name and has opened for singer Ariana Grande. She has appeared in shows like Orange is the New Black, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and was the lead in Disney show Girl Meets World. Here I sit down with Sabrina to chat about her new single, having Beyonce as a fan and how she gets through a crazy touring schedule.
What are you doing in Australia?
I’m here promoting my new single, “Almost Love,” but honestly, just being able to come and do some things before I hopefully get to tour here next year. I’m just such a fan of Australia. Whenever they ask me to come, I’m like, “Sure!”
You’ve been to Australia before. What are some of your favourite things to do while you’re here?
Eat Tim Tams. Eat more kinds of Tim Tams…No honestly, I’ve been able to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do over time of coming here, like going to the zoo and going to the beaches. We went to Bondi Beach. It’s just beautiful. The people are my favourite part. Everyone’s got such a nice energy.
Tell me about your single, “Almost Love.”
I wrote the song with Stargate, and, honestly, it was kind of inspired by these events where you feel like you’re on the cusp of something really great, a new possible, whether it’s a relationship or not, it’s that really exciting feeling, where you just want it to speed up and happen quicker. I actually had the words to the song in my phone for a couple of years. And it was one of those things that when I got into the studio, it was the right day to write the song, and now it’s the first single off the album.
What is the writing process for you?
It depends, it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s very quick and very easy, and other times, I will break down the song and write it over the course of three months. So, it’s never quite the same. I’d like to believe that every song that I write ties into my life somehow, because that’s the best way that I can write, where I feel like I’m getting something out of it, you know? I don’t think I ever to write to just write.
Tell me a little bit about the album.
It’s called “Singular,” and I really just wanted to embody the feeling and sound of this confident, empowered version of myself, that I feel like I’ve always sort of been since I was little, but I think that I had to learn to really be that way as a young woman in this industry. There’s so many doors slammed in your face, and there’s also so many fears that you have to overcome in order to have people listen to you, and understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from. So, it’s been such a journey, and I think that was one of the reasons why I called it “Singular,” but now, at this point, sonically, it’s such a departure from everything I’ve done before. So, I’m really excited for my fans to hear it.
What would you tell your younger self, considering you would have learned so much over the years?
I would tell my younger self, like, stop with the pink and sparkles! Like, I wore way too much pink, it was a problem, when I was like, 10. But, I would say trust your instincts, because I think that that’s a huge thing that I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to put my own opinions before other people’s, because it’s so easy to be, “Oh, well, maybe they know what’s best.” But then, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be your choice.
You’re immersed in singing and film. Out of the two genres, what do you gravitate more to?
I put it this way, music is my own voice, music is my stories and I have complete control. And with acting, I get to tell other people’s stories, and I get to put myself in someone else’s shoes, and I really, really get to feel what they’re feeling, and hopefully contribute something else to this world in a way that I can’t do with my music. So I love both.
What were you like as a child?
Always singing. Like, literally never shut up. Acting, I didn’t really know what it was, but I loved to play with Barbies and give them their own lives, and I loved to do different plays with my friends, and just pretend. I lived in an area where there wasn’t a whole lot around. It was like in the middle of the woods, so I had to build a world around me in my imagination, and I think that that really, really helped me now.
What was your first big break?
I think in acting it was obviously a television show that I did when I was 13 years old called “Girl Meets World.” I think that was a big moment, just because that show reached a lot of people. And I think in my music, I’d like to believe I haven’t had it yet. Because I think that I’m still at the beginning of everything, I’ve accomplished so many insane things so far in such a short period of time with music, that I didn’t think I would get to such as being able to travel to places all over the world and write three albums by the time I was 19. And that in itself, I think, is a big thing. But, I don’t think there’s one specific thing.
What about your biggest pinch-me moment?
Biggest pinch me moment? Mm, when Beyonce knew who I was!
No! What happened?
She stopped me, we happened to be at the same place at the same time, which I like to believe is just the good Lord looking out for me. She stopped me, and she was like, “I think you’re so incredible, and so talented, and me and my daughter love watching you.” And I was like, what? I knew who she was, obviously, as I passed her, but she stopped my friend, and she was like, “Is that who I think it is?” And I was like, “Come again? Is there someone else in this hallway?”
Who do you look up to in the industry?
I look up, obviously, to Beyonce. I love Rihanna. I love her sense of ‘I don’t care’ attitude, but in a great way. You know I think we need more of that. I think those are two really, really strong female musicians that have always made me feel like I can do anything on a stage, and I think that that’s a great inspiration to have in this industry. It can be scary. But I have so many. I grew up loving Christina Aguilera. She was one of my first.
What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being in the spotlight?
I think the best thing is that you have an opportunity to speak to a really large audience and hopefully contribute to some of the growth in the world in a positive way, however you choose to.
