A black dress is one of those things I can’t live without. It can be the cornerstone of many a look and is so versatile, wearable and has longevity. This Camilla and Marc dress is so effortless in its design—a sleek silhouette, simple yet interesting detailing and a flattering fit. It feels very modern while maintaining the eternally classic appeal that’s synonymous with the LBD.
The beauty with black dresses is that you can take them any direction you choose. You can dress them up to be something that feels quite formal or keep them casual with understated accessories. I love the freedom that that affords me and also it’s a great way to maintain a tight edit on pieces that I own as I can utilise one item in so many different ways.
I opted to keep this look quite sleek and simple. Worn with minimal jewellery and a relaxed hairstyle it evokes a polished vibe that doesn’t feel overly ‘done’. I can see myself wearing this look for many a work function or event but it also would be a quick go-to during my down time. And that chameleonic nature is what the LBD is all about.
Photography by Sophia Athas
Shop the Look:
Dress: Faith Topstitch Twill Dress, Camilla and Marc
Whoever said neutrals are boring never met a dress like this. This Camilla & Marc dress is a subdued hue but the sleek and elegant silhouette elevate it into something that can be worn throughout summer, making it the ideal look for warm days and balmy nights. The twisted halter neck design is sleek and adds a subtly sexy touch while the ruched back gives the dress an interesting feature but as a bonus, makes it ultra comfortable too. Also, I’m a fan of any dress with pockets (utilitarian and a great design feature) and the midi length is flattering and fun.
I wanted to wear toned down accessories with this look and something quite tonal too. So I opted for monogrammed Louis Vuitton ankle boots which has a subtle logo design so it doesn’t overwhelm the look, but a good boot helps ground the look. This look doesn’t call for fussy pieces so I went for a simple hat. Just the thing to complement this minimalist dress, and in the same colour family, it helps pull the entire look together.
Australian designer Anna Quan (Anna Quan Hoang) first debuted her collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2015. Since then she has been featured locally and internationally in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Elle magazine and has dressed international celebrities including Kendall Jenner and Karlie Kloss. This week Anna was awarded the Lexus Next Gen Award for Best Up and Coming Designer at the Prix De Marie Claire Awards. I caught up with her to chat about what it means to her to win this award, her first big break and her top styling secret.
What is a day in the life of you?
I usually get up at 8.30am, have a double shot of coffee, do some emails and get to work at 10am. I work in the studio until around 6pm and head home for dinner and get back in studio around 9pm and work a few more hours. Then head home (it’s only a five minute drive) and decompress for an hour or so and get to bed at 2-2.30am.
Congratulations on winning the Lexus Marie Claire Next Gen Award – Best and Up Coming Designer. What did it feel like to win?
Thank you. It was a mixture of utter surprise and delayed excitement. It completely stunned me and caught me by surprise. I had absolutely no idea. All the candidates were all so deserving.
What did it mean to win the award?
The endorsement and support from Marie Claire and Lexus is phenomenal. The prize is so well respected within the industry with past winners like Toni Maticevski, Dion Lee, Kym Ellery – it just puts you personally on a real high but also career wise it can open a lot of doors that might have otherwise remained closed. It gives me that extra fire in my belly to keep going when things get tough.
Did you know that you would enter the fashion world when you were growing up?
No I didn’t know that – not exactly. There was always this feeling of longing to be a part of fashion but it felt out of my reach when I was growing up. I wasn’t a cool kid. I lived in Mount Colah. There was a lot of emphasis put on pursuing a more traditional career path like medicine.
How did you get into the industry?
I graduated from law school and enrolled straight into a fashion design course at Fashion Design Studio (formerly East Sydney Tafe). It was my carpe diem moment and very much a case of now or never! The rest is history.
What was your first big break?
Dressing Kendall Jenner after my first group show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Her styling team picked my looks from a YouTube clip they found online of the runway show. It was incredibly random and fortunate.
How did you get your name out there as an emerging designer?
The most successful thing for me has been creating a signature product and getting it out there. I approached street style stars who I thought would really align with my aesthetic and it took off from there when they were snapped for Vogue or W magazine during Paris Fashion Week.
How would you describe the essence of your design philosophy?
