Much like the formidable magazine editor Maggie Prescott sings to Audrey Hepburn in 1957 film Funny Face, if Shelley Barrett had it her way we would all “Think Pink!” Shelley is the CEO and founder of Australian beauty brand and success story ModelCo and credits her use of her favourite hot pink hue for being instrumental in her company’s success. Currently appearing on our screens alongside Kerrie Anne Kennerley as an advisor on The Celebrity Apprentice, Shelley has proved she was a born business woman. After running a successful model agency for eight years in her twenties, she saw a gap in the market for innovative beauty solutions on the go.
That was 13 years ago and in that time, Shelley managed to recruit some of the world’s most beautiful women, including Elle Macpherson, Dannii Minogue and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, to front the brand. She has guided it through countless product innovations and various iterations to become a multi-national success story stocked in over 3000 stores around the world. We caught up with the dynamic, spirited and endlessly entrepreneurial Shelley and took a peak inside her glamorous Rose Bay abode.
“I kind of fell into fashion and beauty
When I owned the modelling agency I would watch the girls and the shoots and the makeup artists. I was always wishing, “Gosh I wish I had this,” and “Gosh I wish there was an international brand that had that.” I had an understanding of the niche and the market for innovative, innate products. All of the models use to heat their eyelash curlers with blow driers and that was the inspiration behind my first product, Turbo Lashwand. At the time I created it because it was a need and I thought I would just test the beauty industry. And it just flew. The modelling agency was inspiration for ModelCo.”
Tan Airbrush in a Can set the brand on fire
The product truly transcended convention and changed the way women tan forever. Everybody said ‘You can’t have hot pink packaging!’ but that hot pink packaging was what really made it stand out and I knew I was on to something there. If you can continue to create innovative and unique products with a twist, you’ve got it made.
Victoria Beckham wrote about me in her book
I’ve never actually met her but she wrote about going to Bendel’s and buying buckets of our products; she is seriously obsessed with them. She loves our Bronze Shimmer and Brow Kit. She was sitting at David Beckham’s first football match at the Galaxy with her hot pink compact. It was on the front page of the Telegraph, which was huge for us. Having Victoria loving our brand genuinely after discovering it in Bendel’s, it was demonstration that the products are innovative and cool. She spread [the brand like] wildfire in the US before we were really even there.
ModelCo has become known for our specialty products
We did an 8,000 customer research survey all about ModelCo and literally 87% of 8,000 women said they wanted us to expand into natural skincare. So we got to it really quickly; the line has macadamia oils, rosehip creams, moisturisers, and exfoliators. Our top three sellers are the Double Sided Facial Wipes (we can never keep them in stock for long), the Replenishing Rose Facial Mist, and the Instant Miracle Booster Serum. With exciting things on the horizon, ModelCo just launched new tanning innovations and we’re extending the colour range and our skin collection in 2016.
Live television is very different from television shows
During The Apprentice I was shooting eight to ten hour days for one minute of television. They shot about 130 hours of footage for 47 minutes of television! The benefit of live television is that it’s quick, and the benefit of this is that they edit it. The show was great; the team and crew were fantastic. Kerri-Anne and I became quite close over the show, they called us 'Shelley-Anne'! She’s fantastic to work with, and obviously she’s a veteran in the business of many years. Sophie Monk and Tegan Martin were also stand-out girls to me. Everyone on set was a true professional and was used to being on camera, so they were easy to work with. I’d probably do it again, but let’s see how I turn out this time!
Doing full hair, makeup, and wardrobe every day was my biggest challenge...
during the show. Finding the time to fit it in and run the business at the same time was difficult. I had to find 35 to 40 outfits. I love the Australian designers; Zimmermann, Camilla & Marc, and Scanlan Theodore were all amazing. Pierre Winter’s jewels were fantastic and NET-A-PORTER was great as well. I worked with a stylist in the beginning but I ended up doing it myself. It was so gruelling I just decided my own outfits and worked with the Australian designers. It was a combination of being dressed and purchasing some favourite items that I knew I wanted to keep.
I learned that too much hydration is never enough for my skin
My skin was looking fantastic by the end of the show because of the products I was using! I have dehydrated skin, and I wasn’t moisturising heavily enough. I now heavily lather on my ModelCo moisturiser and rosehip oil overnight. Then I’d wake up in the morning and I use an Ultraceuticals serum for extremely dehydrated skin. Next I’d put on my Hydrating ModelCo skincare moisturiser with essential oils over the top before I used a water-based foundation.
