Sally Obermeder is one of those women that makes you want to smile. The host of Seven’s The Daily Edition and founder of website Swiish by Sally Obermeder, is full of energy and brims with the kind of pragmatic optimism that can only come from being a survivor.
Diagnosed with breast cancer at 41 weeks pregnant, the TV star went through chemotherapy with a newborn baby and fought the aggressive disease in a very public and brave battle - penning a book about her journey: Never Stop Believing.
Sally invited us into the lovely home she shares with her husband Marcus, and two-year-old daughter Annabelle, revealed her favourite beauty finds, TV ready-tricks (video coming soon) and talked all about her role as Australian ambassador for new skincare product RENU 28.
“I’ve got really curly hair – and after chemo it’s even curlier
So for TV I straighten it or we’ll tong it. I carry L’Oreal Elnett hairspray everywhere and Goldwell Gloss Spray because I’ve got dry hair - it cops a battering. I also keep John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway in my bag and it works better than anything else I’ve ever found. I do have greys sadly, so in between colours I use Colour Wow – or brown mascara if I’m desperate. That’s my hair touch-up kit. If I’m not working, I’ll leave my hair super curly: I wash and when I get out of the shower, I put Wella SP Keratin Restore Luxe Oil Masque on and I leave it to air dry. And it is, like, Beyonce-curly. Before I was sick I hated my curly hair. [After chemo] I was like, it’s such a blessing to have hair. I’m grateful for it.
I was diagnosed the day before Annabelle was born
It’s a strange thing because your body no longer becomes your own. It gets taken over by doctors and nurses, and all these people who are trying to save your life. When it’s over, you’re trying to find yourself again. You’ve lost your hair, your eyebrows, your eyelashes… my fingernails fell off. Everything feminine is gone. I had a double mastectomy and reconstruction done, so you’re really starting from the beginning, and you’re trying to come to grips with your new body and so much has changed.
Pre-cancer, whenever I’d go to wax appointments…
I was always grumbling like ‘ohhh, I’ve got to get my legs waxed or my bikini line waxed,’ and then when you lose all your hair you’re suddenly going, ‘I really miss my waxing appointments, I’ll never grumble at them again.’ You become so appreciative of what a healthy body does - your hair grows and your fingernails grow - and yes as a by-product you have to go to all the beauty appointments – but you know what? There’s worse shit in life then having to go to a beauty appointment. It’s perspective.
You’re kinder to yourself...
Because you realise that you’ve been through a lot and that actually you should be a little bit nicer. To some extent, that negative chatter is a lot less. So even when I go ‘oh I don’t fit into my jeans’, ‘oh I need to go to the gym’, it doesn’t come with ‘you’re so hopeless, you’re so fat, you’re so ugly’. It’s more like ‘okay, you need to get back on track’. If I knew somebody else who’d been through that, I would never say that to them, so I don’t say it to myself anymore. And it slowly starts to become second nature. Sometimes I catch myself, but generally, I’m a bit nicer because I’m grateful. I thought counselling was great. I spoke about that in the book Never Stop Believing. I went to therapy - I needed it. For me a lot of it was attached to being a new mum – it was tough. I just really appreciate life, but also getting older. Because we grumble about getting older but it’s a real privilege to get older because if you’re not getting older, it’s because you died.
Getting old is not a given, it’s a gift if you get there
I’ve been approached quite a few times [about endorsing skincare]. I’ve turned down a lot of things, because they’re not right, or they don’t feel good, or don’t work. So I took RENU 28 away and used it for a couple of months and loved it. But what I loved is that it doesn’t take anything away from my current routine. I still have my cleansers and my moisturisers, but what it made my skin do was… just look fresh. There is a science behind it called Redox Signaling Technology but I’m not a scientist but what I understand is your skin, like all your cells in your body, which I know from being sick – they renew every 28 days – skin cells. And as you get older, that process slows down. And what this does is it just makes your skin go back to renewing like it did when you were 20. So hello, who’s not going to have 20-year-old skin? I’m 41, so I’m going to hold my hand up for that!