My approach has been to make clothing and fashion relevant to the everyday and to elevate that. I always like to take something traditional and subvert and twist it a little. I take great pleasure in someone doing a double take and re-examining what they think they saw.
How did you develop your own personal style?
After high school I got more of a chance to explore my personal style at university and I did the cliché thing and moved into a share house in Newtown. I was an Arts student and everyone was a lot less conservative and more experimental with how they dressed at university. Living in Newtown helped as it was more edgy and I really enjoy people watching and take inspiration from that. People are not afraid to be different.
What is your number one styling secret?
Find yourself a good alterationist. Good fit is key and often underrated. It’s a little bit more effort but it makes a world of difference when the fit and proportion are adjusted specifically for your body.
What has been your favourite piece across all of your collections?
Pants. I love to wear a really wide leg palazzo style pant. They just make you look so much taller.
Where is the majority of your customer base from?
50 per cent is based in Australia and a good 50 per cent is based mainly in the USA east coast. It seems to attract a lot of New Yorkers.
What are your favourite styles at the moment?
I am loving big voluminous sleeves and long line trench coats. It’s a nice counterpoint between romanticism and utilitarianism. I’m always attracted to unlikely elements.
What big trends can we expect for spring and summer?
I think volume is going to continue to be a big trend for tops and dresses and bottoms.
What is your best ‘work perk’?
I have a mid-week day off on Wednesdays as I work through weekends. I try not to schedule anything in to allow myself time to do life related stuff, I sleep in if I need to. I do some light emailing and work as necessary but on Wednesdays I try to cut myself some slack.
What is the most challenging aspect of owning your own your own fashion label?
Learning when and how to say no. It’s really important to be true to your vision and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up and to be told by everyone to do something or be something you’re not. It’s taken me a while to master confidence and self-belief to say no to people and just do my own thing.
Your designs have caught the eye of many celebrities including Kendall Jenner, who wore your jumpsuit to Kim and Kanye’s lavish pre-wedding luncheon. Who were you most excited about when you found out they were wearing your designs?
Karlie Kloss. She did this shoot with Gilles Bensimon and the shirt she wore was actually a customer order. The editor at The Editorialist in New York had bought a shirt of mine seasons before it was a thing. She got her to wear it for a shoot. I had no idea this was going to happen and it was amazing.
Who else would you love to see in your designs?
Tilda Swinton and Caroline de Maigret. I am obsessed with those women. They are just so strong, feminine and chic all at once. I get this vibe that they don’t really give a toss what people think and just do their own thing.
What does success mean to you?
Being surrounded by the people I love, generating financial freedom from doing what I love and importantly – good health. It’s not necessarily being in every single store or the balance of my bank account.
Who inspires you?
Serious boss ladies. It’s not one person in particular, but there are a few women around me who run their own businesses, have kids and families and just get on with things and they are killing it. I am always in awe. It’s not to say they don’t get stressed or they don’t get frazzled, but they manage it with grace, guts and tenacity.
Who do you turn to for support?
My husband, he’s my partner in crime. He’s not in fashion and it’s great because it gives me perspective when dealing with obstacles and issues.
Where is your favourite travel destination?
Paris. I am lucky enough to go three times a year for work. Even when the traffic is hideous and I am cabbing into town from Charles de Gaulle airport. I can’t help but smile and enjoy the architecture, the quaint little cobbled laneways and watching people go about their daily lives. It’s totally corny to say this but it’s my spiritual home.
What do you like to do to relax?
Gardening and running. Gardening because I love to grow things. Running outdoors because it’s a great form of stress relief and after a while – you feel like you are flying. It really taught me to cope and deal with pain and discomfort – these things are transient and part of the process.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would really like to continue to do what I am doing but on a larger scale and selling to the right stores. Ideally – getting more help and growing my team and having more time to slow down and smell the roses.
WE WENT TO Prix De Marie Claire Awards, Entertainment Quarter.
WE ATE Baked blue eye cod with grilled baby leeks, oyster mushroms and chestnuts; followed by white chocolate hemisphere.
