Anna Bamford has already had a stellar start to her acting career. While many thespians spend years juggling waitressing gigs with small scale theatre productions, Anna Bamford graduated from drama school and went straight to prime time. Her role as the loveable Miranda on Channel Ten’s hit drama Wonderland gained her a Logie nomination for most outstanding newcomer and she is in rehearsals for The Sydney Theatre company’s production of The Present alongside Cate Blanchett (opens August 8). Then – the ultimate graduation - she scored a cosmetics contract with Australian brand ModelCo. It’s a pretty impressive roll call for a 25-year-old.
We caught up with the warm and wonderful Anna in her sunny beachside apartment that she shares with boyfriend Joel and rescue dog Nyssa, and picked through her beauty bag – uncovering her ModelCo favourites, mood-balancing essential oils, and more.
"I always wanted to be an interior designer.
How funny is that? Interior design is still something I'm really passionate about. I started drama in year 11 at high school. My drama teacher was really, really fabulous. He owns his own theatre company in Sydney and one day in drama class was like, “Do you like this?” and I was like, “Yeah, I really do. This is really fun”. He said, “You’re good at it, you could do it professionally”. So I auditioned for drama school after graduating high school. I auditioned for WAAPA and NIDA but I didn’t get accepted in the first round - in all of Australia and New Zealand, they only let in around 20 people. So I decided to study nursing. My parents supported me with wanting to be an actor but felt it was important to have something to support myself or to fall back on if I didn't follow through or if acting didn't work out. I did four months of study but felt it wasn’t for me. I just didn't feel like it made me as happy as acting did. I didn't feel a need to do it like I do with acting. So I decided to travel overseas. I went to Africa with Global Vision International for three months to do volunteer work, which was amazing. The next time I auditioned for WAAPA I got in.
Studying acting at WAAPA was the best three years of my life.
I still miss it to this day. I learned so much about acting and myself. It was a time when I wasn’t with my family or my friends—it was a whole new group of people. There were definitely some teachers that were extremely nurturing and patient, but then there were some that would say “no, not good enough”. With WAAPA, I was really lucky. Growing up in Sydney, I don’t think I could have gone to a school like NIDA because they’ve got agents and casting agents going to their shows from day one. And isn’t the point of going to school to fail? And to learn from taking risks and failing and all of that? If you’ve got someone watching you all the time, you don’t have the guts to do that. And so at WAAPA we could mess up.
I am a bit of a beauty girl…
Day to day, not so much, but when I go out, I like taking effort and time to look good and look presentable and clean. I think there is nothing worse than feeling dirty. My mum was always very into looking presentable and dad, still to this day, is like “put your shoulders back”. We’ll be out at a family dinner and he’ll say it to me, and I’m like “Dad, stop!” My sister is two years older than me and she introduced me to makeup. We used to always go into mum’s makeup box and try things on. I learned all of that kind of stuff from my sister. I remember being in year 12, I’d have friends whose younger sisters would ask me to do their sister’s makeup for the formal and I think, because of my sister, I had a good eye for that kind of stuff.
My association with ModelCo came about a couple of months ago.
Shelley [the CEO and founder of ModelCo] contacted my agent and we were talking about working with them, I was very thrilled to be asked, because it’s a young, fun, fresh brand and Tan Airbrush In A Can was the first tan my friends and I used when we were 14. I’d spray it and rub it in and we’d go off to a party somewhere. I was also really excited that their brand extends out to natural skincare and cosmetics, and they’ve got rosehip oil, which is my favourite thing before bed now. Their Party Proof lipsticks are amazing, too. I wore one to the Logies and I did not have to reapply it once. It’s amazing. They’ve also got makeup wipes [ModelCo Double Sided Facial Wipes] that have a cleansing and an exfoliator on one side, which is cool.
There’s a beautician near my family home on Sydney’s North Shore.
It’s called L’Image. When I was like 15, I did the modelling for her brochure, so Sarah, the owner, was like “half-price treatments for the rest of your life”, so I always go back to her. And it’s nice so whenever I go home to see mum and dad, I will go to L’Image all the time. Sarah said my skin was looking really good and I think it’s because I put olive oil on it every night. Mum told me to do that. When she was growing up she used to use olive oil and balsamic vinegar - like a salad dressing! - on her body because she thought the vinegar would dye her skin or something! But I use it because oil is so good for your skin—it just drinks it up. I also use the ModelCo Rosehip Luxury Facial Oil.
