When Samantha Jade won X-Factor in 2011, we were left captivated. She was the complete pop package; pretty, bubbly, gifted and had that bright effervescence Australian audiences adore. Today, though, she sings a slightly different tune from her reality talent show days; a successful solo artist, she has also forayed into the world of acting (most recently with a role on Home and Away). Despite her famously tiny frame (an uncanny resemblance to Kylie Minogue had her immortalising the pop princess in the lauded INXS television mini-series), she is making a big mark on the entertainment world – proving good things do come in small packages.
Samantha opened the French double doors of her Victorian terrace, where we gained a glimpse into the inner workings of her life, and beauty routine. Revelling in the fact she loves makeup (and is quite the maestro with liner in hand), we also learnt of her previous life in LA, and what it was really like to receive a phone call from Kylie herself.
“My story is a kind of strange one…
I moved to LA when I was 16 and started over there. I got signed to a label called Jive Records who had Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Chris Brown – everyone you aspired to be as a pop star. I was signed there for four years, made a record, so about five albums, and none ever came out – it didn’t work out for me. So that was a tough time and I just needed to come home – I needed a bit of Australia. I needed realness, my mum, my friends – I was extremely homesick. So I moved home to Perth and worked for my dad. He was managing a mining warehouse at the time…
So I got my steel-cap boots on and my hi-vis [gear] and worked there!
It was extremely different for me, I’m not that girl, I’m the girliest girl you’ll ever meet – I don’t even do sport! But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do in situations and I couldn’t get a job because all I had on my resume was singing and song writing. I said to my dad after two years, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’ And I wasn’t good at it – I’d count stock and then I’d lose count at 100! That was a crappy time, and I was watching TV and X-Factor auditions came on. I thought the only thing I haven’t done is go to the public with my music, it’s all been behind the scenes. So I went on the show and went really badly in the first few weeks, I was in the bottom two more than any contestant on the show. I thought, OK Sammy you’re going back to the mines… And then I won!
There was a time I couldn’t even listen to the radio, I hated music – LA killed my soul.
So winning X-Factor was a lot for me because I had done so much in the States; I’d worked with all these big producers, I’d written songs for all these big people and to really come back down and just sing – I found love for it again.
I always get compared to Kylie Minogue, daily…
… it’s so weird, but I’ll happily take it. After I did X-Factor I got a call from Shine [production company] saying we’re producing this INXS show and we need a Kylie Minogue. I got to the audition and thought Oh God, I’m not going to get this… I’ve just won something finally - why am I putting myself in this position again? And then I got it! Playing someone who you admire and who is loved here was pressure – I thought, I better not stuff this up.
Kylie contacted me afterwards…
…and said, ‘You did such a good job. You were amazing and I wouldn’t have done anything different.’ Kylie Minogue was actually on the phone to me! I thought I was being Punk’d. It was on Kyle and Jackie O, and I said ‘Hello?’, and I heard a ‘Hi Sammy, it’s Kylie” and I was like, Whaaat?! I couldn’t believe it!
Home and Away was really fun – I was a mess going into that as well. I’m always a mess when I do things that I’m nervous with. I hate red carpets – I had to go to the side once and my friend had to cover my face and neck because I had a stress rash. I had one of those on set for the show too, so I wore a high-neck [top].
I love makeup – I just love it!
I worked at The Makeup Store for about six months and I used to do makeovers on people all the time! So I learnt so much, I was kind of like a makeup artist and did a few a little jobs here and there. I love makeup – I just love it! Everyday I do all my friends makeup; before dates I do their makeup, before my shows I do my dancers’ makeup. A lot of the time I do my own makeup, too. I’m more of a performance girl; I definitely love a dramatic look – people are way out there, they’ve got to be able to see you! But not for an everyday look.
My mum had full freckles and I loved it – but I don’t love them on me.
So everyday I’ll wear a little bit of foundation because I’m not a huge fan of my own - although I do love them on other people. I use a few different foundations, MAC’s always a goodie. Then I’ll always curl my lashes because they’re dead straight, then Diorshow, and then curl again six times. They’re so heavy they just wilt. I always use MAC Strip Down Lip Liner and my Nars Belle De Jour lipstick everyday.
I used to really struggle with my skin.
I never had bad moments at school – it was after school. I think it was stress and just life, and I really went through some bad times with my skin and I tried everything. My friend Sammy came to Sydney and said she used this one product called Arbonne, so I use the cleanser. Then I use the Embryolisse Moisturiser and it doubles as a great primer - I’m obsessed with it. And that’s all I do. I don’t do toner or that whole thing because my skin gets really irritated.
I recently did a little fake [hair] chop…
… for the Logies and everyone thought I’d cut it again. But that’s the genius of Jade who does my hair; she has been doing it since X Factor. She does the colour, the styling, the cutting, the wigs – we’ve been working together for four years and she just gets my hair – she speaks to it! They have a connection – her and my hair. I love doing hair – I do my friends hair too.
I don’t follow any diets and don’t do any exercise – I’m sorry!
I dance though, and I do eat healthy. We do shows once a week, hour sets and we dance the whole set. We come off the stage and we are sweating; I’m singing and dancing so it’s a lot – that heart rate is up! I eat a good amount of red meat and I love my chicken, and I eat small portions. The last week we haven’t had any chocolate in the house which has been really good because I’ve gone for an apple instead. But I do I have an extreme sweet tooth – I love sweets!
I love Asian food and I love spice.
I’ve grown up with it my whole life and I need chilli on everything. My dad cooks a lot of Indian; he’s a really amazing cook. I love my Dahl and chickpeas! My typical day is avocado on toast with cayenne pepper, lunch maybe Pho or chicken with rice and chilli, and then night time probably soup or something with rice again.
My style is quite simple, I stick to very basic colours, but go glam sometimes.
There’s always a little bit of glam to it. I love Australian designers; Bec & Bridge, Alice McCall and Zimmermann. I’ve just recently started wearing those things; a few years ago there was no way I could afford them. You can still find nice things in Bardot and Sportsgirl – you can make outfits work, and then get a good bag and nice pair of shoes.
The only thing I splurge on designer wise is bags…
I have a bag obsession, so I’ll always pay the money and get a good bag. I had always wanted a designer handbag for as long as I can remember, so I worked really hard and the first thing I bought was a bag. If you have a good bag, your whole outfit looks great."