This year, my day started early at our apartment in Melbourne. That is where we stay with my family so it was great to be able to spend Cup Day with them. With three kids and a baby present it was certainly busy but it was nice that my girls and my niece and nephew were all with us. I spent the morning getting ready with Mum and my sister-in-law Hoda and as always it was fun for us to all get our hair and makeup done together. My outfit was already sorted (it’s always something I like to lock in well in advance) so it was just a matter of putting the final finishing touches to it and I was ready to walk out the door.
We were lucky enough to be picked up by a Lexus car to take us to the Birdcage and when we got there headed straight for the Lexus Design Pavilion, which as per usual was on another level. It was definitely the place to be in the Birdcage and stood out as the most stylish and sophisticated marquee. The interiors were amazing and the architecture of the entire building was striking. Guests in the Pavilion included Jessica Gomes, Emma Freedman and Margaret Zhang so it was a great opportunity to catch up with a lot of people. We had an amazing lunch experience in there too which involved a three course tasting plate hosted by Ben Shewry, the head chef and owner of Attica restaurant in Melbourne. Needless to say, the food was delicious.
I was also on Lexus ambassador duties on the day so I had to juggle multiple media interviews including TV and radio spots which is always fun! However the most enjoyable part of the day is definitely being able to watch the race with my family, Mum especially. She had a runner in the race called Excess Knowledge so we watched the it with her in the owners’ stand. It’s always really nice being able to take in the race with her as I know all the hard work that goes into making it to the Melbourne Cup.
Cup Day is always a crazy busy day and it often passes by in a whirlwind of admiring all the beautiful outfits and headwear, toasting the day with champagne and race day duties for me but it’s something I look forward to every year. Counting down to 2017!
Getting dolled up with the help of my go-to makeup artist Blanka Dudas
Test driving my Gucci heels
Selfie for Instagram
Sophia hanging out in the apartment
Outfit details close up
All smiles with Mum and Hoda
Heading to the Birdcage with a little help from Lexus
Walking in with Luke
Catching up with Nadia Fairfax
Doing a radio interview
… and more interviews!
The media at the Lexus Design Pavilion
A peek at the interiors inside the Lexus Design Pavilion
So many beautiful finishes
Impressive set of wheels on display!
The outdoor area
We were truly spoilt in the food and drinks department
Lunch with Damian Walshe-Howling at Nomad in Surry Hills.
Damian Walshe-Howling is an actor and director known for playing tattooed killer Benji Veniamin in the TV series, Underbelly, winning him an AFI Award in 2008, as well as hosting the shows Crash Investigation Unit and Customs. He has produced a short film, MESSiAH, which premieres on June 14 at the Sydney Film Festival after he was named one of four winners of its short film competition from more than 4000 entries. The film is the result of Walshe-Howling’s 2015 win at the Lexus Short Film Series, a competition run by Lexus international in partnership with The Weinstein Company. Walshe-Howling, 45, tells Kate Waterhouse about what inspires him, how he became a film director and the day he almost died on a set. What does it mean for you to have your film show at the Sydney Film Festival?
It is an incredible honour to share MESSiAH at the Sydney Film Festival because it exposes my work to some big names. To have the Global Premiere of MESSiaH in my home country allows me to share this with family and friends, which is even more special.
What inspired you to produce MESSiAH the new short film?
I actually overcame my self-doubt and entered my film on the very last day on the competition. I decided to take a punt so I was left with 36 hours to turn a treatment around. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity presented by The Weinstein Company and Lexus. Unfortunately funding for short films is rare so I had to jump on board. Funnily enough the competition theme was anticipation so it fitted well with my last minute approach.
What does screenwriting for a short film involve?
The process begins with a lot of brainstorming initially by sitting down and deciding what angle to go with. Initially I write about themes that interest me and what I’m curious about. I have written 3 to 4 films so far and I need to be really curious about the subject. The greatest challenge is actually getting my bum in the seat to write but once I start I’m off. I began writing Messiah at the beginning of Nov and did not have a full script until end of January. The process really involves playing with it, rewriting again until you are happy with it.
How did you enter into filmmaking?
After 25 years of acting professionally it was quite a natural progression to move into the writing and editing space. My mother was also involved with stage theatre in Melbourne so I grew up in a creative household. Growing up surrounded by lots of story telling led me to being curious about the field.
What do you hope to achieve with your Film work?
