I had always wanted to go to art school when I was younger, although somehow I ended up studying law. A couple of years into it, I fell into modelling and everything else went out the window. I met the most extraordinary people and experienced things I never would have had access to otherwise. It taught me accelerated life lessons. On a shoot for Harpers Bazaar a few years into it all, I asked the photographer if I could assist him on his next shoot. That was how I began transitioning to the other side of the camera, while gaining my Fine Arts Bachelor degree.
I found balancing the two aspects of my life very conflicting, both personally and professionally. In my son’s first year he travelled everywhere with me so that we were never separated, and I only took on jobs that were really important to me. At the time it really was difficult, but it ended up being a positive experience that helped me to assess my professional direction.
As a model, some of them include seeing my first Ralph Lauren and Versace campaigns when I was starting out, working with Alberta Ferretti to make my wedding dress and having this process covered in US Vogue, and walking in the first ever Fashion Rocks show at the Royal Albert Hall with all the supers. As a photographer, some of my most special achievements have been having my university graduate exhibition covered in Vogue and shooting campaigns for brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Jimmy Choo.
For the first year of my son’s life, I tried to do everything (including working and travelling) by myself with no help, and I found I was constantly conflicted and felt overwhelmed Now, my main aim is that whatever I am putting my energy into, I am giving it 100%. So we have a wonderful nanny now, which means that I can focus completely on my career during the day, and then when I am with my children they have my full and undivided attention. I realised after that first year of trying to do it all that it’s ultimately about quality and not quantity of time together. Once I accepted this, our family life was a lot richer.
If something seems easy, it means you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. Ultimately, to create something out of nothing is incredibly difficult. When people say to me ‘your job is amazing’… I don’t think they necessarily realise the insane amount of work that goes into it. Being your own brand is the most empowering thing, but it is an incredible amount of work.
and I wear a lot of bold statement pieces mixed with classic staples. I tend to wear pieces that I feel comfortable in that still allow me to experiment a little. I think that is key – having fun but not diverting totally from your style. Because I wear such bold pieces I love to keep my hair and makeup minimal, with natural ‘I just rolled out of bed’ hair and little to no make up, except for a shock of red lipstick. Oh, and I do have a weakness for accessories… I I just popped into the amazing Parlour X to see my dear friend Eva and bought a pair of Balenciaga shoes!
although I am becoming more obsessed with skincare as I get older. My skin is incredibly dry and my biggest issue is hydration (possibly because of my raging coffee addiction!) I try to use as many organic products as possible, which was something I started really thinking about when I was first pregnant. I’d say 50% of what I use at the moment is organic, though I’d like to shift that number higher.
I’m very water-focused, actually. For someone with such dry skin, I really shouldn’t have as many showers as I do, but I love them, and baths… my husband jokes that I occasionally get out of the bath to partake in life and then I jump straight back in again! That means I have to oil up my body every time. I am really into dry body brushing for the amazing effects on your lymphatic system, so I do that pre-shower. Then as soon as I get out of the shower I cover myself in sweet almond oil or Rodin Olio Lusso. And I add a body moisturiser on top, which might seem a bit excessive, although the air in London is so dry I think it’s necessary.
…with white eye lashes and eye brows, so when I put on makeup it’s like putting on a mask of armour. While I adore the transformative nature of makeup, ultimately I love a dewy bare face. In the shower I wash my face with an oil-based cleanser. I used to be terrified of cleansers and toners as they dried out my face, but then a makeup artist introduced me to Rilastil and it changed everything. Afterwards I throw on a serum – I rotate through a lot of them – and then an eye cream, a thick moisturiser and an SPF 50+ face sunscreen. If I don’t have an event, I won’t put on any make up.
There is just something so luxe about them. I have used his make up for years! If I pencil in a brow with his brow sculptor, my entire face changes. It’s the same with contouring. The lovely Tom Ford team often comes over to do my makeup for events and I always feel so amazing afterwards… so I basically went into the boutique and bought the entire collection.
although I’m incredibly high maintenance when it come to cut and colour. I go to George Northwood in London forthose. I searched for about four years to find someone in London who was amazing and finally I found Roi, who all the London celebrities go to (so he’s bloody hard to get into!) He’s always got hilarious stories to tell so it’s like going in for a cut and a laugh. In London, I just wash my hair and let it air dry. When I’m at the beach it goes incredibly frizzy and wild, although I really love that at as well. I try not to put any heat on it unnecessarily, and use a Kerastase mask as my conditioner. My hair is dry so I only need to wash it once or twice a week.
It seems like a simple thing, but it can be hard to do and I still never ever touch my face unless I have just washed my hands. My mother’s skin is alabaster and she never went in the sun, and always plastered zinc on our entire face (which was as great for picking up boys as you can imagine – actually, perhaps this was her cunning plan all along!) I too never ever put my face in the sun, even with sunscreen on. I am obsessed with the heat and sun, but I always have on a long sleeve shirt, hat and sunscreen… ‘slip slop slap’ really stayed with me!
Pat McGrath told me to never touch my eyebrows – so I never have. Steven Meisel said ‘your nose is your greatest asset’, which was so good to hear after growing up very self conscious about it. Turns out the very thing I hated as a teenager gave me an incredible career! Every makeup artist I come across has a tip that I take away with me.
I think, growing up as a young model, so much of who I was was built around what I looked like, and it is a bit of a process letting go of that. I never thought it would be hard, so it has been quite confronting seeing the changes that are due to aging. I hope I can learn to love every line and wrinkle and see it as a map of my experiences, but getting there is definitely tricky!
My husband and I made a conscious decision to not give our kids sugar, and to ensure they were really nourished by everything they ate. We buy locally and organically, and are aware of how privileged we are to be able to invest in eating this way. We feel it is so important that our kids know that carrots grow in the ground and for them to actually grow them and watch the entire process. Also, making sure they would eat everything was a selfish decision, in that we wanted to take them to restaurants that never handed them a kids menu! They eat Indian dahl, lentil pies, fresh fish with ginger… we make a real effort to all eat the same food and eat together, so no one is substituting anything and we all eat really well.
I love the Kardashians as businesswomen, but what they represent culturally really disturbs me. Girls as young as teenagers think it is socially acceptable, and even necessary to get injections, fillers and plastic surgery. It is so incredibly sad to me that these beautiful young women feel the pressure to all look basically the same, with plumped up faces and lips. Also, the amount of makeup these girls cake on to contour their faces to be like these celebrities… it just all really saddens me, and I question the long term effects these trends will have on these girls as they get older. That’s why I love brands like Glossier, who talk to young women who want to embrace their real beauty, with any amazing imperfections. We need to see more of that!”