The worst thing is probably that your little mistakes are magnified so much, and especially as a teenager, I mess up every five minutes, and you know, back in the day without social media or anything like that, you didn’t know. So you just have to handle it different, and you also have to, I guess, learn how to not care, but just not take it to heart so much.
What’s your number one beauty tip?
Wash your face. It’s very simple, but it works every time. No, I constantly have to work with my skin, because I’m always on the road. I mean, it’s easy to say drink water, but at the same time, I think it really is just listening to your skin, because your skin is different from everybody else’s, so it’s just doing what works best for you.
Favourite travel destination?
Sydney, Australia. Duh.
What’s next for you?
I’m releasing the album later this year, and I’m a part of a movie coming out, I think for you guys on New Year’s Day, but it’s called “The Hate You Give.” Then I filmed another movie that will be coming out next year, and touring.
Do you like touring?
I do. I think you have to be twisted to like touring, so I think I’m really weird. It’s very challenging, and I think that I’ve probably developed most of my anxiety from being on the road, but I think that when you come out of it, you’re just a lot stronger. And it sounds like it’s not that big of a deal, but when you’re constantly waking up in a new city every day you’re not really like stationary for too long at all.
How do you get through it?
You need to sleep whenever you can. I’m always taking juice shots on the road, like, lemon and ginger and cayenne, because it’ll keep me healthy as long as I possibly can be. And then I like to explore if I have time. I like to see the cities that I’m in because I’m there, you know?
If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be?
Wow. I would love to either write a song or do a song with Paul McCartney, because he’s amazing. And I’ve also always wanted to do a musical.
Have you? That’d be great.
Yeah, because I’ve never really gotten to blend the worlds together, and I think that that would be really hard, and I want to do it.
Any particular one?
No. Actually, I’d love to do an original. I love so many different musicals. So I would, I’m sure, if one came along that had a role for me. There’s not a lot for girls my age. But, if there was like an original one, I think that would be really cool.
WE WENT TO: Hacienda Bar Sydney at the Pullman Quay
We’re all so health conscious these days that it’s often hard to differentiate what’s fact and what’s fad. Nutritionist Jessica Sepel is one person who is aiming to make being healthy easier, more sustainable and most of all, enjoyable. Jessica, through her popular blog, books and new app is trying to ensure that looking after our health becomes a lifestyle rather than a chore. We caught up recently to chat about the one question she gets asked the most, why she’s packing up and moving to LA and why she wants me to cook kalettes for dinner…
Hi lovely. Good to see you. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Thank you for having me what a gorgeous morning.
What have you been up to lately?
So I have just launched my app and vitamins so it’s been a really busy 2018 for me. A lot going on but also moving to LA next week. Very exciting.
What’s a day in the life of you?
Day in the life of me is wake up probably seven, 7.30 and I practice yoga normally, either yoga or a walk in nature and I have a JS Health [Jessica’s health program] breakfast. I actually don’t check social media or my emails or any of that until after a really beautiful morning routine, then I hit the office just like everyone else about 9 o’clock and full of meetings, recipe creation, technical meetings now because of the app and then finish work six, seven o’clock, make dinner for my husband and I, and I go into bed early.
You’ve had such an incredible journey did you always want to be a nutritionist?
I always wanted to be a nutritionist, but I absolutely didn’t have a dream bigger than that. I’ve studied health and nutrition for five years. After school, I went up to study nutrition, and then in my fourth year of study I started a blog just very casually, but I’ve always just wanted to be in private practice, that was my end goal. But then the blog took off and that’s how it kind of turn into a brand which is JS Health and JS Health turned into the books. And the books turned into a program and the program turned into an app and vitamins.
Did you have any idea that you’d be doing books, vitamins… apps?
No, no way. I always say if I can do it anyone can because I have zero business skills, zero business training…but I guess I’m really passionate about the healthy life and that as you know, when you’re passionate about something you can make it work. The best part of JS Health is that it’s this community, this really strong loyal community who have supported me and I’m supporting them on this journey to live a healthier life.
What would be some of your top tips for living a healthy lifestyle?
I actually think removing the pressure to do it all right. JS Health really is all about balance, of course making the best choices that you can most of the time, but then also allowing for flexibility, balance, moderation.
My tip is making one to two small changes a week that creates profound physical change in the body. Also, developing or fostering a wholesome relationship with your body is probably the first step when it comes to living a healthy life. Because when you love yourself and you want to take care of yourself, you automatically make healthy choices. We have to start to change our mentality around a healthy life and see it as this long term journey and make small changes week by week.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make?
Definitely the attachment to extreme and fat diets that is the biggest mistake, because unfortunately the minute we restrict and deprive our foods it always leads to overeating, binging, emotional eating and having this really complicated relationship with food. We’re not meant to be so complicated with food. Food is here to nourish us, to energise us.
Social media, especially in your world, must have such great benefits but also such negatives as well.