I hope to achieve what is happening right now – I love what I do and feel very blessed to be doing this right now. I will continue to work with short films and see where this takes me.
Do you enjoy screen writing or acting more?
Both screen writing and acting have challenges that I enjoy. I gain enormous fulfillment from both to be honest. They both require a lot of time to craft a finished product, which I am proud of.
What was your favourite acting role?
This is hard for me to answer because there have been so many great roles across stage, film and TV. I would have to say that my Underbelly would be one of the favourites though. I also really enjoyed acting on stage in the Glengarry Glenn Ross theatre production. I played a captivating role as Ricky Roma.
Which series did you enjoy working on the most?
Ah, I cannot pick just one! Again, Underbelly because it was so well crafted and I think it engaged a lot of Australians. I also have really fond memories from working on the 2001 comedy He died with a falafel in his hand. The Reef was about a great white shark, which capsized near the Great Barrier Reef. I actually almost died by stepping on a stonefish while we were filming. We had to stop production for a day and the cast went waterskiing while I was in hospital.
What attracted you to the Underbelly role?
Well the offer was very enticing [Laughs]. The story was really strong so intuitively it was going to be a great series. An early reading of the script showed that the series would be powerful as humanity was at the heart of these characters.
What is the best thing about your job?
I do have a pretty great job. I am very blessed to do what I love. I know that is so cliché but it is that simple. It is important for me to enjoy what I am doing because I have to dedicate a lot of time. The industry allows me to unleash my creativity and you are always collaborating with fantastic people. Along the journey, I have met some wonderful mentors who have been collaborated with me to drive my vision
How did you get your first career break?
My first break relied on knocking on a lot of doors and being patient. I also picked up the phone to hassled people. It was a fine line between pushing my desires and not over doing it. I learnt a lot in terms of knowing when to try to push the door open and when to look elsewhere. The biggest learning curve for me was understanding the benefit of creating your own work. For many years I didn’t do that because I was too afraid. The opportunity to create my own short film is so amazing because it means that people believed in me.
If you didn’t go down the career path of acting, what alternative career path do you think you would have taken?
I could see myself doing something with photojournalism or psychology. I have actually studied photography. I worked on the framing of MESSiAH with my director of photography, Denson Baker. I have found a simpatico with him as our minds met visually.
What is your favourite film of all time?
I am quite the movie fanatic so this is not easy to answer to decide on one. My list of favourite films changes all the time. Star Wars would have to be on my list because I am quite a die-hard fan. Dead man walking with Sean Penn is another incredible film. I also have to mention Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is a highly inspiring mad film.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a little bit nutty for sure. Luckily I am also very chatty and I am naturally quite curious about the world.
What do you do outside of work?
I keep busy with lots of things. I enjoy socialising with family and friends. I have learnt to play the harmonica and can also play the drums and didgeridoo. When I find time I also go surfing at my favourite beaches. I also value my alone time – I go to the cinema alone all the time. I find it a lot easier to cry when it is just me.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Honestly I don’t think in terms of future projections and things like that. I went to this lecture where a Buddhist monk was presenting. A guy in the audience asked the Buddhist monk if he believed telling the future. The monk said ‘no’. The guy asked ‘why?’ again. The monk explained that he couldn’t even take care of this moment let alone 5 to 10 years. I tend to agree with this rationale.
What is the best advice someone has ever given you?
I was taught to remain curious by my parents and family. I try to apply this to my life and have a mentality to continue exploring.
Who do you look up to?
I suppose I look up to different people at different times. It changes with who is in front of me and what I’m doing at the time. I would say my parents are always at the top of the list though. They taught me everything I know and continue to inspire me everyday.
What is next in the pipeline?
It is very exciting that I will be working on the new series of Janet King. Also, there is another TV series, which I will be involved with however I am not allowed to say any more about that one. Travel is also on the cards. I want to get inspired so I probably will dedicate about 4 to 6 weeks in time traveling to experience some new wonders.
WE WENT TO Nomad restaurant, Surry Hills
WE ATE Split pea hummus with spiced chickpeas and flatbread; Nomad charcuterie with pickles; jersey milk haloumi with tomato and oregano
From Bec & Bridge to Christopher Esber it was another day of back to back shows and with the sun shining and the weather unseasonably warm I wanted to wear something that was comfortable, airy and slight flowy to accommodate the bump. I went with a Christopher Esber top and Christopher Esber skirt which ticked all the boxes. The rest of the look was quite muted with my black Alaia heels and black Ellery sunglasses so I wanted to add a pop of colour with my Chanel clutch. Another busy day indeed!