For me it’s all about skin
Skin is everything. If you eat well, you drink lots of water, all the things we know we’re supposed to do, I don’t always do it. I think the best thing you can be to be consistent. Always cleansing, exfoliating regularly and I’ve just included RENU 28 in my routine. I notice because people are saying to me ‘you look really well, you’re looking really fresh’, and I was thinking ‘well that’s really funny, because the only thing I’ve done differently is use the gel…’ and that’s how I could tell. And Marcus is using it now. It’s unisex, it’s fragrance free, it’s natural, so there’s nothing in it that will upset your skin, like for people who have sensitive skin, and it’s not complicated. You put it on after you cleanse before you put your moisturiser or your make up on. It’s really hydrating. And I find it just makes my skin, it looks plumper, it looks fresher, I look rested.
I mix my Dermalogica cleanser with rosehip oil
And use it with the Clarisonic. I wish I had more facials. I go to Eva Karpati in Double Bay, it’s like an old school facial. She’s getting in there, extractions, cleaning. I also love Fifty Four Park Street. I go there for Omnilux. I do find it makes a big difference. I don’t really understand the science behind it or what it is, but I love it. It feels like sunbaking. I feel like I’m on the Greek Islands. And I do find my skin kind of looks good for it. I go probably once a month, which isn’t often enough.
My beauty routine is pretty quick
I do either a bright eye with a liquid liner or a smoky eye. I love MAC Eye shadow in Woodwinked, L’Oreal Super Liner in Black Buster and Dior Black Out mascara is the best. And then I use a tiny smudge of emerald green NP Set Liquid Eye Pen in Nile on the lower lash line; it just lifts the eye. ModelCo Blush Something peach and on brows first I use Amy Jean’s Brow Putty and then Ardell Brow Defining Kit. Then YSL Lip Gloss and Napoleon Super Glam Lip Lacquer in clear or for red, Tom Ford in Narcotic Rouge. I’ve had this YSL red, 61421 - no word of a lie - seventeen years. They don’t make it any more. It’s the most heartbreaking thing when people discontinue their products!
I’m going somewhere really special I can do strip lashes
The trick is you put the glue on your hand you’ve got to wait for a couple of minutes until it’s tacky, then put it on the lash. And check the position early and open your eye really gently so that you don’t bump it. The other thing I’ll do is I’ll prime my eye and put a little bit of foundation over it, then put the lash, then the eye shadow at the end. I use Cha Cha, Model Rock and ModelCo lashes.
I like to mix up my fragrances based on my mood
I wear Diptyque Olene and I also wear Tom Ford – I’ve got a whole heap. Sometimes I feel like a flashback to the 80’s when I wear Anais Anais, that was my first ever fragrance! And then you know, Michael Kors, I love J. Lo Miami Glow - it’s really hard to get but it smells. And I love Chanel Allure and Missoni and Flora by Gucci, it just depends on your mood.
A house full of candles is the only way to be. I love Ecoya. I pretty much buy every single Ecyoa candle I can get my hands on. Coconut and Lime ones, and I get the massive Palm Beach ones, I just love them. Anything gardenia or jasmine.
I’m a green smoothie fanatic...
So absolutely every single day, that’s what I have for breakfast. I’ve got a whole repertoire, but my absolute favourite one is kale, spinach, broccoli, two limes, passionfruit, Vital Greens…I swear by my Vitamix. A little bit of protein powder, either Vital Greens or GoodGreens stuff, and a tiny bit of almond milk, some Stevia, that’s it. It’s so yummy, and coconut oil, chia seeds, some flaxseed, and I mix it up every day but I have like one litre. So not like a tiny one, like I have a full litre by 10am, and then between 10 and 12 I won’t have anything. It’s heaps of veggies. And it’s raw, which is even better, it’s so good for you. So I have that every day. Oh, and half a banana. I have that every day and then at lunch, I’m a pretty good eater, but I do love Italian. I’m not going to lie, I love Italian, I love Mexican – oh my god sour cream and tacos and guacamole, but I try and eat clean, if I can. Like even if it’s tacos, that’s fine, I just try and keep my processed food as much as I can to a minimum. I try and keep my sugar if I can to a minimum and I save it for when I’m having dessert. You know what I mean? Rather than having bits of crap all day, I’ll go, you know I’d rather hold out and eat a tiramisu, or I’m going to go and get gelato, you know. Whatever. And enjoy it.
I’m training around three times a week
I train with Blake Worrall Thompson, who I love, he’s divine, at a gym at The Centennial. And it’s good because it’s got a crèche. And I fill in the rest of the time with Annabelle either walking around Centennial Park or Bondi to Bronte. But usually that means I end up carrying her. And then sometimes I just think oh well just do it, at least it’s training! I try and be consistent, but like all things – sometimes life gets in the way.