Yeah, definitely and I feel like I’m in the middle of both of those worlds because I’m trying to encourage people to live a healthier life, but I don’t want them to feel like that is the perfect life. I always say the healthy life does not mean the perfect life, but obviously it’s my role to inspire my community with healthy food all the time. I also always encourage people to only follow people who inspire you and unfollow the people that you are comparing yourself to. You know when you’re following an account do you feel good when you look at it? Does is it inspire you, does it excite you, does it motivate you or you’re like, “oh gosh, I wish I had that, I should be looking like that.” If you’re feeling pressure and anxiety in any small way, it’s a good idea to unfollow.
Tell me about your app. Congratulations, it’s very exciting.
Thank you, so with the app I feel like it’s been like 10 years in the making to get to this point because I had a very complicated relationship with food as a young teenage girl as a chronic fad dieter. I was like 13 when I just got into dieting, which is very weird at that time because there was no social media. So I think I was actually reading those trashy celebrity magazines and following what they were doing.
It’s amazing how young that all starts.
Really young. And then I have had this complicated relationship with food until after school and then that’s when I went to study health and nutrition and then that’s when I started documenting my transition from being this fad dieter to becoming more of a balanced eater. And then I started documenting it into a blog and then I start writing about the recipes that I was creating and developing into the blog and so the app is really just a manifestation of my philosophy, of my principles, the recipes that people have loved all these years, and really it teaches you how to give up dieting for life. It is giving you access to a nutritionist 24/7. I have a whole team someone can just ask at any time.
It’s kind of a game changer, there’re 53 health guides, so kind of a virtual online nutrition clinic. So if you suffer with your sleep you’ll go into the sleep room and you’ll capture the JS Health sleep guide, nutrition guide, lifestyle guide for sleep, and then if you need further support there’s a nutritionist there guiding you through that whole journey or whatever you might be struggling with. I guess everyone wants a nutritionist in their pocket. We’re all on our phones all the time, so the app is really just this way for people to have access to my philosophy and my recipe with absolute ease.
You gave me these amazing kalettes for my dinner tonight, what am I cooking tonight with these?
I’m inspiring you to cook tonight, well firstly because you have kids and kids love chips, and kalettes are basically a very nutritious chip. You can bake them in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt, pop them into the oven for like 20 to 30 minutes and they turn into crispy chips and then you can use Hummus or Tahini to dip them or I chop them up and I sauté them with leeks and mushrooms and then I add goat’s cheese. So it’s like a kale stir fry topped with goat’s cheese and leeks and it’s just so delicious. I bought you some mushrooms and leeks to go with the kalettes, which you can get from Coles!
So you must be a good cook?
I wouldn’t say like I’m an amazing cook, but I’m really good at discovering healthy alternatives to our favourite foods and cooking simply but tasty, like I think you can still be a foodie even if you’re health conscious. We have this perception that healthy food is bland and boring and tasteless, I’m really trying to break that conception and show people that healthy food can be really delicious and satisfying and rich and decadent.
What’s your go-to recipe?
Probably the JS Health Japanese salmon, which is basically like a healthy teriyaki sauce over salmon with probably cauliflower mash.
What’s the number one question that people ask you?
Definitely energy, how do I get more energy? I think energy is such a big issue, right now for women especially so that’s one of them. Sugar cravings, how do I combat sugar cravings and gut health? I think those three are the most commonly asked questions in the JS Health community.
What do you say when it comes to energy?
So when it comes to energy, you really want to make sure that your gut is in good shape. So with gut health I will really give them a gut treatment protocol to get their gut back in shape. Really starting with food and not being too worried about it but cutting out those foods that will probably make you feel tired, and the two most common triggers are gluten and wheat and refined sugar. So if you just take a four week break from those two and see if your energy improves, which 90 percent of the time it does, then those are the two culprits to kind of reduce. When I say give up gluten, I mean you can still go out on the weekends and have your piece of salad and have your toast it’s just I have found from clinical experience, gluten does make people feel tired. A lot more sleep and also going to bed by 10.30, 11 anything after that can, people wake up feeling really tired.
Australians drink a lot of coffee. I love coffee I’m never giving up my one a day, but I normally say one a day before 10:00 AM because having caffeine from midday onwards can really interfere with your cortisol and adrenal glands, which can really affect your sleep and can make you feel really tired the next day. So I say try and stop at 10 or maybe the latest midday and you should notice the energy started to pick up.
Is going out to restaurants ever tricky?
I mean restaurants are also catering to the health conscious so you can always find a healthy option wherever you are. I think it really is just about making sure you have the macro nutrients to keep you full and satisfied at meals. So making sure you have your protein, your veggies and making sure you have your fibre from your veggies, making sure you have a bit of a complex or releasing carb, lots of good fats.
Do you ever indulge?
What is your biggest indulgence?