Check out what I got up to today plus the rest of Fashion Week by checking out my YouTube channel.
MBFWA is on a roll and Day 2 proved impressive both on and off the runway. From pastel silks at Ginger & Smart, to bold silhouettes via Rebecca Vallance, there was a feminine edge to each show. In the wardrobe department, I chose to keep it neutral today, with a beautiful crepe SportMax shift dress with button details, another perfect silhouette for the baby bump. For the morning shows I added a beige trench by Christopher Esber. In true Esber style, the coat boasts stunning cut out details and a cape-like collar.
For more street style and runway action check out my snapchat: kate_waterhouse and to stay updated subscribe to my Youtube Channel.
MBFWA kicked off with a bang! Toni Maticevski officially opened the week with a stunning runway show at The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney. I opted for colour and pleats for Day One with this Stella McCartney skirt and top ensemble. It’s perfect for a growing baby bump as it is so comfortable and easy to wear. I look forward to having fun ‘styling the bump’ for the rest of the week.
For more street style and runway action check out my snapchat: kate_waterhouse and to stay updated subscribe to my Youtube Channel.
Yum Cha with Lexus ambassador Dan Hong. Photo: Wolter Peeters.
Top chef Dan Hong’s big break came with winning the Josephine Pignolet Award for best young chef in 2008. He went on to join Merivale and is now the executive chef across four of its establishments – Mr. Wong, Ms G’s, Papi Chulo and El Loco. The 32-year-old talked to me about how his mother got him his first big gig, the dish he is most proud of, and the lengths he will go to for his ultimate pair of sneakers.
Did you always want to be a chef?
Not really. I didn’t really do well in high school. So when I finished, my mum said, “What are you going to do?” I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” She said, “Why don’t you become a chef?” I went, “Oh, OK.” So she actually got my first job. This was 14 years ago, back at Longrain, and my passion sort of just developed from there.
Why did your mother suggest you become a chef?
I don’t know. I always grew up around restaurants. My mother owned three Vietnamese restaurants, back in the early ’90s. I cooked at home a lot because my mum wasn’t at home. She was always at the restaurant. So she just thought, “You’re good at cooking at home for the family, so why don’t you just give it a go?”
You are now one of the biggest names in the business. How did it evolve for you?
It all just fell into place. I’m really fortunate to have someone like Justin Hemmes, who has all these visions. I just execute the food. With something like Mr. Wong, he was just like, “I’m closing down Tank. I’m opening a Chinese restaurant and I want you.” I’m like, “Well, I don’t know anything about Chinese food.” He knew that I could do something like this without me even realising myself.
How did your association with Justin and Merivale come about?
Back in 2007, when I won the Josephine Pignolet Award for Best Young Chef, as part of the project, you get to travel overseas. So I worked in New York for two months and I got back and literally, the second day, I got back, I got a call from Frank Roberts, who is the general manager of food and beverage at Merivale, going, “Look, I’ve got this spot open.” He was with Lotus at that time. He went, “Look, I want you to come, do a tasting for Justin and then we’ll see how we go.” And then, luckily, I got the job at Lotus back in 2008. That was my first head chef job at 23. From there, it was Ms. G’s and El Loco and Mr. Wong.
You say you didn’t know anything about Chinese food, how did you transition and become one of the top chefs in Chinese cuisine?
I always loved eating Chinese food. So that’s what our chefs did at the end of our shifts late night: we’d always go to Chinatown like Golden Century and eat Chinese food. When we were opening Mr. Wong, we went to Hong Kong. We went from the smallest wonton noodle shop to the three Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants in the hotels. We went and ate at all the places, just to make ourselves just engulf ourselves in Chinese food. We read lots of books. I watched YouTube videos of people cooking Chinese food and I just combined everything. It was all trial and error. We had six months to work on the menu and that’s what we did.
Mr. Wong is a Two Hat restaurant, you must be so proud.