I use a lot of Kerastase.
I also use Aveda, it’s my favourite. The after-sun products for summer, and masks as well. I get my hair done at Valonz—Stuart does my colour and Renya cuts my hair. They do such a good job. My hair is naturally quite curly. I went through a big stage of using GHDs all the time, but now I just kind of leave it. This sounds really odd, but the night before I wash my hair, I put olive oil in my hair, just on the ends. And just because you obviously can’t go out in the middle of the street with olive oil all through your hair, I put it on the night before and then I get up in the morning and wash my hair. It just helps the ends.
Always exfoliate before doing your tan.
I use a dry-body brush, just in the shower. I do use the ModelCo Tan Mousse, but my favourite is the ModelCo One-Night tan and their Blend Buffing Mitt - that’s what I used for the Logies. It’s just temporary. When I was growing up, I spent so much time in the sun, so now I don’t because I just want to take care of my skin. For treatments. I go to Salon X in Paddington, which is on William Street in Paddington. Gabriella is amazing, she does really good facials. But for everything else, I go back to Sarah at L’Image Skincare.
My favourite ModelCo products are the Replenishing Rose Mist and the Instant-Miracle Booster…
… as well as the Rosehip Oil, which I put on before I moisturise. I do the serum and then apply ModelCo Soothing Day and Night moisturiser. My skin, since using these, has changed so much. It’s so good. I gave them to my mum as well. I’ve been using it for probably two months now, and my fine lines have decreased, my skin doesn’t feel as tight—especially in winter I think it’s very important to have a serum or an oil underneath your moisturiser. The mist I use through the day.
As far as makeup goes…
I love the new ModelCo Lash and Line Superline Mascara and Liquid Liner. How genius is the two- in-one feature? It’s really good for going out or traveling because it’s got your mascara in there as well. The ModelCo Blush Cheek Powder in Amaretto Sunset looks beautiful on. I actually wore that blush as well at the Logies. I’m wearing it today as well. And the Party Proof lipstick in Purple Sangria, looks beautiful with that. Also ModelCo. Luminosity is so good. Even if I’m not putting on a full face of makeup, I’ll just put this on everyday because it looks fresh and nice. My favourite brow product is the More Brows. It’s got something in there, some kind of gel that makes your eyebrows feel thick. I brush the hairs and then put the colour on, then put the gel on to set it. No one touches my brows. I do the odd pluck here and there, but never get them waxed or anything like that. I’ve been lucky that way.
I’m actually just learning how to play guitar.
Joel got me a guitar for Christmas because I’ve always wanted to learn and I love Fleetwood Mac. “Gypsy” is my favourite song. I just love it. It reminds me of when I traveled to New York on my own. I was in LA and I was just like “Eh, I’m just really not liking it here, I’m just gonna go to New York” so I got on a flight and stayed with Emma Lung because she lives over there when we’re not filming Wonderland. And I listened to that song the whole time, so it reminds me of that a lot.
I love Dior Addict.
I got that in year 11 as a present from my mum when she went travelling. And then ever since then, whenever I run out I have to buy it. It’s my signature scent. It’s spicy and also really florally, with vanilla. And Victor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb. I found that fragrance when I went to Croatia in 2011, I found it at the Duty Free and I bought it, and it just reminds me of Croatia. It’s so summery and fresh and really girly—I really like it.
These essential oils are actually my boyfriend’s mum’s. She gives them to me, and I really love them. Before an audition, she gave me one. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s just really calming and it smells good.
I met my boyfriend, Joel, on Wonderland.
He was in the art department. He stopped doing that at the start of the year, and now he’s opening up his own café, in Darlinghurst. We’re tasting heaps of good food at the moments and we watch MasterChef and we’re like, “This is research!”
I’m doing a play, The Present, with the STC.
And that potentially could go to New York as well. There are two ways that I could go [now, with acting], and I’m very unsure, to be honest. I could try the whole LA thing, which I think could be great but could also be kind of lonely. It’s a huge move. I have a lot friends that have done films there, but they come back and work and they have their lives here—they’re based here. That appeals to me… It would be really, really hard. And my boyfriend is just starting up his business and stuff as well, so you’ve got to think about whether chasing that high-life is worth it. So who knows? I do also want to get into directing—obviously not yet, but that’s something that in the future I’d really want to pursue.”