I love gelato. I love going out on a Saturday night and having wine and definitely trying the dessert. I’m a foodie so I want to go to these beautiful restaurants and experience the food. So actually because my life is so healthy and every day is based around the healthy life, I actually got out of my way to break that and be flexible with food and travel and go to new restaurants and try the food because I think that is the healthy life.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working, what do you do with your husband?
That’s a good question. I definitely need to improve on getting the fun back into my life because my husband is the CEO of JS Health so we work together, it’s really challenging. For me, honestly like fun is taking Saturday off going for a massage, practicing yoga, really not checking my emails and my phone and having a really beautiful dinner somewhere. And travel is what brings me so much joy and fun. Seeing the world, seeing different cultures, seeing more different food, experiencing different food I guess that to me is what I really look forward to in life.
What is it like working with your husband?
Interesting. We work really well together because we have so much respect for each other. And when you respect someone, it’s very rare that we break each other’s boundaries or speak to each other in a negative way. But it’s challenging in the fact that our life is work now, but there’s this amazing holly bow underneath, this is like my dream. We work together, we spend every waking moment together.
Tell me about moving to LA are you excited/ nervous?
Yeah, there’s a lot of fear. It’s a big move. I guess I have such a beautiful loyal community here and I will never leave that and I’ll always continue to nourish an Australian community, but this app, the app and the vitamins really does need to be in the American market and I think, I hope to build a JS Health community over there. The JS Health message is really unique because it’s really helping women around the world give up the diets, give up the fads, give up on the extremes around food and finally find balance and peace with food and their bodies, and so I really think America needs that. Hollywood needs that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Well, my mum always has said hard work never goes unnoticed, and so every time you know, we all have those days and those moments where you’re like, is all of this work actually worth it? But then I remember she says, you’ll see, you’ll see the hard work will get acknowledged and noticed. I think people don’t have a really true perception of what it takes to build something. It’s really not easy, it’s really not glamorous, it’s gruelling and you actually have to be relentless. My dad has always said, keep going, keep going, keep pushing it’s the only way I guess to do what you want to do and create what you want to create.
Amazing. I wish you the best of luck over in LA!
Thanks Kate, thank you so much.
Try Jessica’s recipe for this one pan dukkah crusted salmon dish below.
This easy one-pan dinner shows how to make a meal that’s nutritious, quick and easy.
2 x salmon fillets
1 x packet kalettes, stem removed
½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
Himalayan salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tbsp dukkah spice
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C if fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place two salmon fillets in the middle of the baking tray, surrounded by the kalettes and cauliflower florets.
Spray olive oil over the veggies and salmon. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
Top each salmon fillet with 1 tbsp of the dukkah spice. Pat it down.
Place the prepared baking tray in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the vegetables are lovely and roasted. Serve warm and enjoy. Pro tip: make extra veggies for lunch!
For my recent Date with Kate with Poppy Delevingne I honed in on a look that was light and airy and a fun colour palette of green and white. It was a refreshing change from a lot of the heavier looks I’ve been wearing during winter and what better excuse to embrace a little colour than lunch with one of my favourite models/actresses.
I am always easily won over by a long sleeved dress—there’s just something about the silhouette and the way it always looks chic and polished that I love. However I also couldn’t look past all the design finishes on this particular Maggie Marilyn dress (who by the way is quickly becoming one of my favourite designers). The cutout neckline, the sweet oversized bow and the ruching all work together to achieve a look that’s sweet without being too saccharine.
I wanted to have fun with my accessories so it seemed the perfect time for my embellished Gucci Dionysus bag to come out to play. My floral Gucci slides added a statement element to the rest of my look and pink sunglasses made for a vibrant finishing touch.
Credits: Dress (not in store yet), Maggie Marilyn; Shoes, Gucci; Bag (similar), Gucci; Sunglasses (similar), Gucci
You’ll be familiar with Poppy Delevingne first and foremost as a model. She was first scouted at the age of 15 by Sarah Doukas, Storm models founder and the woman who discovered a young Kate Moss. And whilst she’s modelled for the likes of Burberry and Alberta Feretti, and landed magazine covers for Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and fronted campaigns for the likes Louis Vuitton it seems she’s found her true calling: acting. She’s starred in King Arthur and Kingsman: The Golden Circle and is appearing opposite Antonio Banderas in Genius: Picasso. However we’re sitting down for a chat for another reason—her Queen of Pop collection with Jo Malone London. The fun, 60s inspired range includes everything from bubble bath to fragrances and has brought Poppy to Sydney to chat about its launch in Australia. Here we chat about working with such an iconic brand, why she loves Aussie labels and the one place in the world that gives her butterflies.
What are you up to and what are you doing in Australia?
I am in Australia for the last leg of my Jo Malone London Queen of Pop tour. We’ve done LA, London, Dublin, Paris, Milan. Now Australia. So this is my last bit, and I’m very sad that it’s ending.
Tell me all about your collection.