I’m a regular at Valonz
I see Haleema Harris-Moraitis for my colour every few weeks and Kieran Street for my cut and blow dries. I also have a fabulous hairdresser Vanessa Deluca come to my house and blow dry my hair in the mornings when I need it done. I use Nioxin Diaboost to thicken my hair – it is amazing. You put it in your hair and it truly makes it thicker. I’ve never seen a hair product like it. I also love Mr Smith products for washing and conditioning and my GHD which is great for my fly away hairs.
I don’t really follow anybody for style
I think it’s important to dress what suits myself and my personal style. I think Rosie Huntington-Whitely has amazing style and I do take style tips from her because we have been so close over the years. I am very into reiki and different types of healing. I love acupuncture, I really believe in it. I rotate coffee table books all the time. I love playing around season to season with different colours, cushions, books and different pieces.
I have great coffee table books given to me as gifts, and coffee table books often have great colours on their front covers which makes you want to make use of them in different ways.
My lashes have never been better
than they are right now. I previously had eyelash extensions and they literally ruined my eyelashes. Because of this, I had to wear false lashes everyday while filming the show. The glue became drying so I used ModelCo macadamia oil on my eyelids every night to rehydrate my lids. I just put a tiny drop on my lid and spread it over my eyelids. It’s incredible.
I have a 15 to 20 minute rule when it comes to makeup
If I try to put on makeup for any longer, it looks worse. I think quick is best. My skin care regimen is essential because if your skin is glowing and hydrated, makeup is easy to apply. During the week at work I tend to do the no makeup makeup look. I wear blush and mascara and brows are an absolute must. I never leave the house without doing them. My mum taught me to always do my brows.
My go-to fragrance is Chloe Love Story or Flora by Gucci. During the day I go for light, fresh, and dewy makeup and at night I will accentuate my eyes with eyeliner and mascara to make everything a bit deeper. But I think I am relatively low maintenance, especially for the beauty industry.
I tend to eat a high protein diet
Whenever I need to lose weight I cut carbs and sugar. Anything white. It does the trick. My mum taught me to drink lots of water, which I always have to remind myself to do. I’m currently trying to drink more peppermint tea, too. As for exercise, I train with my friend Michael Ryan twice a week, I love playing tennis, and I go for regular jogs and walks.
I am literally a supplement queen
As you get older your body needs support, and you need to eat well and take your vitamins. I’m constantly taking magnesium and I use Ultra Muscleze because I’m constantly working; I find that if I’m sitting in a desk and I’ve got bad posture and my neck gets sore, Muscleze helps. My ultimate supplement is Beta A-C by Eagle, it’s an effervescent drink you drink if you’re getting sick. It builds your immune system so I’m really never sick. But, if I do get sick, I’m literally pumping that down my throat. I go to the chemist and health foods store in Double Bay. I go there and I spend hundreds of dollars.
I love entertaining
so the outdoor space is really important to me, it is like an extension of my living room! Fresh flowers are a must and my go-to person is Saskia from Grandiflora – she makes flowers look like art installations! I also love Sean from Mr Cook. Peonies are a personal favourite. I love nothing more than having family and friends over in my home, doing a bbq and making lots of salads.
The house is filled with eclectic coastal pieces
… such as coral, antique tribal pieces from Papua New Guinea and hand embellished prints made of beads and carved wooden discs. I always like to bring something home from my travels. These kind of pieces are what makes a house unique and interesting.
I wanted to create a relaxed yet sophisticated feel…
combining sisal and recycled timber to provide luxurious natural textures. The colour palette is a combination of rich, warm colours in the upholstery (navy, tangerine and off white), and accents of deep leaf green, bringing the 'outside' into the interior space. I chose the sisal rug as it is versatile, it is relaxed yet sophisticated and is also timeless.
The dining room and lounge room are the most used areas of the house
The kingfisher bird print is a favourite. It’s from Boyd Blue. It adds colour and ties in with our burnt orange theme, it’s a bit of fun and it jumped out at us when looking for pieces to go on the wall. The long table and chairs were from a supplier in Melbourne called Globe West.
Given how busy I am…
I brought in Nikki Dunlop from Nikki Dunlop Interiors to ensure the decorating had the look and feel I wanted. The brief was to exemplify a classic contemporary look. I wanted to create a fluid, family focused space reflective of my creative personality. We had lots of fun sourcing everything and the house was done within a few months.
I love my bedroom, it’s my sanctuary
The master bedroom is light and bright and features huge doors that lead to a balcony which overlooks the leafy outside space. I love Missoni, Sheridan or Ralph Lauren for linen. The white linen in the picture is Ralph Lauren. My guilty pleasure is watching TV in bed! That is where I watch Celebrity Apprentice!