A gypsy at heart, jewellery designer Samantha Wills feeds her wanderlust by dividing her time between her offices in Sydney, New York, Tokyo and Seoul. Gathering inspiration from her travels that filter into her designs, the style-savvy blonde has become one of Australia’s most sought-after fashion exports – the New York Times even called her “A Break Out Star”. Her warm and honest voice has attracted an impressive social media following who follow her every glamorous movement across the globe.
While visiting her Tamarama home, Samantha opened the doors to her bohemian beach pad, dishing out her trademark anecdotes alongside some very nifty beauty tips.
"I started designing jewellery as a hobby
Selling my designs down at Bondi beach markets in Sydney. A friend had spot on a showroom wall at Australian Fashion Week, and I took the spot hoping to make back the $500 cost and wrote $17,000 worth of orders. I was 22 years old at the time and had no idea about anything – all I knew was that I wanted to create a brand, so that’s what I set out to do. I love the concept of branding and being creative, jewellery became the vehicle to achieve that. I also enjoy the social media side and personally engaging and interacting with followers of the brand – it is very rewarding and I am very grateful.
My approach to beauty is about health
Healthy hair, skin and how to accent your best features. I definitely have a more minimalist approach these days that also comes from being more comfortable with who you are. That’s why I love being in my thirties. In your twenties you are still figuring that all out - and applying far too much makeup in the process! My beauty look is natural beachy waves, sun kissed skin and minimal makeup.
I was told by a beautician to try…
to use creams in the day as they sit on top of the skin and protect, and serums at night as they sink in. So I use an SK-II serum at night and different moisturisers through the day. I love SK-II cleanser and facial treatment essence and their facial mask once a week – it does make you look like Hannibal Lector, so I usually use it when my boyfriend is away! But what it lacks in social appeal, it makes up for in hydration. It’s like a miracle cloth! I alternate my moisturisers, but currently love the face moisturiser from GO-TO skin care and Chanel Le Blanc & La Nuit. I travel with them all the time.
For a night out…
I love Diorshow mascara and always apply to a curled lash. I use a bronzer over my moisturiser and then a slightly darker bronzer to contour cheeks. At the moment I love the Luma bronzer by Jess Hart and SunBeam by Benefit. I use an eyebrow mascara to fill in brows and apply a liquid liner to the top lid. I make sure to never wear too much foundation but work on contouring and brightness instead. I prep my skin as well with a SK-II treatment the day before and get a fresh manicure too.
I usually wash my hair every three days
The dirtier it is, the easier it is to style. I alternate between the Sachajuan & Shu Uemura shampoo and love the Kerastase Keratin mask. I blast hair to almost dry, then scrunch in O&M sea salt spray for beautiful natural waves. Dry shampoo is my addiction and is good not only for roots, but all over to hold a style longer. I do a light tong, but don’t do it all the way to the ends - this creates the perfectly “effortless” wave. When I am in Australia, I take full advantage of the natural beauty of the ocean. The best is freshly washed hair the day before and then a dip in the ocean for natural waves, no heat styling required!
I feel most beautiful when…
My boyfriend, Will, tells me I look beautiful. And 99% of the time he tells me that, I am wearing absolutely no make up. [It’s always when] I’m on holidays with salt in my hair, sun on my skin, sand between my toes, in a bikini and with no makeup. It’s a magical mixture. And when I am happiest.. Audrey Hepburn had it right - happiest girls are the prettiest.
I was such a tomboy growing up
I demanded to be called Sam instead of Samantha and wore only baggy pants and flannel shirts (it was the nineties!). I grew up in Port Macquarie and went through high school in the mid to late 90’s, so it was vey much about surf culture. Bronzed skin was always appealing – it signalled health and a life outdoors, which I always loved.
I love a contoured cheek with bronzer
Skin illuminator by Burberry and Benefit Oh La La lift is also a saviour after a long haul flight or big night out, applied under your foundation it really makes the skin glow. Also, leaving a little gap if you put eyeliner on top and bottom (so they don’t connect) opens the eye up. A beauty trick I learnt from a Chanel makeup artists a long time ago, was to mix bi-carb soda with your cream cleansers, and this exfoliation works like a microdermabrasion.
I moisturise like a crazy person
Healthy, hydrated skin is a must. I get a deep clean facial with extractions every two months (I’m trying to make it more frequent!), I’ve also had microdermabrasion a few times and I really like it. I got eyelash extensions once and loved them, as they allow you to wear very little, if any makeup, but still look like you have definition in your eyes. I have blonde lashes, so without tint or mascara, I look incredibly albino!
I relax by getting back to nature
I never understood that saying before and thought it was a bit ridiculous! Growing up in Australia and with our stunning beaches, I think you take for granted the access you have to nature and your surrounds. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I began to appreciate nature and escaping the crowds. Will and I hike a lot. It’s crazy that you can drive 40 minutes out of Manhattan and be on a mountain and not see another single soul. Now when I’m back in Australia, I have a whole new appreciation for our stunning coastline. I am such a tourist when I am back, taking photographs of the ocean everyday.
I hated being tall in high school
Being 5’10 I was taller than almost everyone… but as I get older, I love it. In a day and age of being able to imitate things – hair, lashes, tan… you can’t imitate your height and it took me a long time, but that is what I feel sets me apart. I remember when Jen Hawkins (who I have huge admiration for) won Miss Universe, and she was the same height as me, it was because of her that I turned my thought process around and accepted it as a beautiful thing, not an awkward thing.
When I am in Sydney you will find me…
Every morning on the Bronte to Bondi walk, usually just after sunrise. I have an apartment in Tamarama, and am lucky to have the ocean at my doorstep, and I appreciate every second of it. When I’m in NYC, I walk the Hudson River in the summer time, hike through the spring and fall then head indoors for the winter. Flybarre at their Flatiron studio is my thing - it’s like pilates and barre work, its very toning. Brandon is my favourite instructor there, you can leave the class inspired and motivated – he is awesome, a good trainer is priceless!
I try to eat clean where I can.
In Australia I am all about sushi and salads - also In NYC, but sadly (for my thighs) my favourite restaurant is one block from my house and does incredible Italian pasta dishes. My second favourite is Mexican with the most incredible tacos you will ever come across! I don’t deny myself, but I don’t kid myself either, if I eat pasta and tacos and carbs all week vs. eating salad, fish and sushi – there will be a difference in how my jeans fit!