So Queen of Pop… we created our first standalone bubble bath. It’s Jo Malone’s first ever bubble bath. It’s about time. In a much bigger bottle, with three very luxurious fragrances. And then what is bath time without a luxury candle? Which we did in another three fragrances. And then I picked three favourite colognes, which all mean something to me in very unique and special ways. I’m a 60s girl at heart, so we went for quite a Mod aesthetic. I was very inspired by the 60s, and by pop art, and Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. So, bright polka dots, bright colours, gold stripes. We just wanted to do something that was really playful.
And so how did you go about choosing the fragrances?
So, Red Rose is … Was the first Jo Malone perfume I ever wore, and I started wearing it when I was 18 years old and I always go back to it, it’s like an old friend. Amber and Lavender is the cologne that my husband wears. It’s a unisex cologne and we did these little bottles so I can now carry him around wherever I go. And Peony Blush & Suede is my all-time favourite Jo Malone fragrance because it’s so feminine and light and floral, but has a little edge to it. If I wear it I get compliments.
The Queen of Pop collection is now available in Australia
What is a day in the life of you?
Every single day is so different…. a lot of planes, usually make up a lot of my time. I’ve actually at the moment just started [filming] a new TV show called Riviera, season two. So I’ve moved out to Nice, and I’ll be living there ’til November. Which is super exciting. Every day is a new adventure.
You’ve come from a modelling background, and now you’re focusing more on films and TV. Which genre do you prefer?
I prefer acting. I never really felt like I belonged to the modelling world. I was just always that goofy girl with lipstick on her teeth, tripping over lighting cables. I’m so grateful for the career that I had in the fashion industry, but acting really has my heart.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt while modelling?
Oh my God, to have a thick skin. To not take things personally. How to deal with jet lag.
What do you love most about acting?
For me, I like the challenge of it. I’ve always been someone who likes to push myself and challenge myself in any way that I can. So, for me it’s that terrifying feeling I get before going on set, and then being able to do it and achieve it. That sense of achievement at the end of the day is everything.
You’ve worked on some big films. What has been the biggest pinch-me moment?
I think my biggest victory moment would have to be doing the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in America. And I did that with Steve Martin and Martin Short. I’ve always been [a] huge fan [of both actors], since I was young. I grew up with [the movie] Father of the Bride. So, for me to be sitting on a sofa with those two comedic greats, and with Jimmy Fallon, who’s also a genius, he’s unbelievable, I was absolutely petrified and I opened a beer bottle with my eye sockets. I was like, “Oh my God, don’t do this, you’re gonna get a black eye!” It was so fun.
What was it like to be on such a big production like the movie King Arthur?
I mean, daunting, but quite incredible. Working with [director] Guy Ritchie is a dream come true. Getting to act with the wonderful Eric Bana and to meet all these incredible actors who I could learn so much from. It was daunting, but magical all at the same time.
What was it like to work with Antonio Banderas in the show Genius: Picasso?
Incredible. He is such a kind and generous man, and such a generous actor, and to be able to work with someone like him who I could learn so much from and … He was always so helpful and so respectful and I learnt a lot from him.
What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received would have to be from Cinderella, which is, “Be kind and have courage.” I love that.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style is very eclectic and I would say that I always dress to suit my mood. I like spontaneous dressing.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
For my daily uniform, I always have a really good pair of jeans. I’m obsessed with FRAME Denim or Citizens of Humanity. T-shirts, I love James Perse and Calvin Klein. A leather jacket. I have a gorgeous one by Anine Bing. And then I’d wear these little trainers called Feiyues, which are actually from China. I live in them. So yeah, like jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket and trainers.
What about beauty essentials?
Oh, my God, where do we begin? I wash my face with MBR (Medical Beauty Research) enzyme face wash. I love using Crème de la Mer eye cream and soft moisturizing lotion. That’s basically me done. I like to keep it very simple and quite basic.
What are you makeup daily essentials or are you one of those people that wears no makeup on a normal day?
If I’m not working, I like to do no makeup whatsoever, because whenever I’m working, it’s part of my job to wear it so I like to give my face a day off every now and again.
Are you a flats or heels girl?
Flats, because I’m so tall on my own. I don’t need any help in that department.
Do you like Australian labels? and if so, what are your favourites?
I do. Zimmermann has been one of my all time favorites and it’s come to London now, which is so exciting, because it means that I can basically wear them. I used to love sass & bide. I was so devastated when that stopped, because it was literally like my favourite store in the whole world. Who else do I really love? I’ve got really beautiful things … I can’t remember what she called it now. Her name’s Kit Willow. KITX, she’s got some gorgeous things. She’s a beautiful designer.
What are your favorite things to do when you come to Australia?
See all my Aussie fans, because they’re literally some of my favourite people in the whole entire world. To see them, to drink Aperol Spritzes, be in the sunshine, work on my freckles and shop.
Where is your favourite travel destination?
