When pregnant with her now one-year-old son, River, Megan Gale, found herself looking at her lifestyle – and her beauty routine – through a completely new set of eyes.
“You make changes when you are growing a little human inside you -everything you put inside you; from your diet, to the products you use, to how you live day-to-day. I was pedantic,” says the 39-year-old model and L’Oreal Paris ambassador. She switched to organic food, avoided certain cleaning products and even managed to get out of certain household chores.
“I wouldn’t go anywhere near the cat litter tray – Shaun thought I was lying!” she laughs, referring to the advice that women shouldn’t change cat litter. “You become really conscious about doing the right things - but you’re healthier for it and I think that’s beautiful.”
Megan said pregnancy really agreed with her, imparting her skin with that trademark radiance. She sidestepped stretchmarks with daily applications of organic oil (jojoba, sweet almond or wheatgerm) and also used coconut oil straight from the pantry as a body moisturiser “it smells divine!”
Once River was born, however, motherhood threw a whole new set of challenges at her.
“I didn’t find breastfeeding easy. We were nailing it in hospital but when we got home it just changed. It was painful and then my milk started to go, because he wasn’t feeding properly,” she reveals. “It was just a bit of a struggle, but we got there in the end. I wanted to do it for a year but at six months he decided he wanted to wean himself off. I miss it so much, but you’ve got to respect how they want to do things.”
Megan is well into the groove of motherhood now, and her Instagram account is flooded with adorable pictures of her baby and her glamorous, green-juice-swilling, yoga-loving lifestyle. She even shares snaps of her impressive culinary endeavours.
“I love love love cooking. I’ve been making a lot of soups at the moment. It’s a great, quick, easy way to get nutrients and it’s comfort food, with some sourdough or olive bread.” Her Thermomix is her favourite new toy (“it makes a really good risotto”), she buys her organic produce from the local markets in Prahran, but would really love to grow them herself. “I have an over exuberant border collie who destroys everything, but once my dog grows out of puppy stage my dream would be to have my own veggie patch. I grew up watching mum gardening and I recently went to Gwinganna and was inspired … they’ve just got the best produce there.”
The holistic lifestyle obviously agrees with her, and she is relishing the opportunity to nurture herself, too.
“My body is slipping back into its old groove, because through your pregnancy and your breast feeding, you give your body over to your child, and it’s a beautiful thing to do, but you don’t feel like it’s yours.”
Her body is most definitely hers, now. At the recent Cannes Film Festival Megan walked the red carpet for L’Oreal Paris, her long, lithe figure encased in sparkling sheaths by Elie Saab and Kaufman Franco. However, Megan insists that she gave herself plenty of time to regain her old figure.
“I put on 18 kilos in total! In my last trimester I got quite the booty and cleavage!” she laughs indulgently, adding that she lost 10 kilos soon after delivery - River was 3.87 kilos at birth alone.
“I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself to lose those last kilos because my first priority was my son. Also I think you can’t underestimate how much your body goes through during pregnancy and during childbirth. All those hormones make your bones shift, I had so many back and structural issues that it made it hard to do lots of types of exercise. I’m only now getting back into yoga again.”
The leggy brunette has started running again and practices yoga at Humming Puppy in Prahran at least once week. In addition to healthy habits she started in pregnancy are ones that she intends to hold on to, as River grows up.
“With bub being so mobile now and active, and into everything, and having such close contact with me… I do love a bit of lippie and perfume, but his skin is beautiful and pure and I don’t want to push all of those things onto him,” she says.
Appropriately, L’Oreal has just announced Megan is the face of their new Hair Expertise line – a sulfate-free range of botanical infused care and styling products. The campaign includes a #beautyofpure campaign features Megan looking wholesome and outdoorsy. It’s an association that Megan feels very comfortable with.
“I gravitate towards things that are more natural and plant based. When I look at the products I get for River, they’re all like that too, so I think, maybe I should be using products like that. Why do we do that for our children and then stop doing it for us? I that’s definitely the way I’ve been going with my son so it seems appropriate for me to be fronting the campaign.”
“And knowing that [the products are] better for my hair,” she continues. “Sulfates can really strip your hair of its natural oils and can make it dry and make it brittle and damaged.”
Megan cherry picks from the shampoo and conditioners in the range depending on her mood and hair condition. After a series of big events this year like Cannes and the Mad Max premiere, her strands suffered a lot of damage from styling. “My hair is thick and I have a lot of it, so it responds really well to the Hair Expertise Ever Sleek Precious Oil Treatment – I use it on the ends after a shower”.
When time is short, she swears by the Hair Expertise Everstrong Texturising Mineral Salt Spray. “Sometimes I don’t have time to do a good blowdry, so I just scrunch dry it with the mineral salt spray and it just gives it a really beautiful beachy textured look."
It’s been a big year for Megan. Her small but gritty role in Mad Max: Fury Road was met with encouraging reviews and has led to further discussions and acting opportunities. She is continuing to design her swimwear line Isola by Megan Gale and has just announced a homewares line with Target called MG Australia. But motherhood is one job she’s putting ahead all others.
“River’s awesome. Oh my god. Those legs! I just want the roly-poly to continue. He’s so close to walking, I know that once he starts walking he’ll burn it off. And there’s a lot of no coming out of his mouth at the moment, but I’ve got a good one I’m lucky.”
And she isn’t ruling out a second bub – in due course.
“Everyone’s like when are you having baby number two, you’ve got to have another one! I’m actually enjoying having my body back again and enjoying my son and then we’ll see…”
Although if that pregnancy was anything like her last, she’s looking forward to the beauty benefits, particularly, the effect it had on her skin.
“If I’m fortunate to fall again and have another bub I may not be so lucky but I felt that my skin was at its absolute peak best. It’s like, ohhh I want to get pregnant again cause I was loving that!”
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Story by Sigourney. Sponsored by L'Oreal Paris. Images from Megan Gale's Instagram.