Sami Lukis has run the gamut of media jobs in Australia: radio, television, news, sport, weather, entertainment, reality, children’s TV, but now, when she’s not in front of the camera, she’s giving Australian women an experience of a lifetime on her “New York with Sami” Tours. A die-hard fan of L’Occitane, it was while sourcing gifts for her luxury goodie bags that she struck up a relationship with the French beauty brand. After religiously using their star anti-aging “Divine” line she was shocked to be asked for ID in a bar on her 45th birthday. What followed was a very natural and authentic association, and the blonde beauty was recently named the Australian face of L’Occitane.
The warm and down-to-earth Sami invited us into the gorgeous feminine apartment that she shares with her Bichon Frise, Lolli. After rifling through her beauty bag and travel essentials we grabbed a coffee from “Johnny’s” downstairs and talked foundations, Fifth Avenue and about her journey through fertility.
"I’m pretty low maintenance.
Less is more, I think. When you’re working on telly, every morning you’re sitting in a makeup chair for at least an hour. So you become immune to it all, but I’m obsessed with bases. I’ve always struggled with hyper-pigmentation, so I use a really strong zinc-based sunscreen. I’m too scared to get lasers, peels, or any of that stuff. I don’t want to rip off layers of the skin and with my pigmentation, you have to be so careful because it could expose more and do more harm than good.
I’m a bit of a perfume addict.
The L’Occitane perfumes are perfect for day because they are all so light and fresh. I love the Fleur D’or but at the moment I’m wearing the Neroli, which is divine. I love them. Bulgari Omnia Crystaline is a night-time one. It’s a bit heavier. And then you can’t go past Chanel No5. Always and the Chanel Chance Eau Fresh.
I get my hair done at Dessange in Paddington.
They’ve got an amazing range of shampoos, particularly for blondes. The Black Range, the blonde signature is absolutely amazing. They do a beautiful blonde. They use balayage on me. As for makeup, as I said I'm obsessed with foundation. It seems like every makeup artist has a favourite base, so whenever they use a new base that I love, I go and buy it. The Arbonne primer is amazing. I definitely recommend it. I’ve heard Angelina Jolie uses it. The Armani foundation is also very, very good, and the Dermablend. It’s actually a leg and body cover, but I used it on my face. It’s good for on-camera because it’s a little heavier but it’s still beautiful.
I have bad hands from playing netball and water polo for years
So the L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream is a life saver. I’ve been using it for as long as I can remember. I don’t ever wear polish on my fingers but when I go for a pedi I go to USA Nails in Paddington because they let me bring Lolli. They love her and she sits on my lap - I usually get Malaga Wine by OPI on my toes. For tans, I sometimes go to the Bronzing Boutique or I’ll use Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel. It’s really good for the face.
I give all the girls on my tour a beautiful luxury gift bag
with my favorite products, so I approached L’Occitane and said “would you like to put your hand creams in my gift bags?”. They sent me a thank you goody bag and the Divine Cream was in it. I used it and straight away I could see the difference. I just turned 45 and I literally got asked for ID going into a bar. It was ridiculous! I’m too old to be in bars anyway, so it was a blessing in disguise. Honestly, I don’t know whether it’s timing or it was just the right product for the right age or whatever, but my skin has never looked or felt better. It’s my absolute favourite.
I had never really thought about having kids.
I think because my career was so fulfilling and I love to travel. It's in my blood—my father worked in an airline so we travelled our whole lives, and I had never made kids a priority. At the age of 40, I thought I had better do something about it, so I investigated my options. I wanted to make a documentary about fertility, so I pitched the idea to Foxtel. They hired a production company to make it and they kind of made the show [Sami’s Baby] more about me, which I wasn’t comfortable about at first. But in the end the show was great, and the reaction was so wonderful I hope that it did at least get people talking and make more women aware of the realities of fertility. I tried various things to get pregnant but it never worked. As a single woman, it’s really difficult. But I never say never. I know if I really desperately want to have a biological child, I could look into using an egg donor, a sperm donor, IVF. There are ways. But I have a great life. If I don’t have a kid, I’m going to be at peace with it. I have a niece and nephew, I have a godson, I’ve got friends with kids, I have my fur baby [Lolli]. Not having children is allowing me to explore my passion of travel.
It’s life changing for a lot of women that come on my tours.
And on the last night of the tour, there will always be a woman who bursts into tears saying “I just had the best time”. For a lot of the mothers that come on my trip, it’s the first time they have put themselves first in years. I take either single women, or married women, or mums who just need to get a break and to get away. I take them on daily guided walking tours of my favourite neighbourhoods and at night we go to the hottest bars and restaurants, see a Broadway show. We do a private outdoor yoga class in Central Park, we visit a Harlem Gospel Choir, we enjoy a beauty master class at Bloomingdales and go to the L’Occitane Store in the Flat Iron District where we get mini facials and hand spas and foot massages.
As for products I use on the flight…
The Immortelle hydration mist is just the most divine thing, and I also use the L’Occitane hand creams and sanitizer all the time. I tell the girls on my tours, “You need to use hand sanitizer in New York because you’re constantly touching dirty subways and door handles that millions of other people have touched before you.” When I arrive, I love the L’Occitane Relaxing Pillow Mist. When I use it I sleep like a baby.
My favourite place to shop is actually Bloomingdale’s.
It’s affordable and you can get a lot of the brands you can’t buy here. Lord and Taylor is a wonderful department store on Fifth Avenue where the locals shop. Second Chance Vintage on the Upper East Side have an entire room of Chanel. A lot of models who get given bags and clothes on photo shoots sell their stuff there and Upper East Side ladies who wear something once, and then when the next season’s collection comes out, they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it. ABC Carpet and Home is a beautiful homeware store. They call it Disneyland for adults. I buy a lot of stuff from Anthropologie, and we go to Woodbury Common, which is the best outlet in the world.”