When I think about Italy, when I think about Positano and I think about having pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that gives me butterflies with excitement. And Le Sirenuse Hotel has ton loads of memories. One of my all-time favourite places in the world.
What do you carry in your travel bag?
In my travel bag I have a lovely organic lavender hand sanitizer. Yes, it’s literally the best thing ever. What else do I always carry in my bag? Jo Malone London do a gorgeous lip balm, a gorgeous vitamin E lip balm. They also do a lovely geranium and walnut hand cream that I’m obsessed with. And I’m also really obsessed with Dr. Barbara Sturm, who does these hyaluronic ampules. They’re like acid ampules and you crack them open and put all over your skin and just let it sink it. It’s heaven.
Amazing. I need to try that.
And a silk eye mask.
Really? Do they really work?
Yes. Makes the world of a difference. It’s so bad to leave … you know if you take off an eye mask and you have a mark on your face, as you get older, it’s really bad to do that. My dermatologist told me that. She’s like, “You need to get silk pillows, silk everything, because-yeah, because, it just wrinkles your face so much. I know, right?
I always saw them and thought, “Oh, it’s too high maintenance to wash silk pillows.”
I know. It’s annoying, but a silk eye mask is good enough.
What’s next in the pipeline?
I’ve been finishing off this show, Riviera. I’m filming it till November, and then I think just seeing what comes next. I’m going to be doing a third collaboration with Jo Malone London, so I’m super excited about that. I’m working on it at the moment, so it’s a work in progress, and we’ll hopefully get to tour with it next year.
If you could work on any film or with any actor, what would be your dream role?
My dream would be to work with the wondrous Meryl Streep. I think she can do no wrong. It doesn’t get much better than that.
And any particular character you could play?
I would love to play a character who’s perhaps completely out of my comfort zone. Somewhere where I’d have to really transform myself and really immerse myself and become that person. Anything that’s a real challenge.
Where you see yourself in five years time?
Five years time. Babies, babies, babies. I hope so. Fingers crossed.
We went to: Bistro Moncur Mosman
We ate: Pan fried barramundi fillet; Potato & ricotta gnocchi
Since her first show in Paris in 2011, Rebecca Vallance has cultivated a brand into a celebrity favourite and one that is stocked both locally and internationally. Her designs have been seen on everyone from Emily Blunt to Rachel McAdams and Chrissy Teigen and is now available at designer boutiques including Harvey Nichols, Net-a-Porter and My Theresa, along with bricks and mortar stores in Sydney and Melbourne. However that’s only just the beginning. As one of Australia’s top designers, Rebecca has her sights set on expanding her brand both at home and globally, and from our chat she’s not about to slow down any time soon. Here I chat to Rebecca about the two women she would love to dress, the one piece she considers to be one of her standout designs and why she only ever wears her own label.
What’s the latest with you?
I have just come back from London. I was there for Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and meeting with press over there. So it went really well. The brand’s on a big trajectory over there, so it’s really exciting to be there and be a part of it.
Yeah. So in that two years we picked up Net-a-Porter, and all the big international majors like MyTheresa. Then we’ve opened our stores now.
Oh yes, that’s right. You had just opened [in Sydney’s] Mosman.
Just opened Mosman. There’s Armadale [in Victoria] as well, which is a beautiful store. We’ve just opened The Strand [in Sydney] last week, two weeks ago, which is beautiful, and the pop-up in Paddington [in Sydney].
Congratulations! So why did you choose The Strand?
We could see from our eCommerce site that we were sending a lot [of orders] to the city, and we just wanted our customers to be able to come to the store and have the full Rebecca Vallance experience. To be able to see the full collection.
When you first started your label did you ever imagine that it would grow to what it has done now?
Look that was the goal, I hoped, but I think from day one, when I launched it in London, I always wanted it to have an international DNA and an international customer. Yeah, that’s always been the focus. We’re thrilled it’s going so well.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It changes every season. Like the collection that’s in store at the moment was inspired by one of Pablo Picasso’s works, The Ladies of Avignon. But then the Resort Collection, I was planning my husband’s 40th in Capri, and [I was inspired by] the colours of Capri. So it really depends what’s going on with me at the time and what I’m thinking about.
Out of all your collections, what has been the biggest stand-out piece that you’ve designed?
Oh wow. Look, I think [TV presenter] Sylvia Jeffreys‘ wedding dress was definitely quite special. But every season we evolve the brand. Every season there’s a new favourite. We’re definitely known for our dresses, but suiting for us is having a huge moment at the moment. You wore the Maya Suit.
Oh I love that suit.
Yeah. I think it’s about evolving the brand to a point where we’re known for most of the women’s wardrobe. You know options for everything. I think too, we’ve just launched Pre-Fall today, and that’s beautiful, that’s really special. I think that’s probably the collection I’m most proud of to date.
That’s amazing. You’ve had so many celebrities wear your outfits. Who are some of your highlights?