I am. I didn’t intend to get two hats. I just wanted a hat – [one] would be fine. It was so overwhelming. Now we’ve got to maintain the two hats now. So every September, when that time of the year comes when the Good Food Guide Awards come out, I’m stressing out!
How do you maintain the standard?
It’s all about being consistent and maintaining that high standard, no matter whether we do 1000 covers a day or 400 covers today. That’s our main priority.
What’s next in the pipeline?
It’s so busy here at Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s. I’m just constantly here, just trying to work on new dishes. Also I’m getting ready for the Melbourne Cup carnival – I am doing the downstairs food at the Lexus Design Pavilion in the Birdcage at Flemington. I’ve been working on the menu; people should expect really fun, delicious food. I’ve never been to the Melbourne Cup so it should be a lot of fun. Also I’m possibly doing something on TV later on. I can’t really say.
What is your favourite cuisine?
It’s a three-way tie between Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese. I can’t choose.
If you could work in any cuisine, what would it be?
I’d like to get into more Japanese cuisines. I think that’s still a little niche in the market there. I think you could take it to the next level with Japanese cuisine too.
What dish of yours are you most proud of?
At Ms. G’s, I’ve got this dish called Stoner’s Delight. It’s up to its third rendition now. People just love it. It’s the most unbalanced junk-food-style dish dessert ever. It’s got donut ice-cream, peanut butter, deep-fried nutella, mars bar brownie, peanut and pretzel brittle, potato chips, candied bacon. Every single table orders it. It’s the most Instagrammed dessert on Ms. G’s Geotag. It’s just crazy.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the world?
I would have to say it’s probably Flower Drum in Melbourne. I just love it.
Do you cook at home?
Not really. Because I work so much … I might just get a really nice steak from Victor Churchill and just cook it over charcoal and serve with salad on the side. My wife does the cooking at home. She is a great cook.
Will your children follow in your footsteps?
No, they better not. The industry is tough, especially being a chef.
What’s the toughest part of the industry?
It’s just the hours are really tough, the fact that you’re working while everyone is going out. Most of the time I leave when my children are asleep, and they’re asleep when I get home at night.
How do you create that work-life balance?
Well, first of all, your partner has to understand, in the first place, that you’re in the industry. Other than that, I try and spend the mornings with my kids when I can. I take my daughter to day-care three days a week. So I spend a bit of time with her there. I’ve still got two days off. I’ve got Sunday and Monday off. So that’s my family day.
You have a love of sneakers. How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
I’ve got about 140. They’re all in boxes in this custom wardrobe in my house.
Where did your love of sneakers come about?
I don’t know. I just really love rocking the latest kicks or the rarest shoes. That’s sort of just my vice, besides cooking.
Do you have a favourite pair?
I do. I’m a Nike Flyknit freak. I love anything Flyknit. I’ve got a pair of these rare Nike Flyknits. There are 50 pairs in the world.
How did you get them?
Well, they’re only released in Milan at the Nike lab there. I got them through just checking Instagram, looking at sneaker groups in Facebooks and forums, just to see who had a pair, not necessarily for sale. I just saw people wearing them and I just went, “Are they for sale? I’ll buy them.” I’m not going to say how much I spent because it was a lot for a pair of sneakers. That’s what you have to do for something that’s only 50 pairs in the world.
What’s something that people wouldn’t know about you?
I’m really into really crappy reality TV shows. At the moment WAGs is probably my favourite.
Dinner with Rachael Finch at the Lexus Prix de Marie Claire Awards. Photo: Cybele Malinowski
Rachael Finch is a TV presenter, Myer ambassador, health coach and mother to 19-month-old Violet. I caught up with the former Miss Universe Australia at the Prix de Marie Claire Awards, presented by Lexus to chat about Finch’s busy work schedule, her former dreams of representing Australia at the Olympics, and how she will celebrate her second Mother’s Day today.
What are your plans for Mother’s Day?
Relaxing! I treasure days I can spend from start to finish with Violet and my husband, Michael, so when they come up we keep it pretty casual. A day in the park with lunch at our favourite cafe sounds good.
What do you enjoy the most about motherhood?