I noticed when I was in London last week, everyone knew of the brand, which was really exciting, and all the editors were already across it and already wearing it themselves. I think that’s exciting. You can see it’s obviously picked up an international following, and The Strand’s done really well already, so that’s good.
If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be?
Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett.
You are a mum of two, young boys.
How do you juggle work, running a successful business, and having two kids?
It’s so full-on. I am obsessed with my two little boys, they are just adorable. They’re so sweet. I look forward to every day. I love going home to give them dinner, and bath them, and play, and hang out. I think it’s about priorities. There are times where they really need me around 24/7, and there are times where they don’t, so it’s about prioritising, about what I’m doing every day and making sure that I’m available for both. But it’s also too quality over quantity.
So if my boys need me, then being at home, but if the business needs me then being at work. So I just do my best. I’m not saying I’ve got it perfected but I do my best.
What’s your number one style tip?
I think it’s not about what you wear. It’s how you wear it. I think if you wear anything with confidence, you’re 1,000 steps ahead.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
Wardrobe essentials. I think, for winter, a long-sleeved dress, like the one I’m wearing. Long sleeve mini dress. And colour! I always see so much black and charcoal and brown and whatever. I think colour for winter. I’ve tried this season. I made a conscious effort in putting lots of colour and colour palettes.
What are we seeing for winter?
So this [colour] that’s a dark raspberry, maroon, but then I’ve also done lots of blush and ivory. So I just felt even though it’s winter, your personality should still shine through with some colour. So yes there’s lots of beautiful knits that are colourful, and always beautiful coats. I’ve done a beautiful tweed coat this season, which has got bold statement buttons on it, and it’s quite distressed and it’s quite beautiful. There’s always some things that are staple pieces but a little bit different.
How would you describe the RV girl?
I think polished in an undone way.
Where do you see you and your brand in five years time?
I hope we’ll have lots of international retail stores. I hope we’ll have beautiful Australian retail as well, and I hope the brand will continue on the way that it’s going. I want it to be internationally renowned, that’s for sure.
What sets you apart from other designers?
I think it’s our unique DNA. We know who our customer is, and I think it’s our product. Each season we try and refine it more and push it further and making sure when people see the collection, they know that’s a Rebecca Vallence dress.
Is your wardrobe filled with your own collection or do you wear other brands?
I only wear Rebecca Vallance.
Do you really?
Yeah I know. Well this is the thing. I think for me I design what I want to wear to some extent. So, there’s always everything that I want in a collection because it’s what I’m looking to wear. So yeah I only wear my own stuff, and obviously shoes and handbags is different.
Have you ever seen a piece of clothing that you’re like, “Oh, I wish I had designed that.”?
Not yet. I think there’s some incredible wedding gowns. I appreciate other designers, absolutely, but I think I’m so focused on what we’re doing as a brand that I’m kind of stuck looking at that.
You see so many designers that take inspiration from international designers. How do you steer clear from not making it look too trend orientated?
I think that when I launched the brand when I lived in London, I wanted it to have an international DNA and be authentic to who I was and we were as brand, and that’s, you know whether it’s going to Europe and sourcing out fabrications or working to develop that fabrications with the mills.
Will you ever face moving the business overseas?
I hope that if it becomes a problem, that the business is too big to be just in Australia, I hope to see it off in London and New York. Yeah for sure.
Is there anything coming up we need to know about?
I think for us at the moment, we’ve had the launch of the Strands store which is really exciting. They’re putting a tram in George Street [in Sydney] as well, so there will be lots of traffic coming through there. In addition, were launching Paddington, test it to see how it goes. I think we’ll just keep building out online. It’s doing very well at the moment, whether it’s in Australia or our global customer. I think it’s about doing what we’re doing well and refining it and pushing the collection further and further.
We went to: Rosetta
We ate: Grilled market fish with salmoriglio; Burrata with radicchio; Green salad
New York City is about as far away as you can get from the rural town Narrandera where model Victoria Lee grew up. As a self-confessed homebody, she says even she’s surprised that she’s now based in the Big Apple and miles from home. However relocating to the other side of the world is the logical next step when you’re one of the hottest models of the moment. Along with walking in last year’s Victoria’s Secret show alongside Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell, she is also a freshly minted David Jones ambassador joining fellow Aussies Jessica Gomes and ex-AFL player Adam Goodes. I caught up with Victoria to chat about the secret to a flattering photo, the one beauty product she can’t live without and how she stays fit.
What’s a day in the life of you?
Every day is different, which took awhile to get used to, to be honest. But I’ve since learned to embrace this fact and just go with the flow—as much as I can anyway! In general though, I love to wake up early, exercise in the morning, make yummy food and then get on with my day. If I’m working the hours and location always change but if I have some time off I’ll usually take care of any chores or e-mails, catch up with friends, sort the neverending pile of mail, run errands… it’s always a little different.
What is Fashion Week like for you?