I love watching Violet explore the world around her and develop her own personality. Every day I am amazed at what she can do, even at such a young age. I can’t wait to continue growing with her and share in some beautiful moments. There is a beautiful wholesome feeling that has come with having Violet. I can’t wait to have more!
What advice did your mother give you that you will pass down to Violet?
Mum always taught me the importance of self-respect on a physical and emotional level. She always took the time to explain why it’s important to take care of yourself and to not feel guilty doing nice things for yourself. Mum also worked incredibly hard from a young age and I saw how much strength and determination she had as a mother.
Is your Michael a hands-on father?
He is like a second mother. I am very blessed. Because both our schedules are a mixed bag, we spend equal time with Violet so he is truly amazing at being a father. He is patient, warm and is completely in love.
What is a day in the life of Rachael Finch?
Every day is completely different. My week is mixed with photo shoots, media calls, presenting work, blogging, meetings, fitness, cooking, travel and being mum to my angel Violet. I love the variety in my schedule, it keeps me challenged, and I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to time.
Biggest personal and career highlight?
There have been lots of moments so far where I have found myself stopping to soak up the experience. Representing Australia in the Miss Universe Competition in the Bahamas will always be a beautiful memory, and competing on Dancing with the Stars is incredibly special because I met my husband on the show. Personally, marrying the man I continue to fall in love with ever day, and having our first child, have been magical moments.
You must have interviewed some pretty amazing people with your role on Channel 7. Is there anyone who stands out in your mind and why?
Interviewing Robin Williams when he came to Sydney to promote Happy Feet was a surreal moment. I remember going into the interview prepared with a whole page of questions for a seven-minute interview, and not having to ask one of them. He had such an incredible, unique energy about him that I have not seen elsewhere. I laughed the whole interview and will remember that for the rest of my life.
Have you ever been star-struck by anyone?
I have met Jessica Mauboy a few times through my television and radio work and think she is simply amazing inside and out. When I hear her sing in real life, my body is covered in goosebumps. I think she is one of the biggest stars to come from our country.
You are always in such great shape. What is your fitness regime?
Very sweet, thank you. Health and wellness is a lifestyle for me, not something I turn on and off. I love getting out of bed feeling amazing every day and having oodles of energy for Violet. I want to live to 120, but I want quality from those years. I try to be physically active every day, whether that means taking Violet for a power walk in the pram or taking a yoga class. I don’t like using the word ‘exercise’ and try to listen to my body on a neutral level every day to give it what it feels like. In saying that, I do like the idea of challenging by body to strive to become better.
You are also a certified health coach. What inspired you to do that and do you have plans to get more into that side of things?
Studying to become a health coach was an extension of my love of health and wellness. I wanted to expand my knowledge of food, nutrition and healthy living and the course did that. It has helped strengthen my values and opinions within the brands I currently work with and it’s exciting to think about future prospects in the health space.
You represented Australia at the Miss Universe competition in 2009. Was that a good experience and what did it teach you?
The Miss Universe competition was unreal. The competition ran for three weeks and every day I had lunch with a girl from a new country. It was incredible getting to know the women and hearing stories from their countries. It was my first real introduction to the world of media and entertainment and certainly taught me a lot about myself. Despite the stigma attached with beauty pageants, there was nothing more important than being 100 per cent yourself in every aspect of the competition.
If you hadn’t gone down the path of a career in media, what would you have done?
I would have loved to represent Australia at the Olympics. I competed in athletics for nine years and my dream was to make a career as an athlete. My favourite events were long-distance running and long jump. I’m incredibly grateful now that I can still combine my love of fitness with my career with the brands I work with.
What do you do for fun during your time off?
We love our food so our first stop on a day off is to eat somewhere yummy. Misha took me to Toko in Surry Hills on our first date and we love going there once in a while for sushi and a glass of red.
From your Instagram photos, you seem to be quite the chef. What is your signature dish?
I’m in the kitchen most days cooking something new or recreating something I know the family will like. Misha likes when I cook a rack of lamb with roasted sweet-potato fries and a side of steamed greens. It’s simple but I think that’s the key when it comes to cooking. We try to eat foods as wholesome as possible but enjoy little treats on the weekend. Saturday night we might have a bowl of ice-cream or go out for a pizza. I also like making healthy snacks like protein balls, granola and slices to last throughout the working week.