This is the first time I’ve been home for Australian Fashion Week in a long time so I’m very happy to be home, but also [being here] where I haven’t done the shows. Actually being able to sit and experience the show is fantastic. I’m really enjoying seeing the way the show comes together and to appreciate the collections and creativity of the designers and all their hard work, from the other side.
What was it like to attend Camilla and Marc’s opening show?
I am such a huge fan of Camilla and Marc and to think it was their 15 year anniversary which was amazing. The show was fantastic—you felt transported to this other world through the lighting, set, sounds and music. Not to mention the collection itself which was stunning—the models looked so beautiful, powerful and strong.
Last year you walked in the Victoria Secret show in Shanghai alongside other supermodels like Tyra Banks, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell. How did that feel?
Surreal. It was so much better than I actually expected. I thought I’d be more anxious, that I wouldn’t be fully present and just enjoy, but did. And I think that’s because of the Victoria’s Secret team and the girls I was there with. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive. They know you’re nervous! They really make an effort to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to just have fun and enjoy yourself, which is what it’s all about. It was very exciting, I really enjoyed the entire experience.
What does it mean to you to be an ambassador for David Jones?
It’s a real honour. I grew up shopping at David Jones and admiring past ambassadors Megan Gale and Miranda Kerr. To be a part of such an iconic Australian brand is incredible and I’m so happy to be a part of the David Jones family. Especially now; to be alongside Jess Gomes and Adam Goodes is amazing. And to be celebrating the 180th birthday of DJs is really special.
How did you first get into modelling?
I met with agencies after being recommended by photographers when I was in Sydney one time with my family. However I didn’t start going to castings until I finished school.
Was this always your dream?
No, not at all. Mainly because I grew up in Narrandera, rural NSW. I had no concept of the modelling industry—it was a long way away. Even after I started, I never viewed modelling as a career option. I had no idea what to expect, but I appreciated the fact that the opportunity doesn’t come by every day. I thought I would try it out in between school and university. I’m extremely lucky to have such a wonderful support network that has been by my side every step of the way.
What were you like at school?
I loved sport and athletics but was also very focused on my studies. I worked hard to get the best possible mark on my exams as I could. I ended up being Dux of my school which I was really happy about. All my friends from school try to catch up when everyone is home over Christmas which is always a lot of fun.
What’s something that people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?
Growing up I was a real homebody—I hated being away from home. Even on school excursions, I would want to go home ASAP. I couldn’t even do sleepovers. So to now live as far away from home as possible is something that still surprises me!
What was your first big break?
Very early in my career, my first Fashion Week, I walked for Camilla and Marc at Australian Fashion Week.
What has been your biggest pinch-me moment?
Can I have two?! Walking for VS [Victoria’s Secret] and being named as a David Jones ambassador were both pretty special pinch-me moments.
Who do you look up to?
I admire my parents and grandparents—I’m lucky to have such a wonderful family whom I look up to. I also admire women like Elle McPherson, Jess Gomes, Megan Gale, Doutzen Kroes, Diane Von Furstenberg, my agent, Doll, just to name a few! Intelligent, hard-working, very genuine women.
What has been the best advice you have ever received?
My mum always encouraged me to do my best in any situation and not to follow the crowd—be my unique self, always.
If you hadn’t become a model, what would you be doing?
Probably something in health or nutrition. I’ve always been fascinated by the human body.
As a model, how do you stay fit?
I love dance-based workouts—I find my body responds well and they are a great combination of strength and cardio. Along with stretching and recovery I make sure to respect my body and to prioritise sleep and recovery as much as my workouts. Along with proper nutrition. I love food and aim to nourish my body in the best way I can.How do you prep for a big show?
I have a healthy lifestyle constantly but leading up to a big show I’ll make sure to drink plenty of water and get as much sleep as possible. I have a sweet tooth so I might cut back a little on the chocolate. But it’s all about balance.
What is it like living in New York?
I love it. It took a while to get used to—it’s a far cry from Narrandera and Sydney. But it’s an amazing city with such a vibrant and eclectic energy and culture. I’m very lucky to be able to live there and call Australia home. It’s the best of both worlds which I’m very appreciative of.
What do you miss most about living in Sydney?
The wonderful beaches, weather, our laidback attitude, our sense of humour, our fresh food, being close to my friends and family of course. The list goes on… travelling and living away really emphasised to me just how lucky we are as Australians to live here. I know it’s such a cliché, but it’s true—we are the lucky country.
What is the secret to a great photo?
Oh my gosh—good question!! I guess try to relax and keep your chin down.
What is your number one beauty essential?
Oils. I’ve noticed a real improvement in my skin since using them. I love Dermalogica phyto replenishing oil at the moment but I’ll change it up depending on how my skin is feeling. They can be used to remove make up, as a treatment, to prep for makeup, during a flight—just make sure you get one that suits your skin type.